Gurugram: The 8th Annual Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards (SOCA) hosted by DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance (DPLI) felicitated 29 school students for their extraordinary efforts in the area of community service at a ceremony in Gurugram. These finalists were shortlisted from over 4000 applications received in a nationwide search for the country’s top student volunteers. Programme Ambassador, Olympic Medalist and Former World No.1 Badminton Player, Saina Nehwal was the Chief Guest at the event.
The prestigious awards programme introduced in 2010 is the India chapter of the Spirit of Community Awards, the largest youth recognition programme in the United States based exclusively on volunteer service.
The top honours in the Individual Category went to Ishita Mangla a Class XI student of Delhi Public School, RK Puram, New Delhi, for her initiative, ‘Sunain’ that diagnoses and treats children with amblyopia and poor visual acuity and Banupriya S., a Class VIII student of P.U.M.S (SSA), Kalachery West, Thiruvarur, Tamil Nadu for fighting against the beliefs and superstitions attached to menstruation in her village. Both the winners were presented with Gold medallions, Certificates of Excellence, a cash prize of Rs. 50,000 each and a return trip to Washington, D.C. While in Washington, D.C., they will represent India in the felicitation ceremonies for Spirit of Community Award winners from all participating countries.
A group of five students, Ashwini Singh, Lakhpat Singh, Rahul, Sumit Singh and Sunil Singh from Govt. Higher Secondary School, Kotra, Rajasthan were declared winners in the Group Category for organizing an effective and sustainable campaign to spread awareness about water management and conservation. They were presented with Gold medallions, Certificates of Excellence and a cash prize of Rs. 50,000 to be shared among them.
14 other well deserving finalists in the Individual Category and two more in the Group Category received Certificates of Achievement and Silver medallions.
Addressing the finalists at the awards ceremony, Mr. Anoop Pabby, MD & CEO, DPLI said, “Through SOCA, we identify and recognize young volunteers like you who have made a significant difference in society through their community service work. You have taken the initiative to find causes to support that have impacted the lives of many and have not let age come in the way of your contribution. I congratulate you for your incredible achievements and hope that you will continue the good work you are doing.”
He added, “I believe that every child has the potential to bring a positive change. All they need is motivation and a push in the right direction. I am sure that your remarkable efforts will inspire more and more children to give back to the communities they live in.”
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Programme Ambassador, Saina Nehwal, said, “It is an honour for me to be associated with SOCA for the second consecutive year. Children are our future and encouraging their efforts to give back to society at a young age is a very good initiative. I am impressed by the enterprising ability of the applicants to start these community projects. Their hard work and dedication is an inspiration for other children and I wish them the best for their future.”
The two national winners were selected by an eminent jury panel comprising Prof. Anita Rampal, Professor & Former Dean, Faculty of Education, Delhi University; Ms. Shovana Narayan, World renowned Kathak dancer; Ms. Richa Anirudh, Journalist & a well-known face of Hindi Television; Mr. Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation; Ms. Soha Moitra, Director of the Northern Region & the Volunteer Action division, CRY; Mr. Kapil Pandey, Founder and President, The Kutumb Foundation; and Ms. Shilpa Dureja Puri, Director Marketing – Digital & Experiential, Microsoft India.
The national winners will travel to Washington, D.C. in end April to be a part of the gala award ceremony held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They would also be taken on a tour of the capitol’s historic monuments and landmarks and enjoy a festive dinner cruise on the Potomac River. Moreover, there will be plenty of opportunities for these students to share their experiences and ideas with volunteers from other participating countries.