Prof.Shantha Sinha, Founder Secretary Trustee and Chief Programme Advisor MVF
Shantha Sinha is known for her pioneering work on child rights. She is also the founder-secretary of the M V Foundation, a rights based grass root level NGO operating out of Hyderabad, which has withdrawn over 10,00,000 children from work and put them into schools. She also served as Professor of political science at the University of Hyderabad.
She was actively involved in programmes for elimination of child labour through universalisation of elementary education in 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh covering more than 6000 villages in 137 mandals through M V Foundation. This has resulted in over 10, 00,000 children in 5-14 years age being withdrawn from work over the last 25 years, and also in strengthening of government schools in 1500 villages with retention of 99% of all children in schools. Her program of residential bridge courses to older out of school children was much acclaimed and adopted by the Govt of India and replicated in several countries.
An untiring activist, she served on various boards steering them towards positive action which resulted in major policy changes in the country. Notably as Member, Central Advisory Board for Education (CABE), Member, National Steering Committee, NCERT, Chairperson, National Focus Group on ‘Systemic Reforms in Curriculum Change’ (NCERT), Member, National Resource Group (NRG) for Education Guarantee Scheme and Alternative and Innovative Education (EGS&AIE) under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India, Member, Board, Sardar Vallabhai Patel National Police Academy, Govt. of India, Ministry of Home Affairs), Member-Managing Body, Indian Red Cross Society, Member, Executive Committee, National Institute of Rural Development, Govt. of India, Member, Sub Committee on Women and Child Labour, National Labour Commission, Ministry of Labour, Govt. of India, Member, Grants in Aid Committee, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Life Trustee, Andhra Mahila Sabha to name a few.
She was nominated as the first Chairperson of the National Commission for Child Rights (NCPCR) in the year 2007 and served two terms in that position until 2013. She laid the foundation for NCPCR and built institutional and lasting mechanisms, structures and processes for monitoring children’s rights across 31 states covering 420 million children. She covered a range of issues that includes child abuse, sexual assault and corporal punishment; child labour and child trafficking; malnutrition, right to education; juvenile justice and provided draft laws and policies on several issues which were accepted by the Government of India. The public hearings held by NCPCR in almost every State had a tremendous impact where children’s voices were heard.
She also served as the Professor and Head, in the Department of Political Science teaching courses on India’s Development and Democracy; India’s Social Sector and Policies and rural politics in India.
In 1998 she won the Rotary India Award for Elimination of Child Labour, Rotary Awards for service to Humanity (India) Trust. The same year she was awarded the Albert Shankar International Award by Education International in recognition of outstanding personal contribution for education, at Washington D.C. In 1998 she was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India which is one of the highest civilian awards, and also won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 2003 that is considered as Asia’s Nobel Prize. She was awarded the “Goldene Feder “Award by Bauer Publishing House, Germany in 2007.
She is recognized as India’s foremost child rights activist.