“Society is like a canvas, it’s you who needs to paint it beautifully.”- Devendra Kumar Gupta
Mr. Devendra Gupta has a strong conviction in this quote. However, is everyone in the world given the liberty to paint their canvas of life, especially women, children, and the underprivileged? Here, in this age, true changes will only occur if we, at the individual level, take up strides to eliminate the deeply rooted mentality of gender bias and discrimination, prick the bubble of insecurity and worldly judgments, and do our bit. One such individual who took up this stride is Mr. Devendra Kumar Gupta, the founder of ‘Ladli Foundation’.
It is often said that the one who experiences something, is the one who can only empathise the same; it is the same with Mr. Devendra Kumar. Born in a highly crime-prone slum of Delhi, Dakshinpuri, where he embarked on his journey when he was left alone by his parents with an infant sister; and this persuaded him to work as a child labourer- selling balloons and working at a doctor’s clinic for little remuneration. Once, during his childhood selling days, he was bullied and brutally beaten up by a group of delinquents and drug addicts.
All the miseries which were inflicted upon him led him to start his first initiative in 2007, namely “JOSH”, for diversion of youth from substance abuse and crusade by illegal selling of banned drugs at chemist shops. With this initiative, he saved more than 1500 children from addiction to drugs by involving them in sports and community service programs. Later in 2009, he exposed the scam of overpriced selling of gas stoves to the underprivileged and malpractices of gas dealers. His long fight with dowery aspirant families for his sister’s marriage in the year 2010, made him turn his social journey for the welfare of those uneducated girls who couldn’t afford education due to poverty and the orthodox mindset of the society to not providing education to their girls. He started research to know the status of poor unmarried girls; after two years of research to know the status of poor unmarried girls, he was shocked with the ground realities that what type of exploitation those girls were facing. Devendra started progressive movements in the society against the culture that has treated its daughters like a burden for a very long time and this led to the establishment of ‘Ladli Foundation Trust’. The objective was to uplift illiterate females, who were oppressed by the patriarchal norms of our society and the dowry system.
Ladli Foundation is a grassroots non-profit organisation in Special Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 2020. It is concentrated to build and strengthen a shielded, gender-neutral, and comprehensive society, where women need not think twice about standing up for themselves. Egalitarianism, prioritisation of the health and wellbeing of women, especially in third world nations have been Ladli’s main objectives. Through Ladli, he liberated thousands of women and young girls from the shackles of sexual abuse, trafficking, and domestic violence to become self-standing and woke.
During one of the interviews, he said that he envisions making a strong women community wherein women become an inspiration for all other women who need to be inspired to flourish far beyond our national boundaries. He strives to bring reformative amendments in our society, also at the global level, raise awareness against misogyny, disparity, and gender-based violence.
At the international level, he pressed for the scientific significance of Indian traditional practices for attaining sustainable development goals. Ladli’s efforts are not only restricted towards women empowerment, but also to their various innovative campaigns like project Saheli, Run for Ladli, Breath India, Sashakt Divyang, Rahat Sewa, etc. He has worked for empowering and enabling the right to good health and basic sanitation facilities for deprived people, education and employment to illiterate people as well as people with disabilities residing in highly sensitive and discriminated urban and rural slums. One of the most commendable projects that he has taken up is the project ‘Muskan’, which specifically aims to equip downtrodden women with knowledge and skills so that they prosper as professionals and entrepreneurs, and earn a livelihood with dignity, such that they no longer have to depend on their husband or live life in despair.
His efforts towards the gender-sensitive initiatives, ‘Run for Ladli’ and Ladli Rakshak (Girls Savior Volunteers), were praised by the former Home Minister of India, Mr. Rajnath Singh, dignitaries, and celebrities worldwide. The foremost idea here was to bring the male population to come forward to take a pledge to respect women & to raise their voice to stop crimes against women. He was given the title of “True hero” by legendary superstar Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. It was all his “Never to say die” approach that he relentlessly worked with for the betterment of the society; and, therefore, was nominated for India’s prestigious civilian award, Padma Shri.
He always believes in the fact- it’s not that you need to be special to bring about a change, everything lies within you.
Authored by: Ishita Choudhary
Edited by: Nayantara Rao
For More Details Visit: https://ladlifoundation.com