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South Asian Development News
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Low-cost Hygiene

A simple eco-friendly low-cost incinerator developed for disposing of sanitary napkins by Shyamsunder Bedekar, 54, from Gujarat is transforming womens lives in rural and semi-urban areas, with 1,800 units already sold in four years.

( Source: TheWeekendLeader, Posted: Jul 27, 2016)
 
Nutritious Food for Homeless People in Chennai

When cooking at home for your family or yourself, cook some extra food that can serve a few people, pack it neatly, and wait. After some time, there will be someone at your doorstep to pick the food up and deliver it to the homeless people in your locality.

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Jul 26, 2016)
 
Rural Men Champion Womens Rights

A unique intervention with the local men has motivated them to shed their rigid patriarchal mindset and become champions of women’s rights and equality in this village.

( Source: IndiaTogether, Posted: Jul 25, 2016)
 
Nepali Farmers Fight to Save Indigenous Seeds

With policy gaps that hinder innovation and marginalise indigenous seeds, Nepal’s experts are calling for a new approach.

( Source: OneWorld, Posted: Jul 25, 2016)
 
Hope in Bihar

The state of Bihar is well-known for lagging behind in all economic and human development indicators. Under progressive governance and grassroots action by its citizens when these are implemented state-wise, Bihar would be well on the path of progress.

( Source: IndiaTogether, Posted: Jul 19, 2016)
 
Poop to Paper

The father-daughter duo of Mahesh and Nisha Bora is making paper from elephant and rhino poop, which is helping in the conservation of the one-horned rhinos in Assam

( Source: TheWeekendLeader, Posted: Jul 19, 2016)
 
The GM Food Controversy

A letter to Greenpeace endorsed by over 100 Nobel Laureates has yet again ignited a debate on whether genetically modified crops are safe or not.

( Source: The Hindu, Posted: Jul 19, 2016)
 
One Heart: A Mission To Save Lives in Childbirth

Upon her return from Tibet, Samen, 54, created One H.E.A.R.T. (Health Education And Research in Tibet) to combat the high infant and maternal mortality rates in Tibet and around the world.

( Source: CNN, Posted: Jul 19, 2016)
 
Will a Ban on Triple Talaq Truly Help?

Discussions on the ban on triple talaq are getting heated and the positions of the contesting parties are getting rigid with the All India Muslim Personal Law Board at one end and aggrieved women, and their supporters, at the other.

( Source: dawn.com, Posted: Jul 12, 2016)
 
Chandra Shekhar Ghosh: Man on a Micro-finance Mission

Bandhan, a non-profit, with microfinance as its main component, came into existence in July 2001 at Konnagar. The name Bandhan was chosen with care as it means togetherness.

( Source: TheWeekendLeader, Posted: Jul 12, 2016)
 
Odisha Continues to Arrest Anti-mining Activists

Debaranjan Sarangi, a documentary film maker, writer and human rights activist involved with the anti-mining movement of the Adivasis in Odisha was arrested recently in Kashipur, Odisha. with Adivasis and their struggles.

( Source: IndiaTogether, Posted: Jul 12, 2016)
 
Suitcase Lab in the Fight Against Kala-azar

Experts see the development of the solar-powered portable lab as an important tool for surveillance against the fly that spreads kala-azar.

( Source: OneWorld, Posted: Jul 12, 2016)
 
A Misplaced Emphasis on Highways?

Why does the government continue with its blind focus on highways and expressways when there is more to public infrastructure?

( Source: IndiaTogether, Posted: Jul 5, 2016)
 
Student Sets up Water ATM

A student of Class 11 in Mumbai has started an initiative to set up water ATMs  in to provide clean drinking water to 300 families in Sholapur, Maharashtra.

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Jul 5, 2016)
 
Understanding Aquifers

Often not discussed is what is groundwater and where are we drawing the water from when we drill borewells.

( Source: The Hindu, Posted: Jul 5, 2016)
 
Mitsuko Trust: Spreading the Use of Eco Loo

Mitsuko felt very strongly about child rights. A child has to be able to complain to improve her life. So we started working with the Village Child Committee and began the Bal Gram Panchayat, a safe space for children to talk about what matters to them

( Source: Milaap, Posted: Jul 5, 2016)
 
CO2 Levels Cross 400 ppm in Antartica

A study, conducted by scientists at the UK Met Office, used emissions data, sea surface temperature figures, and a climate model from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii to assess the CO2 levels. It discovered that carbon dioxide will for the first time remain above 400 ppm all year.

( Source: DownToEarth, Posted: Jun 28, 2016)
 
Law Student Works to Reform Kids in Juvenile Home

From counselling sessions to confidence building classes, these children in Yerwada are being well-prepared for the world outside. Nitika Nagar, a final year student of Symbiosis Law School in Pune, had sociology as a subject when she was in her first year. She was working on a project with three other students for the same. The project involved visiting a juvenile home and writing an analysis based on their observations. She and her teammates started interacting with the superintendents and probation officers in the juvenile home, along with taking sessions with the children to speak with them and understand their situation from a legal point of view.

"We were involved in a lot of in-depth research and while working on the project I realised that I was getting very personally involved with these children. I started empathising with them and wanted to help them in some way. I feel that the situation of the children in juvenile homes is very different from other children, like those living on streets. They go through their own emotional and mental turmoil, but for juveniles it is very different because they have lost their sense of right and wrong. And whatever they have done is mostly driven by circumstances. Moreover the situation of juvenile homes is very bad today. All of this really made me think about the issue and drove me towards working for the children," says Nitika.

In 2013, she started a student group named Preshti to work for the reformation of children in juvenile homes. Preshti is now an NGO operating under the aegis of Alexis Society, an international non-profit organization.

[caption id="attachment_59973" align="aligncenter" width="960"]nitika Nitika Nagar[/caption] She started the group with 12 other students. In the beginning, Nitika didn’t have an organizational setup. It was just the students who used to give legal aid to the juveniles and conduct educational programs for them. But the team has a proper administrative setup now and they have worked with over 40 children at the Nehru Udyog Kendra in Yerawada, Pune. Preshti teams up with psychologists who visit the juvenile home in Yerawada and provide individual as well as team counselling sessions to the inmates. Group counselling sessions take place thrice a week and individual counselling sessions are conducted almost every day depending upon the need of the child. There is a proper segregation of kids based on the crime they have committed and the level of counselling they will need. Those who commit theft, robbery, etc. and are not habitual offenders need one-time counselling, while those who come in for crimes like murder, rape, etc. need continuous treatment and therapy. The psychologists are not involved with the team on a permanent basis but work mostly on contracts. People from Chetna Counselling Centre in Pune and psychology professors from Symbiosis have worked with them for a very long time. The team also has psychology graduates who assist the professionals in one-on-one sessions.

Additionally, Nitika is planning to start coaching sessions for the children too.

juvenile home
Picture for representation only. Source: Flickr
“There are many children who want to continue with their education once they are free. But it becomes very difficult for them to cope up after a long gap. We will try and help them come back on track in terms of their academics. We are already helping those who are about to be released in filing out their Class 10 exam forms, in enrolling them for different vocational training classes, etc.” says Nitika.

She herself took some training in the fields of communication, health and hygiene so that she would be able to conduct sessions regarding the same with the children. The team also conducts behavioural therapy sessions through theatre and drama.

Nitika 2
“In my communication and confidence building classes I try and encourage every child to stand up and speak so that they learn how to open up and express themselves,” says Nitika.
Preshti’s core team has five members and there are seven other members working with them. These are all college students from different backgrounds in Pune, like psychology students, those pursuing social work, management students, etc. The law students are involved in providing legal aid to the parents to make them more aware of the juvenile justice act, etc. While the organization is working on a more concrete funding model, they have received some individual and corporate funding as of now. The team members also pitch in whenever required. Aakash, who was recently released from the juvenile home in Yerwada, was brought in for theft. During the initial days, he was so shy and scared that he did not speak to anyone. For him, the idea of moving out and leading a normal life was not something usual. However, after seven sessions with Nitika, he finally started talking and opening up. He began reading, talking to his peers, and became a more confident individual overall. He even came up to Nitika one day and said that it was because of her that he was able to speak up and had even started talking to his parents properly.
“It was a very emotional moment for me. These children need to come out of the mental setup that they have. Other than reforming them and bring them on track, we are also trying to make them realise that they have avenues towards a better life and they are not as helpless as they were when they first came into the juvenile home,” says Nitika who plans on expanding Preshti after college and working with more professional people in the future.

Like this story? Have something to share? Email: contact@thebetterindia.com, or join us on Facebook and Twitter (@thebetterindia). To get positive news on WhatsApp, just send 'Start' to 090 2900 3600 via WhatsApp.

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Jun 28, 2016)
 
India launches e-Gov tools for Nursing

Indian Minister for Health, J P Nadda launched a Live Register for Nurses that can help smoothen government planning for accessible, affordable and quality healthcare delivery.

( Source: OneWorld, Posted: Jun 28, 2016)
 
Water Guzzlers in Water-stressed Areas

This summer, stories of the impacts of drought and water scarcity have been coming up with regularity. But coal based industries in these areas are playing the role of guzzlers.

( Source: IndiaTogether, Posted: Jun 28, 2016)
 
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