Founders of NILA are Dr Mamatha Raghuveer Achanta of THARUNI NGO & Dr T. Vasantha Lakshmi Ravi Kumar of Vasantha Lakshmi Charitable Trust & Research Center. They both are also Lawyers of High Court, Hyderabad, with two decades of experience in Legal Activism who filed many public interest litigations in various courts and other institutions. They have dedicated their lives for protection of women & child rights. They are trying to bring together all the activists of similar zeal to help so many women & child victims across the world.
Profiles of the Founders:
Dr Mamatha Raghuveer Achanta:
Dr Mamatha is the Founder of THARUNI ( www. tharuni.org)and also qualified as an Advocate.She worked as member of State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) for the State of Telangana, as Chairperson of one the Best Child Welfare Committees in South India and was a Member of District Legal Services Authority and District anti- women Atrocities Committee in Warangal District. She is also Member in many other Committees like Child Marriage Prohibition Committee, member, Advisory Board on PCPNDT Act to combat Infanticides & Foeticides, member in Internal Committee at Sexual Harassment at work place for the following organizations:
- Research Center Imarat ( RCI), DRDO, Hyd
- DLRL, DRDO, Hyd
- ARCI (Autonomous Development Center for Development of Science & Technology, Govt of India)
- NACN (National Academy for Central Excise & Narcotics), Hyderabad
- All India Radio, Hyderabad
- Police Department, – Both Rural & Urban Police, Warangal.
- Government Degree College for Women, Begumpet, Hyd
- Government Degree College, Khairtabad, Hyd
She has been a member of various other committees like Hospital Development Committee, Government Maternity Hospital, Hanamkonda, Dist. Warangal, Anti – Ragging Committee, National Institute of Technology (NIT), Warangal & Advisory Committee, NSS, Kakatiya University, Warangal to name a few. Being the Member of all these Committees, Dr Mamatha could bring many policy level changes in the implementation of Acts and drawn focus on the gaps in these enactments to key officials so that justice is done for the needy.
Dr Mamatha has taken up many initiatives in protecting the Rights of Children. She is relentlessly fighting against the age old social evil of child marriages and rescued and rehabilitated hundreds of child marriage victims. With her consistent advocacy, she was instrumental in bringing amendments to the Prohibition of Child Marriages Act and was a part of the Parliamentary Committee set up for this purpose.
She also filed 125 Writ Petitions in the District Courts, Human Rights Commissions at both National and State level to stop the Child Marriages in the State of Andhra Pradesh. Through this, hundreds of child marriages were stopped and she could help the victim girls continue their education. Presently most of the child marriage victims are pursuing higher education by studying in various professional courses with the support of Dr Mamatha.
She also succeeded in making adolescent girls in the rural areas come together and form 500 Balika Sanghams (Girl Child Clubs) in over 100 villages where thousands of girls have learnt to assert their Rights to empower themselves.
She introduced a unique cradle scheme called “Tharuni Ooyala” to save infants who are thrown into dustbins by the parents. Thanks to her efforts, killing of girl children has reduced and adoptions have increased.
Dr Mamatha filed Public Interest Petitions with State Human Rights Commission, Andhra Pradesh for the betterment of facilities in Government run Hospitals for Neonatal and Pediatric Care and succeeded in setting up of special Units in Govt. Hospitals.
She was instrumental in bringing out the problems of Child Labour working in Brick Kiln Industry and Ginning Mills by filling a Petition with the State Human Rights Commission, A.P. UNICEF and State Government implemented a three year Project to curb this menace due to successful lobbying by Dr Mamatha in the district of Warangal, A.P.
Dr Mamatha filed a PIL in Lokayukta, A.P on unnecessary Hysterectomy Operations being carried out by Medical Practitioners in rural areas for women and could succeed in bringing out strategies to stop this.
As part of creating awareness on issues related to Children, Dr Mamatha conducts various Workshops for Elected Representatives, Government officials from Village Administration to National level. Various Capacity building trainings are arranged for these people on their Roles & Responsibilities while working with Children. All Law enforcement agencies were trained on Child Rights. They are also trained on various Legal Frame works for best utilization while dealing with culprits. Various IEC Materials are generated by Dr Mamatha for this purpose.
Ms Vasantha Lakshmi:
- VASANTHA LAKSHMI TENALI
Dr. Vasantha Lakshmi is a renowned social worker, an advocate and a legal activist, who has been meticulously fighting for the rights of women, children and disabled for the past 2 decades. She worked as the member of child welfare committee of Nellore district for 2 terms, now she is the member of District Inspection Committee (ministry of juvenile welfare, correctional services and welfare of street children), Govt of Andhra Pradesh. She rescued, rehabilitated and secured many hundreds of children who are at risk and in need of help. She has been striving to uplift the downtrodden communities of the society by providing psychological, medical, legal, financial, educational support through her trust service activities. Many deserted destitute women got the support of her and restarted their lives with flying colors. Even she has conducted many social marriages for the victims of prostitution, domestic and sexual violence.
Dr. Vasantha Lakshmi is also a member of:
- LLC (Local level committee), National Trust, an autonomous body of Govt. of India for that welfare of persons with multiple disabilities, autism and Down syndrome.
- District Integrated Child Protection Scheme Committee, Dept. of Women and Child Welfare, Govt. of A.P – for the welfare and protection of children.
- District monitoring committee, MEPMA, Ministry of Municipal Administration Govt. of A.P. for the proper implementation of skill development programmes and women and youth empowerment.
- District Asha grievance redressal committee, Dept. of Medical & Health, Govt. of A.P. to solve the problems of the asha workers and proper implementation of Govt. Health programmes.
As a distinguished member of many Government Committees she has been playing vital role in bringing many positive changes to the Government polices and its implementation procedures.
Dr. Vasantha has taken up many initiatives in protecting the fundamental rights of the children. She has taken up many campaigns against infanticides and foeticides to save the girl child, because of her sincere efforts, the girl child population is getting increased in Nellore district.
She introduced a unique programme called “Amma Vodi” (mother’s lap) to safe guard the unwanted lives of infants / children who are usually thrown into dustbins / railway tracks etc. Through this programme she placed some cradles in various places across the district and appeal the parents “doesn’t through them in the dustbins; put them in the “Amma Vodi” with all her efforts she could able to rescue 48 infants from death. With the influence of her “Amma Vodi” programme the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh has introduced a scheme called “Uyala Padhakam” which is a replica of Amma Vodi.
Being an advocate she has been in the forefront to lead the legal fights to protect the rights of women and children. She has filed many writ petitions in the district courts / lok adalats and many public interest petitions in the High Court and got the favorable directions from the Hon’ble courts. For ex: She filed a PIL against drug abuse (usage of whitener as sedative) in the Hon’ble Andhra Pradesh High Court, after a tough fight Dr. Vasantha Lakshmi could able to get the favorable orders from the High Court.
Dr. Vasantha Lakshmi strongly believes that “women is the power” she can protect herself from any kind of violence / crimes, provided, she could get proper training in self defense both physically and psychologically. She is not a person of words but deeds, so she established “SHAKTHI” The women empowerment academy through which she is providing educational, emotional, financial and social services for the women along with the self defense training programme in martial arts. More than 10,000 women got benefited with this.
For the sake of down trodden disadvantaged people particularly the women and children she will go for any extent even it is a grave yard she is ready to stay there, to uplift the deprived lives who are living in the pathetic conditions and craving for a helping hand. In 2011 when she went to Hindu Burial ground along with her mother’s dead body, there she found 250 families living in between the graves like living dead bodies. She made up her mind to change their miserable lives, with lot of great efforts and fights, with the help of S.P and Collector she established a great humanitarian project called “Child and Police Project (CAP)” in which the grave yard children are getting a new life with lots of love and protection and going to become good citizens of this Country.
Her dream is to provide equal opportunities for the women from womb to tomb. By spreading legal activism in support of the women across the Globe.