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Archive for the ‘Helping India’ Category

India Republic Day – January 26th

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64 years ago India adopted a new constitution making it a republic, a country of the people, for the people, by the people.  Republic Day is more than just a holiday.  It is a celebration of the freedoms and opportunities afforded to all Indians.  The Constitution, among other things, includes the following Fundamental Rights for ALL citizens: 

  1. Right to equality
  2. Right to freedom (speech, expression, life and liberty)
  3. Right against exploitation, prohibiting child labor and human trafficking
  4. Right to freedom of religion
  5. Right to conserve one’s culture, language or script.
  6. Right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
  7. Right to education.

A lot of progress has been made despite many challenges.  But India is, at best, a work in progress and a lot more still needs to be done.  We believe in India’s immense potential created by the huge human capital – a population of more than one billion citizens – who together will make India truly incredible.  We applaud Aamir Khan for creating and promoting ‘Satyamev Jayate’, which exposes the state of India’s rights and freedoms.   This hard hitting series from 2012-13 is a must watch.  It is available at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=ELHRj2Wug-qa0.

Watch. Feel. Act. For those who are unfortunate and helpless…

To freedom…

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Written by Redpatang

January 21, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Akshay Patra – changing lives with a school lunch program

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“At a government-run public middle school in Bangalore, the blackboard’s cracking, the textbooks are tattered and most of the students are barefoot. But with all those challenges, the biggest obstacle that teachers face in keeping kids in school is hunger.”….NPR coverage of the school lunch program Akshay Patra

Its not often that a news report gets me all choked up but a feature by NPR was so inspiring that it  got me thinking and made me want to do my part.  The feature was on a school lunch program in India run by the Akshay Patra Foundation.  With a noble vision of ““No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger”  the foundation has supported school lunch programs over the past 11 years and hopes to feed 5 million children each day by 2020.

This story resonated with me on multiple levels.  As a parent who knows what it is to want  the best for their child , it is gut wrenching to me that there are children around the world (see the story of Suchitra on the NPR news cast) who want to go to school and but cry on the bus at the idea of having to face the day on an empty stomach.  And then there was the aspect of fresh food…after hearing the continuous uproar of partially hydrogenated junk food that children in the US have access to, it was nice to hear that the entire meal provided by Akshay Patra was freshly cooked (on the same day)….all natural… and healthy with a good dose of vegetables.

Today Akshay Patra serves 8,000 schools and feeds nearly 1.3 million children in  India, enabling them to stay in school and secure their long term future.  Sridhar Venkat – an ex-corporate executive who runs the program talks about success stories and the gives an example of the profound effect this program had on a student who went on to college and became an engineer.

So how can you help?  If you are in India – a small sum of Rs 675 (around $15) can feed a child for an entire year.  Go to the online donation portal and contribute or volunteer your time today.   If you are in the US, you can donate through the Akshay Patra USA foundation at this portal or get involved in other ways like a corporate sponsorship, or simply spreading the word within your community.

To listen to the full NPR story or get the transcript – go here

Written by Redpatang

April 19, 2012 at 10:05 am

Project Akshar

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Our internet travels brought us to the doorstep of  a social outreach project called Project Akshar (Akshar literally means Alphabet in Hindi).   Project Akshar was founded in 2009 as an initiative by the students of Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies which is part of an international not-for-profit organisation, SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise).

This very unique project works as follows:  One side used paper is collected from corporates and colleges across Delhi and is transported to the Delhi Foundation of Deaf Women.  Here, hearing impaired women  bind these used sheets into eco friendly notebooks which are finally sold  at various premium stores and stationary retailers across Delhi at a profit that benefits the women.   The women also produce affordable notebooks for children from the rural and slum areas who could not have otherwise been able to afford books.

Project Akshar

We loved the idea behind this win-win project which not only attempts to minimize the impact of the carbon footprint but also empowers the hearing impaired …providing them with a decent livelihood and bringing the possibility of an education to children who would have otherwise not had the means or resources.

We were curious what a typical day looked like for the leadership team which is currently made up of 40 students and over 120 volunteers and were told that between balancing college, holding meetings and brainstorming sessions, they also manage the collection and transportation of paper from corporates and colleges which is a non stop activity of teamwork and coordination…whew!

So how can you help?  If you are an institution based in India you can contribute your one-side used paper and your unused packaging materials to this great cause and the team can even make arrangements for collection boxes at your offices.  Everyone else  (in India and abroad) can help with financial donations…simply write to the email address below telling them you’d like to make a donation.

In just 2 months, Project Akshar currently collects and re-used 60,000 sheets of one side used waste paper …imagine the possibilities if we could all lend a hand…or in this case ‘a page’!

Support Project Akshar on Facebook , follow them on twitter and email projectakshar@sifecbs.org if you’d like to offer financial help.

Written by Redpatang

July 19, 2011 at 10:51 am

Posted in Helping India

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