Shantha Sinha, winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award 2003 for Community Leadership, is well-known as the founder of the M Venkatarangaiya Foundation (better known as MV Foundation), which works to free child labourers and enroll them in schools.
Sinha (53), a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Hyderabad Central University, is a leading anti-child labour activist.
Born in Nellore district in coastal Andhra on January 7, 1950, Shantha Sinha completed her Masters in Political Science from the prestigious Osmania University in Hyderabad in 1972.
She obtained her doctorate from Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1976 and joined the faculty of the University of Hyderabad.
However, it is in her role as an anti-child labour activist, through the MV Foundation, that Sinha has attracted appreciation from various quarters.
She is the Secretary Trustee of the MV Foundation, instituted in 1981 in memory of Professor Mamidipudi Venkatarangaiya, an eminent educationist and historian in southern India.
The MV Foundation began as an institution for research on issues relating to social change and transformation. But in 1991, it began focusing on abolition of child labour and making education available to all children.
In 1999, Shantha Sinha was honoured with the Padmashri and the Albert Shanker International Award (from Education International) in recognition of the MV Foundation’s outstanding work in the field of eliminating child labour and spreading education.
By Syed Amin Jafri