Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mother, shall I put you to sleep? MERCY KILLINGS

We all need to STOP this uncivilized practice of killing our Elders , we need to STOP this ELDER ABUSE . This is violation of Human Right . WAKE UP AND RAISE YOUR VOICE !!!!!!!!!!!!!


Maariyamma is likely to be killed by her children because they cannot afford her. They will give her a loving oil bath. Several glasses of coconut water. A mouthful of mud. Perhaps a poison injection. She is just one of many old parents in Tamil Nadu dying in this way. But no one blinks at these ritual murders.

IN TAMIL, it is known as thalaikoothal. A leisurely oil bath. An exercise in love and health when given to newborn children, a ceremonial beginning to festivals, and the universal answer to pitiless summers. In Tamil Nadu’s small industry hub of Virudhunagar, however, it is the beginning of slow murder. The marker of the devastating poverty that makes a son kill his own aging mother.

Young family members of this district in southern Tamil Nadu have been pushing their infirm, elderly dependents to death because they cannot afford to take care of them. When 65-year-old Maariyamma suspected this might happen to her too, she moved out of her son’s house two years ago. “I’m not well enough to live on my own, but it is better than being killed by them,” she says. Amazingly, there is no bitterness in her voice. Or anger. “They’re struggling hard to take care of their own children,” says Maariyamma, of her sons. She places no blame. Her two sons and two daughters are farm labourers who travel to different villages every sowing and harvesting season. Seeing her children at pains to run their house, and feed and educate her grandchildren, Maariyamma knew she was a burden. She knew how it would end if she didn’t leave.

Maariyamma had seen it happen to other men and women of her age. Her neighbour, Parvathy, had been paralysed at the age of 76. “She had only one son,” says Maariyamma. “And he was working in Chennai, surviving on some menial job there. How could he afford to look after his bedridden mother?” One day, Maariyamma says, Parvathy’s son came, “did it” and went back to Chennai. “What else could he do?” she asks. Again, in place of anger or fear, there is helpless resignation. And a strange empathy for the person who might elaborately plan her murder

Thalaikoothal works thus: an extensive oil bath is given to an elderly person before the crack of dawn. The rest of the day, he or she is given several glasses of cold tender coconut water. Ironically, this is everything a mother would’ve told her child not do while taking an oil bath. “Tender coconut water taken in excess causes renal failure,” says Dr Ashok Kumar, a practicing physician in Madurai. By evening, the body temperature falls sharply. In a day or two, the old man or woman dies of high fever. This method is fail-proof “because the elderly often do not have the immunity to survive the sudden fever,” says Dr Kumar.

OVER THE years, other methods have evolved too. The most painful one is when mud dissolved in water is forced down; it causes indigestion and an undignified death. Velayudham of Help age India says the families often take the mud from their own land, if they have any. “It is believed that this makes their souls happy,” he says.

Dorairaj, a farmer in Satur, confesses that Muniammal, a distant relative, had been killed four months earlier. She was 78, and too weak to fend for herself. She was given an oil bath, but somehow survived. After a few days, she was given the ‘milk treatment’. “When the milk is being poured, the nose is held tight,” says Dorairaj. This ‘milk treatment’ is often preceded by starvation. The household stops serving the parent solid food. “When milk is poured uninterruptedly into the mouth, it goes into the respiratory track. A starving person cannot withstand even a moment’s suffocation,” says 60-year-old Paul Raj, coordinator of a district elders’ welfare association.

For those who choose poisoning as their modus operandi, Ganeshan is the man to call. This middle-aged man lives in Paramakkudy village, and introduces himself as a ‘medical practitioner’. In reality, he is Doctor Death. Ganeshan sources and administers lethal injections on demand. According to him, it is simply a service. “I am not killing anybody who may have a longer life. It is done only in the last and final stage of one’s life. Why should they suffer in poverty?” he justifies. Ganeshan defends his ‘profession’ but says he’d rather have some other means of livelihood. Azhagappan, a small shop owner, revealed that Ganeshan is not even a trained nurse. “He had worked in a hospital as the lowest grade attendant for a few months. That’s where he learned to give injections.” Azhagappan estimates that Ganeshan charges Rs. 300 to Rs. 3,000. Ganeshan refuses to disclose the chemical combination of his poison.

Though everyone seems to be in the know, thalaikoothal officially remained unexposed until the death of 60-year-old Selvaraj, of Ramasamipuram village in Virudhunagar on 18 June this year. Selvaraj, who was bed-ridden due to an accident, died suddenly. Asokan, Selvaraj’s nephew in Virudhunagar, raised the alarm on his uncle’s death. He registered an FIR, and subsequently a woman named Zeenath was arrested for administering a poisonous injection. Prabhakar, the Virudhunagar Commissioner of Police, admits that it is hard to find any evidence. “The body was cremated and there is no scope for a re-examination of the corpse,” he says.

Zeenath has been released on bail and refused to talk to TEHELKA when we met her in her village, Ramasamipuram. Some villagers claimed that Zeenath was a ‘professional mercy killer’.

A few days after Selvaraj’s death came to light, a newspaper published a report exposing more mysterious deaths in the district. When the district administration of Virudhunagar learnt how widespread the mercy killing was, it ordered an investigation. “It was shocking for all of us,” says V K Shanmugham, district collector in Virudhunagar. He soon realised that conventional state responses like arrests, warnings and interrogations would not even scratch the surface.

Thalaikoothal lay in the indefinable space between crime and desperate acts of poverty. It was social custom, a collective family decision, a ritual goodbye to a loved one who had lived a full life. Sometimes, it was the victim’s own idea. Shanmugham found that many called it a path to “eternal peace”, an escape from the violence of poverty. “It is difficult to view this simply in a legal or criminal framework,” he adds.

If thalaikoothal is seen as a crime, an entire village is accomplice. Community members and relatives not only support the practice, several even arrive a day before the auspicious oil bath to meet the aged parent one last time. Everybody knows the man or woman is going to die.

“Nobody questions or reports it to the police. They don’t even see it as a crime. It is a kind of accepted practice,” says Dr Lakshmi, a physician in Karyappetti village. Over 75, Dr Lakshmi recollects that she has been hearing of this practice of killing the elderly for 34 years.

The practice is not confined to a particular caste or community. “The poor do it, whatever their caste,” says Chandra Devi, the district Welfare Officer. Most residents are seasonal farm labourers, livestock shepherds or migrant workers in small factories in the nearby industrial hub Sivakasi. Their mobile lives make it virtually impossible for them to stay home to care for their parents.

Killing is indeed a brutal solution to financial burdens, but community members claim there is no alternative. “It does not mean that they do not love their parents,” says Chellathorai, the president of Paneerpetty village Panchayat.

Paul Raj, of the district elders welfare association, recently requested the district collector for government protection for the elderly. “The aged in these villages are highly vulnerable. We demand government’s immediate action.” Raj, however, realises that while police forces can protect an aged woman from her children, what they really need is protection from penury. “If the seniors had some income, they would not be considered so burdensome,” says Raj. “For example, if they got more pension, or at least got it regularly, it might give some respite.”

Kasi, a daily wager, moved out of his son’s house after his wife died. He’s not sure if he’s 65 or 70, but his shock of white hair, equally white handlebar moustache, and soil-black wrinkled skin are testament to his long and arduous life. Kasi had decided to leave when he watched his children grow tired of tending to their father’s every need. “I’m very fond of them, and can’t imagine they will try to kill me,” he says. “But anyway, I didn’t want to push them to any extreme step.” Whether he too would have been invited for that chilling oil bath some years down, Kasi doesn’t know. And he didn’t stick around to find out.

ACROSS VIRUDHUNAGAR, even as elderly men and women leave their homes, they make excuses for their children. “My son was struggling with his own life,” says Kasi. They put up a brave front. “I’m surviving fine with the ration rice at 2 per kilo,” says a reed-thin Maariyamma. They starve, and sigh, but do not complain. Thalaikoothal is to them not cowardly murder, but a brave farewell. Kasi and Maariyamma do not see how extreme it is, how dramatic. For them, it is a sort of practical love that is simply about survival.


Source: Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine

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

Saturday, November 20, 2010

India set to emerge as social innovation hub

Innovative business models that combine profit with social good could well be the country's best-known export in the next five years, as India emerges as the social innovation hub of the world.

This week, a slew of Indian social enterprises grabbed global attention when social venture fund Aavishkaar Venture emerged as a joint winner of the SME Finance Challenge at the Seoul G20 summit and the Schwab Foundation picking Aajeevika Bureau — a non-profit agency that works with migrant workers of Rajasthan — as the Social Entrepreneur of the year from a pool of four other contestants with business models spanning low-cost health care, technical education in rural areas and vocational training.

“While the US will be the innovator for the top one billion (of the world’s population), India will become the innovation hub for the bottom five,” says Jayant Sinha, managing director & country head, Omidyar Network India that aims to invest up to $ 200 million in both for-profit and non profit social enterprises in India over the next five years.

Industry watchers say much of this attention is a result of the robust growth of microfinance companies that have proved that creating products and services for the poor offers scaleable business opportunities.

Entrepreneurs and investors are now looking to recreate that success in other sectors such as education, health care, livelihood training and services.

“There is a hybrid model emerging for entrepreneurship with social good as the focus. This is not funded by charity, philanthropy or corporate social responsibility,” says Hilde Schwab, president and cofounder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

She feels that social enterprises that run on government subsidy, family money and grants will not be sustainable in the long term. “Financial viability is very crucial in times of crisis,” she adds.

This concentration of forces around the social impact space is most evident in fund-raising activity that has hit an all-time high.

Investors such as Aavishkaar are looking to raise fresh capital
of up to $180 million to fund new businesses in these areas, following successful exits in three portfolio companies, including Servals Automation, Shree Kamdhenu Electronics and Equitas Microfinance in August this year.

Another social fund, Lok Capital, is aiming to close a $85-million fund, while Global Impact Investors is looking to raise a $100-million fund.

This comes on the back of recent capital formation for the sector, including a $70-million fund by Elevar Equity.

“The announcement of a $528-million global fund to back winners of the G20 challenge proves that private initiative in the financial inclusion space can now leverage public funding,” says Delyse Sylvester, co-director, Community Team, Ashoka Changemakers, a non-profit that supports social entrepreneurship globally.

For social entrepreneurs, rising attention from a global ecosystem of supporters and ample pools of capital is proving to be the trigger for new innovation.

In Udaipur, Aajeevika Bureau registers migrant workers, issues photo identity cards, provides financial services and imparts skills training in partnership with local government agencies.

In south Rajasthan, over 80,000 rural workers migrate seasonally to richer states such as Gujarat and Karnataka in search of livelihood.

Most end up as construction labourers or find jobs in hotels, the textile industry and hospitals.

Since 2005, more than 50,000 poor seasonal migrants have directly accessed the Bureau’s services, registering a 50-80% growth in their incomes as well as increased citizenship entitlements.

Additionally, Aajeevika’s model has been replicated by more than 30 civil society organisations in Bihar, Orissa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Even Africa has adopted the model.

“After migration, lack of identity, employability skills, health care and legal services become the issues. They become a target of police harassment, can’t open a bank account. We help them address all these problems,” said Rajiv Khandelwal, co-founder, Aajeevika Bureau, who had worked in rural areas and with NGO’s in Uganda before launching Aajeevika.

Elsewhere, AISECT, a company which provides information and communication technology education in rural areas, is now hawking products of computer firms, banks and undertaking government projects through its network of 8,000 rural education centres in over 30 states that run on the franchise model.

“By 2013, we aim to have 15,000 centres,” says Santosh Kumar Choubey, founder. The franchise network now employs 32,000 rural workers with over one lakh students graduating every year.

“We actually started as computer training firm to educate students in rural markets. And a lot of people thought that we could repair their machines and started to come to us for maintenance of their motors, TVs and electronic products. So we thought, why can’t we provide multiple services under one roof?” says Choubey.

“The beauty of our model is that we are not dependent on funding from outside. We motivate our students and faculty to become entrepreneurs and set up new centres.”

With a current revenue base of 200 crore per year, AISECT expects to achieve a topline of 500 crore by 2013-2014.

Another such innovation is Goonj, which has grown as a mass movement for mobilising cloth and repositioning it as an important resource for rural India rather than wastage, fit only for charity.

Started in 1998 with 67 personal clothes, Goonj is channelising more than 40,000 kg of material every month.

This includes clothes for work, school, relief material for flood victims, for winter season and recycling of clothes.

“Today, we are not just addressing a basic need, but are using cloth as an entry point into the lives of people to address other important needs like health, education, employment generation,” said Anshu Gupta, founder, Goonj.

Even Nasscom, the apex IT body, has realised the potential of social entrepreneurship.

Its social development arm, Nasscom Foundation announced this week the appointment of Rita Soni as its CEO.

Soni will create innovative programmes that leverage information and communication technology for education, health, employability and entrepreneurship for under-served communities.

The most successful social enterprises have, however, come from the health care sector where latent demand and entrepreneurial focus has created a slew of models including Vaatsalya Healthcare and Life-Spring Hospitals.

Set up in 2005, LifeSpring was incubated by HLL and then by Acumen Fund. It provides affordable health care to low-income households without formal insurance.

“Our customers include families of mechanics, auto-rickshaw drivers and plumbers who usually don’t have any insurance,” says Anant Kumar, founder. The firm generates a revenue of around 5 crore per year.

After early incubation when the company raised 3 crore, LifeSpring got its second round of funding of 7 crore from Acumen Fund and an additional 4 crore from HLL in 2008.

It is now planning to raise around 150 crore to expand in other urban poor areas in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore with six more hospitals due to come up by March 2011.

“There are great innovations emerging for valueadded services for mobile users at the bottom of the pyramid. Apart from education and health care, we see this as the next opportunity,” says Omidyar Network’s Sinha.

It is this combination of a large population with a daily income of less than $2, well-developed capital markets and impact investors willing to back entrepreneurship that is leading to a new Indian model of social innovation.

“No other country has this combination of factors driving social innovation,” he says.


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

Friday, November 19, 2010

Eden Alternative Training at TISS, India this Dec 2010: Care of Senior Citizens

Eden Alternative Training ,India

The Centre for Lifelong Learning,TISS and Silver Inning Foundation are happy to announce a two day workshop on Eden Alternative Training to be held at TISS on the 9th and 10th of December,2010.

Eden at Home (EAH) applies our Ten-Principle Philosophy to improving quality of life for Elders living at home and their care partners. A community-based approach to person-centered care, EAH focuses on building collaborative care partner teams that include the active participation of the Elder herself. Working together, empowered care partner teams help to ensure the independence, dignity, and continued growth and development of our Elder care partners and each other.

What does attending this workshop provide?

After training, youwill inspire care partners, both within their organization and out in the community, to:

* Reframe perceptions of aging and disability
* Work together to reduce stress & burnout
* Build strategies on strengths, rather than limitations
* Develop meaningful connections with each other
* Create opportunities for all to give as well as receive
* Communicate effectively & thoughtfully
* Share joy, hope, wisdom, spontaneity, & respect
* Prevent loneliness, helplessness, & boredom for all on the care partner team

Registration Fees: Rs. 600 . The fee includes working materials and hospitality & small donation to Silver Inning Foundation for cause of Elderly.

Payment to be made at: Cash counter at TISS between 10.30 am and 1pm on all working days. A copy of the receipt will have to be brought along on the 9th December at the time of registering.

Kindly send in your confirmation to Prof. Nasreen Rustomfram, or Mr. Sailesh Mishra at before 7th December,2010.Any queries may be addressed to both on the given email IDs.

Only few seats , register Now

Silver Innings - Blog for Senior Citizens: Eden Alternative Training at TISS, India this Dec 2010: Care of Senior Citizens

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

Thursday, November 18, 2010

E-literate paanwalla unearths Rs 1 crore NREGS scam

A school dropout in Gujarat’s Porbandar district used his newly-acquired computer literacy to reveal a Rs 1 crore scam in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

The benefits of learning to use a computer, and the information that is available at the click of a mouse, have been most dramatically demonstrated by 37-year-old Aslam Khokhar, a Class X dropout in Kotda village of Gujarat’s Porbandar district.

The paan shop owner, newly literate in computers, used Google to find out more about the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), the largest employment guarantee programme in the world, initiated by the Indian government in 2005.

The programme guarantees 100 days of paid employment to adult members of every rural family that volunteers to do manual work.

Khokhar says he was thrilled to find every detail pertaining to the scheme, in his area, on the NREGS website. But then he came across a job card (which has to be filled in by beneficiaries of the scheme) made out in the name of a friend of his who is a government employee and ought not to be eligible for the scheme. More digging turned up several other names of doctors, lawyers, teachers and even non-resident Indians, whom he knew and who were listed as ‘labourers’.

Together with a local councillor and a Congress worker, Khokhar conducted door-to-door meetings with villagers named on the website as beneficiaries and found that they had neither worked on a NREGS project nor had they received any wages. One of them had been living in Muscat for three years and had no idea he was on the list and was getting paid for non-existent work.

Varu Karsan Uka and his wife are shown in the records to have built roads and dug wells for 60 days and to have received Rs 6,000 for the work, when in actual fact Uka is a state government official.

A forest guard, a doctor, state transport employees, a teacher, and even a couple who left the village and are settled in Israel, are among those shown to have job cards and been paid for work under the NREGS.

Preliminary investigations by the taluka development officer show that at least 73 ineligible people have been listed as NREGS beneficiaries without their knowledge. An amount of Rs 1 crore has thus been siphoned off under the scam.

Aslam Khokhar’s IT savvy has now prompted the district development officer to begin a door-to-door survey to unearth the extent of the scam. The police too said they would launch a probe to verify all 963 accounts.

As for who is behind the scam, postmaster of the Kotda post office, Ramdev Odedara and sarpanch Bhima Modha are suspected. They had allegedly picked names and addresses randomly from the voters’ list, made job cards, opened savings accounts against the names and then withdrawn the money deposited in the accounts, in the last three years, according to a police complaint filed by a post office employee, Bhavesh Patel. When Khokhar filed an RTI application at the post office to get details of NREGS work in the district, he did not receive an answer. Now that the scam has been exposed, the post office has launched an inquiry against Odedara.

The Indian Express, November 15, 2010

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

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Daughter's Birthday - oh she is grown up so soon

Today on 14th November as India celebrate Children's Day ,Iam proud to celebrate my daughter 'Drishti' Birthday.

So soon she is 19th , I still remember her first sight , her first smile , her first word ,her first crawl ................. really daughter grow up soon.I cherish all me days spend with her. She has been good support for what Iam today and don't know why I see 'me' in her , her action,reaction,thinking,humbleness,kindness so similar ONLY thing she got different is her Scorpio attitude - but that good for her today's women.

A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend.

Whether your daughter is still a little girl or a grown-up woman, she'll always remain as your girl and will hold a special place in your heart.

It's probably from your daughter that you learned about the sweetness and spice of little girls.

It's also from her that you learned about patience and forgiveness, as she stretched your tolerance with the sulky attitude of a teenage girl.

And still it's from her that you learned that whatever she has chosen to become, you'll still feel proud of her simply because she has the key to your heart forever.

I like to quote : Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express. ~Joseph Addison

Happy Birthday Dear Drishti , God bless you with all his kindness , give you success in what ever you do , give you love, peace & prosperity and make you good human being.

Your loving Father , Sailesh

14th Nov 2010

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

Saturday, November 13, 2010

UN continues drive to combat violence against women

Violence against women is widespread in every corner of the globe: from the bedroom to the battlefield. Women and girls suffer many forms of violence, including genital mutilation, rape, beatings by their partners, families or killings in the name of honour. It is shocking that in women’s lifetime, up to 76 per cent are subject to physical and/or sexual violence within intimate relationships.

Discrimination in law, social practice and attitude, impunity and apathy are the underlying causes of violence against women and girls. In many countries, laws, policies and practices discriminate against women and girls, denying them equality with men, politically, economically and socially. Social roles reinforce the power of men over women’s lives and bodies, while traditions and customs can subjugate women and leave them vulnerable to violence.
Leadership of Corporate Sector

This year’s commemoration of the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November will take place under the umbrella of the Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women and will focus on: “The Leadership of the Corporate Sector in Empowering Women and Ending Violence against Women and Girls.”

In many cases, the private sector has shown to be effective in preventing violence against women through raising awareness, generally at the workplace and in the community. These private sector initiatives aim to eliminate violence against women by adopting measures such as employment-based codes of conduct and zero tolerance policies, distributing awareness-raising materials to employees, clients, and customers, and providing technical assistance to other organizations.

The private sector has also played a key role by contributing financially to foundations and organizations focusing on initiatives to end violence against women and girls. Examples of this commitment include Avon Products Inc., which in 2008, announced a public-private partnership with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), part of UN Women, and committed $1 million USD to the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. In 2009, Avon committed an additional $250,000 USD to the Trust Fund.

The major challenge worldwide is to translate commitments into practice. Innovative and groundbreaking campaigns, as well as policy and practice changing initiatives, are some of the areas in which the corporate sector can focus their efforts to raise awareness among employees and customers and change their attitudes.

Since the UNiTE campaign was launched in February 2008, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has made urgent calls on governments, civil society, the media, the private sector and the entire United Nations system to join forces in addressing this global issue. This year’s commemoration will acknowledge the continuing corporate leadership in addressing this issue, and it will also provide an important opportunity for sharing experiences and discussing strategies for enhancing the leadership role in addressing violence against women and girls.
UN trust fund

In October this year, the United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) announced US$10 million in grants to 13 initiatives in 18 countries. The UN Trust Fund is the only multilateral grant-making mechanism exclusively devoted to supporting local and national efforts to end violence against women and girls. Established in 1996, the Fund is managed by UNIFEM.

“Violence against women destroys families, fractures communities and hampers progress on development goals,” said InĂ©s Alberdi, Executive Director, UNIFEM. “But it is a problem with a solution. Only by intensifying support and increasing investment to national and local efforts can we ensure women and girls are safe from violence and can lead healthy, productive lives,” she added.

The Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women includes a specific target of raising US$100 million annually for the UN Trust Fund by 2015.
Tasks of UN Committee

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women regularly reviews the status and progress of each of the 186 countries that have accepted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which was adopted in 1979.

“Significant progress has been achieved with respect to women’s human rights but we know that much more needs to be done throughout the whole world,” said Zou Xiaoqiau, the vice chair of the 23-member Committee during the recent meeting in October.

Ms. Zou expressed alarm over the fact that violence against women is prevalent in many parts of the world, pointing out that the scourge is on the rise with one in three women around the world being beaten, coerced into sex or abused. Characterizing the statistics as “frightening,” she noted that many rapes go unreported due to stigma and trauma.

Asked why sexual violence against women was on the rise, she cited several different reasons, saying that in some countries, stereotypes were deeply rooted and women were considered objects. Incidents of sexual violence against women, especially in situations of armed conflict, were often politically charged. The Committee had therefore started discussing, in cooperation with UNIFEM, general recommendations for women in such situations.

She also welcomed the creation of UN Women, the first UN super-agency on female empowerment, headed by former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
Michelle Bachelet’s address to the 3rd Committee

“Although Member States set the goal of universal ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) for 2000, ten years later, it still has not been reached. We all agree that much more needs to be done to close the gaps between women’s rights in the law, and their enjoyment in practice,” Ms. Bachelet told the Third Committee in her first address as Head of UN Women.

“One area that has clearly moved to the centre of global and local attention is ending violence against women,” she added, noting that two reports on the subject were put before the Third Committee, during the 65th session of the General Assembly. The first focused on the intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women and the second addressed trafficking in women and girls

“These are indicative of the scope and range of actions taken by Member States and other stakeholders...,” Ms. Bachelet recognized, “Yet, notwithstanding this attention, violence against women continues in all parts of the world, and trafficking in women persists. The reports highlight key actions and strategies that should be in place and effectively enforced. …I pledge UN Women’s enhanced support at national level to strengthen implementation of your recommendations,” she added.
History of International Day

In October 1999, at a meeting of the Third Committee, the representative of the Dominican Republic, on behalf of 74 Member States, introduced a draft resolution calling for the designation of 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The draft expressed alarm that endemic violence against women was impeding women’s opportunities to achieve legal, social, political and economic equality in society.

On 17 December 1999, the General Assembly designated 25 November as the annual date for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in commemoration of the Mirabal sisters as it marked the day when these political activists from the Dominican Republic were assassinated in 1960, during the Trujillo dictatorship. This day also marks the beginning of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence.

For more information:

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

Friday, November 12, 2010

In service of The Dear Departed

Dharmishta Mithran was set up to help with funerals. Today, it helps people with other day-to-day concerns too, writes VN Vasudevan.

It all began with a few like-minded people, seeped in Sanatana Dharma, coming together to assist families to conduct funerals and to perform the last rites of departed mortals. These spirited social workers, who look at death stoically, have created an organisation that is totally dedicated to this service.

In November 2001, the group set up Dharmishta Mithran as a not-for-profit company, under Section 25 of the Companies Act. The objective of the organisation was to deal with all matters related to the death of a person-from attending to calls in emergencies to conducting funerals anywhere in Greater Mumbai, and responding to other specific requests from members.

Jagmohan Vohra, a local businessman and a staunch devotee of Sai Baba, provided land to house the Aparakriya Centre (for last rites). From a modest beginning, the centre has grown into a 1,000 sq ft facility, thanks to the encouragement from late Pramod Shirwalkar, a former member of the Maharashtra legislative assembly. Mr Shirwalkar spurred them to reach out to salt pan workers in the Jai Ambe Nagar area. This community now has proper drinking water facilities, and they are provided toiletries (donated by Hindustan Unilever), books and uniforms for the kids and funds for their medical needs.

Dharmishta Mithran has conducted nearly 1,000 funerals in nine years. Desh Seva Samiti, which operates an ambulance service, has been a partner in the work. This has been possible because of the growing number of co-operators. Today, Dharmishta Mithran has 13 patrons, 551 life members and 219 ordinary members.

In March last year, the organisation acquired an apartment where it set up the Shraadha-cum-Community Development Centre that is patronised by people from Mumbai and from other cities. The Centre can conduct up to six kriyas a day.

The work of the organisation has been appreciated by none other than the pontiff of Kanchi Math, Jayendra Saraswati. On a visit to the Centre in December 2008, the religious leader compared conducting a funeral to holding an Ashwamedha Yagnam, saying: "No human being should run the risk of not being cremated for whatever reason."

The demand for the services has grown at a quick pace and the organisation has found it difficult to cope with the rush. Fortuitously, in August 2009 it managed to acquire more space and this enabled it to begin conducting shraadhs (memorial ceremonies). Now, it also conducts a variety of other rituals and ceremonies, such as upanayanam (sacred thread ceremony), annaprasanam (on the first birthday of a child), shastiabdapoorthi (on the 60th birthday), nischita thamboolam (engagement before marriage) and seemantham (during the first pregnancy).

The organisation has taken up new areas of activity like setting up a legal cell, to assist people to write and register a will and create awareness about issues related to transfer of property. It has published a compendium on transfer of property and monetary rights to appointed beneficiaries. It also provides transit accommodation for groups visiting Mumbai to attend marriages, for a low rent of Rs3,000 a day.

Dharmishta Mithran is also engaged in day-to-day issues, like working with the police department and partnering with citizens' groups to help senior citizens. It has an arrangement with a hospital in the area to treat its members at concessional rates. It is working with a sister NGO Bharatiya Adhyathmic Society to create infrastructure for the development of Vedic and other cultural/fine arts.

All donations to the organisation are exempt under Section 80G of the Income-Tax Act.

In service of The Dear Departed - Moneylife: Personal Finance Magazine

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

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Diwali 2010

Sun glows for a Day,
Candle for an Hour,
Matchstick for a Minute,
But a Wish can Glow for Days Forever.

So this Diwali , the festival of lights I Wish You and your Family Glowing Diwali.

Happy Diwali and Happy New Year to all my readers and followers.

Warm Regards,
Sailesh Mishra

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