Nileema Mishra was born into a middle-class family in Bahadarpur village of Maharashtra. She grew up witnessing farmer suicides and other social injustices. So she decided to commit herself to the service of underprivileged and never to get married, at the young age of 13.
Three decades later, she has given everything she can to transform the lives of thousands of rural Indians and became one of the youngest recipients of the Magsaysay Award a few years ago.
In the 1990s, Nileema finished her Master's in Clinical Psychology from Pune. Instead of taking a job there and settling into a comfortable urban life, she returned to her hometown to work for the betterment of people in Jalgaon district.
After returning, Nileema realised that the major reason behind people's miseries was lack of money. So, she started Bhagini Nivedita Gramin Vigyan Niketan (BNGVN) to provide micro-credit to underprivileged women according to Youth Ki Awaaz.
Over time, BNGVN have become the go-to place for people aspiring to attain sustainable livelihood of any kind from more than 200 villages in the state.
A few years after she started the organisation, Nileema started facing trouble in finding the funds required to take her organisation forward. Determined to work for the upliftment of the society at any cost, she sold her mother's jewels and used that money.
After that, her services to the people include providing computer literacy, short-term loans to farmers from neighbouring villages, and training people on marketing their products.
For her services, Nileema was awarded the Magsaysay in 2011 and she vowed to spend the Rs 22-lakh cash award she received for the people. In 2013, she was also awarded the Padmashree. After receiving her Magsaysay, in an interview with Outlook, she said,
During my 27 years of long social service, I have given direction to hundreds of families and all the credit goes to them in fetching me this prestigious award. So far, I have worked for the poor keeping myself away from publicity and I will continue to do my work in future
Read more -