Dr. Rashmi Tiwari

The Tribals' Messiah

Rashmi Tiwari was brought up by a single mother who went through a great deal to raise her, but was still looked at, in disdain, because she was poor. It sprouted in a young Rashmi the belief that nothing had the right to tie anyone down - not poverty, not circumstances, not another human being’s insensitivity. And so, she grew up, pushing against these shackles, always trying to break free.

Freedom is something we might have won from the British back in ‘47, but what is it like to truly be “free”? Rashmi’s early life, like many other Indians’, had been weighed down by the shackles of poverty. To add to that was her label of being a “posthumous girl child” that led her to be treated with disparity.

She was brought up by a single mother who went through a great deal to raise her, but was still looked at in disdain because she was poor. It sprouted in a young Rashmi the belief that nothing had the right to tie anyone down - not poverty, not circumstances, not another human being’s insensitivity. And so she grew up, pushing against these shackles, always trying to break free.

In due course of time, Rashmi achieved a doctorate in Economics, post which she was involved with the World Bank and business bodies such as Assocham, AmCham India etc. She felt like she was contributing towards a better society, right until she met the tribals in Odisha and other Naxalite-dominated areas. There once again, she saw a different, yet equally cruel manifestation of poverty - human trafficking.

She switched lines and started an NGO- Aahan, attempting to make an actual difference this time around. And ever since, she has been the woman you see in the picture - stamping down on the rope that once tried to pull her down, and still ties other tribal girls and women around her. She strives to free them from poverty and all forms of trafficking. And so she soldiers on towards a tomorrow, where she empowers every girl to cage every adversity.


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