Devendra Kumar, a young man, self-made and having grown amidst extreme poverty but with a "never say die" approach, is the soul behind Ladli!. He was born in a high-crime-prone Slum of Delhi, where he embarked on his journey when he was left alone by his parents at the age of two with an infant sister. At the age of 8, he started working as a child laborer by selling balloons & working as an aide at a clinic for just 4 US dollars Per Month for his survival, by continuing his education in a Charitable School.
During his balloon-selling, he was snatched & brutally beaten by a group of delinquents and drug addicts. These miseries motivated him to uplift his fellow youths by involving them in Sports & community policing initiatives with the Delhi Police and volunteering with saint john ambulance and Indian Red Cross society. In 2010 his struggle with dowry for his sister's marriage led him to found Ladli Foundation Trust.
A social reformer noted for his diverse approach to empowering the oppressed and disadvantaged has received accolades and recognitions in India and the United Nations. During the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, he was acknowledged by UN Secretary-General António Guterres for raising his voice to prioritize the agenda of women's health and the elimination of child marriages in developing countries.
Under the aegis of Ladli Foundation Trust, he also assisted in the liberation of thousands of women and young girls from sexual abuse and exploitation and subsequently, empowering them to become self-reliant.
A strong believer of gender equality, his creative approach to raising awareness about gender-based violence in various communities and assisting the needy and troubled through relief projects has been very inspiring as well by his life story, Child Labor to National Award Winner..
His vision to build a strong women community of gender-based violence survivors and create opportunities for them to look ahead and move on far extends the national boundaries to the highly technologically enriched societies. It envisions breaking the taboos and adopting a safe, secure & sustainable living that upholds women's reproductive rights in our society by sensitizing the male population to become promoters of Gender Equality.
His most significant gender sensitization initiative, the Run For Ladli half marathon, was participated by a twenty thousand male population and pledged to uphold Gender Equality. This National level event was witnessed and praised by the Home Minister of India, international diplomats and celebrities.
He was titled as "True Hero" by the legendary superstar Mr. Amitabh Bachchan for his extraordinary commitments to crusade and save thousands of uneducated, underprivileged girls from trafficking and forced prostitution.
Devendra's contribution to the welfare of the lower section of society was also commended by the Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, and the Department nominated him for the prestigious Padma Shri Award, the 4th Highest Civilian Award of India.
"A society is like a canvas, It's you who needs to paint it beautifully."
- Devendra Kumar Gupta
In 2007 his concern for diverting young acquaintances from substance abuse, he crusaded to stop illegal selling of banned drugs at chemist shops and started his first initiative, "JOSH." His diligence bore fruit, and he was able to divert more than 1500 young boys from addiction through his innovative idea of involving them in sports and community service volunteering at cultural festivals.
In 2009 working as an RTI activist, he also exposed many national level striking issues, including the malpractices of gas dealers, for not taking refill booking of domestic gas cylinders before 21 days and illegal and forceful selling of gas stoves to underprivileged people at four times higher prices in place of registering domestic gas subscription. Exposing this scam benefitted millions of Indians across the country through national-level media coverage.
In the year 2010, his grassroots-level social involvements were rewarded by nature, and he was offered a human resources service contract by an industrialist where he also employed his fellows who were de-addicted through his initiative.
After that, he started involving communities to support underprivileged unmarried females through his unique wedding initiative, where his efforts were able to facilitate 1753 destitute females to give them new life by saving them from social victimization, prostitution, and trafficking.
All of this paved his way towards social welfare, and today he is continuously working for the vulnerable and marginalized section of society.
1. His Journey Can be watched in this short video clip - https://youtu.be/GQ5LxhT8Pgg
"You may not have received much in your legacy, but the society will bequeath you with greater things. Be willing to accept."
- Devendra Kumar Gupta