Washington: Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has hailed the work of Chintan, an Indian NGO selected for America's first Innovation Award for the Empowerment of Women and Girls for eliminating child labour from recycling.

"Chintan, an Indian non-profit is working on the ground to train and organize waste pickers and to eliminate child labour from their ranks," she said formally announcing the award funded by the Rockefeller Foundation here Friday.

"It seeks to identify and support innovative ideas that hold the promise of transforming the lives of women and girls around the world," Clinton said.

"This group is advocating for those who work in the informal sector, pushing for recognition, basic protections, and fundamental dignity."

"Chintan's efforts have reached more than 20,000 waste pickers in India in the past five years.

More than 2,000 children have been pulled out of the trash heaps and put on a path toward education and opportunity," she said.

"Chintan's work in advocacy and research has expanded beyond local concerns and is helping change the way we understand informal labour sectors around the world," Clinton said.

Three awardees from India, Kenya and Tanzania, representing "scalable innovations in the sectors of agriculture, technology, economic empowerment and the 'green' economy" will each receive $500,000.

The Rockefeller Foundation president, Dr. Judith Rodin, said "Chintan's innovative work on green jobs and advocacy and organizing in India is an incredible example of really bringing all of these things together."

Chintan’s  founder, Bharati Chaturvedi, said her organisation "creates green jobs. We convert waste into social wealth, not just wealth."

Chaturvedi said they "will use this award to get a lot of young girls into school out the trash heaps but also create more and more green jobs for women waste pickers."

(Agencies)