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November 25, 2002 | 2057 IST
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President welcomes top social entrepreneurs

A Correspondent in New Delhi

President A P J Abdul Kalam on Monday welcomed the ten outstanding social entrepreneurs who were honoured at the India Economic Summit earlier.

The ten social entrepreneurs were accompanied by Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and president of the World Economic Forum and of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship; and Tarun Das, director-general of the Confederation of Indian Industry.

President Kalam identified healthcare, education and employment as three integral components leading towards sustainable development.

He suggested the idea of a sustainable village which would cover all these societal needs as a means towards pulling India out of poverty, underlining that opportunities should be created in rural areas just as they exist in urban settings.

Professor Schwab shared his thoughts on social entrepreneurship as a key driving force towards creating social change.

The following social entrepreneurs from India and Bangladesh were introduced to the President, along with their work:

Erum Mariam from Bangladesh presented BRAC, one of the largest NGOs worldwide. BRAC has disbursed more than $1 billion in microloans.

Raj Arole presented his Comprehensive Rural Health Project, a community-based healthcare programme for the rural poor in the state of Maharashtra which he founded with his wife.

Jeroo Billimoria talked about Childline India, a 24-hour hotline for children operating in 40 Indian cities.

Mirai Chatterjee, Coordinator for the Self-Employed Women's Association, presented the largest union in India which counts more than 318,000 members.

Iftekhar Enayetullah and Maqsood Sinha talked about Waste Concern, a group they co-founded in Dhaka to promote the use of 'Waste as a resource.'

Suraiya Haque presented Phulki, which has been a pioneer in providing high-quality work-based and community-based day care for the children of women employed in garment factories, businesses and government offices in Bangladesh.

Joe Madiath founded Gram Vikas in Orissa to help thousands of villagers organize themselves to address a wide range of social and health problems.

Roy Prosterman and Tim Hanstad talked about the Rural Development Institute, a non-profit organisation founded by the former, composed of land law and policy experts who help poor farmers in developing countries gain ownership of land, thus alleviating poverty on a massive scale.

Saidur M. Rahman, founded the Social Standard Working Group, a business consortium working to disseminate workplace innovations throughout Bangladesh's garment sector.

India and the World Economic Forum
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