Wednesday, November 3, 2010

[socialactionfoundationforequity:8866 One'Orphan' helping out a lot of other orphans

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One'Orphan' helping out a lot of other orphans

Posted 15 hours ago

COLLINGWOOD-- Jean Vanier Catholic High School raises money for
disasters, organizations, and tragedies around the world. All of these
fund- raising activities are organized and put on by a committee of
around 20 stu- dents. The committee's unofficial motto is "Focus on
being the change'.

The Social Justice Committee is host- ing a spaghetti dinner on Dec.
9, before the opening performance of Tomor- row's Girl: Little Orphan
Annie, the latest production of Julie Morin's Grade 11 drama students.

This is the third year the committee has hosted a dinner in
conjunction with the drama department's produc- tion.

Students on the committee collect tickets, cook the food, serve, and
deco- rate the cafeteria and auditorium in the theme of the play.

The dinner includes spaghetti, with meat or vegetarian sauce, Caesar
salad, garlic bread, and beverages, as well as a variety of deserts.

All money raised by the performance will go to three organizations:

* Sleeping Children Around the World, an organization which provides
bed kits to needy children, mostly in underdeveloped or developing
coun- tries;

* Momma Zipporah, who runs an orphanage in Kenya called Huruma
Children's Home. The home helps chil- dren in Kenya who have been
orphaned as a result of their parents dying of HIV/AIDS. It currently
houses nearly 150 children, ranging from 0 to 18 years of age.

* L'Arche, the communities started by Jean Vanier, are homes across
Canada that house adults with developmental disabilities in a setting
that is more community-oriented than other homes.

The committee has chosen these organizations because it feels their
values fall in line with that of the school.

"The committee specializes in recog- nizing the needs of others, and
acting upon those needs," said Tricia Hadley, the staff advisor for
the committee. "In the past this committee has raised money for flood-
ravaged Pakistan, and have organized many Thanksgiving food drives.
The committee has also worked on collecting coats for the unfortunate
during winter, and collect- ing Christmas Shoe Boxes to be sent to
developing countries.


"The committee, in its present form, has been around for about five
years, but Jean Vanier High School has always done drives, and fund-
raisers for coun- tries and organizations in need."

The nearly 20 students on the com- mittee look for tragedies that are
hap- pening around the world, and ask themselves, "What can we do to

The committee has also helped Free the Children, a children's charity
formed in 1995 by Craig Kielburger, which has an'Adopt a
Village'program which helps to provide schools, wells, and alternative
incomes for children in developing nations, such as India, Sri Lanka,
and several countries in Africa.

They also attend'Me to We Day', recently renamed'We Day', in Toronto,
which is an event which--quoting Kielburger--is designed to "motivate
young people to help fight injustice by convincing them that fighting
injustice can be hip."

The Dinner Theatre night is set for Dec 9, starting at 5:30 p.m. The
show will start at 7.Tickets are available for $15 per adult, or$45
for a family of four, with children under five being admitted free.
Reservations are required.

Call the school for more information or to reserve tickets:445-2043.

Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth. - Mohandas Gandhi

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[socialactionfoundationforequity:8866 Women aren’t the problem, they Are the solution along with men

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Women aren't the problem, they Are the solution along with men


Published: Nov 3, 2010 21:12 Updated: Nov 3, 2010 21:45

"Half the Sky: How to Change the World" by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl
Wudunn is an inspiring book about amazing women and their efforts to
change the world. This is the latest book for the married couple after
"Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia."

The ex-foreign correspondents for the New York Times are the first
married couple to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism for coverage of
China's Tiananmen Square democracy protests.

They both acknowledge that when they began reporting about
international affairs in the 1980s, they never imagined writing "Half
the Sky: How to Change the World." At that time, the struggle for
equality for women was not on the political agenda, but was considered
a marginal issue.

"This book is the outgrowth of our own journey of awakening as we
worked together as journalists for The New York Times. The first
milestone in that journey came in China," said Kristof and WiDunn.

The title of the book is derived from a Chinese proverb as quoted by
Mao that says: "Women hold up half the sky." The communist leader
brought women into the workforce and abolished child marriage,
prostitution and concubinage. This remains the only positive legacy of
a brutal and repressive regime.

A year after the Tiananmen Square massacre, Kristof and his wife
discovered a study which showed that 39,000 baby girls die each year
because parents don't give them the same medical care that boys
receive. The same pattern was found in other countries such as South
Asia and the Muslim world. This led Kristof and Wudunn to investigate
gender discrimination, forced labor, human trafficking and the sex
trade. They estimate that three million women and girls are involved
in sexual servitude but this number does not include millions of women
under 18 years of age who are intimidated into prostitution.

Sex slavery is actually worsening for several reasons such as: the end
of communism, globalization and AIDS. There is a strong demand for
young girls whom it is believed are less likely to be infected. Lack
of money, however, is the main factor behind the girls' lack of
education and forced labor. One nongovernmental organization (NGO),
"American Assistance for Cambodia", encouraged parents to keep their
daughters in school by giving them money. If a girl attends school for
a whole month, her family receives $10.

In the early 1990s, the United Nations and the World Bank realized
that women and girls represent a potential resource. "Investment in
girl's education may well be the highest return investment available
in the developing world," said Lawrence Summers when he was Chief
Economist of the World Bank.

According to the United Nations Development program (UNDP): "Women's
empowerment helps raise economic productivity and reduce infant
mortality. It contributes to improved health and nutrition. It
increases the chances of education for the next generation."

This recognition comes amidst widespread brutality inflicted on women.
A major study by the World Health Organization acknowledged that in
most countries, between 30 percent and 60 percent of women experience
physical or sexual violence by a husband or boyfriend.

A new form of violence is the acid attack which first happened in
Bangladesh in 1967. Acid attacks are becoming far more common
especially in Southeast Asia. Men throw sulfuric acid in the faces of
girls and women. The acid melts the skin and sometimes the bones and
when it strikes the eyes, it causes blindness.

Rape has also been used to terrorize certain ethnic groups. Mass rapes
have been reported in recent conflicts. Mass rape is as effective as
killing people because it doesn't leave corpses that lead to human
rights prosecutions. In 2008, the United Nations formally declared
rape a "weapon of war".

"It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in
an armed conflict," said Maj. Patrick Cammaert, a former United
Nations Force Commander, on the spread of rape as a war tactic.

The amazing success of microfinance is proving that empowering women
is an effective way to combat poverty and raise economic productivity.
Studies show that poverty is not only caused by low incomes but also
by unwise spending by men. When women gain control over spending, less
money is devoted to instant gratification and more for education and
setting up small businesses.

"Because men now typically control the purse strings, it appears that
the poorest families in the world typically spend approximately ten
times on a combination of alcohol, prostitutes, candy, sugary drinks,
and lavish feasts as they do on educating their children," said the

It is a proven fact that all the countries and companies that have
employed and empowered women have prospered. Moreover, nearly all the
people who work in poor countries acknowledge that women are the Third
World's greatest underutilized resource.

"The first thing we learned is that men are often untrainable. So now
we work only with women. We pick a woman from Afghanistan, from
Mauritania, from Bolivia, from Timbuktu and in six months we train her
to be a barefoot engineer working on water supplies or other issues,"
said Bunker Roy who manages an India-based aid organization that
operates in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

China's economic takeoff is due to its emancipation of girls.
Furthermore, Rwanda, thanks to its policies that empower women, has
been dubbed the China of Africa due to its fast-growing economy.
Similarly, Bangladesh who has invested heavily in girls' education and
vocational training possesses a thriving garment industry and a
dynamic export sector.

The authors also highlight the failure of many programs because
foreigners prepared them without consulting the local people. Mary
Robinson, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, acknowledged
half a century of inefficiency and failures when she said:

"Count up the results of 50 years of human rights mechanisms, 30 years
of multibillion dollar development programs and endless high-level
rhetoric, and the global impact is quite underwhelming. This is a
failure of implementation on a scale which shames us all."

On the other hand, grass roots projects with local ownership such as
Kashf in Pakistan, Grameen in Bangladesh, the CARE project in Burundi,
SEWA, the Self Employed Women's Association in India, are models of
efficiency and success.

"Half the Sky: How to Change the World" takes us on a journey through
Africa and Asia to meet an amazing number of women who have surmounted
insuperable difficulties in order to help women and their daughters.
Following these women in their daily lives and witnessing their
efforts to change the world around them is truly one of the highlights
of this book.

It opens our eyes to women's global struggle for equal health and
education opportunities. And, most of all, this book reminds us that
throughout history whenever our values were at stake, leadership
always came from ordinary citizens like you and me. Educating girls,
empowering women with microfinance and giving them more productive
roles helps fight population growth, poverty, disease and nurtures a
peaceful and sustainable society. "Half of the Sky: How to Change the
World" proves that women are the solution and inspires us to stand up
and change the world.

For more information visit:

Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth. - Mohandas Gandhi

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[TBM] 8 new tweets for microvinitster

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[socialactionfoundationforequity:8847 [panchayat-india] The other half

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Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2010 18:34:42 +0530
Subject: [panchayat-india] The other half


Volume 27 - Issue 22 :: Oct. 23-Nov. 05, 2010
from the publishers of THE HINDU

The other half


Kerala: The outcome of the local body elections will be important for the decentralisation process and women's political empowerment.

THE elections to the local bodies in Kerala on October 23 and 25 are sure to be a politically important rehearsal for the two coalitions that have been ruling the State alternately, coming as they do a few months before the voting to the State Assembly, which is due early next year. They will anyway be a landmark, with 50 per cent of the seats in the 978 grama panchayats, 152 block panchayats, 14 district panchayats, 60 municipalities and five corporations being reserved for women for the first time in the history of the State. Moreover, after the elections, at least 50 per cent of all the local bodies in Kerala will be headed by women, with half the posts of president, chairman and mayor (in three of the five corporations), as the case may be, being set aside for them. In the other 50 per cent of panchayats, municipalities and corporations, the posts of vice-president, vice-chairperson and deputy mayor (in two of the five corporations), respectively, are to be filled from among the elected women candidates.
But eventually, despite the attempt to raise the quota for women from the existing 33 per cent to 50 per cent and to provide for a larger political space for women to participate in development and governance at the grass roots, what the October elections will highlight is the state of the once-celebrated decentralisation programme in Kerala, which was launched as an experiment 14 years ago by another coalition government led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
The aim of the experiment, indeed, was to find a solution to the persisting economic backwardness of the State despite its well-known achievements in key areas of human development. The problem had become a challenge to the two coalitions since the late 1980s, from when remittances from Malayalis in the Gulf, which had sustained the State's economy until then, began to dwindle. The new initiative, launched in 1996 soon after a Left Democratic Front (LDF) government took over, sought a sharp break from the social service-oriented approach to planning and development practised until then to one that put the focus on increasing industrial and agricultural production and boosting economic growth.
This it sought to achieve by further strengthening the State laws on decentralisation (enacted in 1994 by a United Democratic Front government incorporating the provisions of the 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendment Acts in them) in order to ensure the participation of the people in local governance, and through a greater devolution of power and resources in order to make local bodies more democratic and responsive to people's needs.
The highlights of the LDF government programme were its comprehensive overhauling of the State laws and rules to protect the constitutional rights of local bodies, clear demarcation of powers of the three tiers of local self-government institutions and legal sanction for the regular transfer of (initially 35 per cent) Plan funds to the local bodies for their exclusive use.
In the 14 years that followed, a long list of factors, among them competitive policies and politics of the rival coalitions; inner-party struggles within the ruling CPI(M); resistance from political parties, politicians, officials and contractors hand in glove with one another; and other vested interests led to decreasing government commitment, dwindling mass participation and a drop in the funds that was being made available to the panchayats.
'Power to the people'
No one would today claim that "Power to the People", the slogan of the 'People's Campaign for Democratic Decentralisation' launched in 1996, ever became a reality throughout Kerala in its original sense, sincere attempts notwithstanding. Key to the success of the campaign was the involvement of the people in the development process and the generation of a new civic culture with the participation of the people in decision-making on local development, through the grama sabhas. ('Grama sabhas', the mandatory tri-monthly village or ward-level assemblies, were originally intended as the basic units of local-level decision-making in which elected representatives and government officials were, by law, meant to be accountable to the voters directly.)
However, almost from the very beginning of the campaign, except on the first few occasions, very few panchayats convened grama sabhas without compulsion even though they were required to do so by the new law. People soon lost interest and failed to take these crucial bodies seriously.
Meanwhile, an amazing conspiracy of government officials and politicians, irrespective of their politics, was in evidence, ensuring that the vast resources and powers offered under the new law remained in their own hands for disposal as per tradition, instead of genuinely being transferred to the people. The radically pro-people provisions of the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act, 1994, and the Kerala Municipality Act, 1994, and the rules framed under them were deftly kept away from popular understanding. The changes brought in by the mass movement launched in connection with the programme were never fully institutionalised.
Moreover, with the reins of government passing on to the UDF in 2001, the State government's enthusiasm for real decentralisation, too, dwindled, with most UDF leaders seeing the programme itself as a vestige of the policies of a rival coalition fit only to be scrapped. The victory of the vested interests was complete with the uncooperative bureaucracy making certain that the representatives elected to these new-generation local bodies, many of them novices, never really understood the provisions of the law or how to use the newly devolved powers and funds properly. The decentralisation initiative never really recovered from this, even after the LDF returned to power in 2006, and was soon reduced to just another government programme.
The devolved powers and resources (for example, whereas a grama panchayat used to get barely Rs.1 lakh a year for all its activities before decentralisation, the annual allocation came to around Rs.70 lakh after the programme was implemented) continued to be handled exclusively by the bureaucracy and a few politicians. Strange as it may seem, though public interest could never be really sustained, the new powers and resources (minus the public scrutiny) by themselves became a major source of attraction for political parties, individual politicians and public works contractors.
There were exceptions to this general rule, though. In the local bodies that stood against the tide (though small in number), the decentralisation programme resulted in impressive achievements at the grass roots initially, especially in the provisioning of basic services such as housing, sanitation, drinking water facilities and poverty eradication. And by 1998, even while grama sabhas were proving to be a failure as a mobilisation strategy for decentralised development, a microfinance-linked poverty alleviation programme launched by the LDF government through local self-governments was proving its potential as an alternative.
'Kudumbashree', as it came to be known, quickly developed into a strong network of highly motivated and efficient neighbourhood groups of women, with microcredit, entrepreneurship and empowerment as its key components, and, uniquely, unlike other microfinance self-help groups, functioning under respective local self-governments.
Within a short time, the Kudumbashree neighbourhood groups (NHGs), working well within the panchayati raj system, became a basic unit of the community structure in Kerala, and almost took up the role originally meant for the grama sabhas – instead of remaining as a mere microfinance initiative. It created an empowering unity of poor women, who often substituted for the non-existent grama sabhas, as key links in the process of democratisation and decentralisation that had taken place in the State in the last 12 years.
Kudumbashree was also able to make its mark in agriculture, trade and small-scale industries and in the service sector.
Through its various empowerment initiatives, Kudumbashree offered women who confined themselves to their homes an opportunity to become bold entrants in the public sphere. The significance was not lost on anyone when nearly 1,400 members of the Kudumbashree NHGs became winning candidates in elections to the local bodies held in 2000, just two years after the programme was launched, and began to hold various positions in grama panchayats to district panchayats.
Though Kudumbashree units thrived throughout Kerala in all the local bodies ruled by both the UDF and the LDF, very soon an impression gained ground that the CPI(M) and other Left parties, with a wider grass-roots network, would eventually gain politically from these women's NHGs, for instance when it came to finding efficient candidates or winning votes in elections.
In February 2008, in a strange move, the Congress gave its blessings to some of the leading members of its State unit to launch an alternative to the State government-supported Kudumbashree. Over two years, the Janasree Sustainable Development Mission, which is now identified generally as an initiative of the Congress, has launched units in several localities in the State. Though it is nowhere near offering competition to Kudumbashree NHGs, the activities of the Janasree Mission have given rise to genuine fears of an increasing politicisation of Kudumbashree – one of the largest women's empowerment and poverty reduction programmes in India with 37 lakh members covering 50 per cent of Kerala's households – and its eventual destruction as a key instrument of local self-government institutions.
Surely, it is in this election-eve local body milieu in Kerala that over 30,000 women, a majority of them newcomers in politics, are competing for nearly 11,200 seats reserved for them in the various local body institutions, thus heralding a major change in the political landscape and traditional social and political power structures.
The 14-year experiment
It is interesting to see how the 14-year experiment with decentralisation had influenced the fortunes of the two coalitions in the successive elections held since its launch in 1996. The first local body elections in Kerala after the implementation of the decentralisation programme were held in 2000, but the results belied the expectation that the LDF, which was instrumental in launching it, would win the majority of seats. Surprisingly, then, more than half of the local bodies opted for a change of leadership, from the LDF to the UDF and vice versa, and the UDF won a marginally higher percentage of seats in the grama panchayats and block panchayats.
The results of the local body elections of 2000 were but the harbinger of the change of mood of the people favouring the UDF in the Assembly elections held a few months later in 2001. The UDF formed a new government, riding on the wave of vicious criticism it had launched focussing entirely on the shortcomings of the LDF's decentralisation programme. Subsequently, the UDF literally neglected the half-baked decentralisation experiment, starved the local bodies of funds, and instead tried to implement unsuccessful mega projects under the premise that privatisation and liberalisation (and not decentralisation) should really be the engine of economic growth in the State.
In the four years that followed, amidst an unseemly factional war in the Congresss, several mega projects announced by the UDF failed to bring in the investments that it had promised or to spur economic growth.
The Opposition LDF's reward, as it were, came towards the fag end of UDF rule when, with just seven months to go before the 2006 Assembly elections, it scored a near-total victory at the grass roots, winning 721 of the (then) 999 grama panchayats, 123 of the 152 block panchayats, 12 of the 14 district panchayats, 33 of the 53 municipalities and all five city corporations in Kerala. It is anybody's guess whether the State was punishing the UDF for its unseemly factional feuds and neglect of State affairs or for the way in which it scuttled the decentralisation process and local development.
In the last year of its term, though, when it could no longer ignore the pressures of newly empowered local bodies, the UDF announced it was "re-launching" the decentralisation programme with a new name, 'the Kerala Development Programme'. But it too ended up as an attempt to restructure the local bodies in such a way as to aid the ruling Front's philosophy of privatisation and liberalisation as engines of growth, to allow private investors and voluntary agencies to replace governments in development, and to re-impose the primacy of the bureaucracy in running local governments.
At the time of the 2006 Assembly elections, both the Congress and the CPI(M) were struggling to contain inner-party feuds. Despite that, the LDF triumphed in the elections, winning 99 of the 140 seats in the State Assembly. But this change of guard did very little to put the decentralisation programme back on its tracks; instead, as the factional feud in the CPI(M) and struggles among coalition partners reached new levels, the LDF government remained paralysed and began to taste defeat in all the elections held in the State subsequently. The worst blow was the result of the Lok Sabha elections in 2009, in which the LDF lost 16 of the 20 seats, and the byelections held later on to the Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Kannur seats in the State Assembly. It also failed to win the majority of the byelections held to the local bodies after 2006.
This is what makes the October elections to the local self-government institutions so much more important for the ruling LDF than it is, perhaps, for the Opposition Front. The results will also be keenly analysed for the impact they would have on the future of the democratic decentralisation process and for women's political empowerment in Kerala.

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    Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth. - Mohandas Gandhi
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    [socialactionfoundationforequity:8847 No kidding: 10-year-old girl becomes mom, dad a minor too

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    No kidding: 10-year-old girl becomes mom, dad a minor too

    Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth. - Mohandas Gandhi

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    [socialactionfoundationforequity:8847 Girl raped in Tirupati

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    Girl raped in Tirupati

    Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth. - Mohandas Gandhi

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    [socialactionfoundationforequity:8847 egov Weekly eNewsletter November 3, 2010

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    --- On Wed, 3/11/10, egov <> wrote:

    From: egov <>
    Subject: egov Weekly eNewsletter November 3, 2010
    Date: Wednesday, 3 November, 2010, 16:30

    Current Issue...
    Top Story
    Elets Announces India eGov 2.0 Awards for year 2010

    Elets Technomedia today announced the India eGov 2.0 Awards 2010 for the most innovative usage of Social Media and Web 2.0 tools for governance and social development in India...
    Government News
    TRAI's Demand to Fine Errant Telecom Cos Put Down by DOT
    The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has put down a demand by the telecom regulator to be granted powers to penalise erring operators under the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ...
    Cheralapally Jail Offers BPO Services for eGov Projects
    Cheralapally central jail, in Hyderabad, in partnership with Radiant Infosystems has launched a BPO targeting e-Governance projects- which would essentially involve low-end data entry ...
    Mobile Number Portability Expected by November 25
    November 25 is the new deadline for rolling out the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) by the the Department of Telecom (DoT). The countrywide launch of MNP services ...
    Right to Information Logo and Portal Unveiled
    The Right to Information (RTI) logo and portal was recently launched by Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Prithviraj Chavan...
    Corporate News
    Newgen Software in the Magic Quadrant for BPM Suites
    Newgen Software, one of the leading global provider of Business Process Management (BPM) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions...
    New Initiatives in Intel's'Cloud 2015' Vision Unveiled
    Intel has unveiled several new initiatives under its "Cloud 2015" vision aimed at making cloud-based Internet computing more interoperable, secure and simplified...
    Canon India enters into Retail
    Canon India Pvt. Limited launched its exclusive brand retail store called "Canon Image Square". Canon is reportedly India's No 1. complete Digital Imaging Company...
    Article of the Week
    Latent demand?

    With the trend of digital
    lifestyles growing and
    enterprise data volumes
    swelling, the prospects for the
    storage market are
    undoubtedly positive...

    Interview of the Week
    Sudhir_Krishna MIS for Panchayats Will Bring
    in Transparency

    For this Karnataka cadre 1977-batch IAS officer with diverse experience, e-Literacy of the Panchayat members is a key focus area...
    eGov Magazine

    Energy Data Storage
    London, United Kingdom
    November 3, 2010

    IASTED International Conference on Communication and Information Security
    Marina Del Rey, USA
    November 8, 2010

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    Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth. - Mohandas Gandhi
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    [socialactionfoundationforequity:8847 Happy Diwali

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    --- On Thu, 4/11/10, Lovalekar, Mita T <> wrote:

    From: Lovalekar, Mita T <>
    Subject: Happy Diwali
    To: "Lovalekar, Mita T" <>
    Cc: "Lovalekar, Mita T" <>
    Date: Thursday, 4 November, 2010, 7:45

    Dear Indian Supercourse friends,


    We would like to wish you and your family a very Happy Diwali and New Year.


    On the occasion of Diwali, we are sending a gift of knowledge for your students - the Global Health Lecture. We are requesting all faculty in the world to present one slide on global health in their course. The lecture is available online at


    On this occasion of the festival of lights, let us resolve to spread the light of knowledge around the world.


    With regards and best wishes.


    The Supercourse team.

    University of Pittsburgh.


    Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth. - Mohandas Gandhi
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    [socialactionfoundationforequity:8847 Refugee-news: reports from around the world

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    --- On Wed, 3/11/10, UNHCR <> wrote:

    From: UNHCR <>
    Subject: Refugee-news: reports from around the world
    Date: Wednesday, 3 November, 2010, 21:06

    If you cannot read this email please visit
    Please forward this on to any friends or colleagues who will find it interesting!

    UNHCR website   |   Donate

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    Nansen Award winner Alixandra Fazzina. © Eduardo Diaz

    British "heroine" receives prestigious Refugee Award

    "I see myself really as a storyteller, my aim is always to put a human face on the plight of refugees and internally displaced people around the world," words from british photo-journalist Alixandra Fazzina who, on Monday 4th October, was presented with the Nansen Award, given annually to individuals or organizations in recognition of their extraordinary and dedicated service to refugees.
    Fazzina has covered the conflict-displaced in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe, documenting the lives of the uprooted through powerful and moving photo essays.
    Previous Nansen winners include Eleanor Roosevelt and the late Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti.


    November 2010

    In this issue:

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    Technology breeds hope as ex-refugee gives back

    Microsoft Senior product marketing manager Leila Toplic, an ex-refugee from war-torn Bosnia now dedicates her free time to helping refugees worldwide as part of an innovative UNHCR and Microsoft initiative. This summer, she traveled to Kenya and Sudan to help document the stories of refugees in the region. "A refugee camp is an island," she said. "But technology breaks down the boundaries and brings information to the people."

      Leila Topic reads to a group of young children at Kakuma camp, Kenya

    Resettlement success

    This September marked a major breakthrough in the resettlement of refugees, with Japan accepting 18 Burmese refugees; Asia's first ever resettlement programme, and making Japan one of only 24 countries worldwide to accept refugees for resettlement. The refugees have been taking lessons in Japanese language and culture in preparation, including traditions such as sumo and sushi!

      The first group of refugees from Myanmar arriving under Japan's landmark resettlement programme / UNHCR / S. Miyazawa

    Statelessness: the untold story of an invisible people

    Imagine what it feels like to exist in the twilight of statelessness; deprived of the very right to have rights. For an estimated 12 million people in the world without nationality or citizenship, this is the reality they face every day. This coming year UNHCR is launching a major campaign to increase the awareness of the plight of stateless people, and put pressure on states to adopt legal structures to address the situation.

      Around 12 million people in the world slip through the cracks in state legislation and currently have no recognised citizenship. UNHCR / GEMUNU AMARASINGHE.

    UN refugee agency steps in to help with devastating floods in Benin

    Recent floods in Benin, West Africa, have affected an estimated 680,000 people. UNHCR, which already has a presence in the area, has been called on to help in the distribution of emergency relief materials as part of the UN Humanitarian response. We have already delivered around 3,000 tents and supplies. Concerns remain, however, as the forecasts indicate that the heavy rains show no signs of letting up, and the numbers of affected grow. 
      Some of the 1500 tents destined for victims of flooding in Benin are unloaded from a UNHCR-chartered cargo plane in the capital Cotonou. UNHCR/ H.M. Gologo

    Pakistan emergency exacerbated by dropping temperatures

    Everyone is aware of the floods this summer in Pakistan, but the crisis is far from over. As winter sets in in Northern Pakistan, temperatures are dropping to as low as -10 degrees celsius, creating an urgent need for more permanent and sturdy forms of shelter for the millions of people still displaced by the floods. To address this need UNHCR has begun airlifting hundreds of winter shelter kits to villages in Northern Pakistan.

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