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JAMMU:  Lawyer turned Model, Miss Sana Dua shall be the Brand Ambassador of J&K Election Department for General Elections -2019. Dua the 1st Runner up of Femina Miss India 2017 contest has also participated in Miss United Continents 2017 figuring among the top ten. The celebrity has voluntarily offered her services for educating, creating awareness and motivating the electorate of J&K for exercising their franchise to ensure greater participation in the forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections. An advocate by profession and an enthusiastic social activist, Dua would encourage and motivate the eligible youth to register themselves as voters and use their voting rights during the poll process.

Born in 1993 in Assam in a Sikh family, whose roots are in Jammu and Kashmir, Miss Dua graduated in law and practised as a Lawyer before entering the glamour world in 2015. Recipient of various awards in the glamour world, Miss Dua has actively been engaged in promoting girl child education and “Save Water” campaign in the state. Miss. Sana Dua in her video message expressed happiness to be part of this campaign and said that “despite belonging to different regions, religions and backgrounds, we all are united by our constitutional right to vote which puts all citizens of India on equal footing without any discrimination.”

Reiterating the Election Commission’s slogan “No Voter Should Be Left Behind”, she appealed the general masses, especially the young voters to celebrate “Desh ka Maha Tyohar” and exercise their right of franchise in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. She said that the youth must ensure their greater participation in these elections to strengthen the world’s largest democracy by casting their votes.

Complimenting Ms. Dua for voluntarily associating herself with the election awareness campaign, Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shailendra Kumar said that her role as Election Department’s Brand Ambassador will give further boost to the electoral participation, especially the youth. He hoped that the young celebrity shall be a great source of inspiration for the young voters to ensure massive participation in the elections to further increase the voting turn out, and strengthen the democracy.

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NEW DELHI: Babar Afzal of J&K, was awarded the Social Entrepreneur of the Year award, 2019, by the Asian-African Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) that organized the prestigious inter-continental Leadership Forum, which consisted of a grand summit, B2B networking amongst diplomats from various countries in the two continents & industry leaders and leadership awards - conferred upon those leaders or organisations that have shown exceptional and path-breaking performance and tenacity in developing successful businesses.

Babar has been recognized for his work in promoting authentic Pashmina eco-system of J&K and the lives of the communities linked to it especially women  at the grassroots and ensuring rural livelihood. Working in the areas affected by climate change, Babar has helped shepherds, nomads, weavers, craftsmen and women of Pashmina across the villages in Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh. He has been encouraging and building community leaders who are coming forward to solve the problems that they are facing as a community through small initiatives. After working for over seven years with the marginalized communities, Babar got a closer view of rural realities and the communities woes after the devastating tragedy that killed 25,000 pashmina goats in J&K about seven years ago. That triggered him to change course and become a pashmina goat shepherd. Babar along with his team have now built a vibrant ecosystems to enable thousands of nomads, weavers , craftsmen and women to succeed in remote and ailing markets.

The Chief Guest for the occasion was Hon’ble Union Minister of Trade & Commerce, Govt. Of India – Shri Suresh Prabhu. Dr. GD Singh, Founder & Chairman, Asian-African Chamber of Commerce & Industry, in his opening address impressed upon the collaboration with a difference for the development of businesses in Asian & African continent. He added that this is the first of its kind open platform which amalgamates the most brilliant talents and empowers the leaders of tomorrow. Among the high profile guests were Mr. Yoo Chang Ho, Minister Counselor, Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Ben Joubert, Deputy High Commissioner, High Commission of South Africa ,  H.E. Eng Waasfi Hassan El-Sreihin, Secretary General, African-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO),  H.E. Mr. Chris Eze, High Commissioner to the Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Mr. George Mkondiwa, High Commissioner, High Commission of Malawi to India, H.E. Mr. Maxwell Ranga, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe to India. 

Babar in his address said that, this is the recognition of the skills of the community and he dedicated the award to the Shepherds, Weavers, Craftsmen and Women of authentic Pashmina Eco system. He said that this recognition will go a long way in making visible the invisible revolution that rural India is creating at the grassroots. “Government and private sector should partner with the rural communities directly and look at them as job creators and not as beneficiaries. Time has come when we look at grassroots workers and craftsmen and women as the future to revitalize our rural economy." The Pashmina Goat Project (PGP) model comprises multiple ventures. A network of self help groups; a fund for master craftsmen; a rural school of  leadership for women; and a market aggregator that provides warehousing, branding, marketing and distribution services to last-mile skilled workers. Over the last few years, PGP has had a domino effect in climate-threatened villages across the region and thousands of craftsmen and women have come under the umbrella of this movement of Babar Afzal.

This Award brings some of the most remarkable change makers from Asia onto a common platform. These social entrepreneurs are promising change makers and self-starters, with a strong inclination towards addressing the most pertinent needs of the marginalized communities in both scalable and sustainable ways. Their endeavours encapsulate alleviating poverty, hunger, gender inequality, promoting women empowerment, education. These social entrepreneurs are the torch-bearers who have taken the onus of working towards managing micro-finance needs and daunting challenges like climate change. The tenets of PGP are aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The project is demonstrating unwavering commitment in finding answers to new age problems with their technology driven, scalable, sustainable and innovative solutions.

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HINAAAWARDNEW DELHI: Henna Babar has been conferred with Honoris Causa, Honorary Doctoral Award by the international partnering University and Confederation of International Accreditation Commission (CIAC Global), an International quality rating & accreditation agency for outstanding performance and excellent contribution with undisputed commitment through her sustainable work in the field of Social Entrepreneurship and preservation and promotion of authentic Pashmina and livelihood promotion of communities linked to the authentic Pashmina eco system on India.  The award ceremony was held at the India International Center, New Delhi.

The award was presented at 6th International Education Forum Ceremony at the India International Centre, New Delhi by Prof. Dr. GD Singh and Padam Shri Dr. Vijay Shah. Henna’s work is regarded as a contribution by women to empower communities across Jammu and Kashmir, India. She is the founder of the campaign #WhoMadeMyPashmina that is an online and offline campaign to spread awareness and bring in Transparency in the Authentic Pashmina Eco System of J&K and India. Speaking at the ceremony she explained that the Pashmina Industry of J&K employs lakhs of people in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and is therefore one of the key economic driver of the state.

The industry needs a campaign to ensure that the communities that are linked to this authentic eco-system are saved from exploitation. Henna, has been advocating for long term strategic and sustainable growth for the entire authentic Pashmina industry in the global marketplace. Henna explained that the campaign #WhoMadeMyPashmina is a part of the bigger vision that is poised to be a global movement of people who are the consumers of Pashmina in India and across the world. Anyone who has ever bought a Pashmina or plans to buy in the future should become a part of this campaign.

Speaking at the ceremony she asked, “Have you ever wondered who made your Pashmina ? How much they’re paid, and What their lives are like ?”. Majority of the people who makes Pashmina for the global market live in poverty and unable to afford life’s basic necessities. Many are subject to exploitation and working in unsafe and extreme climatic conditions, with very little earnings. This community suffers because there is no pressure from the consumers who have the power to change the future of these communities by asking tough questions. Henna is also a recipient of Smt. Nirmala Deshpande Award for her social work in the region.

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