PU­NIT ASTHANA, AGRA

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - NOM­I­NATED BY JY­OTI SINGH

CAT­E­GORY: GEN­DER EQUAL­ITY

Pu­nit Asthana is the founder and pres­i­dent of In­dian Dreams Foun­da­tion (IDF), an Agrabased NGO.

Pu­nit be­lieves he can solve the prob­lem of il­lit­er­acy by giv­ing more ado­les­cent girls ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion. He says, “Ed­u­cat­ing girls is the most pow­er­ful and ef­fec­tive way to ad­dress global poverty. Ed­u­cated women are more likely to ed­u­cate their own chil­dren – end­ing the cy­cle of il­lit­er­acy in one gen­er­a­tion.” The loss of his fa­ther at the age of 10 was the turn­ing point for Pu­nit. He es­tab­lished an ad­ver­tis­ing agency but later he re­alised that his life had an­other pur­pose. His in­stinc­tual need to help fel­low hu­mans re­flects in the steady path of progress and growth that IDF has fol­lowed since its in­cep­tion. He strives to pro­vide bet­ter fu­ture to girls and help them achieve gen­der equal­ity through ed­u­ca­tion and em­pow­er­ment. His ded­i­ca­tion and self mo­ti­va­tion to­wards gen­der equal­ity is bring­ing lot of changes in the so­ci­ety. IDF has been awarded ‘spe­cial con­sul­ta­tive sta­tus’ by the Eco­nomic and So­cial Coun­cil of the United Na­tions. The or­gan­i­sa­tion serves as con­sul­tants to the UN on many of its pro­grammes, es­pe­cially those re­lated to the mil­len­nium de­vel­op­ment goals, eight in­ter­na­tional goals aimed at erad­i­cat­ing poverty in the de­vel­op­ing world.

Pu­nit is also pas­sion­ate about mak­ing short films on gen­der is­sues. He has di­rected and pro­duced many so­cial films un­der the ban­ner of In­dian Dreams Foun­da­tion. Pu­nit’s or­gan­i­sa­tion has been work­ing in more than 20 slums and 15 schools of Agra and reaches more than 4,000 girls and women through ed­u­ca­tion and health pro­grammes.

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