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Google Grants for Four Indian Organizatons

Google.org on Thursday announced grants of US$8.4 million to four Indian NGOs including Learning Equality, Million Sparks Foundation, Pratham Books StoryWeaver, and Pratham Education Foundation over the next two years.

( Source: OneWorld, Posted: Apr 25, 2017)
Sabeen Mahmud: Dying for Peace

Peace activist and founder of T2F Sabeen Mahmud, who died from gunshot wounds on Friday, was a woman of many talents that mostly revolved around creating digital platforms for arts and culture.

( Source: dawn, Posted: Apr 25, 2017)
Stories od Courage Honored by WISCPMP

Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP). Founded in 1999, WISCOMP is an initiative of the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

( Source: Civilsocietyonline, Posted: Apr 25, 2017)
School for Tribal Kids Ensures Zero Dropouts

Consisting of classes 1 to 4, the school currently has 75 students, out of which 45 children belong to the tribal community.

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Apr 25, 2017)
Meet the Private Sector Startups Leading the Drive for Better Solid Waste Management in India

In recent years, a number of Private Sector Enterprises have designed innovative interventions to address challenges related to Solid Waste Management in India.

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Apr 18, 2017)
A R Shivakumar: Rain Man of Bengaluru

A scientist at IISc and a vociferous proponent of RWH, Shivakumar does not have a Cauvery water connection in his home and he has been relying entirely on collected rainwater for over two decades.

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Apr 18, 2017)
Rescuing underage girls out of India's brothels 'legally'

With the aim of taking underage girls out of India's brothels and into the courts of law, world's first School for Justice opens in India.

( Source: OneWorld, Posted: Apr 17, 2017)
Breakfast for 600 People From 101 Nationalities, a UAE Gurdwara Set a World Record

Around the time when Sikhs across the world celebrate the historic and religious festival of Baisakhi, the Gurdwara GuruNanak Darbar Sikh Temple in Dubai, broke a world record for simply following one of the main values laid out by the religion.

The Gurdwara made to the Guinness World Record by serving breakfast to over 600 people who came from at least 101 nationalities.

Photo source: Facebook The earlier record for serving food for people from different nationalities belonged to Nutella, when it served 55 nationalities in an event in Italy. However, this particular event, which was called 'Breakfast for Diversity' was not conducted merely to set the Gurudwara apart but rather it was a way of embracing the tenets of the religion that espouse compassion and charity. Surender Kandhari, chairman of Gurudwara GuruNanak Darbar, Dubai spoke to Khaleej Times noting, "Sikhism has always embraced diversity as it has been part of our faith and belief, that we are all human beings to be treated with respect. The Gurudwara has been spearheading charity and volunteer work not only for the Indian community but for the entire UAE community as well. We feel blessed to give in any form, as this is our selfless service to the society."
You may also like: Gurudwara Committee Urges Citizens of Delhi against the Use of Firecrackers for Gurupurab
This particular Gurudwara caters to over 50,000 devotees in UAE and continues to serve food for those in need of it regardless of whether there is a world record at stake or not. On weekdays, they serve close to 1,000 meals and on weekends they serve up to 10,000 meals. Food is served regardless of a person's nationality, caste, religion, gender or background.

Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. NEW: Click here to get positive news on WhatsApp!

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Apr 16, 2017)
Railways to Recycle Water

The Indian Railways is taking a huge step towards the preservation of water. On March 22, the day globally marked as World Water Day, railways will be rolling out a new policy that is likely to be a game-changer.

The railways will buy recycled water from private players.

Image for representation. Photo source: Wikimedia  This is to not only ensure water is not unnecessarily wasted, but also to cut down on the annual water bill of the Indian Railways by ₹400 crore. The treated and recycled water will be extensively used for various purposes except for drinking. This policy would not simply be implemented in railway stations and in trains but also all railway zones such as hospitals, factories, colonies etc. Up until now, the railways has been buying water from the state. This move is also to ensure that unnecessary amount of money does not get spent in the process. A senior Railway Ministry official spoke to the Economic Times and elaborated on the policy framework that is being put in place. The official noted, "The water policy envisages buying treated water from water treatment plants for 2 paise per litre, while we now purchase water for 7 paise per litre."
You may also like: IIT-B Professors Help the Railways Design Timetables in Less Than 5 Minutes. Here’s How!
Currently the government spends a whopping ₹4,000 crore on its water bill alone on a yearly basis. The railways will encourage private players to set up water treatment plants specifically for this purpose and authorities will also ensure that treated water is bought from these plants alone. According to the official, the new water policy will also be promoting a better water management system that will curtail water wastage and consumption.

Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. NEW: Click here to get positive news on WhatsApp!

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Apr 11, 2017)
Race to Clean Chennai Oil Spill

The oil spill has prevented fishermen from going out to sea.

( Source: BBC, Posted: Apr 11, 2017)
Lost Young Migrants from Northeast India

Youth from the Northeast face humiliation, racism and lack of worker rights.

( Source: Civilsocietyonline, Posted: Apr 11, 2017)
Reviving Rivers by Mimicking Nature

Artificial groundwater recharge programmes can not be the long-term solution unless they are supported with measures to conserve soil and increase natural vegetation.

( Source: DownToEarth, Posted: Apr 11, 2017)
Trees of Prosperity

For Amar Singh of Kumher, Rajasthan, an investment of Rs 1,200 in 60 amla saplings changed his life into a rural entrepreneur whose Amrita brand has an annual turnover of Rs 26 lakhs.

( Source: TheWeekendLeader, Posted: Apr 5, 2017)
Revolutionising Weaving Using Technology

W-DRC has become a go-to point for weavers of Barpali, Odisha who can access the archive for traditional ikat designs and for young women like Vidya who digitize traditional designs.

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Apr 5, 2017)
Improving Rural Urban Food Links

Weak link between smallholders and urban consumers is the main hurdle in improving food security in both rural and urban areas in developing countries, a new report says.

( Source: DownToEarth, Posted: Apr 5, 2017)
Aussies Bikers Come Together for Indian children

The bikers will cover over 7,000 kms across the country on motorcycles to raise funds for children.

( Source: OneWorld, Posted: Apr 5, 2017)
Amity to host conference on sustainable development

The national conference will feed into a bigger dialogue on achieving Sustainable Development Goals in India.

( Source: OneWorld, Posted: Mar 29, 2017)
NGOs needs to broad base fund raising, say activists

NGOs believe that they also need to take support from individuals from middle class for both volunteering and raising resources.

( Source: OneWorld, Posted: Mar 29, 2017)
A Mumbai Constable Set up a Composting Unit at His Station After Overhearing a School Seminar!

Inspired, he quickly resolved to set up a composting unit at his own police station.

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Mar 29, 2017)
Fighting Addiction in Garhwal Using Love

Using Gandhian principles, Man Singh Rawat has successfully helped the tribal communities of the Garhwali Himalayas get access to education and better quality of life. A staunch Sarvodaya Sevak, Man Singh Rawat hails from the Garhwal District of the Himalayan region. Born January 24, 1928, he vowed to lead a life of simplicity and dedicate his being to the welfare of the masses, when he was still in his youth. Man Singh Rawat is spiritually bonded to the ideologies of Mahatma Gandhi, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, and Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan. As such, he is committed to the fundamentals of Gandhiji’s Gram Swaraj, Vinoba’s Sarvodaya, and JP’s Jeevandan to the core. After completing his graduation in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in 1952, he participated in the Bhoodan movement, and got involved in other activities initiated by Vinoba Bhave. In this, he drew inspiration from Gandhi’s British disciple Sarala Behn, the founder of Lakshmi Ashram in Kausani, Almora. Rawat undertook the Vishwa Maître Padyatra across Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Kotdwara to propagate peace and brotherhood. In course of the padyatra movement, he closely observed the prevailing poor educational system in the region for women and tribals. Thus ‘Education for women, and upliftment of Boksa tribes’ became the focus of his future work.

The Boksa tribes are indigenous people residing in the foothills of the Himalayan region.

Man Singh Rawat has dedicated his life for the upliftment and development of the Boksa tribes in Haldukhata, and its surrounding villages in Uttarakhand. He initiated work in the realms of village cleanliness, life-skills development in children, alcohol de-addiction, peace and friendship, village infrastructure development, environment and forest conservation, and women empowerment and related activities in the Boksa villages. He helped release bonded land from the landlords. Rawat addressed these issues as part of the Swaraj movement by facilitating meetings and forming village development committees. All this necessitated the people’s proactive involvement, which Rawat could muster solely because they had faith in him, and their belief that he worked for the welfare of the Boksa community. Man Singh Rawat has ceaselessly worked for decades, primarily focusing on:
  • De-addiction
  • Empowerment of women by honing their revolutionary and leadership power
  • Coordination with people of all castes
  • Education of the Boksa children
Rawat first sensitized the village women on liquor prohibition. Gradually, he and the people of the region channelized their energy to eradicate and prohibit alcohol. There was picketing against liquor vendors and shops, mass rallies, etc. Man Singh also undertook fasts during this agitation. Pressure from all corners resulted in prohibiting liquor, and declaring the Garhwal region as an alcohol-free region.

In this process, Rawat “fought” the liquor promoters and vendors with love, peace, and non-violence, thereby earning their respect and affection.

During 1984-98, significant developmental work was carried out in Nayaar Ghati villages (which is one of the neglected areas of the Garhwal region) to bring transformation through people’s participation. Under the chairmanship of the Block head, Rawat guided the formation of Nayaar Ghati Gram Swaraj Samiti Baadiyun Garhwal to carry out the development work. Women were empowered to be the pillars for further upliftment and development of the villages. They emerged as a strong group in Nayaar Ghati. Women were encouraged to form women’s councils and self help groups. Rawat – along with these women – worked on the holistic development of the village, focussing on activities like stopping felling of trees, collectively guarding the cultivated crops, balwadis, sanitation and hygiene, forest conservation, and infrastructure development. Owing to persistent demand of women, the Government started new schools, and upgraded some in several villages. 85 villages were empowered following the philosophy of Gram Swarajya. A Mahila Bank was also established. Presently, over 40 self help groups are empowering the society, five villages have initiated library set-up along with innovative educational programmes, and eight villages have formed Kishori Sangathans.

The women have also represented communities on the village Panchayat level.

In the field of education, Man Singh Rawat started balwadis in Haldukhata, Sitabpur, and Bijnor villages in 1955, which continued for almost a decade. Later, he started the Boksa Janjati Balika Vidyalaya in 2001, which has gained recognition over the years. Efforts have been afoot to change the mindset of the Boksa community and sensitize them about educating children. Children from the Boksa, Van Gujjar, and other communities attend this school. It conducts non-formal classes and life-skills education to prepare the children for mainstream and formal education. Seven batches have completed and passed Class VIII. Currently, there are 181 students and nine teachers.

The school is supported by The Hans Cultural Mission.

Man Singh Rawat propagated Jeevseva to prohibit forest hunting and animal killing. He has also worked for saving rivers and other water resources, as issues of Jal (water), Jungle (forest), and Jameen (land) are also major areas of concern in the region. Rawat worked on the formulation of Jal Niti (water policy) submitted to the Government of India. Recently, Rawat undertook a fast for 15 days and successfully got a promise from the government and its functionary to undertake any legislative measures only after taking into consideration their benefits for the common people of society. Throughout his work, Rawat sensitized, mobilized, involved, and encouraged villagers for all developmental activities. He facilitated formation of social groups/organizations to carry out these. Public participation is an important feature of Rawat’s work. Man Singh Rawat found his soulmate in his wife Shashiprabha, who has stood by his side and supported him throughout his journey of work and life. Shashiprabha has participated in the satyagrahas, padyatras, alcohol prohibition, the Chipko movement, Bhoodan, and gramdan work alongside her husband. What characterizes this couple is generosity and compassion for mankind. Their life and lifestyle are purely Gandhian. They lead a saintly life amongst the tribals. Man Singh Rawat is a guiding star and an inspiration to the local community, especially the younger generation. Across gender, caste, and creed, Rawat is a facilitator. He has provided motivational, inspiring, and participative leadership to the community in a fair and fearless manner. Rawat’s devotion, dedication, and spirit of sacrifice show his allegiance towards Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave as their silent crusader. His relationship with the common people, and above all, being fair, fearless, and a friend to all, is noteworthy. Rawat is simplicity personified, and a hero and worker of the “old school” in the Sarvodaya fraternity.

In the year 2015, Man Singh Rawat received the Jamnalal Bajaj Award, in the category of Constructive Work.

For more information about other past winners, visit the Jamnalal Bajaj Awards website.

Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. NEW: Click here to get positive news on WhatsApp!

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Mar 28, 2017)
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