Conservation leader Purnima donates award money to buy yarn for village weavers


GUWAHATI:  Country’s one of the most decorated wildlife workers and conservation leaders, Purnima Devi Barman of Assam, has announced that the amount of Rupees one lakh she has received as part of the coveted Nari Shakti Award conferred  on her, will be spent by her in providing yarn to the weavers of Dadara-Pacharia twin villages, the conservation site in Assam’s Karmrup district where she has been preserving highly endangered greater adjutant stork (GAS)  species with active cooperation from villager women.

She was conferred Nari Shakti Award, 2017 along with 29 other women of the country by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Purnima said but for about 200 women from the two villages, who form her Hargila (the local name of the GAS species) Brigade, her efforts to conserve the scavenger bird species that is listed in the red list of the IUCN would not have been successful.

“The award is a recognition not only for my efforts but that of the community women of the two villagers who have been working tirelessly with me for years to preserve and protect the endangered birds against all odds. The women deserve the award more than me and I have decided to donate the award money of Rs one lakh  to buy yarn for these women who will  use the yarn to weave ‘gamocha’ (traditional Assamese bath towel)  with GAS motifs on it on the occasion of forthcoming Rangali Bihu, the popular spring festival in Assam.
Purnima during her interaction with Prime Minister, Narendra Modi after she was conferred the award, informed the latter how she has motivated about 200 women of the two villages through biodiversity classes to be part of her conservation Army and what she had so far done to empower these women with livelihood options like weaving.

“Today, the endangered GAS species has got embedded into the life of over 1,0000 villagers of Dadara and Pacharia who are grateful to the bird species that has brought so much global fame and focus for their villages,” Purnima said.

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi while appreciating Purnima’s outstanding efforts to conserve the bird species, has requested her to put up similar efforts to conserve few other endangered species too.

A mother of two girls, Purnima is a conservation scientist associated with Aaranyak, a top-bracket nature conservation and research organisation based in Guwahati.


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