Friday, June 27, 2008

Professor goes on fast unto death to save the Ganga

Seventy-six-year-old retired professor G D Aggarwal, who has been sitting on a fast unto death in Uttarkashi since June 13, 2008, to save the Ganga from the aggressive onslaught of a string of dams and projects, fears the construction of six hydroelectric projects on the upper Ganges, between the Gangotri glacier and Uttarkashi, will cause a 50 km stretch of the river to dry up.
Aggarwal, an environmental scientist who has been a dean at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, and was the first member secretary of the Central Pollution Central Board, believes water levels in the Bhagirathi and Bhilangana rivers have dropped drastically and that the numerous streams that feed these rivers are drying up.


Already this year Google pictures showed that eight kilometres of the Bhagirathi have dried up at Chham, 12 km downstream of the Dhirasu dam. The prime culprit for this is the Maneri Bhali Phase 2 project which became operational in January 2008.

Aggarwal also points a finger at the Maneri Bhali Phase 1 project, the Bhairon Ghati Phase 1 and 2 projects, the Loharinag Pala Hydroelectric Power project and the Pali Maneri Power project. Although the Maneri Bhali Phase 1 project became operational in 1988, it is still unable to generate electricity to its full capacity because of repeated damage to the turbine blades by quartz mineral particles that flow in the water.

Commander Surinder Sinha, who runs the NGO Save the Ganges, claims that over 85% of the lean season flow of both the Bhagirathi and the Bhilangana seep into the ground, leading to the rapid emptying of the Tehri dam reservoir to below the minimum level required for power generation. Old Tehri town is already visible, and, despite protestations to the contrary by the concerned authorities, Sinha says the Tehri project is failing to meet any of its objectives due to lack of water.

Engineers at the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) dispute this claim. Vijay Goel, engineer and additional general manager, THDC, points out that the Tehri dam is a “reservoir scheme in which water is sent back to be used again”; therefore, levels have not gone low as is being claimed by activist groups.

“The highest level the dam has reached is 816 metres, and glacial melting has only served to increase our water levels. While the dam contains 3,540 million cubic metres of water, we have 2,615 million cubic metres of live storage outflow. This year we have exceeded our electricity generation by 2,649 million units,” Goel pointed out. He refused to comment on other projects being executed, claiming they were being carried out either by the state government or private parties. “Work on all projects is done after we receive clearance from the Survey of India, Geological Survey of India, and soil conservation and forest conservation departments.”

Meanwhile, an online petition signed by leading environmentalists from across the country has been sent to the prime minister in support of Aggarwal. The petition warns that while the Ganga has been converted into a sewage drain in central India, the onslaught on the river has now reached the Himalayas. This will destroy the river completely, says the petition.

Source: http://infochangeindia.org/200806257187/Water-Resources/News/Professor-goes-on-fast-unto-death-to-save-the-Ganga.html

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Role of Voluntary Organizations in Reconstruction of Kashmir

The concept of voluntary organization or NGOs’ in Kashmir is recent. Kashmiri society never felt the need to organize such help-groups on a larger scale. The helping nature of the people was inbuilt in the system in the form of Halshari and Zakat that is used for the greater social good. Kashmir has been traditionally a plural & very close-knit religious society. As a result, the need for NGOs’ in the social sphere was not felt necessary. For example, an orphan in the pre-1989 period would immediately be adopted by one of his relatives or neighbors in accordance with their religious and social practices; hence the need for orphanages was not felt. This phenomenon was so wide-spread that every family in Kashmir could be called an NGO’, since it has always played this role. Thus, very few social welfare or voluntary organizations existed in Kashmir earlier. The period after 1989 marked a watershed for NGOs’ in Kashmir and their need was deeply felt for the first time. With violence increasing, the number of casualties and victims of violence rose. One of the worst affected groups was children, who were rendered homeless, often as orphans. The spurt in the growth of NGOs’ has been spread over different domains.

The main fields in which they are active in Kashmir are, orphanages, self-help groups, dialogue groups, medical care, rural development and employment generation-oriented groups, widow care, coalitions of NGOs’, ecological and environmental groups, and awareness groups. Among the active NGOs’ working in Kashmir, orphanages are the most prominent in terms of their work, reputation and goodwill. Environmental groups have also been active in Kashmir in recent years, especially with the serious ecological problems that the world famous Dal Lake in Srinagar is facing. The need for medical care NGOs’ has also come to the fore in the violence-ridden State. Government and social welfare agencies like the Women’s Development Corporation or the State Social Welfare Board also contributed by providing training in arts and crafts for women.

NGO’ culture has however not permeated the Kashmiri society yet. The movement to revive civil society was never mass-based. It has simply involved and attracted individuals. Then there is the concern that the work of a few functional NGOs’ falls much below expectations, though there are exceptions to the rule. It is well-known that the concept of civil society and the role and importance accorded to NGOs is still in its infant stage, not only in India, but in the whole of South Asia.

By any account, there are hundreds of NGOs registered in Srinagar under the Societies Registration Act, ranging from religious to human rights and community-based organizations, all serving a specific purpose. There are several voluntary and charity organizations that are not registered as NGOs, but are doing the same kind of work and genuinely addressing the needs of the people. Thus, any comprehensive list of NGOs’ working in Kashmir should include such organizations.

While NGOs, as the concept exists now, are by definition independent and distinct from governmental organizations, it is widely believed that they cannot be very effective without the help and co-operation of their counterparts. With increasing popular demand for better quality and delivery of public services, governments everywhere are responding by taking steps to involve the civil society. They recognize that the voluntary sector enjoys certain functional advantages, being community based, more accountable and capable of providing services at a lesser cost. More significantly, voluntary organizations have the flexibility to develop innovative projects based on local needs and resources in contrast to the standardization that normally characterizes governmental actions.

After the 8th October 2005 earthquake, national and international NGOs’ are working in our state for reconstruction of Kashmir. We however have to understand that we should not depend entirely on outsiders to come and help us, we have to take local initiatives with commitment, combined with the organizational and institutional guidance of national and international organizations to show us the way ahead. United Nations Dev Programme (UNDP) extended support to state government of Jammu and Kashmir by deploying staff under the Disaster Risk Management programme to provide technical support to state government in information management of relief and reconstruction activities; reducing vulnerabilities of earthquakes and other hazards, and accelerating implementation of the Earthquake reduction programme in Srinagar. Resource persons are engaged to develop state level capacities for earthquake vulnerability reduction and technical requirements for reconstruction. In consultation with the state Government departments, earthquake resistant designs for the reconstruction of houses using local materials such as stones and wood has been designed; which has helped the state government to develop strategies for reconstruction programmes; and local engineers have been trained on seismic safe construction practices.

UNDP has not been working as the project leader but as facilitator, by supporting the Government on setting up the adequate institutional and administrative system. This project essentially aims to strengthen communities' capacities, along with urban local bodies and administrations in earthquake mitigation, preparedness and response in 38 cities in India.
The project has been demonstrating a suitable model for mainstreaming earthquake risk management initiatives at all levels and for reducing this hazard risk. Project activities have five broad components: 1. awareness generation, 2. development of preparedness and response plans at the community and administrative levels, 3. development of a techno-legal regime for the States, 4. capacity building at all levels and 5. knowledge on international and national best-practices among all the cities and urban centres in the programme. The role of Voluntary organization in Reconstruction of Kashmir will involve restoration of damages which can be classified as visible and not so visible. The visible damages would include the reconstruction of destructed buildings and infrastructure, such as roads, water, telecommunication, health, education and electricity. The not so visible, but more important, damage includes injury to social structures, institutions and human dignity. In order to bring about reconciliation and reconstruction, these structures have to be woven together.Voluntary Organizations need to venture in the field of development of infrastructure, by utilizing the manpower and available facilities to better implement the schemes introduced by the Government.

National and International NGOs’ could provide guidance and financial support to local NGOs’ and enhance their capabilities so as to better fulfill their roles in society. There is an immediate need for environmental groups and environmental activists to raise their voices to save the environmental heritage of the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

The livelihood of many Kashmiris is dependent on the health of the ecology and the environmental balance. In view of the improving governance position in Kashmir, the socio-political situation has become conducive for more NGOs’ to enter Kashmiri society. It is high time that some of the more established NGOs’ come forward with plans and programs to work in Kashmir, however, they should keep in view the unique culture, customs, traditions and distinct faith that we are proud to have. It is necessary to encourage NGOs’ to set up projects based on local customs and traditions, for the capacity building in production as well as marketing, furniture making, handicrafts, tourism and agro-industries. T

here is great potential for development of electronic units, computer hardware, TV and watch manufacturing that would be low in volume, high in value industries, pollution free and benefiting from moderately cheap labour. Sericulture and silk industry, textiles and ready made garments, sports goods industry, processing of gems and precious stones, selective mining projects and mineral based industry, are some other areas that have potential. There is tremendous potential for horticulture, floriculture, fruit processing and food processing.Out State is predominantly mono-cropped and rain-fed with about 40 per cent of the area in Jammu division and 60 per cent in Kashmir division having assured means of irrigation. Agriculture is the mainstay of the state's economy.

In Kashmir, wheat, oil seeds and fodder cultivation can be introduced as a second crop. Walnut is another important crop that has tremendous potential in J&K. The state is already the largest producer of walnut in India with an annual production of approximately 60,000 tonnes. There is scope to increase it in Doda, Rajouri, Poonch and Udhampur. About 20 per cent of the cultivated area in J&K is under fruit cultivation. About half a million families are engaged, directly or indirectly, in horticultural activities. Sopore & Shopian are the main fruit producing areas in the valley that accounts for 50 per cent of the total fruit production. There is however a dire need to improve marketing of these products and other fruits like pears, cherries, apricots and peaches in the temperate areas and mango and citrus in the sub-tropical areas which need proper grading, packaging & marketing. Saffron cultivation is unique to Jammu & Kashmir, the only place producing the flower crop outside Spain & Iran. Annual production of saffron is confined to Pampore in the Kashmir valley and to the Kishtwar valley of Jammu province, the production varies from 10 to 12 tonnes. Honey, herbs and herbal products also have tremendous opportunities for export worldwide. To impel horticultural activities creation of cold storage facilities, through non governmental organizations and public or private investments, is warranted.Our state has tremendous hydropower potential, estimated at over 25,000 MW. Out of this hardly 10 per cent has been harnessed till date. With a view to tapping the available hydel potential, the state government is exploring the possibility of attracting private local and foreign capital. Non governmental organizations could venture into this field.

There is tremendous scope of employment in the field of Eco-tourism. It is possible to identify many other areas for the reconstruction and development of Jammu & Kashmir. The most obvious is tourism, which has attracted attention of the whole world. Another major emphasis of restructuring has to be in the field of health and education. Together a joint and concerted effort by all the stakeholders needs to be made so that we can take Kashmir forward and prepare a holistic programme of reconstruction of Kashmir.

Source: http://www.etalaat.net/english/Dimensions/1068.html


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why Is There Poverty in the United States?

The causes of poverty are widespread in this country. They range from unemployment to low educational standards. It is incredible that there is such a lack of outrage about this epidemic that has struck millions in our nation that is supposed to be one of freedom and opportunity. While we’re not saying that the poverty in other areas around the globe should be forsaken to handle the problems in our own borders, we’re espousing the fact that we need to realize that this is not a foreign problem. We’ve listed a few of the reasons why poverty has become such a major problem for so many Americans:

Lack of affordable housing. The state of housing in the nation today has left so many Americans homeless. With mortgages handed out as if they were growing on trees, so many people have had to abandon their homes as they have been foreclosed on. It is sad that this situation persisted for so long but now we have more homeless people than ever before in our nation’s history.

Substance abuse. People that abuse drugs are entered into a vicious cycle that eventually leaves them unable to care for themselves which relates to unemployment and financial disrepair. Accordingly, the poor people that are abusing drugs often have no place to turn to make their lives better and worth living. These people are living on the fringe of our society when they need to be brought in and tended to in a loving way to make sure they can kick their habit and reenter society in a meaningful way.

Low-paying jobs. The minimum wage is hovering around eight dollars an hour which leaves a mother or father helpless in trying to make their children’s lives pure. Coupled with the rising price of food and we’re seeing more people hungrier and unable to put food on their tables. People come out of college and are in sever debt that they feel such pressure to get a good job that they flounder for a while and the financial concerns mount and mount.

Unemployment. Even worse than the minimum wage concerns in this country is the unemployment rate. Prices of gas and food are soaring and so are the numbers of people left unemployed. It’s simple to see why poverty is affecting so many Americans when so many can’t find work and when they do it’s not rewarding at all as far as their financial needs are concerned.

By-line:
This article was contributed by Heather Johnson, who is a regular writer on the subject of correspondence colleges. She welcomes your questions, comments and writing job opportunities at heatherjohnson2323@gmail.com




Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Invitation for Free Talk "Elder Abuse-Let's stop it before it hits our parents.!"

Nalanda@HELP (Health Education Library for People) in association with Silver Innings takes pleasure to Invite you for Awareness Lecture on the occasion of World Elder Abuse Awareness Month 2008.

Programme:
A free talk on"Elder Abuse-Let's stop it before it hits our parents.!" on Monday 30th June 2008 by Ms.Amruta Lovekar ,Director Programme and Services ,Silver Innings at 3.30pm to 5pm at HELP, Fort,Mumbai,India

To attend Call: 022- 65952393/94 , 22061101.

Venue:
Health Education Library for People,National Insurance Building,Ground Floor, 206, Dr.D.N.Road,
Fort,
Mumbai - 400 001
India.
Tel Nos.65952393/ 65952394/22061101
www.helpforhealth.org
www.healthlibrary.com


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Accommodation for Working Ladies in Mumbai Available

Accommodation for Working Ladies in Mumbai is available at Narayan Chandra Trust,Virar - Mumbai.

Eligibility:
Age: 18 yrs. to 50 yrs.

Cost:
Rs. 2200/- for Lodging and Boarding with Morning Tea and Snack, Evening Snack and Dinner.

Refundable Security Deposit: Rs.2200/-

Application form at Rs.50/- includes identity card

Contact : Mr.Vijay Sarate - Project Manager for more information: Tel No: 09822745160 / 0250 - 2525977
E-mail - vijaysarate@gmail.com

Address:
Narayan Chandra Trust Working Ladies Hostel
At Moregaon,
Near Talao(lake)
Next to Rock Garden Apt,
Virar Road,
Nalasopara - East
Dist - Thana
Pincode : 401209
(Mumbai Western Railway - its approachable from Virar east, 5 minutes by share rickshaw)

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Silver Innings : Website Update

Silver Innings Update Newsletter
15thth June 2008

Dear Friends,
It's our pleasure to bring to you the update of your website Silver Innings. Below are new articles recently posted on various sections on 1st of June 2008, to read more you need to visit particular menu on the website www.silverinnings.com .Hope you enjoy this and send us your feedback at info@silverinnings.com . Due to Summer Holidays June there will be only one update in June 2008.


We also invite articles of interest, inspiring short stories, jokes, reviews, etc. Please note publication is sole decision of web master and as per rules laid down by Silver Innings.


SILVER PERSONALITY OF THE MONTH - June 2008
PANDURANG SITARAM SAWANT: A extraordinary common man


Ageing:
India
Age Care in India 2008
National Initiative on Care for Elderly in India

Successful Ageing
India's stride towards Productive Ageing
By NISD – Government of India

Health/ Fitness
Dementia & Alzheimer's
Designing and managing care homes for people with dementia
The proportion of residents in care homes who have dementia is rising. Caroline Cantley, Professor of Dementia Care, Northumbria University, and Bob Wilson, consultant in care home design studied seven recently built specialist homes for people with dementia which have been nominated as examples of good practice.

Lifestyle
Adult Day Care
If your Alzheimer's afflicted dad is dragging his feet about going to day services and you need to get to work, which do you think would be more effective? It's pretty obvious that the more respectful, dignified question would get the best response.

Medical
Health Issues of Senior Citizens
Although, according to Dr. Chopra, Body is Ageless and Old Age is a society-created perception only, as all the trillions of cells of Body get renewed from time to time, the present position appears that as one advances towards Old Age, one has to necessarily face some ailments, physical & mental weakness, aloofness etc. depending upon his life style, genes, environments etc. Read this article by M.V.Ruparelia

Life after a Heart Attack
A heart attack changes the lives of both seniors and their caregivers. If your loved one has had a heart attack, it's essential to understand the medications and lifestyle changes necessary for a successful recovery. According to the American Heart Association, over 1 million people in the U.S. have heart attacks each year, and about half of them survive.

Alternate Therapy
The Healing Power of Pets
For elderly pet owners, who often live alone or in group facilities, pets can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity and help them learn.

Finance:
Insurance
Health Insurance Not Forthcoming for Senior Citizens The Committee appointed by the IRDA on health insurance for senior citizens submitted its report nearly six months ago. IRDA owes it to the senior citizens to inform them of the outcome of its deliberations on the Report. Senior citizens are quite exercised about it. The long delay in taking the follow up action is all the more surprising since the Report of the Committee, in which representatives of the insurance industry were adequately represented, was unanimous. Read this Article by K S Sastry

Investment
Retirement Planning and You

Pension
National old age pension, Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)
NSAP stands for National Social Assistance Programme. This came into effect from 15th August, 1995. NSAP at present comprises of Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), National Family Benefit Scheme(NFBS) and Annapurna Scheme.

SOCIAL SECURITY NET
The Government of Tamil Nadu is implementing the following Pension schemes, through
Revenue Department, to provide social security to the old aged / destitute persons in the State
who neither have any means of subsistence nor any relative to support them.

PERFORMANCE REVIEW COMMITTEE
All States were requested on 17th October 2007 to identify additional number of beneficiaries to be covered under Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) which was formally launched on 19th November 2007 at the hands of Hon'ble Prime Minister. Old Age Pension were earlier provided under National Old Age Pension Scheme to persons who were 65 years or higher and 'destitute'.

India: The Challenge of Old Age Income Security
A report by World Bank

Pension Reforms in India
Read 4th Global Conference of Actuaries

PM launches Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme
"I am extremely happy to be here today for launching the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme. This Indira Gandhi Old Age Pension scheme is a scheme which fulfils an important commitment of our government towards providing a social safety net for the poor and vulnerable.

Will
Preparation of Will by Elders
You may think that you do not have that much property to make a Will and you have a Joint Bank Account, Fixed Deposits etc with nominations done in all cases. This is not correct as nomination does not make the nominee its owner. Nomination grants only holding rights and not ownership.

Elder Law:
India
India's senior citizens finally get a hearing
The Union Cabinet's recent decision to approve a new law -- the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill 2007 aimed at helping the elderly live in dignity and peace -- is a welcome move towards the protection and care of India's 77 million elderly citizens.

Other Law
HAND BOOK ON RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT 2005
Transparency and cleanliness in working are the essential elements to strengthen a Democratic system. In this perspective Govt of India enacted the Right to Information Act, 2005. As part of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt. of India National Institute of Social Defence (NISD) has also been obliged for effective implementation of RTI Act, 2005

Relationship
Parents and Grandparents
Caring for Parents Who Didn't Care for You
Last week, a journalist (we'll call her Nancy) wanted to interview me about some caregiving issues. We chatted a bit about the article she was writing and she got some quotes. During the talk, we bonded. As Nancy talked, she described the turmoil she is facing as her parents age. I was able to assure her that she is not alone in her feelings. She grew up with an abusive mother. The abuse was physical as well as emotional. Her father was gone much of the time, doing what most men of that generation did.


10 Celebrity Grandparents World Loves
Some, you just figure they're grandparents. Others, you raise your eyebrows and say, "No, way. They're not grandparents already... are they?" Yeah, celebrities are grandparents, too.

Marriage
The best is yet to come…
More and more people are getting married at an age considered ripe for retirement previously. And in most cases, love and marriage seem to work better the second time around.


News and Event
Articles
Design for All - May 2008 Volume 3 Newsletter
Article of Silver Innings Published in DNA News Paper

Article of Silver Innings Published in Sakaal Times News Paper

Essays on Elder Abuse


Thanks for giving your valuable time, see you soon with next update.


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www.silverinnings.com


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Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Level the playing field for the world's poor

Overshadowed by news of catastrophic food shortages, Asian natural disasters and the home-grown issues of gas prices and foreign-affairs high jinks was the release of a report by a United Nations-sponsored commission that offers a refreshing set of proposals to deal with the grinding reality of poverty, which afflicts two-thirds of the world's population.

The report's focus is not another call for more foreign aid, a demand for revision of trade policies or a radical push to foster confrontation between the developed and developing worlds. Rather, it makes the singular point that if the poor are empowered to exercise basic legal rights, they can and will be the agency of their own poverty reduction.

Full recognition of legal identity, assured access to the courts, basic labour protection, the right to own property and the rule of law to prevent exploitation by the powerful are vital tools to enable the poor to realize their full potential.

It seems obvious, doesn't it? Except that there are four billion people around the world who are denied the rights, protections and opportunities afforded by the rule of law. In far too many countries, political, economic and social affairs are governed by policies and institutions that prevent the poor from participating on an equal playing field. For the majority of the world's citizens, the rules of the game are fundamentally unfair.

Three years ago, the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor brought together a group of thinkers, former senior government officials, scholars and jurists to address this problem. After much debate, analysis and 22 consultations in developing countries in every region of the world, the commission developed a comprehensive framework for legal empowerment, focusing on women, indigenous peoples and vulnerable groups, with four mutually reinforcing pillars: access to justice and the rule of law, property rights, labour rights and business rights.The scale of the problems is staggering.

More than 70 per cent of children living in the world's least-developed countries are without documentary proof of their existence. This puts them at greater risk for exploitation, impedes their access to health care and education and prevents them from fully participating as political, economic and social actors in society.

When I was the Organization of American States election co-ordinator in Peru in 2006, I was told by president Alejandro Toledo that two million Peruvians didn't "exist." They had no legal identity, which meant they had no chance of ever participating in the economic or political life of that country other than through an underground economy.

Then there are the beleaguered bureaucracies of countries such as India, where it appears there are just 11 judges for every million people; the Philippines, where judges average a 1,479-case backlog; and Kenya, where one million cases are awaiting trial.

The property of most of the world's poor is not protected. Constantly at risk of being evicted without compensation, the poor are left with little incentive to invest in their land or develop a business. And the lands of indigenous peoples, who represent 5 per cent of the total population yet account for 15 per cent of the world's poor, are often declared "public" or "unoccupied," thus impeding their use for economic or traditional purposes.

Despite producing as much as 80 per cent of food in developing countries, women own less than 10 per cent of the world's property. Empowering women with property rights would lead to a significant reduction in poverty and malnutrition.

Most of the world's 500 million working poor - those earning less than $1 a day - participate in the informal economy. In theory, these workers are entitled to basic rights and protections, but these rights are rarely recognized. The working poor are extremely vulnerable to exploitation, do not receive employment benefits from state or employer, suffer poor working conditions and hold jobs that are never secure. And, because the world's poor entrepreneurs operate unregistered businesses and do not hold title to the land they occupy, they are unable to increase productivity and profitability. Two billion people go without access to basic financial services.
The legal-empowerment agenda can have a profound impact on the global commitment to tackle poverty and advance human development through the Millennium Development Goals. In a foreword to the report, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reiterated the MDG Call to Action and urged the international community to intensify efforts to make progress on the goals, pointing out that we have already passed the midway point for meeting them, yet remain far from their fulfilment. Sub-Saharan Africa is not on track to achieve a single one.

At its core, the legal-empowerment agenda is about unlocking human potential. By giving the poor access to legal protections such as property rights and security of tenure, labour rights and business rights, we allow them to get maximum value for their work, enabling them to lift themselves from the grips of poverty. The commission found many examples around the world where these protections spurred self-help, development and entrepreneurship.

These findings also carry a profound responsibility for the international community. As commission co-chairs Madeleine Albright and Hernando de Soto say in the report's preface, "those who consider the poor to be just another part of the human condition are ignorant, for the poor do not accept it, and when given the chance, will seize the opportunity to transform their lives."

Canada was a supporting member of the commission and should take its findings as a basis for reorienting its development policies toward facilitating the promotion of legal rights as a key to its goal of reducing poverty. The findings could equally apply to tackling issues of poverty at home, especially among indigenous peoples. A good new idea can have many applications.

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080617.wcopoor17/BNStory/specialComment/home

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Mumbai NGO helps slum children get birth certificates

A non-governmental organisation here is helping hundreds of children living in slums get birth certificates.

Most people take the birth certificate for granted, a document that parents get from the municipal office after a child is born.

"Birth registration is the first basic human right which the child is entitled to as soon as he or she is born but unfortunately many children, particularly those in a vulnerable situation are existing today without this identity which is their right," says Leena Joshi, director of Apnalaya, an NGO founded in 1972 to help children living in slums lead a better life.

For the last ten months, in collaboration with the Directorate of Health Services, Maharashtra, and Executive Health Officer of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, "we have tried our best to help children from M-East ward [a municipal area in Mumbai North-East] to access birth registration and certificates," she says. Many children are still without them.

Street children, children of migrant workers and pavement dwellers and children with disability are some facing this "nowhere" situation, she says.

That is why "we want to draw people's attention to this serious issue of the very existence of these children and are therefore holding a media workshop on Saturday to highlight their problems. "Our focus is to facilitate this process of getting a birth certificate, made difficult for the poor through administrative delays as well as corruption."

According to a study conducted by Nirmala Niketan Institute of the College of Social Work, Mumbai as a whole has approximately 92 per cent registration of birth but eventually only 72 out of 100 children born in hospitals are able to get a birth certificate.

"The level of birth registration of those who are born at home is even worse due to their poor and vulnerable status," says Joshi. It may come as a surprise to many that even in a metropolis like Mumbai, 20-30 per cent of mothers living in slums deliver their babies at home, she says.

Source: http://www.gulfnews.com/world/India/10221868.html

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

NGO Jobs in India

Programme FellowActionAid International IndiaLocation: Adipur, Kutch, GujaratLast Date: June 28, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7459.shtml

State Representative - OrissaCatholic Relief ServicesLocation: Bhubhaneshwar, OrissaLast Date: July 2, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7461.shtml

Accounts OfficerAsian Centre or Organisation Research and DevelopmentLocation: New DelhiLast Date: July 18, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7458.shtml

Admin AssistantWaterAid IndiaLocation: BhopalLast Date: June 27, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7464.shtml

AccountantWaterAid IndiaLocation: Bhopal and LucknowLast Date: June 27, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7463.shtml

Finance and Administration OfficerWaterAid IndiaLocation: Bhubaneshwar, OrissaLast Date: June 27, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7462.shtml

Project Management ConsultantUnited Nations Development ProgrammeLocation: New DelhiLast Date: July 5, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7440.shtml

Research and Documentation OfficerRoom to ReadLocation: New DelhiLast Date: June 30, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7437.shtml

Sector Support CoordinatorsCARE-IndiaLocation: Andhra Pradesh, ChhattisgarhLast Date: June 27, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7435.shtml

Room to Grow Program Officer- Madhya PradeshRoom to ReadLocation: Madhya PradeshLast Date: June 30, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7436.shtml

Consultant – Research and TrainingConstella FuturesLocation: New DelhiLast Date: June 25, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7431.shtml

Program Officer – Hospital Programs and Medical SupportCankids...KidsCanLocation: New DelhiLast Date: July 1, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7364.shtml

Counselor, Hugh Davidson projectSave the Children, Bal Raksha, BharatLocation: Kolkata, West BengalLast Date: June 22, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7363.shtml

Team Assistant (Human Resource/Procurement)UNOPSLocation: New DelhiLast Date: June 27, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7361.shtml

Business Development Manager, Hugh Davidson projectSave the Children, Bal Raksha, BharatLocation: Kolkata, West BengalLast Date: June 22, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7362.shtml

Senior Administrative AssistantInternational Center for Research on WomenLocation: New DelhiLast Date: June 27, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7328.shtml

Documentation and Communication AssociateUnited Nations Development ProgrammeLocation: New DelhiLast Date: June 22, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7332.shtml

Program Officers – QAEngenderHealth Location: Delhi, Dehradun, JharkhandLast Date: June 27, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7331.shtml

HIV SpecialistEngenderHealth Location: IndiaLast Date: June 27, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7330.shtml

Contracts OfficerUNOPSLocation: New DelhiLast Date: June 23, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7335.shtml

Logistics AssistantUNOPSLocation: New DelhiLast Date: June 23, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7334.shtml

Training ManagerEngenderHealth SocietyLocation: BangaloreLast Date: June 27, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7329.shtml

Finance AssistantUNOPSLocation: New DelhiLast Date: June 23, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7333.shtml

Graduate Civil EngineersENV Developmental Assistance Systems (India)Location: Uttranchal, Gujarat and JharkhandLast Date: June 30, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7319.shtml

Project OfficerSmile FoundationLocation: New DelhiLast Date: June 30, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7318.shtml

Social ScientistsENV Developmental Assistance Systems (India)Location: Lucknow / UttarakhandLast Date: June 30, 2008 http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7320.shtml

Donor Finance and Systems OfficerOxfam GBLocation: New DelhiLast Date: June 25, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7310.shtml

Finance & Administration ManagerAbt AssociatesLocation: New DelhiLast Date: July 12, 2008http://216.119.85.221/artman2/publish/indian-jobs/article_7309.shtml

Contact:
http://www.DevNetJobsIndia.org
http://www.DevNetJobs.org
http://www.GenevaJobs.org
Email: jobs@devnetjobs.org
Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

World Elder Abuse Awareness Month 2008 Programme by Silver Innings Foundation








“Social initiatives should have market in mind”

The old NGO model of solving specific problems with external funding is a dinosaur, and social sector initiatives should also work with an eye on the market, says Elizabeth K. Nitze, vice-president of the Entrepreneur to Entrepreneur Program, Ashoka–Innovators for the Public.

In an interaction with representatives of industry and NGOs here, Ms. Nitze said sustainability is a key to success in social service. “The world’s problems are fast outstripping our initiatives to solve them. But our resources are locked up in silos and cannot be used effectively to tackle the different issues,” she said, referring to industry, NGOs and governments cutting parallel paths instead of pooling their resources together.

Responding to complaints from the industry representatives that corruption was rampant in government, she pointed to Ashoka’s success in bringing together industry, universities, NGOs (citizen service organisations (CSO) as she chooses to call them) in solving the problems of public interest in the United States and elsewhere. Patience was required to make people understand long-term benefits, and the key was to show the potential to make any initiative a successful and sustainable venture.

Seconding her views, Sriram V. Aiyer, founder and CEO, NalandaWay, a Chennai-based NGO, said research published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review showed that the most successful NGOs were those that concentrated their efforts in a particular direction with a single funding source.

Organisations working in very specific areas could come up with measurable indices of their performance. This, he said, helped them develop an entrepreneurial spirit. The ethical element was indispensable, but accountability was rarely present in the social sector.

Most NGOs functioned in a feudal manner; it was important to shed this style to build a successful solution to some of the problems. Though some benefits like the care given to a mentally challenged child could not be directly measured, NGOs should strive to bring in professional attitudes, he said.

Representatives of more than 10 companies and 20 NGOs participated in the events organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Consul for Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Consulate in Chennai, on Monday and Tuesday.

Source: http://www.hindu.com/2008/06/18/stories/2008061861801400.htm

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Is One Laptop Per Child really a solution?

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is a non-profit initiative founded by Nicholas Negroponte (co-founder and director of MIT Media Lab). He has a vision to improve lives of underprivileged communities around the globe through betterment of education provided to their children. In his eyes, this laptop will act as a window for those curious kids to connect to each other and to a large information resource on the internet. “Whatever the solutions to the big problems are, they include education; sometimes it can be just education and (rest of the times) can never be without some element of education!“, he states.

On the other hand, critics of this project often consider this as band-aid solution to a more serious injury. In their opinion, spending money on providing gadgets to people - who are yet struggling to meet their basic needs - is naïve and ridiculous.

As the maxim goes - “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. OLPC project is based on theory of constructionism that emphasizes on learning to learn. Learning process is more effective when the learner is actively involved; and so traditional education process, being more of one way traffic, has failed to create genuine learners. OLPC is offering a tool that will make education system more interesting by infusing collaborative learning process. It will bring abundant of information at finger tips of children who, by nature, are curious and eager to learn. Moreover, it will inculcate self-learning abilities in them than mere filling their tiny heads with useless theories.

It’s true that just building schools and appointing teachers is not going to ensure education, let alone making it interesting and effective. And so this different approach taken by OLPC looks promising. Now, like any other large scale project, OLPC too is gonna encounter unavoidable and at times unseen obstacles; some of the most important issues to be addressed are -

Easily accessible technical support: Although designed to be robust, its very likely that kids are going to do use it in weirdest possible ways. Lack of easily accessible local technical support can dampen curiosity and interest.

Native (non-English) language support: Kids (and teachers) in underprivileged communities will need something that they understand better or can learn quickly.

Backbone infrastructure: Underdeveloped regions are most likely to lack any backbone telephone or internet infrastructure. And without that, information flow and peer-to-peer communication can be hindered to great extent.

Gray/black market problems: For highly underdeveloped communities which are still struggling to survive without sufficient food and other basic facilities, it is certainly not a solution. If they are offered this laptop, more probably it’s going to be sold in gray market to fulfill their today’s needs. Hungry stomachs do not understand philosophy, however great it may be. They should be provided with what they need first and funds allocated for that purpose should not be diverted towards any other project.

OLPC is certainly not an all-comprehensive solution to all problems of all underprivileged communities; rather it’s about building an enhanced education system that can solve some of them. It’s a step towards bridging digital divide. It is going to empower few of the bright minds inside some of the underdeveloped communities - that will further trigger a tickle down education effect and eventually improve lives of a larger population around them.

Source: http://we.excelalways.net/techbiz/ptc/is-one-laptop-per-child-really-solution

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

He is motivating youngsters to play hockey in India

Mir Ranjan Negi, the national hockey player-turned-coach, whose life was the inspiration for runaway Bollywood hit Chak De! India, has found a new cause. The former India goalkeeper, who had walked away from the game in disgrace only to find redemption later, is now coaching and motivating underprivileged hockey players in Mumbai in the memory of his son who was killed in a road accident.

Negi has adopted the hockey team of Mumbai’s Don Bosco Shelter — whose players include street children, orphans and runaway boys — through the Abhi Foundation, which was set up in memory of his son Abhi who died two-and-a-half years ago. The aim is modest, for now — use sport to inspire the boys to become self-sufficient.

Negi, who was instrumental in getting a team of street children to play in the lower division of Mumbai Hockey Association’s league last season, said he was so impressed by their show that he decided to do more for them.

“The plan is to adopt these kids and provide them the necessary infrastructure needed for better training. We will take care of all their needs,” said Negi, who was seen on TV on a popular reality dance show after hitting the headlines following the success of Chak De! India.

Negi, through the Abhi foundation, is already involved in promoting hockey in Sangli and Kolhapur in Maharashtra. The foundation has adopted 20 girls each in the two towns and provides them with expert guidance, better facilities and funding.

Negi has also been approached by the Salaam Bombay Trust to form a hockey team for underprivileged kids in the city. These days, the former India goalkeeper is also busy with the shooting of a movie called Mumbai Chakachak, where he plays the city’s municipal commissioner.

Negi’s plan has triggered excitement at Don Bosco’s Wadala shelter. Fifteen-year-old Madhu Siddaraju, who landed at Don Bosco after running away from home, happens to be a goalkeeper and looks forward to interacting with the celebrity hockey player. “I too want to be a great goal keeper like Negisab,” he says.

The teenager talks about his modest hockey profile that shows a growing interest in the game and a rising skill graph. “In the first game of the league that I played I conceded 15 goals. I let in six in the next and in our last game there were just four,” says Madhu, who slept and begged at Churchgate railway Station before moving to the shelter.

Madhu’s play mate Kamlesh Kumar Pal dares to dream big after coming in touch with Negi. “He has always been helpful to us, he visits our shelter and inspire us to be a winner on the hockey field and off too,” says the 15-year-old whose parents died in a road accident six years ago.
Kamlesh too was seriously injured in the accident and was bed-ridden for a year. He speaks about the ill-treatment he received from his relatives and his subsequent trip to Mumbai. “I spent some days at the Andheri station before somebody informed me about the shelter. Since the day I picked up the hockey stick things have changed,” says Pal.

Director of the shelter, Father Lloyd Rodrigues, says he has seen the positive change in the lives of the children since they started playing hockey. “We want to make these kids self-dependent and want them to lead a good life. Sports can help us achieve our objective. And with a person like Negi involved, the kids have a great guide,” he says.

Ask Negi if the children have it in them to make it big on the hockey field and he smiles in reply. “I have seen these kids, they are willing to learn. And if I can make film actresses appear like a bunch of national level hockey players on screen, why not these kids,” he said.

Source: http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/His-story-inspired-Chak-De-now-hes-motivating-youngsters-to-play-hockey/322204/


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Friday, June 13, 2008

WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS MONTH India Report


On the occasion of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15th June 2008, Silver Innings, A Dedicated organization for senior citizens and their family members will be commemorating World Elder Abuse Awareness Month from 1st June to 30th June 2008. It has taken the initiative to make a petition which will have recommendations to the Government and the society to eliminate elder abuse at both micro and macro level. We are also trying to network with organizations working with elderly in Mumbai and all over India.

World Elder Abuse Day programme aims to increase society's ability, through various programmes, to recognise and respond to the mistreatment of older people in whatever setting it occurs, so that the latter years of life will be free from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

In order that this issue is adequately highlighted, Silver Innings is planning to organize various activities for the month of June and reach out to elderly people themselves and also to other age groups for spreading awareness regarding what constitutes elder abuse and the different types of abuse which take place in society. Our activities will start on June 1 and will end on 30th June 2008.

Objective:
To create awareness in elderly people themselves regarding what comes under elder abuse.
To sensitize young people regarding elder abuse and enabling them to reflect on their own attitudes towards the elderly.
To bridge the intergenerational gap between elderly and young people.
To create awareness in media and society at large regarding elder abuse.

Programme:
To Publish Three Best Essay on Elder Abuse on http://www.silverinnings.com/ (we had Invited Essay on Elder abuse)


To host Online Petition with regards to Elder Abuse and recommendation to Government and Society on http://www.silverinnings.com/


To submit Petition to Government


To participate in National Seminar for Elder Abuse in New Delhi on 14th June 2008


Awareness campaign for various Senior Citizens Association in Mumbai at Shree Manav Seva Sangh - Sion , AISCCON - Nerul, The Family Welfare Agency – Dharavi , Harmony – C P Tank , FESCOM – Chunnabhati and HELP Library - Fort: Holding a Interactive Lecture programme and spreading message from 1st June 2008 to 30th June 2008


To hold Human Chain at Shivaji Park on 15th June at 9.30 am to 10.30 am with help of Elder organisation , youngsters and other networking NGO’s


To end the month long programme on 30th June 2008 at Gate Way of India by Releasing Purple and White Balloons



My World, Your World, Our World – Free ofElder Abuse



www.silverinnings.com
Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Getting street smart

Street plays continue to make a valiant attempt to usher in social change with 'relevant theatre', says Ismat Tahseen

What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare? —W. H. Davies,

Leisure Considering the fact that the Aarushi Talwar murder case had its ripples across the country, it was but natural that its impact has been felt on the roads as well. Literally. '

Theatre groups that focus on contemporary social issues have swiftly made plans to incorporate the tragic case — or at least references to it — in their social commentaries. And these plays serve to make the common man stop and think. In a city where the person next to you on that railway queue may not even have the time to cast a friendly nod towards you, leave alone stop to lend a helping hand, this attention is welcome.

Little plays that are enacted at railway stations, by the road side and at bus-stands, that are established modes of communication, seek to shock, amuse, delight… in effect make people think hard on issues that are close to their hearts.

While these plays may not have the trappings of lavish sets and props that a stage play begets, but they do have all the drama and impact nevertheless, prompting the bystander to stop, stand and stare. Says 40-year-old Manjul Bharadwaj, who formed Experimental Theatre Foundation (ETF) in 1992, “Acting, if without true worth, is useless. “ETF put up 3,650 street shows last year; they moved from suburb to suburb staging plays. Our play Mera Bachhpan on child labour was staged more than 12,000 times nationwide and due to it more than 50,000 child labourers across India were freed from labour; I guess it ushered in a revolution,” he says with a tinge of pride.

Nothing beats the aura of being on the street, he reiterates. “Technology might be growing in leaps and bounds, but it cannot compare to the face-to-face interaction you have with others. It’s like a one on one with each person in the audience, one that impacts social change,” he adds.

Street plays can be seen in the most unexpected places – behind the vegetable stalls in your market place or at the bus stop – a group of people, acting out a short skit or play, for any one who might wish to stop and watch. “We’re not just philanthropists providing free entertainment,” says Mujeeb Khan, founder and director of Indian Drama and Entertainment Academy (IDEA). From a 15-minute street play on the tragic story of slain model Jessica Lal called Justice for Jessica, to plays on Zaheera Sheikh, Bilkis Bano and monthly plays on divorce and drama staged outside the Bandra family court, IDEA aims to reach out to the aam junta to create greater awareness about social issues, calling them to change what they believe are the social ailments.

“We won’t let any issue rest,” says Khan. “Halla Bol, our play based on the BMC’s plan to clean the city, was also well-appreciated.“ Street play artists also have to keep abreast of current affairs. “We distribute newspaper clippings to the public to convey our message more strongly.”

The only problem that these artists seem to have is a space to stage the play. “We should have dedicated places like Hyde Park in London,” Khan says. “Very often at railway stations the police come and stop the play saying the premises are under the Central Government jurisdiction,” Khan says. Notwithstanding these hiccups, the IDEA group has a few more plays up its sleeve.

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1170485&pageid=0

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

I have a Dream…

Reddy was not part of my name when my father registered me for school, as he wanted to free me from a caste identity. An overzealous school clerk made it my patronymic, picking it from my father's name, when he was forwarding the registration forms for the school-leaving public examination. As the school board certificate was a required submission for all later courses, the caste label continued. The mind, however, remained oblivious to caste, thanks to family values.

Growing up in a truly cosmopolitan Hyderabad of the 1960s also meant that religious and regional identities were never seen as barriers to understanding other human beings. Even as diversity was accepted as a natural phenomenon, the overwhelming similarities that bound people together were celebrated in a spirit of bonhomie. Festivals of all major religions were occasions for joint celebration by friends, not merely as a polite gesture of tolerance but in a sincere spirit of shared joy. It was only in the late 1960s and early 1970s that the separatist Telengana and Andhra agitations brought up the bitterness of 'us' versus 'them' for the first time, in a sub-regional context.

Later, as communal forces entered the social scene and a dear friend was killed while resisting them in the university elections, the tragedy of Hyderabad's descent into the poisoned pit of partisan politics and religious discord broke the heart.

Since then, the years that passed added more pain, whenever and wherever regional, linguistic, religious and caste divisions arose, not only to separate people but to pit them against one another. The malaise seemed to grow when these prejudices manifested not only as sporadic violence stoked by vested interests but also permeated into private thoughts and influenced personal interactions on a daily basis. Even as India geared itself for accelerated economic growth, mouldy mindsets that canonised caste, creed, religion and region seemed to take a stranglehold on our social and political life. The tragedy has become even more terrible as Hyderabad, in recent times, has had many victims, and some perpetrators, of terrorist attacks.

Apart from a core commitment to the ideal of a casteless, classless, secular and truly egalitarian society, my work as a doctor also reinforces my conviction that human beings are essentially similar. The way patients react to the distress of disease and the way their family members rally round with collective social support, emphasise the commonality of human behaviour in such periods of vulnerability. As their faces light up with relief after days of anxiety, or cloud over when hope turns to despair, the universality of those deep human emotions obliterates any superficial differences in the way people dress or speak.

If I do not pre-diagnose a disease on the ground that the patient is a Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Sikh, how can I pre-judge a person's character on similar grounds? If I prize human life as precious, because every death in the hospital causes anguish and seems to diminish me as a person, how can I remain unmoved by the wanton wastage of lives, especially of the young and innocent, in communal conflicts or sectarian strife?

I recognise that my pain is of one who intellectually and emotionally identifies with the victim of prejudice, discrimination or violence — not the intense personal distress of one who has experienced such indignity or injustice first hand. I did not have to face the demeaning treatment dealt out to Dalits across thousands of villages nor was I singed by the undisguised hostility that is directed at minority groups that are constantly suspected and vilified. The irritation of occasionally encountering regional biases or indignation at being racially profiled during security screening in western airports pales into insignificance, when compared with the daily ordeal of those who have to suffer the injustice of irrational intolerance.

Even if I am neither the victim nor the victimiser, I do have a citizen's responsibility to assist Indian society in freeing itself from the shackles of such pernicious prejudice and undemocratic discrimination. How can we ensure the stability of a sane society where the comfort of cultural affinity with those who share a similar background does not cross over into paranoia and prejudice directed at other groups? Amartya Sen says that each of us has multiple identities, as individuals with varied ethnic, cultural, professional and personal attributes. How can we celebrate this diversity?

This is only possible if we recognise that our fundamental and common identity is that of human beings, while all other identities are accidental or acquired add-ons that we have picked up along the way. These additionalities, valued as they may be, should not subsume the core identity or separate us from fellow human beings.

Lack of access to a liberal and liberating education is the soil that nurtures prejudice, while economic insecurity provides the muddy waters that irrigate intolerance. Organised vested interests farm in such poisoned fields to produce divisive social agendas and profit from the resultant conflicts.

The solution lies in universal education that promotes a broad comprehension of complementary cultures and interweaving social networks, provides a set of sound values that define the desirable framework for human relations and progressively moves different groups of people across the stages of tolerance and mutual respect to the unifying state of shared identity. Such a unity needs to be more profound than shared adulation for Lata Mangeshkar or loyalty to the Indian cricket team. It has to be based on common commitment to the vision of an India that belongs to all of us and to which we all belong.

Patriotism is not instilled by fear but is inspired by hope. Hands that were once raised against one another will join to run the economic engine of the country, if the vision of a common destination inspires confidence and commitment. The answer lies in promoting economic opportunities for assured employment and equitable living conditions, so that 'others' are not perceived as job stealers or rapacious profiteers. Sharing the fruits of economic growth brings about a sense of the common 'us', whereas the feeling of alienation that springs from economic marginalisation splinters society into several resentful sets of 'us' battling inimical groups of 'them'. Growth with equity will ease the hearts and clear the minds, preparing people for unified action.

Even as these efforts must be undertaken with urgency, the dignity of a human being and the sanctity of human life must become the essence of human rights that have to be respected by all. The State, and civil society, must ceaselessly strive to protect and promote those rights, till their observance is seen to be obligatory for all citizens. Those who foment sectarian hatred or violate human rights have to be punished by the law of the land and by social censure. If the custodians of peoples' welfare, the guardians of law or the conscience-keepers of society (especially the media) act in a cowardly or complicit manner when human rights are threatened or trampled upon, there will be no defence against prejudice and persecution, other than rebellion and retaliation.

In the public sphere, open dialogue and discourse must continue to engage people's minds on these issues, without the fear of being shouted at or shut down by sectarian groups. Myths need to be broken, stereotypes need to be challenged and unpleasant realities must be acknowledged. This requires conviction, courage and candour in all who wish to contribute to social harmony. Young people must be engaged in these efforts, so that they are not weighed down by past prejudices but can uplift their minds to seek a society where diversity results in confluence rather than conflict.

By K Srinath Reddy , is President - Public Health Foundation of India and a former head of cardiology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi.

Source: http://www.hardnewsmedia.com/2007/11/1669

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Silver Personality of the Month June 2008:Silver Innings


PANDURANG SITARAM SAWANT: A extraordinary common man


A person can be considered common by society at large but he can be extraordinary when it comes to development of ones own family and village. Due to lack of facilities for education, children from villages need to be sent to urban areas and towns and this involves tremendous sacrifices from families who manage to send their children. Mr. Pandurang Sawant is one such person who strongly felt that children from his own family and children from the village should avail of higher education facilities. He himself had to undergo a lot of difficulties and sufferings in order to do that.


The children from his family and from the village accustomed to a simple life and who were not even aware how to wear chappals have Now attained high positions in their respective fields.


Mr. P.S. Sawant was born on 22nd January 1928. He was a precocious child with a natural gifted memory. He used to be ready with answers even before his maths teacher could write the full questions on the blackboard. His favourite subject was geography and he was adept at drawing geographical maps. After completing his secondary education, he came to Mumbai for doing his Teachers’ Training Course.


He was greatly influenced by great personalities such as Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Sane Guruji, Jawaharlal Nehru, Acharya Jawadekar, Achyut Patwardhan. By reading books on their lives he developed a sense of strong patriotism and dedication to social causes. He returned to his village with a strong desire to create a social reform in his village. He started high schools in his village which were built as a result of ‘shramdaan’ or which literally means donating ones labor without expecting anything in return. In the same manner, he enabled building of good roads and starting of rationing shops. He has been a strong influence and molded lives of many children in his village.


Read more about Silver Personality of June 2008 : http://silverinnings.com/Silver%20Personality%20of%20the%20month.html



Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Best three Essay Selected by Silver Innings for Elder Abuse

Dear Friends,
Silver Innings is pleased to Announce the results of Essay campaign for World Elder Abuse Day 2008 "What is perception of society regarding Elder Abuse and what are your recommendation to Stop It"

The best three Essay are as Follow:
1st best - Dr.P.Vyasamoorthy
2nd best - Dr.P.V.Vaidyanathan
3rd best - Mr.Santosh Patil

To view this pls visit http://silverinnings.com/Articles.html , you can also visit this in New and Event menu and Article sub section on http://www.silverinnings.com/ .

Pls note we received Total 17 Essay from all over India.

You support and participation has given us more confidence to introduce more such interactive services on http://www.silverinnings.com/ .

Congratulation to the Best three and Thanks to all of you for your valuable support.

Warm Regards,
Sailesh Mishra
Founder - Silver Innings,A dedicated Organisation for Elders and their Family Members
Founder – ARDSI, Greater Mumbai Support Group
Advisor - Society for Serving SeniorsManaging Committee Member - ARDSI, Mumbai Chapter
Website : http://www.silverinnings.com/ Blog: http://peopleforsocialcause.blogspot.com/ ; http://silverinnings.blogspot.com/

Join Silver Innings - Free: http://silverinnings.com/primary%20individual%20form.asp

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Monday, June 9, 2008

More students for Social work

Anushri Misra loves dancing as much she likes doing social service. In fact, she aspires to have a career where she can work for the downtrodden and needy. Now she has got a wonderful opportunity to go to US and study how civil societies and non-government organisations work there.

Pranav Gupta aspires to become a chartered accountant. He loves solving complicated financial problems. All set to leave for US, the boy is looking forward to learn as to how US economy functions and how the respect for "change" and "individualism" among Americans has made their country a superpower.

These two Lucknow University students are among seven selected by the US embassy for US government’s sponsored programme — "Study of the US institutes by undergraduate students of the southeast Asian countries". It includes five weeks stay, from June 29 to August 3, in US educational institutes to study American culture, history and economics.

Students are selected on the basis of their leadership qualities, community involvement and extra-curricular activities. While six each were selected from Pakistan and Bangladesh, seven have made it from India after a grilling round of interview held in March. Of seven from India, two are from LU, four from Delhi colleges and one from Aligarh Muslim University.

"Given an opportunity, students of the Lucknow University can prove that they are no way inferior to those in Delhi," said Anushri, a student of BA III, Isabella Thoburn College. She would be staying at Green River Community College in Washington. She thanked LU and her college for providing her such a great opportunity.

"There are many students from Lucknow who are moving to Delhi as they feel that educational facilities here are not upto the mark. But now LU is providing platforms for its students," she said. Daughter of AN Misra, a PCS officer, Anushri is also keen to know how the American democracy works. Her mother Rachan teaches in IT college.

If Anushri had participated in many social activities and cultural events besides being associated with various social organisation along with her regular studies, Pranav is an excellent speaker and debater. He is also interested in dramatics and sports as well as has been in the national cadet corps since class sixth.

"It would be a big exposure for me to actually see and study about American economy," said Pranav, a student of BCom honours semester II, LU. He is also pursuing chartered accountancy course. Son of Vipin Gupta, a city-based businessman, Pranav would be staying in the University of Vermont, US. His mother, Vidhu Rashmi, is a homemaker. The names of these two students were forwarded along with others by the dean student welfare, LU, prof Nishi Pandey.

The US embassy took telephonic interview of all the students before short listing. In an interview, students were tested for their alertness, English language, their views of various socio-economic and political issues. The programme is aimed to promote deeper understanding of the US, while enhancing their leadership skills. Students will take part in seminars, discussions, presentations, classroom activities, educational visits, interaction with American peers, community service among other things. The US department of state will cover all the cost.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Lucknow/Another_feather_in_LU_cap/articleshow/3108183.cms

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Training young minds to tackle global issues

The summit aims to train students in global issues by conducting sessions similar to the UN general assembly, economic and social council, and security council during the four-day event. At the inauguration, the state minister civil aviation, Saurabh Patel appreciated this move by CII, of bringing young minds together, boosting their leadership quality and polishing their planning skills, which are the right keys to success.

Around 400 students from various disciplines like engineering, business, technology and architecture from 76 different institutes have participated in the summit.
"As many as 21 global issues like disarmament, world prices, and inflation will be debated upon. The sessions will also comprise resolutions that will be later sent as a report to the UN," said national vice-chairman of Young Indians, Rahul Mirchandani.

Saurabh Patel added that students should also discuss the national and state-based issues in this summit. Chairman of CII, Vimal Ambani, excutive chairman of YI organisation, Shiraz Gidwani, national chairman of YI, Jay Galla and chairman of YI Ahmedabad chapter Alok Sanghi were present at the inauguration.

Source: http://sify.com/finance/fullstory.php?id=14690085

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Info on funds to NGOs to be made public

Government funds granted to NGOs and other outside agencies will now be brought under the public scanner. This follows a direction from none other than the Prime Minister’s Office, which has instructed all social sector ministries to compulsorily place in the public domain all information on grants provided to NGOs.

Such data will now have to be made public on India Portal, a special web interface created by the National informatics Centre to improve transparency in government functioning. Not just that, the ministries will now also have to provide this interface to entertain NGOs’ applications for accessing of grants from them.

To begin with, these guidelines have been issued to the ministries of social justice and empowerment, culture, human resource development, health, women and child development, National Aids Control Organisation and CAPART, a major NGO funding organisation.

“This is only the beginning and after watching the results, this will be made compulsory for all departments with those grants,” the guidelines add. The move aims to cleanse the social sector, where accessing and grant of government funds does not happen in a very transparent atmosphere. The idea is to break the culture of secrecy, sources say, referring to another major guideline that directs that all applications from this financial year for the above ministries and CAPART will compulsorily be available on the web interface along with the details of grants provided.

In the meantime, the paper application route will also continue to be available so that no technological or linguistic barriers are created while transacting with the government. The guidelines, however, mandate that all information on applications received through the paper route also be made available by the ministry concerned on the web-enabled interface. The system will work simply.

Every civil society organisation will be automatically assigned a unique identification number by the NIC software application upon particulars being registered with the portal database. Further, each application will also be automatically assigned a unique reference number that must be cited in all future correspondence, processing and approvals. “In case of information received through paper route, the ministry will itself enter the said information into the database and communicate to the NGO concerned their identification and application reference numbers.

The ministries will further have to indicate these numbers on the sanction orders and financial approvals issued by them,” the guidelines clarify. An inter-ministerial coordination group comprising nodal officers from each of the above-mentioned five ministries will be set up to ensure that information is captured on line from NGOs as well as ministries at each stage.

Source: http://www.lakesparadise.com/readnews.php?id=31798

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Public hearings give rural women a voice

Rajasthan is historically known for its cultural traditions and the epic tales of valour of its womenfolk are legendary. But sadly, today, this state fails to present a vibrant picture with regard to the status of its women who lead a backward existence.

Though geographically the largest state in India, Rajasthan’s human development indicators are dismal with a sex ratio of 922 women for every 1,000 men. Girls and women suffer grossly from poor health, social discrimination, poverty and paucity of resources.

Female literacy levels stand at 44.34 percent as compared to the national average of 54.16 percent while maternal mortality ratio is 667 per 100,000 live births and infant mortality rate 85 per 1,000 babies born in the state, according to the latest census figures.

Set against this stark neglect, a glimmer of hope for the State’s the Jan Sunvaiyan (public hearings). Organised by the Rajasthan State Women’s Commission (RSWC), an autonomous body set up by the state government in 1999, these hearings have the status of a civil court and investigate complaints brought before it by women and recommend the appropriate line of justice.

A patient hearing
Its primary objective says chairperson Tara Bhandi, is to bring the marginalised female population into the mainstream and provide speedy justice to genuine grievances and complaints of women. The presence, at the hearings, of top officials of the local administration ensures greater emphasis on accountability and bridging the information gap between the government and the public.

Presiding over a recent public hearing held in the district town of Sawai Madhopur, situated some 200 km away from the state capital of Jaipur, the RSWC chairperson efficiently and with infinite patience lends her ear to the 200-odd women gathered in the main town hall.
One by one, women who have travelled long distances from remote villages in the district to get a fair hearing, stand up and walk to the podium to air grievances ranging from problems in accessing health facilities, inefficiency of health workers, corruption at the panchayat (local government) level, discrimination in and lack of access to schools, sexual harassment at the work place and domestic abuse relating to dowry and alcohol abuse.

After each case, the chairperson turns to her fellow members on the podium and holds a brief consultation after which a verdict is given.

In some cases, the top police official asks his staff to note the name of errant husbands and call them to the nearest police station for follow-up action within two weeks. More serious complaints are forwarded to the state government which is bound to deal with the matter and inform the commission within three months on actions taken.

Some women complained that they had not been given employment in their villages in accordance with the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). The district collector of Sawai Madhopur, Devashish Prusty, immediately asked the 15 women to give their names to the district official concerned, who was present, and directed this official to ensure that speedy steps were taken to give the women job cards.

Speedy justice
Sukhi Devi is just one of the women who came away satisfied from the hearing. "I was at my wit's end because my husband married again and brought the other woman into our home", she states. When he threatened to throw Sukhi Devi and their children out of their home, the traumatised woman appealed to the public hearing at Sawai Madhopur.

Another pleased woman is Urmila, who was assured that her jobless husband, who spent all his time drinking and gambling and abused her when she asked for household expenses, would be tackled. "The Jan Sunvaiyan has empowered women like me. Now our menfolk will think twice before exploiting and abusing us", she asserts strongly.

According to Kusum Bhandari, RSCW registrar and former district and sessions judge, "Over 85 per cent of the total 7,991 cases brought before the public hearings since their inception three years back have been resolved".

Conceptualised by the UNICEF, the preparation for a hearing starts a couple of weeks before the meeting. A credible NGO working in the field is mobilised to support the women and encourage them to bring their problems to the Commission’s hearing. So far, public hearings have been conducted in 30 districts of Rajasthan.

The task of the Commission, Bhandari points out, is daunting as Rajasthan is one of the more backward states in India. But the success and value of this initiative can be gauged by the fact that hundreds of women, often accompanied by relatives, friends and children attend. "They use whatever means possible, be it a three-wheeler, a bullock cart, bicycle or on foot," she adds.

Source: http://southasia.oneworld.net/Article/public-hearings-give-rural-women-a-voice

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Delhi children at risk due to lead in household dust

A new study by Toxics Link, has revealed alarmingly high level of lead in household dust in Delhi. This has serious implications especially for children who ingest the dust while playing, and is surprising since lead in petrol has been removed since 2000.

It indicates that there are other sources of lead, such as paints, which could be contributing to these levels. It is not unlikely that the situation is similar in other cities in the country.
Over 57 households, all over the city were sampled for lead level in floor and windowsill dust, 31% of the samples of floor dust tested contained levels of lead that would be considered hazardous by the USEPA; whereas 14% of the samples of windowsill dust tested contained levels of lead that would be considered hazardous by the same agency.

Not unique to Delhi
Toxics Link thinks that the problem of high levels of lead in house dust is not unique to Delhi, but is common to other cities in India. More study is needed to confirm this and immediate action should be taken. After removing lead from petrol it is now time to remove lead from all interior and exterior household paints.

“India must legislate the removal of lead from products such as paints and toys to ensure a healthy future generation, unaffected by this dangerous heavy metal. It is time the industry stops quibbling and take immediate action since the issue is more than half a century old, and such products are not permitted in developed countries. Do we want a future generation which has a compromised intelligence?” asked Ravi Agarwal, Director, Toxics Link.

This is the fifth study in the series from Toxics Link on presence of heavy metals in our lives such as lead and mercury. The study titled: Dusty Toxics: A Study on Lead in Household Dust in Delhi unravels the high presence of the heavy metal even in the safe environs of one’s house.
The study collected wipe samples for settled dust from both floors and interior windowsills from 33 homes and 24 apartments during the winter of November-December 2007 following USEPA’s method.

A total of 155 dust wipe samples were collected (which including field blanks) from these homes located in six parts of Delhi, viz., North Delhi, South Delhi, South-West Delhi, West Delhi, East Delhi and Central Delhi. The sampling zones were divided into North Delhi, South Delhi, East Delhi, West Delhi, Central Delhi and South West Delhi.

On average 4 to 5 samples of dust from settled dust from inside windowsill was collected as well as from the floor and under the furniture. The average lead loading for floor samples is 36.24 µg/ft2. The average lead loading values for windowsill samples is 129.48 µg/ft2.
The range of values for floor dust samples range from 0 to 221.57 µg/ft2, while for windowsill dust samples the range is 3.88 µg/ft2 to 558.48 µg/ft2.

US standards
“Safe” levels for children have been constantly revised downwards. Even the USEPA is now considering revising the current permissible levels of lead in children’s blood.
Presently 10µg/dl in children’s blood is considered hazardous but recent studies have proven otherwise and even 5 µg/dl or less have proved to be significantly hazardous. It is major source of concern for child - health as intelligence is permanently affected in these children.
Lead is a heavy metal, highly toxic, which reduces intelligence for life, especially in children. Household dust is a major source of childhood lead exposure. Although children are known to eat paint chips, contaminated dust and soil are often the most significant sources of exposure for children.

Exposure may also occur from lead paint when smaller particles become airborne during sanding and scrapping while repainting and remodeling. In addition, damaged paint and the weathering of paints on the exterior of buildings also contribute to lead in soil and exterior dust.
Contaminated soil is a particularly significant source of exposure to children. Ingestion of contaminated soil, interior and exterior dust and lead based paint chips are important sources of lead exposure in infants and young children.

Harmful to children
Childhood lead exposure adversely affects cognitive and behavioural development. Poor muscle coordination and decreased muscle growth can also occur. High levels of blood lead can lead to severe stomach cramps with seizure. No level of lead in blood is considered safe.
Even low quantities of lead intake in children can damage their nervous system and kidneys. Studies are finding adverse affects of lead at lower and lower levels. The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests that IQ loss can be expected from blood lead levels as low as 5 µg/dl. Some researchers now argue that public health interventions should be triggered when a child’s blood level is above 2 µg/dl.

Toxics Link would recommend paragraph 57 on Health and Sustainable Development from the Plan of Implementation World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Johannesburg, 2002.Toxics Link had also published two other significant studies on this heavy metal namely Toying with Toxics in 2006 and Brush with Toxics in 2007.

Dr. Abhay Kumar who has been instrumental in exploring various possible lead exposure pathways said: “After phasing out of lead from gasoline it is desirable of the government to move further ahead and take necessary steps to regulate use of lead in products such as paint, which is the prime contributor of lead contamination of dust. Lead contaminated dust the important pathway for children’s lead exposure. Keeping standards voluntary is a serious compromise with the health and well being of future generations. These standards should be made mandatory.”

For more information contact:
Ravi Agarwal: +919810037355
Dr. Abhay Kumar: +919868739792
Prashant Pastore: +919968205393
Pragya Majumder: +919811864256

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.