Rita Panicker , who has been working for street children and working children at Delhi ,Andaman and Uttarkhand through her organisation ‘butterflies’ has been adjudged as ‘Vanitha women of the year 2012’. Vanitha , an Indian magazine published fortnightly by the Malayala Manorama group instituted this award to acknowledge the work done by Malayali women to serve our society. The winner will be awarded with 1 lakh rupees cash prize. When Rita Panicker started her social work 24 years ago, many children were benefitted as they got notebooks and other stationery items for their education. From there onwards she tried her best to empower street and working children with skills and knowledge to protect their rights and to develop them as respected and productive citizens.
A native of Kollam, Rita Panicker was born to Achutan Kunjukrishna Panicker and G.Rugmini Panicker. Rita completed her graduation in English literature from Fathima Matha College, Kollam and her post graduation from Tata institute of social sciences. She also acquired post graduation in developmental studies from Holland Institute of social studies. She got married to Jerry Pinto (former UNICEF, Program officer). This couple decided not to have their own children and dedicated their whole life to serve the society.