Activist working with children of sex workers chosen Person of the Year
Kolkata based social activist Urmi Basu, founder of New Light, a registered public charitable trust that provides the children of sex workers safety, shelter and schooling, has been selected as The Weekend Leader – VIT Person of the Year (2019) by a distinguished jury comprising Mr. T Udhayachandran, IAS, Commissioner of Archeology, Government of Tamil Nadu, Mr. V M Muralidharan, COO, Bahwan Cyber Tek Group and former Chairman, Ethiraj College, Chennai and Dr. N Jayasankaran, Advisor, VIT Business School.
According to P C Vinoj Kumar, Editor, The Weekend Leader, Basu, 56, has been relentlessly working for the last 19 years to educate and provide better lives to the ignored, neglected and often humiliated children of sex workers.
An article by The Weekend Leader’s Kolkata correspondent Gurvinder Singh had traced her remarkable journey in the social sector since the early 1980s.
After completing her graduation in Sociology at the University of Kalyani, West Bengal, Basu did her Masters in Social Work at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. During her training she was part of the first cell set up for women in distress by the Mumbai Police.
She had also worked as a relief worker during the Bhopal gas leak tragedy in December 1984, and the experience had left an indelible imprint on her mind.
Throughout her professional career, she had worked on issues related to urban and rural economic development, the empowerment and protection of vulnerable groups such as women engaged in sex work and subjected to violence, street children, trafficked child labourers and young people trapped by exploitation.
The Weekend Leader – VIT Person of the Year award, instituted in 2011, is conferred every year on individuals who have contributed to bringing change in the society. The award comes with a trophy, a citation and a cash prize of Rs 25,000. Last year, the award went to Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, founder, Sulabh International. – TWL Bureau