Pune: Dr. Mandakini Amte of Hemalakasa from Gadchiroli, co-founder of the Lokbiradari Prakalp, was conferred the Urja Lifetime Achievement Award by Gravittus Foundation Pune. The sixth edition of the Urja award ceremony was held in the city on Wednesday.
The award distribution took place in the presence of like Dr. Baba Adhaav, along with senior social activist Dr. Prakash Amte, Pro-Chancellor of Symbiosis International University, Dr. Vidya Yerwadekar, former MP Sanjay Kakade, actress Divya Sheth, President of Gravittus Foundation Usha Kakade, and advisor and senior journalist Arun Khore.
Founder of the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DICCI), Dr. Milind Kamble (Industry), Indumati Jondhale (Education), former President of the Indian Medical Association, Dr. Avinash Bhondve (Health), World Championship gold medalist boxer, Devika Ghorpade (Sports), and Asian Championship gold medalist shot putter, Sachin Khilari (Special Award), were also honored with this year’s ‘Urja Award’. The award was presented in the form of a shawl, a memento, and a sapling. Additionally, War widow Deepali Vijay More was given the ‘Shaurya Puraskar’ in memory of the martyred soldier Vijay More.
On this occasion, Senior Social Activist, Dr. Baba Adhaav praised the awardees and congratulated Usha Kakade for selecting and honoring the right individuals who are striving for the welfare of society and humanity.
He mentioned, “This initiative is exemplary in recognizing people who are fighting for the grassroots, overcoming obstacles, advocating for humanity, and progressing despite struggles. This is the honor of constructive struggles.”
He also said that there is need of the awakening of the new energy in the society, he said, “At present, the state of society has become akin to being kept in the intensive care unit. Society has become like a patient due to the actions of those who claim to be building India. The country needs the awakening of new energy, with positive activists today stepping up to guide us out of this.”
In her speech, Dr. Mandakini Amte shared her life journey, stating, “For the past 50 years, we have been continuously working for the welfare of the Adivasi community. Initially, the tribals looked at us suspiciously, but now they come to us for treatment willingly, bring others, and send their children to study. This change is heartening.” She also said that volunteers are the backbone of this initiative.
“The award itself has word ‘Urja’ that is energy this is a special award for me. Following Dr. Prakash Amte said that the award to Mandakini is a pride to me.
Dr. Vidya Yervadekar elaborated on Usha Kakade’s achievements with the Gravitus Foundation, highlighting her leadership in social work. Sanjay Kakde expressed his pride in Usha Kakde’s initiative to honor those who work for the people at the grassroots level, contributing significantly to the country.
Dr. Milind Kamble shared his life journey, emphasizing his efforts to promote business leadership within the Dalit community. He stated, “The aim is to provide Dalit youth with professional opportunities alongside education, employment, and politics.”
Indumati Jondhale, who grew up in an orphanage, spoke about her struggles and the inspiration she draws from them. Dr. Avinash Bhondve discussed his contributions to the medical field, particularly during the Covid period as then President of the Indian Medical Association.
Devika Ghorpade expressed her gratitude for the support she received from her family in pursuing sports.
Sachin Khilari recounted how he had to switch sports after losing one hand, expressing his happiness at winning gold medals in world competitions through consistent effort, mastery of technique, self-confidence, and a strong desire to serve the country.
Vishwajeet accepted the honor on behalf of war widow, Deepali Vijay More. Dattatreya More shared Deepali More’s story of struggle. Vishwajit More also presented a token of appreciation. The event was moderated by Leena Saldhana-Joshi, with Usha Kakade giving the welcome and introduction.
“The purpose of the Foundation is to honor women’s empowerment, humanitarian efforts, and the ideals of those who work tirelessly for positive change in society, providing positive energy to others through their work. This marks the sixth year of the awards, and the honorees are energized to work even harder.” – Usha Kakade, President, Gravittus Foundation