She will also receive the Kairali-Ananthapuri Award of 2014, which is given to the most meritorious social worker of the year.
Dr Sunitha has made several contributions for the empowering of destitute women and children, which makes her eligible for this prestigious award. Festival organisers believe that her charismatic presence will make the event more meaningful. Dr Sunitha has become the beacon of hope for thousands of abandoned children infected with HIV, and the slogan for this year’s festival is ‘Children are not just Children’.
A PhD holder in social work, Dr Sunitha has championed the rights of women and children. She is the co-founder and the chief functionary of Prajwala, an NGO that helps trafficked women and children find shelter and rehabilitation. She, along with the volunteers of her organisation, has saved thousands of victims of sexual assault.
Her organisation focuses on the empowerment of such victims by training them in various jobs and equipping them with skills that is of use to the society. It is her conviction that making victims of sexual abuse productive enhances thier selfrespect and helps them overcome inhibitions. Dr Sunitha has had to face many trials and tribulations. She was physically assaulted during one of her interventions which resulted in her becoming hearing impaired.
However, nothing has dampened her spirit of service, and she has pledged to continue her fight against flesh trade and child abuse. She has received several honours, both nationally and internationally, for her efforts.
The Indian Community Festival, held in Oman for the past 11 years, is considered to be the second most happening event in Oman after the Muscat Festival in terms of level of participation and number of cultural activities. Major attractions at the event will include traditional art forms of Kerala such as panchavadyam, chenda melam, maargamkkali, thiruvathirakkali, and maappilapattu. It is hoped that Dr Sunitha’s presence at the festival will be an impetus for those who wish to serve humanity.