Anushree Dash: A woman of substance who is motivated by- ‘IF YOUR PATH IS MORE DIFFICULT, IT’S BECAUSE YOUR CALLING IS HIGHER’ .
She is a one woman army- a social reformer, a changemaker, human rights activist, gender equality advocate, a socio-entrepreneurs , two times TEDx speaker, Motivational Speaker and a writer & blogger.
Anushree says- “I stood by one thing in my life, “Be the change”. I identify myself as a Nari and I stand up for gender inequality, patriarchal societal norms and work towards an inclusive, diverse and equal world with more human values. Being a woman, every day for me is a struggle for existence, and a struggle for survival.”
Anushree’s life started in an upper middle class family in the steel city of Rourkela, Odisha.
Being a single child, she usually got her way around but her parents maintained strict discipline at home. Having working parents, she was not over pampered. The environment at home was of discipline, high regards for education, discussing several societal and political issues which highly influenced her from a young age. Her upbringing helped her expand her horizon and have a progressive outlook towards society.
Being a go-getter throughout her school and college life, a topper and achiever. Not only academics, she was into a lot of extracurricular activities like debate, elocution, music, geeta chanting, drawing, quiz etc. She completed her MBA from a reputed business school in finance and marketing with a gold medal.
She worked with several MNCs like HSBC, Standard Chartered and Western Union in mid-management level in different geographies exposed to different dynamics and work culture.
She has always considered her parents as her role model. The rooted and humble nature of her father has inspired her to get connected to the rural and marginalised section.Her connection with the rural and tribal people have made her realise that maybe the journey is not so much about becoming anything but it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you.
Her desire was always to work for her people and to become a face of change. She wanted to inspire more change makers like her and that’s what made her leave the hustle bustle of city life, high paying corporate career of 10 years and started her own social organisation ADIBHA SHE VISION.
Founder and Chairperson of NGO – ADiBha She Vision with a motto SHE for SHE ! ADiBha She Vision, is a grassroots-level non-profit organisation known for implementing impactful & innovative social initiatives to uplift vulnerable people in urban & rural slums as well as tribal areas. It aims to enable access to Primary Healthcare, Education, Skill Training, Employment, for vulnerable women in marginalised sections by focusing on bringing a reformative change in the mindsets of the society. With a vision to empower women, she started advocating equal rights, equal pay, equal opportunities, equal respect.
She initiated open dialogue on taboo topics like, menstruation or period, sex education, adolescent education. With her campaign #Saynotochildsexualabuse #periods_are_normal and # bleed red the menstrual awareness and menstrual hygiene management program, and her initiative, Anandini (which means happiness), she took a challenge to educate and address the issues like period poverty, sanitation, early pregnancy, menopause, cervical cancer, sustainable menstrual practices, PCOD/PCOS and other adolescent girls’ issues.
Anandini started from a small slum, Girijatoli basti, in Rourkela and has spread wings to states like Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh. She received an award as PADWOMAN of Odisha along with few more awards in national and regional forums for creating social impact.
She has touched the lives of 80,000 plus menstruators and distributed sanitary products every month. She has created a conducive atmosphere and made it comfortable for young girls to connect with her directly too and share their concerns. She believes that normalising menstruation through reproductive health education and open dialogue with girls and boys equally will help resolve gender biases.
“No one can take the happiness of being a changemaker from me. I wish to take this initiative to other cities and rural regions as well and want to reach one lakh women and change their lives. I named it ‘Mission one lakh’ and took up the challenge for myself.” Says Anushree.
With the campaign “Sponsor a girl”, they are distributing menstrual hygiene kits, “treasure boxes“, to women from rural areas and impoverished parts of society as part of our initiative.
She is actively associated with the Women Economic Forum , ALL and several other prestigious social impact organisations .
Selected as State President (Odisha) for WICCI, Human Rights Council and actively associated with many social organisations in advisory roles.
Having held such motivating positions. Led her to be invited to speak on the TED X platform, multiple times. Her speech actually blew me away. To the point, bold and hard hitting.
Anushree is so humane and childlike..love her sense of humour and expressions.
When I asked about her first Ted X talk experience, she said.
“Oh! It was all excitement and a bit of nervousness. I never doubted my orator skills but was confused whether I would do justice to the work we do within that timeframe . What if I get emotional and a drop of tear rolls down, what if I forgot to mention someone or something who/which has changed my life or helped me be what I am today. But all well, that ends well. Within a span of 2 months of my first TED delivery , I was ready to deliver my second TED talk of course with more enriching experiences and few more new initiatives for women and children.”- This is what makes Anushree so approachable and real.
Speaking her mind, voicing her opinions automatically led her to be a writer and blogger and a poetess penning down her experiences, stories, rage and many more for the larger audience in several platforms like books, newspaper columns and her blogs.
Appreciating beauty, especially the culture of her home ground Odisha, and then moving towards the handicrafts and local weaves was a transition bound to happen. When you want to conserve and preserve your heritage, one must focus on the most popular art forms of your land and Sambhalpuri handloom was the prominent choice.
Anushree confesses that- “I have grown up seeing my grandma, mom and women in our family wearing beautiful Sambalpuri handloom six yards and I truly believe it’s the poetry of loom.”
As a social-entrepreneur , Anushree started promoting Sambalpuri Handloom with the entrepreneurial journey called ADiBha (a social enterprise), to promote the rich textile heritage and craftsmanship of weavers from different parts of Odisha. ADiBha, aims to generate a valuable and sustainable livelihood for the true artisans and weavers’ community of Odisha and make them feel proud and confident about their art, craft, tradition, and their profession. A true art connoisseur taking steps to give the art and craft a platform to create a larger impact.
Anushree passionately says – ”My socio- entrepreneurial journey with ADiBha, exclusively focusing on creating livelihood for the artisans and weavers’ community of Odisha, supporting and promoting Sambalpuri Handloom and sustainable fashion. It is effortlessly trying to ensure that Indian art and craft does not die with time and is being transferred from generation to generation. It designs/revives/markets the most beautiful and uniquely made hand-crafted and hand-woven sustainable fashion from parts of Odisha to the customers and give them a space to think, understand, value, adopt and retain the art, culture and tradition by supporting and sustaining a life, a family, a village and a livelihood.
She has been able to impact – 1 lac+ lives and created earning opportunities for hundreds of families. Received several accolades and recognition in both national and regional platforms which includes Noble Citizen Award, REX Karmaveer Chakra and Fellowship,Honor of Ashoka Award, Odisha Citizens Award, Women Achievers’ Award, Women Leading Change Award, Ananya Changemaker Award, Social Impact award, Mahila Sanman, Women leaders of Odisha, Lady Lion award to name a few and got featured in 50+ national media.
She says with each award and accolade, comes a ton of responsibility and the motivation to do something bigger and better.
Anushree has just started on her mission. Her vision for her country is to be a catalyst of change and create more changemakers. She is working towards a diverse yet more inclusive and a better society.
In a society often resistant to change, her foray into the uncharted waters of social activism was met with incredulity and scepticism. Her response, however, was not dictated by external resistance but by an inner resolve to become a face for change and inspire others to embrace the mantle of a change-maker. Her future aspiration is to become a face of change , a people leader and reclaim politics as an avenue of social change and public service.
Anushree’s Message for the youth of the nation:
“ I am a compulsive optimist. I am only here to look at the wonderful things in life. Because if you want to, there are many many horrible things happening around, in the country, in your life and everywhere around. So why go looking for the horrible things out there. Look for the wonderful things, the amazing things.”
Let me Ask you,”How do you define yourself? Think of the one word that defines you . Is it your job, your origin, may be your religion.” Now I want you to think differently. How do you want to be defined? Changing your perspective on a single question can completely change your life.
If you waive the fear of failure, if you change your perspective and if you start to measure the success by the number of dreams you pursue, life becomes the ocean full of exciting opportunities. If you free yourself from your limiting beliefs, you will uncover the hidden talent within you and the incredible strength to pursue your idea worth spreading. You don’t know if your dreams are possible or not, so choose to act as if they are possible.”
A true change maker who has paved the way for her State Odisha to now come in the forefront and opened doors for the youth to progress.
To know more: website- https://www.theycallmenari.in/anushreedash
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