There are many women amongst us who are doing inspiring and good work. Dr. Mariazeena Johnson who is the Director of Sathyabama University in Chennai is one of them. Johnson has been doing a lot of humanitarian work through her college by giving scholarship to many such people who otherwise are admitted to special schools or don’t get any education at all.

“Every year we give 1000 scholarships to under-priviledged and disabled students, but this year we have also included acid-attack survivors into our scholarship programme. They study their entire course free of cost,” Johnson told SheThePeople.TV.

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Johnson has also adopted seven panchayat schools and two villages to educate the children in rural areas. She has also brought organic farming into the villages and is working towards spreading awareness about various agricultural practises in the villages as she believes that agriculture is the need of the hour in the country.

For Johnson belonging to one of the most affluent political families down south- that of Jeppiaar, but that did not help her cause at all. Although she became the Director of the university, that meant meeting a lot of expectations for everybody under the sun. Today she has done more than her expectations. She runs a few independent programmes for visually-impaired students as well as adoption programme for HIV positive children.

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This year she was selected as one among the 100 women achievers of India by the Women and Child Development Ministry and Facebook. And just recently, she won the Women Transforming India Award 2016 for her incredible work given to her by the Niti Aayog in collaboration with UN Women India.

Ask her what according to her is empowerment for women in India and she readily responds, “Basically, everyone thinks that women coming out of their houses and doing something is empowerment for them, but when the ideas of each and every woman is celebrated in the country or her own surrounding, that’s called true empowerment.”

She added, “As women we can do far better but the only thing that makes us a constraint in the society is that we need the basic respect. Whatever provision we do we give our best but at the end if we are not given respect then we break down so I haven’t compromised in that.”

Wise words indeed!

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