Femina Mamaearth Beautiful Indians 2024: Meet The People For Good Nominees


For the third year in a row, we are proud to celebrate the beauty of goodness. Beautiful Indians, presented by Femina – India’s prominent thought leader in beauty and fashion – and Mamaearth – one of India’s largest purpose-driven beauty and personal care brands – is back with its third season to recognise the good actions that make us truly beautiful.

We’re putting the spotlight on goodness ambassadors among us. Here are some of the nominations for the goodness ambassadors. Read their stories and vote for your favourite one.

Chandra Mishra

Educator Transforming Lives Across Generations, West Bengal

Chandra Mishra, a 59-year-old journalist-turned-social worker from Odisha, has embarked on a transformative journey in Varanasi. In 2021, he founded the Beggars Corporation, challenging the status quo by empowering beggars to become entrepreneurs. Through skill development, 12 families transitioned from begging to crafting conference and laptop bags, generating a business worth Rs 57 lakh in 2022-2023. Chandra champions a shift in mindset, emphasising investment over donations to offer dignity and sustainable livelihoods. Going beyond his Odisha roots, he embraced a new mission, proving that unconventional paths lead to impactful change.

Deep Narayan Nayak

Educator Transforming Lives Across Generations, West Bengal

Femina Mamaearth Beautiful Indians 2024

This 36-year-old, affectionately called ‘Raster Master’ (teacher of the streets) has become a beacon of education for three generations, educating not just the children but also their parents and grandparents. Starting with just two children in West Bengal, Deep’s journey began by transforming the walls of homes into vibrant blackboards. His efforts have now touched the lives of over 10,000 students, reaching as far as Bangladesh. The visionary behind the Raster Master Research Centre, dedicated to addressing various societal challenges, also achieved recognition as one of the top 10 finalists for the USD 1 million Global Teacher Prize 2023. From offering free coaching and ensuring access to nutritious food, to actively combating child marriages to spearheading electricity initiatives and empowering women through football, Deep is all about making a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

Devanshi Yadav

Crusader For Victims Of Sexual Assault And Domestic Violence, Noida

Femina Mamaearth Beautiful Indians 2024

At just 14, Devanshi Yadav faced the horror of an acid attack, followed by abuse from a family friend at 18. At the age of 26, she founded the Shaheed Ramashray Welfare Society in Noida, honouring the memory of her father, who was martyred in a bomb blast. Devanshi’s NGO extends a compassionate hand to those who have endured similar pain and trauma, offering free legal aid and counselling to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Through her tireless efforts, she has touched the lives of over 1,000 survivors, providing them with the support they need to heal and seek justice, empowering them to lead better and healthier lives. 

Divaa Uthkarsha

Champion Against Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes, Bengaluru

Femina Mamaearth Beautiful Indians 2024

After her nine-year-old brother, Surya, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2020 during the lockdown, Divaa Uthkarsha, then 12, started Project Surya after enrolling in the One Million for One Billion Future Leaders programme. Project Surya aims to improve the quality of life for underprivileged Type 1 diabetic children residing in Karnataka and to raise awareness about the difference between Type 1 diabetes and the more common Type 2. Through this initiative, the now 15-year-old 2023 Diana Awardee raises funds to sponsor insulin and diabetes management resources such as glucose strips and syringes, working with Samatvam Endocrinology For Science and Welfare Trust to disseminate these resources. Although Divaa has faced challenges related to people not taking her seriously because of her age and with fundraising, Project Surya has focused on one-on-one interactions and targeting a smaller support group of a hundred diabetic families over the last two years. The initiative has successfully reached 3,50,000 individuals, raised INR 1 million, and sponsored 5,000 insulin vials through organized rallies, school sessions, and engaging with ASHA workers. As a passionate UNSDG advocate, Divaa also presented Project Surya at the United Nations headquarters in New York. 

Dr Urvashi Sahni

Founder & CEO Of The Study Hall Education Foundation (SHEF), Lucknow

Femina Mamaearth Beautiful Indians 2024

Dr Urvashi Sahni is a leading expert in school governance, curriculum reform and teacher training, with a special focus on girls’ education and the use of technology in education. 

An activist and educator for the last 30 years, under the Study Hall Education Foundation (SHEF), she has established three K-12 schools including the Prerna Girls School, providing affordable high-quality, rights-based education to over 1,000 girls from urban slums. SHEF directly provides education to over 4,000 students, including middle-class urban children, disadvantaged girls and boys from poor areas, out-of-school children, and rural children.

Dr Urvashi has been recognised by the Obama Foundation Global Girls Alliance and the Clinton Foundation as a changemaker, received Berkeley’s Haas International Award for her efforts to reform education in India and bolster education for girls in 1994, and was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011. She also founded Suraksha, a women’s rights organisation, in 1983, and is the co-founder and director of the Digital Study Hall, which extends the pedagogical practices developed by the foundation to rural and urban schools in Uttar Pradesh, reaching out to over 1,00,000 students and teachers. She has also set up DiDis, a social enterprise generating sustainable livelihoods for women, in which she employs 65 Prerna graduates and their mothers.

Eiha Dixit

An 11-Year-Old Eco Warrior Planting The Seeds Of Change For A Brighter Future, Meerut

Femina Mamaearth Beautiful Indians 2024

Television and films are often credited with influencing our behaviour. Meerut resident Eiha Dixit experienced a similar positive impact very early in life. Watching cartoons and listening to the Mann Ki Baat programme instilled a profound sense of environmental protection in her mind, which then led to her planting 1,008 and 2,500 saplings on her fifth birthday and sixth birthday respectively. 

In 2018, Eiha and other children established the Green Eiha Smile Club, which employs the innovative matka method of planting. This approach, needing minimal irrigation, yields a growth rate 20% higher than conventional practices, resulting in remarkable achievements.

For her commitment to the planet, Eiha was honoured with the Prime Minister’s National Children’s Award in 2019, the International Eco Hero Award in 2023, and has been recognised internationally, including in countries such as the United States of America, France, and Spain. 

Now 11, Eiha continues to be a symbol of environmental activism, having established 20 mini forests and 25 medicinal gardens across the country over 303 weeks of dedicated tree planting every Sunday. She has also founded the Eiha Plant Bank, which distributes plants free of charge. Recognising her extraordinary dedication, the Uttar Pradesh Housing Development Department has provided her with land at different places for plantation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi affectionately refers to her as his ‘youngest friend’, acknowledging her exceptional commitment to environmental conservation.

Kiran Kamdar

Parkinson’s Warrior Ensuring Hospital Patients Get Essential Nutrition, Mumbai

Femina Mamaearth Beautiful Indians 2024

Even though she battles Parkinson’s disease herself, 62-year-old Kiran Kamdar’s heart overflows with compassion for others. For the past three years, she has been selflessly providing free khichdi to patients and their families at the DM Petit Government Hospital in Palghar, Maharashtra. Despite the disease’s cruel grip on her body, Kiran soldiers on, caring not only for her own son who has cerebral palsy, but also dedicating her spare moments to teaching underprivileged children. 

Kiran first felt her calling in 2021, amid the darkness of the COVID-19 pandemic, when she witnessed the overwhelming number of patients in need. Since then, every morning at 5 AM, Kiran prepares nourishing meals; she has selected khichdi for its well-known nutritional balance. With shaking hands but unwavering determination, she ensures that over a 100 individuals throughout the hospital receive not just a meal, but the warm embrace of comfort and care – a true testament to her commitment to their wellbeing.

Nirvaan

Founder Of Project Jeans, Delhi

Femina Mamaearth Beautiful Indians 2024

Delhi schoolboy Nirvaan thought he was conscious of his water consumption until, one day in 2019, he came across a social media post on the United Nations page stating that 10,000 litres of water are required to make a single pair of jeans. This shocked him, and the figure stuck with him long afterward – it meant that, with five pairs of jeans, he had 50,000 litres worth of water in his wardrobe. With the aim of minimising the impact of this consumption, he did further research, and found out about the strength, durability and insulating properties of denim. He decided to put these to good use by making sleeping bags for the underprivileged. Thus was born Project Jeans, a social entrepreneurial attempt aimed at mitigating the environmental consequences of denim by converting discarded denim into sleeping bags. So far, through his initiative, 8,000 pairs of jeans have been collected and 1,000+ sleeping bags distributed primarily in Delhi, as well as in Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pune. Last year, Project Jeans also sent sleeping bags to Turkey and Syria as part of earthquake relief. Nirvaan has been awarded the Diana Award and the 2023 International Young Eco-Hero award for his contributions.

Prasiddhi

Child Environmentalist & Social Entrepreneur, Chennai

Femina Mamaearth Beautiful Indians 2024

Prasiddhi Singh, an 11-year-old environmentalist and social entrepreneur based in Tamil Nadu, is the founder of the Prasiddhi Forest Foundation. With a profound love for nature, she has planted over one lakh trees and conducted 600 awareness sessions, ensuring significant impact. After experiencing the after-effects of Cyclone Vardah at the age of four, Prasiddhi embarked on a mission to enhance biodiversity and raise awareness. Her movement, Prasiddhi Forests, involves diverse contributors worldwide, fostering a culture of conservation. Drawing inspiration from nature, Prasiddhi’s vision extends to exploration and innovation, reflecting her dynamic commitment to environmental issues. She has won multiple awards and has been recognised as one of the Young Minds of Tomorrow by ET NOW and Times Network. She currently studies at the Mahindra World School in Chennai.

Sara Benjamin

Cancer Warrior For Other Cancer Warriors, Chennai

Femina Mamaearth Beautiful Indians 2024

Herself a cancer survivor, Sara Benjamin Cherian makes wigs free of cost for other cancer warriors. An entrepreneur, philanthropist, and devoted mother, she is a trustee on The Cherian Foundation’s board, channelling her passion into impactful initiatives. Renowned for spearheading the Gift Hair, Gift Confidence campaign, Sara promotes hair donation to craft wigs for cancer patients, enhancing their self-confidence during treatment. Inspired by personal loss and a family tradition of wig making, Sara collaborated with the Adyar Cancer Institute in 2014, subsequently expanding this altruistic venture nationwide.

Sharad Sagar

Social Entrepreneur On A Mission To Empower Coming Generations, Bihar

Femina Mamaearth Beautiful Indians 2024

Sharad Vivek Sagar wears a number of hats that speak volumes about his dedication and passion: social entrepreneur, thought leader, powerful orator, and, above all, widely-revered youth icon. Sharad embarked on his journey at a remarkably young age, founding – at just 16 years of age – the national organisation Dexterity Global, through which he has not only facilitated access to education but has also empowered countless individuals to realise their full potential. This is evident in the staggering amount of money in scholarships that students trained with the Dexterity system have received from prestigious global universities. Furthermore, these individuals have served as invaluable youth ambassadors to the United Nations, even bringing home countless awards. From being invited by former US President Barack Obama to the White House as a global youth icon in 2016, to becoming the first Indian to hold the prestigious position of President of the Student Government at Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2022, Sharad’s impact extends beyond borders – serving as an inspiration for all those who dare to dream and strive for a better tomorrow.

Manavi Rai 

Animal Activist & Stray Dog Shelter Provider, Delhi

Femina Mamaearth Beautiful Indians 2024

Manavi Rai’s journey towards animal rescue is a story of fortitude and empathy. Her commitment to helping stray dogs has not only sparked reform and brought attention to the significance of small acts, but also led to a massive personal transformation, leading her to reconsider her priorities and pursue her true purpose in life.

Up until 10 years ago, Manavi lived in Toronto, Canada, enjoying a good reputation and life as a fashion designer. Like many people of Indian origin, she found herself stranded in India during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that led to her decision to dedicate her life to the welfare of stray dogs. In 2020, observing injured, weak and starving canines during the lockdown, she started ‘Dog Langar’ to rescue homeless animals. She currently runs the Udgam Haveli shelter, and believes she is at just the beginning of her long journey to give something back to the environment. Her life is devoted to seva (service) and she is working towards setting up a 24-hour hospital for animals.

Manavi has not only saved the lives of countless animals, but also has inspired people to be humbler and more humane towards these innocent living creatures who, she avers,  deserve love, care and hospitality – just like any other living being in our biodiverse society. 

Akshat Shah & Shubh Mehta

Co-Founders Of Change Is Us, Mumbai

Femina Mamaearth Beautiful Indians 2024

Akshat and Shubh are co-founders of Change Is Us, a dynamic youth-led initiative committed to fostering positive societal and environmental change. Embodying the belief that ‘change begins small, but it begins with you’, they spearhead weekly beach clean-up drives at Girgaon Chowpatty beach in Mumbai. Additionally, they orchestrate donation initiatives, providing essentials such as food, sanitary napkins, chocolates, and clothing to those in need. Their outreach also extends to ‘Happiness Drives’, where they visit old age homes, orphanages, and individuals with disabilities, aiming to uplift spirits and bring joy to the community. Akshat and Shubh’s story speaks to the remarkable impact that can be achieved when passion and proactive action come together.

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