Padma Bhushan Ms. Shobhana Ranade – a calm and composed lady has dedicated over half a century of her life for the betterment of the downtrodden women and children. She has spearheaded and helped in starting the Gandhi National Memorial Society and a National Institute for Training Women at the Aga Khan Palace in Pune in 1979.
Thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave influenced Ms. Ranade to work for the destitute women and underprivileged children. She has worked with Vinobaji as a Convenor of Stree Jagaran Pavnar and also as the Chairperson of the `Bhoodan’ `Gram Dan’ Board of Maharashtra. She also joined Vinobaji in his Padyatra from West Bengal to Assam and was made a Founder Member of his sixth Ashram called `Maitri Ashram’ in North Lakhimpur, Assam.
As a Trustee of the Kasturba Gandhi National Trust, Ms. Ranade has dedicated her life and energies to ensure women's empowerment, development, equality and education. Women are trained in over 20 village industrial trades and vocational skills.
She strives for the overall development of the orphans, under privileged and the street children. The Hermann Gmeiner Social Centre, situated at Shivajinagar, Pune takes care of education, nutrition, health, counseling and rehabilitation of the street children.
The SOS Children’s Villages Balgram is yet another noble endeavour set up to provide the orphans and the destitute children their right to a family. Ms. Ranade is one of the Founder Members, instrumental in establishing the SOS Children's Villages in Maharashtra. The village has 20 houses with around 112 boys and 138 girls who are cared by the foster care mothers belonging to the lower strata of the society.
The Balgriha and the Balsadan set up under the leadership of Ms. Ranade at Saswad, in Pune, Maharashtra takes care of over 60 deprived girls by providing them shelter, food and education to enable them to live a happy and meaningful life; thus emphasizing on the development of one’s individuality.
Ms. Ranade is truly a quintessential Gandhian besides being a transformational leader and a fire-brand social worker.