CII Foundation


About The Woman Exemplars


Munni Begam

Category: Education

We confer this Award on Ms Munni Begam, nominated by Tarun Chetna Sansthan, for her outstanding work in the field of education in Uttar Pradesh. Munni’s untiring efforts have enabled functional literacy for women and strengthened women collectives to advocate for their rights and entitlements.


Born into a family of farm laborers, Munni was married at the age of 12 and schooled herself by writing with coal on waste paper discarded by her neighbours. Overcoming poverty, combatting deep rooted social discrimination and the Patriarchal fabric, she is a leading advocate for women’s functional literacy, campaigner for women’s education and advisor to the Gram Panchayat. She has educated more than 400 women beedi workers and mobilized them to form a collective for creating and enhancing their support network. This ‘Malala of Eastern UP’ has transformed the lives of 5,770 illiterate rural women in Jaunpur and Pratapgarh districts.


She nurtures an unquenchable thirst for knowledge that adds to her dynamic personality. This constant pursuit of knowledge is what strengthens her fearless self. Her drive to improve people’s lives, especially those of women, stems from a deep-rooted sense of empathy.



CII Foundation salutes her assiduous contribution in empowering marginalized women through education.


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