Hirbai Ibrahim Lobi, a Siddi woman from Jambur village of Junagadh, has been awarded the Padma Shri award for her efforts in uplifting Siddi women and educating children. She received the Padma Shri award from President Droupadi Murmu for her work to uplift and develop the Siddi tribal community.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed his respect to Hirbai Ibrahim Lobi, a recipient of the Padma Shri award, by bowing to her as she approached him during the Padma Awards ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Hirabai provided employment opportunities to women and educated them on the importance of opening bank accounts and saving money through the medium of radio and in collaboration with social organisations. She has established a number of kindergartens in order to provide basic education to Siddi children. She also founded the Mahila Vikas Foundation in 2004.
Her tireless efforts have made a significant difference in the lives of over 700 women and countless children in the Siddi community.
The Siddi community is a small ethnic group with African ancestry who primarily live in India, particularly in Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. They are believed to have migrated from Africa to India as slaves, merchants, or sailors, and they fully understand Indian culture while retaining their distinct traditions and practises over time.
They follow a syncretic faith that combines elements of Islam, Christianity, and traditional African religions. Agriculture, manual labor, and small-scale businesses are the primary sources of livelihood for the Siddi people.
The Siddi community has made significant contributions to Indian society, particularly in sports and the military, despite facing discrimination and social exclusion. Many Siddi individuals have achieved success in various fields, including such as sports defence and others.
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