Indian NGO advocates remarriage of ‘tiger widows’

There are more than 3000 ‘tiger widows’ – women whose husbands have been killed by the ferocious animal – in India’s West Bengal state. Neglected by the administration and shunned by society, there is a new ray of hope in their dark lives as a leading Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Sulabh International, has launched a timely programme to rescue and rehabilitate them.

It is ironical that while the government spends millions of Rupees annually to protect and increase the population of the Royal Bengal Tiger in the famed Sundarbans – the largest mangrove forest on earth in the world’s biggest river delta straddling West Bengal and Bangladesh – its victims and their dependants are invariably left to fend for themselves on the plea that villagers have no business venturing into the tiger habitat where there is every likelihood of them falling prey to the king of the jungle.

Defying regulations

Defying regulations, impoverished locals regularly sneak into the tiger reserve to fish, collect honey and wood or catch crabs for a living. When the men venture into the dangerous mangrove forest in groups, their wives spend long hours praying for their safe return. But many of them are inevitably killed by man-eaters and their widows are branded ‘Bag Bidhoba’ or tiger widows.

Superstitious villagers hold the widows responsible for their husband’s fate and shun them without remorse. Ostracised by society, the widows find it difficult to feed themselves and their children. There is no question of their remarriage because of the popular notion that their second husband would meet the same fate as the first. They have no option but to beg for a living or migrate to a city where they live in pitiable conditions.

Sulabh International Chairman Bindeshwari Pathak announced in Calcutta, capital of West Bengal, this month that his NGO would pull out all stops to change people’s mindset to clear the decks for remarriage of young tiger widows. He also advocated vocational training in tailoring, knitting, embroidery and incense-stick making for widows of all ages to make them economically independent and bring sunshine into their gloomy lives.

Plan of action

Pathak declared his plan of action in the presence of dozens of tiger widows and two key West Bengal ministers: Subrata Mukherjee, Minister for Public Health Engineering and Panchayat and Sashi Panja, Minister for Women and Child Development. The ministers promised full government backing for Pathak’s blueprint to help Sundarbans’ hapless women. Panja lamented that their pathetic existence was a blot on society and the government which did nothing for decades to ameliorate their suffering.

Pathak’s intervention has raised hopes because of his track record of coming to the aid of widows in Varanasi and Vrindavan – two of India’s holiest cities where many Indians banish their womenfolk after their husbands’ death so that they can appropriate their properties and wealth. As Sulabh International has consistently fought for widows’ rights, it has the right credentials to restore the dignity of Sunderbans’ wronged women.

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52 per cent senior citizens apply for maintenance allowance: NGO Survey

NEW DELHI: At least 52 per cent senior citizens move court for maintenance allowance while 48 per cent are involved in property-related disputes, including revoking of their will, according to a survey conducted in four states by an NGO.

The Helpage India survey on the effectiveness of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was conducted in eight districts of four states — Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The states were selected based on the preparedness to implement the act and the number of cases filed and settled over a period of time. Two districts from each state were selected based on the highest number of petitions filed.

“58 per cent petitioners faced physical abuse (beating and hitting), 28 per cent suffered mental torture. Most cases of physical abuse were reported from Punjab, mental torture from Kerala and neglect from Tamil Nadu,” the survey findings revealed.

According to the survey, at least 52 per cent applied for maintenance allowance and 48 per cent for property-related disputes, including the revoking of will.

Maintenance-related petitions were highest in Punjab and property-related petitions were high both in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

While 36 per cent petitioners faced open disapproval for filing the petition, 31 per cent of them were “avoided” by other family members after filing the petition.

At least 24 per cent petitioners had to face indifference of the family members while abuse from family members increased in 2 per cent cases.

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NGO helps combating Dangers of E – Waste

Bengaluru is the third largest producer of e-waste in the country.

 

Bengaluru: If India is today the fifth largest producer of e-waste in the world, Bengaluru is the third highest producer of it in the country , only after Mumbai and Delhi.  And here’s the shocker :  Only 10 per cent of the city’s 37,000 metric tonnes of e-waste is treated, says an NGO,  Environmental Synergies in Development (Ensyde).

With the rest of e-waste finding its way into water bodies, the city’s groundwater could be in danger of contamination,  activists rightly warn.

 

“If not properly disposed, the lithium that is found in mobile phones and computer batteries could leach through the soil to reach groundwater, which local communities often depend on for drinking. This could be a serious health hazard,” says Mr Mahesh Kashyap, a consultant with Centre for Sustainable Development. Pointing out that e-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, Mr Pranshu Singhal, founder of Karo Sambhav, an e-waste producer responsibility organization, says as much as 95 per cent of e-waste is handled by the informal sector in ways that are harmful to the environment. ” With growing e-waste, the number of impacted livelihoods in the informal sector will also grow,” he warns.

Thankfully, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change proposed amendments to the rules on e-waste management last year to allow the e-waste recycling ecosystem in India to build its capacity and meet targets.

“The proposed rules will enable producers to make an informed choice in picking a responsible recycling partner, who offers the best available technology instead of working with any authorised recycler to meet the collection targets. This minimizes the risks involved in working with an industry which has lacked the required scale and competence” Mr Singhal explains, welcoming the fact that the amended rules provide clarity as well on the penal provisions for violation of the e-waste management regulations.

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आर्मी वाइव्स एनजीओ शुद्ध पानी प्रदान करता है – सेना जल!

 

आर्मी वाइफ वेलफेयर एसोसिएशन ने ‘सेना जल’ की पहल शुरू की है। इसके तहत महज 6 रुपये में बोतल बंद पानी मिलेगा। अमूमन पानी की एक बोतल बाजार में 15-20 रुपये में मिलती है। समाचार एजेंसी एएनआई की खबर के मुताबिक पानी के बोतलों की बिक्री से होने वाली कमाई जवानों और युद्ध में शहीद हुए सैनिकों की विधवाओं के लिए खर्च की जाएगी। बेहद कम दाम में पानी की बोतल मुहैया कराने के लिए सोशल मीडिया पर लोगों ने इसका जमकर स्वागत किया है। लोगों की प्रतिक्रियाओं की बाढ़ सी आ गई है। लोग अभी से अपने-अपने इलाकों में पानी की इन बोतलों की मांग कर रहे हैं। एक यूजर ने पहल का स्वागत करते हुए ट्विटर पर लिखा- ”यह बहुत अच्छी पहल है। जो लोग हमारे लिए दिन-रात काम करते हैं, उनके प्रति जागरूकता देखकर अच्छा लग रहा है। कोई भी शख्स प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी के कामों को नकार सकता है, लेकिन इस बात को नहीं झुठला सकता है कि इस जागरूकता के पीछे पीएम मोदी का हाथ है।”

सेना जल के प्रति लोगों का झुकाव सोशल मीडिया पर साफ नजर आ रहा है। लोग पूछ रहे हैं कि फिलहाल इस पानी को कहां से खरीदा जा सकता है। एक यूजर ने लिखा कि जबरदस्त काम किया है। गौरव शिंदे नाम के यूजर ने पूछा है कि यह पहल केवल सेना के अधिकारियों पर लागू होगी या सैनिकों की पत्नियों को भी शेयर मिलेगा? मिस्टर एम ने पूछा- ”क्या कुरियर के जरिये यह पानी मिल सकता है?” निशांत सोनी ने लोगों से ट्वीट कर गुहार लगाई है कि इस पानी के उपलब्ध होने पर वे दूसरी किसी कंपनी का पानी न खरीदें। बाबू थकेला ने इस बात को लेकर आशंका भी जताई है कि क्या कॉरपोरेट कंपनियां इस ब्रांड को तरक्की करने देंगी। 

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Army Wives’ NGO provides Pure Water – Sena Jal!

sena jal, indian army, water bottle indian army, indian army wives, sena jal water bottles, Army Wives Welfare Association, awwa, war widows, soldier families sena jal

 

Next time when you are thirsty and want to buy a bottle of water, apart from the well-known mineral water brands, there is another alternative for you. Sena Jal, an initiative of the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA), will cater water bottles to you at just Rs 6. AWWA is itself making these Sena Jal water bottles. Its packaged water bottle was inaugurated on October 11, 2017 and from then onwards, they are updating their services from time to time. Sena Jal is Made by our Indian Army Families. They are also offering Sena Jal for Rs 10 which can cater to you as well as your family.

But, what appeals most to buying these water bottles is that money collected will be used in the welfare of soldiers & war widows, and hence will be a support to the Indian Army. Also, to help families of soldiers, the dealership of Sena Jal can also be obtained. You just have to contact the AWWA Secretariat at the Defence Headquarters in New Delhi for the same.

AWWA it is an invisible hand to Indian Army. Madhulika Rawat, wife of current army chief General Bipin Rawat is running this AWWA. It is one of the largest voluntary organizations in India that has charted its course for fulfilling the societal obligation through social empowerment and skill building of spouses and dependents of Army personnel. AWWA aims at the holistic development and well-being of Army Wives including their children and rehabilitation of war widows and differently-abled children.

It also takes an active part in the activities of Central and State Governments in their efforts towards national re-construction aimed at improving the living conditions of rural poor amongst the above categories of persons and protecting the human rights violation against the Army personnel and their families. AWWA provides emotional support and financial succour to its brave heart widows and is constantly working for the social and economic empowerment of this section. For socio-economic empowerment of this section, many micro ventures like Project Aahwan, Parisharm Cell, Lunch Projects, Paper Recycling plant etc have been initiated.

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NGO – Sexual harassment act not implemented.

Sexual harassment

 

Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Centre and all states in a PIL highlighting sexual harassment of women at workplaces despite Parliament enacting the Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act in 2013.

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra issued the notice on the heels of a petition filed by the NGO — Initiatives for Inclusion Foundation, which seeks the implementation of the Act as well. The top court has granted the Centre and all states four weeks to file their response.

Representing the NGO, advocate Sanjay Parikh informed the top court that the Act was not being implemented in letter and spirit. Local district officers and complaints committees were not being appointed, leaving the victims with no legal forums where they could address their complaints.

In August 1997, the top court had laid down the “Vishaka Guidelines” for setting up an internal committee that would be headed by a woman in every government and private organisation to deal with complaints of sexual harassment at workplace.

However, in 2013, the Vishakha guidelines were replaced with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, Redressal) Act, which was more comprehensive and covered all sectors including the unorganised sector and domestic workers.

The Act not only expanded the definition of a “workspace” to include many public and private places such as stadiums, sports institutes, and even houses, it also chalked out the composition of the internal complaints committee, appointed district officers to look into complaints, the constitution of a local complaints committee and nodal officers.

Every organisation that employs more than 10 persons must have an internal committee to look into complaints. Complaints from organisations employing less than 10 persons can be lodged with the local complaints committees at the district level.

The Act defines “sexual harassment” as any unwanted physical contact or advances, demand or request for sexual favours, making sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography or any other physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.

BROADER LAW

Vishaka Guidelines were in 2013 replaced with Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, which expanded the definition of work spaces

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NGO opens free medical store

Ludhiana: Small medical store has been opened up by the EK Noor NGO, in the premises of Civil hospital, In which they are providing free medicines to the poor patients. Allegedly it has been opened up without the permission.
While the EK Noor NGO use to help the poor patients, by guiding them In the hospital and taking care who wanted any kind of help.

Apparently, now they have opened up the pharmacy, and also kept Two pharmacist and provide free medicines to the poor patients.

Amarjit Singh, from Ek Noor NGO said, :Yes we have opened up a small pharmacy and have kept few medicines also. We bring medicine from a wholesale shops from city itself and give these medicines to poor patients. He further added, ” Two pharmacist are their as well. Medicines are given from our help desk which is made to guide the patients. He added we are doing sewa and helping the poor patients.

On asking whether the permission has been taken to open this pharmacy in civil hospital he added, ” We did give a letter to Deputy Commissioner, Civil surgeon and to higher authorities. On asking for the copy of letter, he denied saying, can’t be provided at the moment.

Dr. Kulwinder Singh, Senior Medical Officer said, ” I also got to Know about this Two days back only and I will get it enquire about the same. He further added, ” no one can open up pharmacy within the premises of Civil hospital like this. Earlier they use to provide free medicines which were not available inside, or use to help some or the other way , but opening up a pharmacy is not allowed because there is already a pharmacy inside IN which govt is sending medicines.

Hardeep Singh Ghai, Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana district added, ” We can’t give any permission neither we have given to open any kind of medical store within the Civil hospital. They did come to me to talk about the same, but I denied saying we cant give any such permission, and if they have any proposal they can give in written to us.
Brahm Mohindera, Health Minister, while talking to Times of India on phone said, ” this is not allowed at all. I have told Civil surgeon to visit the spot immediately and check and give me first hand information. He further added, ” it can’t be open within the premises of Civil hospital. If their is anything it will be checked immediately.

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Mysuru NGO to set up ‘Pink Library’

MYSURU: Kalisu Foundation, an NGO involved in setting up libraries at government schools, will be setting up a first-of-its-kind —Pink Library — in the city. Of 100 libraries it plans to develop in 2018, Government Girls High School at N R Mohalla will be getting a sophisticated library.

Sharing the road map for 2018, scion of Mysuru royal family Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, who is also the ambassador of the foundation, on Wednesday said: “In Mysuru district alone, there are 3,800 government schools including 750 in the urban limits. It is essential to set up libraries to increase the knowledge level of students.”

M N Nikhilesh of the foundation said, the pink library aims at empowerment of girl students. The foundation takes a maximum of 30 days to set up a library which is mainly inspired by gurukula system that was in vogue earlier. Unlike other libraries, charpoys made of bamboo and low height desks with open book shelves are used here.

Of the 100 schools which are yet to be identified, focus will be on Mysuru region apart from other parts of the state.Industrialist Imran Khan whose Masu Foundation has tied up with Kalisu said: “The very initiative started from a government school at Srirangapatna in Mandya district.” Another industrialist Arjun Ranga emphasised on spreading the message of hygiene and morality among children. Earlier, saplings were distributed to students of government school at Kuvempunagar.

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IRCTC CSR, NGO to Treat Patients With Life-Threatening Blood Disorder

20-year-old Harish battling Thalassemia Major receives his first blood tranfusion at TWF's newly inaugurated centre at Bhailal Amin Hospital in Vadodara, Gujarat. (Source: TWF)

As part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, the IRCTC will deliver Rs 13 lakh to the NGO. This sum will be spent on equipping blood transfusion centres in Pune and Ajmer with modern equipment that are both safe and efficient. In Pune, the facility will be built in partnership with the Indian Red Cross Society, while TWF is in talks with various medical facilities and organisation for the Ajmer centre.

“In most cities, blood banks are yet not able to provide nucleic acid testing facilities, which eliminates the chances of transfusion-related infections such as Hepatitis, etc.,” says Partth Thakur, founder and chairperson of TWF. As a patient suffering from Thalassemia major, Thakur is keenly aware of what more is required to tackle this problem.

“More importantly, the price of leukocyte blood filters should come down substantially. At current prices, the facility is way beyond the reach of ordinary citizens, thus leaving them with little option but not to use one,” he adds.

Also, these blood transfusion centres will also double up as a repository for iron chelation pumps. What these pumps do is get rid of the excess iron from a patient’s body. One such pump costs approximately Rs 36,000 in the open market.

Speaking to The Better India, senior members of TWF have said that these facilities will provide the pump to a patient free of charge which he/she will return after use. While the Indian Railways is funding the refurbishing of these centres, the recurring costs will be taken care of through contributions from individual donations and the managing trustee of TWF.

The project is slated for completion by the end of January 2018.

20-year-old Harish battling Thalassemia Major receives his first blood tranfusion at TWF's newly inaugurated centre at Bhailal Amin Hospital in Vadodara, Gujarat. (Source: TWF)

“Of all the patients registered with us most of them are underprivileged and find it difficult to avail of basic healthcare facilities like blood filters during blood transfusion and an infusion pump for iron chelation,” says Komal Mishra, President of TWF.

“Since last year, we at TWF, have focussed on looking after the healthcare needs of patients who cannot afford it and the blood transfusion centre is one such endeavour of ours to overcome it. In the upcoming year, we plan to work setting up infusion pump libraries at different blood transfusion centres so that maximum patients can benefit out of it,” Mishra adds.

Earlier this year, TWF secured ISO 9001:2015 certification. Their objective is to work towards raising the standard of living for patients in different cities by providing lifesaving medicines and giving them a sense of community.

“Looking at their past accomplishments and the purpose of providing best healthcare facilities, we went ahead with this association,” said MP Mall, the CMD of IRCTC. “We hope to bring the much-needed attention towards providing safe blood transfusion facilities to the patients and thereby enable them to live a healthy life.”

TWF’s tie-up with IRCTC is one such step towards making the lives of these patients easier. “We need more companies and individuals to associate with us so that we can improve the Thalassemia scenario in India,” Thakur adds.

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New Role for NGOs – E Waste Management

Delhi Public School (DPS)-Patna, Foundation School-Buxar and Shri Ram Centennial School (SRCS)-Patna were rewarded at a workshop here on Tuesday for their commitment towards working for a sustainable environment. It was organized under Karo Sambhav school programme, which aims at building awareness and inspiring students to act on recycling of e-waste (waste from old and unused electronic equipment).

Dps was rewarded for maximum collection of e-waste, Foundation School-Buxar for best execution of toolkits and SRCS-Patna got the best sustainable school award. Senior scientist of Bihar State Pollution Control Board Naveen Kumar honoured the representatives of the schools and appreciated their endeavours. “Such programmes encourage the students to lead a sustainable life and inspire them to become the catalysts of change,” Kumar said.

Around 75 schools from across the state participated in the three-phase awareness programme over a period of four months. In the initial phase, teachers were given training on the specially designed toolkit, consisting of six exercises based on circular economy, understanding waste, design for environment, e-waste introduction and collection, petitions and potential career options in the field of environment.
Organisers said the e-waste awareness initiatives, first of its kind in the country, comprise strategies like circular economy and inspiring the students and teachers alike to take actions in their daily lives. “We have designed a curriculum which enables development of teacher’s competence and empowers them to achieve the goals. We target students as it would cover many households in the city and make recyclable chain more environment-friendly.”

The teachers and students explained how the programme helped them to become responsible citizens to make the cleaner, greener and smarter city.

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