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Winner of 2018 Photo Competition

Varun Vidyarthi is the winner! Varun is the Coordinator of Citizen Network in India and has worked with disadvantaged groups in rural India for the past 35 years. He is a pioneer of the self-help process of social and economic empowerment that has touched the lives of millions in India.

Varun has trained and guided several thousand workers and professionals in government, banks and non-profit organizations through the Manavodaya Institute of Participatory Development (Sanskrit for Human Awakening) which he co-founded with his wife Amla.

Manavodaya believes true change starts from within and is a process that must be cultivated through deep reflection on the larger purpose of our actions. Manavodaya has organised collective reflection sessions on this subject with a large number of facilitators of change from various backgrounds.

Varun also conducts courses for students and professionals interested in facilitating development and social change among the weakest sections of society. These programs are based on deep reflection and practical learning and have a profound impact on the life and work of participants.

Development from Within

This picture was taken at an international course held at Manavodaya Institute of Participatory Development in 2018. Participants focused on learning how development from within empowers and helps people create space in both their hearts and homes.

A shared belief is that achieving sustainable social change requires people to evolve their consciousness and relationships. Self-help groups, which are an informal village institution, have touched the lives of millions of families in India. This photograph highlights the real nature of empowerment, confidence and happiness that are associated with this process.

Organization donating the prize

Studio 73 is a social enterprise located in Surrey, British Columbia. Supported by the Community Living Society, the Studio is a handcrafted art business that provides employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities who want to express their artistic creativity and earn an income.

The artists create beautiful one of a kind pieces of jewelry and glassware, molding and fusing different materials to bring original designs to life. They also create a variety of candles that are made with natural, environmentally friendly ingredients. Support provided helps artists learn what is involved in taking these decorative pieces from start to finish. This helps them learn new skills, develop self-confidence, and build relationships.

Studio 73 has a great reputation as a business that is making the community more inclusive and welcoming for everyone. In addition to selling its own handcrafted products, other community artists sell artwork to the public such as paintings and photo cards at the Studio.

Studio 73 operates under the auspices of the Community Living Society (CLS), a non-profit organization that supports children and adults with developmental disabilities in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. Founded in the 1970s by family members of children with a disability who lived in the province’s large institutions, the CLS combines the values, leadership and advocacy of the past, with innovative and individual approaches to providing residential and community support services.

Mridu Sood and Harpreet Arneja of Studio 73 are pictured below with Varun’s prize.

We had over 200 entries in the competition: take a look at them all here.