Educator and social entrepreneur Parmita Sarma receives her award from Smriti Irani on 31st August 2019 at Kolkata
September 2, 2019, GUWAHATI: Parmita Sarma, a young and promising educator and social worker from Guwahati has recently received the prestigious Devi Award from Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister of Textiles and Women & Child Development in Kolkata. The awards recognise and honour the accomplishments of women who have, against the odds, made a distinct mark in their respective fields and contributed to the vision of a thriving and globally competent nation.
Expressing her gratitude after receiving the award, Parmita said, “We have just started our journey, it is only three years. It’s a very big honour and encouraging for us so that we know we are going in the right direction”. Parmita is the co-founder of Akshar, a city based charitable school in Pamohi area of Guwahati where she along with her husband Mazin Mukhtar are dedicatedly working to educate poor children and make them self dependent. Akshar Foundation is a registered public charitable trust engaged in poverty eradication through operation of school that supplement formal education with vocational training, business incubation, and community development.
The Akshar model of teaching tries to addresses the unique needs of people that vary from place to place. “We came up with the idea this year of collecting plastic waste to turn into eco bricks to use in construction, which could also help students earn some money and keep them out of manual child labor”, stated Mazin. Akshar’s curriculum mixes practical training with conventional academic subjects. The goal is to support teenagers through school and into college or an apprenticeship. Practical education includes learning how to install and operate solar panels and helping to run the school’s landscaping business, which works to improve local public spaces. The school has also partnered with an education technology charity to provide pupils with tablet computers and interactive learning materials to boost their digital literacy. Outside of the classroom pupils run an animal shelter, too, rescuing and treating injured or abandoned dogs before finding them homes locally.
Apart from Parmita, the recipients of this year’s Devi Awards include acclaimed exponent of Indian classical dance Alokananda Roy, social entrepreneur and environmentalist Ekta Jaju, filmmaker Pritha Chakraborty, sustainable fashion influencer Sujata Chatterjee, designer trio Laldinsangi, Lalsangzeli and Lalrinpuii, entrepreneur and fashion visionary Madhu Neotia, environmental activist Temsutula Imsong, and lifestyle entrepreneur Ritu Agarwal.