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Born on May 22, 1964 in Ahmedabad, Reema graduated in science from Gujarat University and was selected to IAS services of Government of India. Reema Nanavaty leads Self Employed Women's Association's (SEWA) economic and rural development activities reaching out to seventeen million women and their families across India.
Since 1989 she has pioneered revival, restoration and innovation of rural livelihoods from district to global level. Reema is being recognized across India and in the neighbouring countries as a champion of making livelihoods of the poor women reach markets they deserve. May they be women artisans, salt pan workers, farmers, or labourer, she has made efforts over two decades to mainstream amazing diversity of skills and knowledge of India's citizens into national mainstream. As a manager, she developed the regional rural water supply scheme of Government of Gujarat and SEWA into an integrated water project, and made women central to water decisions. She stayed on with SEWA and expanded the project into an ongoing Women, Water and Work campaign of 1,00,000 women. In 2013, the Government of India honoured Reema Nanavati with the fourth highest civilian award, Padma Shri.