What does it mean to be kind? Kindness does not operate on categories or conventions. Every kind act, whether big or small, should be applauded and respected. The only convention of kindness has to deal with helping others and yourself. aidbees brings you the journey of five people who have changed the lives of many through kindness and compassion!
Helping people in need is the most important responsibility one could take and in this same thread today, we bring to you the stories of five such Kindness heroes who took it upon themselves to help many like themselves and change the world. These individuals have been through their fair share of struggles and tribulations, however, what kept them motivated to go ahead is the kindness within. Here is their story:
Birubala Rabha: A homely and simple woman from the Goalpara district of Assam, Birubala was a firm believer that witches exist. She had been another prey to the age old belief systems of her locality. After being married at 15, all she had around her were her three children, weaving and a household. In the 1980s, her elder son had typhoid and Rabha’s kins believed it’s because of the “fairy’s spell”. However, as her son recovered naturally and months passed, she soon realised that witchcraft is a hoax and a system of oppressing women. She then heard incidents of women being abused and thrown out of houses after being blamed as witches.
This is when she started Mission Birubala, her initiative to free Assam from the evil of witchcraft. She has been making a difference for decades through holding awareness meetings and saving the abandoned women. Birubala’s efforts were recognised by the Government of India as she recieved the Padma Shri from the President in 2021.
Dr. Himmatrao Bawaskar: Hailing from Mahad, Maharashtra, Himmatrao is a physician whose work revolves around treatment of scorpion stings. All his life, he has done extensive research to find solutions to the widespread problem of scorpion stings in his region. His journey of finding this treatment started when he was called by his neighbor to check up on an 8 year old who got stung by a scorpion. As soon as Bawaskar saw his deteriorating condition, he suggested the use of a drug to treat it. It is that day and today, Himmatrao has never looked back and has been treating many more patients, while also developing a better cure for the problem.
An early life of struggles, Long hours, corruption, superstitions, rejection, and a large gap in India’s rural healthcare system; there have been many roadblocks in the way. But none have quite managed to hold him back. His work brought down the fatality rate from scorpion sting from 40 percent to 1 percent. The Government of India awarded Dr. Bawaskar for his work with the Padma Shri in 2022.
Usha Chaumar: A manual scavenger from the age of seven, Usha is the light of inspiration for every person who wants to make a difference. She not only spreads awareness against manual scavenging practices but also works as the President of Sulabh International. Hailing from Alwar, Rajasthan, Usha has faced a toll of struggles growing up. She used to clean domestic trash in nearby houses where people used to even fear her shadow and not come close or touch her. When she came in touch with the founder of Sulabh, he offered her to work for the organisation and that was the first time she stepped out of her misery.
She met school children, several governing bodies and started her fight against manual scavenging. Usha also learned stitching and she now helps hundreds of people like her through Sulabh International. She was handed over the Padma Shri for her work by the President in 2021.
Sundaram Verma: For Sundaram Verma from Sikar, Rajasthan is an environmentalist and he has grown more than 55,000 trees with a technique that uses only one litre of water per tree, that too in an arid region. His journey to innovative environmental action helped him develop a procedure called “Dryland Agroforestry” in 1985, which promotes efficiency of water usage and maximises production. He had to find a way to help the saplings survive in an arid region receiving less rainfall.
Sundaram then came up with a technique that could hold and store water in the soil for long. This helped him grow thousands of trees and he became a strong voice for environmental conservation. Today, he works on his techniques of water efficiency and makes people aware about dryland agroforestry. He was awarded with the Padma Shri in 2020.
K.V. Rabiya: A literacy advocate from Kerala, KV Rabiya was confined to a wheelchair at the age of 14. But that didn’t stop her dedication and willpower to spread literacy among the needy. Rabiya started her literacy campaign back in 1990. But the Kerala state government launched their literacy mission and she was made the mascot of the project. She runs an organisation called “Chalanam”, which operates six schools for differently-abled and intellectually disabled kids in the district.
Rabiya also opened 60 neighbourhood self-help groups for women where they trained them to make carry bags, pickles and other products. Rabiya’s courageous journey in the Kerala Board school textbooks. K.V. Rabiya was awarded the Padma Shri in 2022 by the President of India.
All five of these changemakers stand true to the saying that the Padma Awards are truly the “people’s Padma”. They have worked tirelessly all their lives to make a difference and change the lives of many- be it uprooting social stigma, saving lives, spreading awareness about issues or saving the environment, these stalwarts have come a long way in their journey to turn the world around with kindness and a passion for change.
At aidbees, we celebrate these individuals and take pride in building a world that is kinder, more compassionate and sensitive to the needy and vulnerable.
Click here to read more tales of changemakers and their dedication to make a difference!
Stay kind and spread smiles!
aidbees works with 50+ trusted NGOs across 10+ social themes including community development, environment, education, health, women and child empowerment, etc. You can support them and join us in spreading the Kindness Revolution. Click here to explore more!