Neo Educational and Economic Development Society (NEEDS) is an NGO doing yeoman community service in the Muslim areas in the Mumbai City. It was founded in 1993 by Prof. A.U. Khan. Every year on the International Women’s Day i.e. 8th March, NEEDS felicitates 10 outstanding women from across the country. Past recipients include celebrities like Teesta Setalvad, Abeda Inamdar, Rehana Undre etc. However Asif Khan, the spirit of the NGO expired three years ago. The Awards ceremony was not held during the last two years.
This year, NEEDS revived this Award Function and felicitated 10 outstanding women doing yeoman service to Muslim community and to humanity in general. These included, Dr. Meenakshi Bhate, Professor, KEM Medical College, Mumbai, Dr. Malika Mistry, Dr. Munza Naik, Sherbanoo, Dr. Umeda Merchant etc. Dr. Bhate, in collaboration with Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, she does community work to rehabilitate the rape victims. Dr. Muzna Naik, a young paediatrician, the grand-daughter of Dr. Abdul Karim Naik, was felicitated for her work in the Muslim community in respect of bringing awareness about health problems, time management, Islamic awareness etc. Dr. Malika Mistry was felicitated for her work on communal harmony, national integration, educational and developmental work in the community in the Pune region. Sherbanoo, Vice-President of World Memon Foundation was awarded for her work of providing skills to girl-children and opportunities of livelihoods. Dr. Umeda Merchant was awarded for her work of setting up a Nursing School for Muslim girls and providing employment to them by placements. The awards were given away by Sudheendra Kulkarni, an intellectual, who earlier worked with the Prime Minister’s office.
Eminent social worker Mrs. Hamida Bhiwandiwala gave away the Asif Khan Memorial Award to Gazala Azad, a well-known social worker from Bhindibazar area, Mumbai, for her contribution to the cause of upliftment of Muslim women by their empowerment in Mumbai city. She is the only Muslim lady teaching Civil Defence in Mumbai city.
(Report by Malika Mistry in Pune)