Posted on Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 11:08 AM
Category: Giving Events
We just wanted to remind you that the deadline for the GiveIndia Bay area essay contest for children is soon approaching. Make sure you send in your entries by email to email@example.com on or before October 31, 2008.
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 3:54 PM
Category: GiveIndia in the News
GiveIndia has won the 2008 Manthan Award for E-Enterprise and Livelihood, as announced in a recent award ceremony held in New Delhi! GiveIndia.org was recognised as a leader in creating new opportunities and added efficiency in livelihood through Information Communication Technology.
The Manthan Award is a first of its kind initiative in India to recognize the best practices in e-Content and Creativity. It was launched on 10th October 2004, by Digital Empowerment Foundation in partnership with World Summit Award and American India Foundation.
The Manthan Award has come to define the very best in e-Content for the development arena in India. This year for the first time, entries were invited from all the SAARC countries namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan & Afghanistan.
We are pleased and honored to be recognised as a website that has used technology to help those with less. We’re confident that as the number of Internet users in India rise, so will the amount of donations made through our website. Many people want to do their bit for society but don’t know how; GiveIndia.org gives them a transparent and secure way to do good.
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 at 8:00 AM
Category: NGO Stories
Tarika Vaswani, a GiveIndia team member, is working with MoneyLIFE magazine on their Beyond Money column.
In this article, Tarika profiles IHDUA, which ensures literacy and education by empowering women. IHDUA is compliant with GiveIndia’s rigorous due diligence and Credibility Alliance’s norms for NGOs.
Literacy is the basic need of people of all ages in our country. Yet, India falls below the threshold literacy level of 75%, although there are many organisations making sustained efforts to change this.
The International Human Development & Upliftment Academy (IHDUA) is one such organisation. Dr BS Ajaikumar, an oncologist who spent almost 28 years in the US, founded IHDUA after a visit to Mullur village near Mysore, Karnataka which opened his eyes to the harsh realities of rural India.
He saw the severe lack of educational facilities in our villages and decided that he wanted to change this situation. He set up IHDUA in 1991 with a mission “to enable rural communities, especially women, to become agents of change in a development process that is equitable and sustainable.”
The IHDUA Trust has been actively involved in various rural projects since then. It established a school called Vinayaka Gnana Vidya Shala at Mullur, which caters to the educational needs of nine villages near Mysore. The school has 18 full-time teachers working to make a difference and provide quality education to children.
Visalakshi, a young girl who came from a poor farmer’s family, was given the opportunity to study at Vinayaka Gnana Vidya Shala. The school brought out the best in Visalakshi. She has made the village community proud, having recently secured distinction marks in Std VII, and won the Hubli Level Cross Country Championship in sports. She would never have achieved this, had she not been given the opportunity to go to school.
The Trust also organises various vocational training programmes to provide alternative employment to those struggling to find a job. Shailaja is one of the many beneficiaries of these programmes. Coming from a poor agricultural background, she managed to complete her pre-university examination as well as a teachers’ training course but was unable to find a placement anywhere. She attended one of IHDUA’s training programmes in tailoring and, today, with the help of some generous donations, she has acquired a new sewing machine and has orders that will help her earn over Rs400 per month to help support her family.
IHDUA has set up 240 self-help groups (SHGs) to assist and support rural communities and to make them economically self-sufficient, for which it has come up with a scheme to increase savings. Each SHG has 12 to 20 members and each member saves Rs10 per week. Three months later, the members are able to take loans from their own savings at 2% interest per month, and the loans are used for various needs of members such as education, health, house repair or repaying of old loans. Members avoid borrowing money from moneylenders who offer loans at astronomical interest rates.
How can you support IHDUA?
Help improve a rural school for poor children for Rs10000 (appx US$205)
Help one poor woman acquire a sewing machine for Rs4000 (appx US$80)
Help two children go to school for Rs1500 (appx US$30)
What is their estimated audience?
Posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 8:57 PM
....and we wanted it to end on a positive note. The post this morning was intense; reading about children dying from hunger is bound to be. But there are happy stories too, like the one in the October 13 issue of Outlook magazine.
Weighing In For Life: In Thane district, a simple diet plan is saving toddlers.
by Anuradha Raman
In the tribal village of Hirve in the hills of the Western Ghats, fragmented farm holdings mark the monsoon washed land.
There is an impoverished lull in the air, and at the Gavit home a dozen pair of eager eyes are fixed on little Praveen as he breaks into a small run. It's a miracle, as for the first year of his life the toddler was hardly able to stand on his feet and weighed a mere five kilograms.
A persistent fever and frequent bouts of dysentery had taken their toll. His mother did not have the energy to feed him. Praveen's condition looked hopeless.
Now, as he nears two, there's a little colour on his cheeks and he's gained some weight. An "impressive" eight kgs now, he's still 1.5-2 kgs less than what a healthy two-year-old weighs. It's all thanks to a nutrition programme launched a year ago through the anganwadis, says Gulab Bandu who had lost her own first child to malnourishment four years ago. "He just died within a year and I didn't know what to do," she says. Holding her new seven-month baby, Gulab says he is healthy largely due to the "mixture" mother and child have every day.
The mixture was introduced to their diet a year ago by the concerted efforts of the Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation (BAIF) and the Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (CAPART). It's here that the first war against malnourishment was launched.
Around a year ago, over 33 per cent of the babies born in Jawhar and Mokhada were born severely underweight. Almost 85.8 per cent of the pregnant women had a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18, an indicator that they were malnourished. Today, lapsi has changed things. The infant mortality rate (IMR) in the two blocks—with close to 50 villages—is down to 2.26 in Jawhar (from 53 per 1,000) and 8 (from 54.66 per 1,000) in Mokhada.
So what is the Thane formula? It's all about providing a simple, high nutritional value meal for mother and child. In the tribal belt here, they call the mixture lapsi—it's actually a paste of locally grown green millet, soaked, germinated, dried, roasted and mixed with peanuts and jaggery. This is mixed with milk and served to children below six and their mothers.
Madhya Pradesh's tribal belt has been hit by child malnutrition deaths. Here's how Thane district of neighbouring Maharashtra is tackling the same problem:
The authorities acknowledged the deaths were caused by malnutrition
A programme for children under six and their mothers was launched through anganwadis
Local produce like millets is used to provide them protein-rich meals
The Infant Mortality Rate in 50 villages came down to 2.26 from 53 per 1,000 in a year
The programme targeted pregnant women, mothers and children
The broader plan must be to spread nutrition awareness among a generation of women
Our post looks at the most crippling effect of poverty - malnutrition. The moving article was written in June 2008 and has been taken from the BBC News website.
Malnutrition getting worse in India
By Damian GrammaticasBBC News, Madhya Pradesh
Lying on a bed is a tiny malnourished child. Her limbs wasted, her stomach bloated, her hair thinning and falling out. Her name is Roshni. She stares, wide-eyed, blankly at the ceiling. Roshni is six months old. She should weigh 4.5kg. But when she is placed on a set of scales they settle at just 2.9kg. Roshni is suffering from severe acute malnutrition, defined by the World Health Organisation as weighing less than 60% of the ideal median weight for her height.
You might think we are somewhere in Africa. But this is the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh - modern India, a land of booming growth.
"The situation in our village is very bad," says Roshni's mother, Kapuri. "Sometimes we get work, sometimes we don't. Together with our children we are dying from hunger. What can we poor people do? Nothing."
The lunchtime meal of boiled eggs, milk and porridge is handed out. Another mother is cradling her daughter, trying to feed her. The girl's name is Kajal. She is two-and-a-half years old and so weak she can hardly eat. Her mother tries to spoon some milk into her mouth. It dribbles down her chin. Kajal barely even opens her eyes. Kajal's skin is pale. Her breath comes sharp, shallow and fast. She too is suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Her weight is 6.7kg.
India has some of the highest rates of child malnutrition and mortality in under-fives in the world and Madhya Pradesh state has the highest levels in India. There are around 10 million children in the state. A decade ago 55% were malnourished. Two years ago the government's own National Family Health Survey put the figure for Madhya Pradesh at around 60%. So why is it going up?
"It's basically inadequate access to food, poor feeding practices, poor childcare practices," says Dr Agarwal, Unicef's nutrition specialist for Madhya Pradesh state. In Madhya Pradesh the situation is compounded by two significant factors. For four years in a row the rains have failed, so food crops have failed too. And now global food prices have risen, stretching many families beyond breaking point.
"In the past year food prices have increased significantly, but people's incomes haven't improved," says Dr Agarwal. "Like wheat, earlier they used to buy it at eight rupees a kilogram, now it's 12 rupees. Because of the increase in food prices a mother cannot buy an adequate quantity of milk, fruits and vegetables. So their staple diet has become wheat chapattis," she explains. "A child cannot survive on wheat chapattis alone. About 80% of mothers and children are anaemic because they can't get good quality food."
To see why things are so bad, we headed out into the villages around Shivpuri. The drought zone stretches across this part of central India. The land is parched and barren. The air hot and heavy. The village of Chitori Khurda is a ramshackle collection of 80 stone and mud huts on a rocky plain. The villagers here come from the bottom rung of India's social scale. Among the lowest of the low in India's caste system are the Scheduled Tribes, just above them come the Other Backward Castes. Together they make up 95% of the population of Chitori Khurda.
Even here, in this desolate spot, caste matters consign the lowest to the harshest existence. Chitori Khurda village has no water supply. There are four wells in the fields around, but all belong to higher caste owners who often refuse to let the villagers use them. So these are the people worst hit by rising food prices. They have little land of their own. What they do have is the least fertile, sometimes far away. Without water they cannot irrigate, so they cannot feed themselves.
And out here there is not much in the way of work either.
The men of Chitori Khurda get odd jobs labouring for higher castes or just play cards all day. The women sit outside their houses sorting green leaves they have gathered into small bundles. The leaves are sold to make local cigarettes. But it does not earn much. So in almost every home people are going hungry.
Siya showed me her house, crouching to get in through the low door, we entered a stifling-hot, single room where the family of six live. Siya picked up the can where she keeps her flour. It should hold enough for a week's supply. There were just a few cupfuls left. Her two youngest children, seven-month-old Anjali and two-year-old Aseel, are both severely acutely malnourished.
The family can afford to eat only twice a day. The children chewed slowly on a few chapattis flavoured with a tiny bit of onion and ground chillies. It is all they have to eat. Siya says several days a month the family has to go to bed hungry. "The children cry and create a commotion," she tells me. "I go door-to-door until somebody gives me a little."
Every lunchtime the children of Chitori Khurda gather at the Anganwadi centre in the village. It is where nutrition and health services are provided at village level.
On the day we visited, each child was given two puris (small bread puffs fried in oil) along with some sweet porridge. The allocation is 80g of food a day per child.
The children ate it, then sat hoping for more, but there was none.
Madhya Pradesh is trying hard to tackle the problem of malnutrition, but it is getting worse, not better. Corruption and inefficiency hamper the system. Some Anganwadi workers skim off food to sell. Others refuse to give food to lower-caste children. Many simply do not turn up as they are not paid much for the job.
Add to that high food prices and the poorest are sliding into hunger.
Back in Shivpuri, two-and-a-half-year-old Kajal had to be transferred to hospital. Her condition was so serious, she was so anaemic and her haemoglobin levels so low that she had to have an emergency blood transfusion. Lying in her hospital bed Kajal was reviving, slowly. Her mother, anxious, looked on, a pressing question weighing on her mind. Kajal should survive, but how will she feed her child?
Posted on Saturday, October 11, 2008 at 12:07 PM
Category: Disaster Relief
Since so many of our donors have been interested in knowing the latest situation in flood affected Bihar, we've asked the NGOs working there to try and send us updates.
1. Which area/village is the Abhiyan team in right now?
Presently Abhiyan team is at Primary School Sripur Belhi Ghat, of Pratapganj Block of Supaul district. NH 57 passes through this area, which is presently serving as shelter to about ten thousand people of Chhatapur and Pratpganj Blocks of Supaul district. Thousands of huts made by plastic sheets/tarpaulin have come up on the National Highway since it is at a higher level.
2. Have the flood waters entirely receded?
Not entirely. Still Koshi is flowing through those villages. Unless the damaged embankment near Kushi in Nepal is repaired fully the water will continue to be receding and increasing.
3. What is the condition of the villages?
There is still water logging in villages. The houses of Dalit community made of mud and bamboo have been totally damaged or washed away. Unless new houses are built It is not possible to stay there. And new construction may not take place before March 2009 because there is no communication to those villages. The link roads have also washed away and will take time to become motorable. Water sources have gone polluted and diarrhea and other water borne diseases are taking place.
4. Since people's homes have been destroyed, where are they sleeping, cooking, etc?
People are taking shelters on high lands like NH-57 and sleeping in small tents covered with plastic sheets and tarpaulin and taking meals in relief camps. Abhiyan forms village wise groups of women and men in these camps. The camps are providing cooked food rice, daal, vegetables. Children are provided tinned milk food.
5. Is there electricity or clean water available?
Clean water is available through hand pumps, which have been installed by the Government. Light during nighttime 7.30 pm to 10 pm is made available through generators in some of the areas. Approximately, four generators have been seen installed in the radius of 4.5 Kms.
6. How many doctors/nurses are there to help?
There are 100 doctors and nurses available in Pratapganj area of Supaul district to help the people. Those doctors and nurses are from Government and agencies like Bhansali Trust, SEWA, Care, Helpage India, CASA, and Abhiyan.
7.Any other updates that you could provide.
The poor and middle class people of this area will be in need of help up to March /April 2009 or till they are in receipt of wheat.
Ram K of GENVP has sent us this detailed report
Gramin Evam Nagar Vikas Parishad is thankful to the generous supporter and donors who helped during the devastating floods that out broke in Bihar during the past two months. The timely assistance from you have saved many lives that would have been in danger and misery without it. Below we have put together a brief update of what is in progress up to now in response to your generous support.
Though GENVP has established linkages and coordination with the government led flood relief activities going in our operational areas; we have been mostly involved with supplementing the government interventions as well as meeting the identified gaps in flood relief and rehabilitation activities. In this connection overall survey was conducted in almost whole of the flood affected area in the district Araria and we in this process identified two blocks to be the neediest and least reached. These blocks are namely Phukaha and Bathnaha. The informal camps in these blocks have been adopted and the volunteers posted in these camps. An effective to and fro communication system was established and maintained between GENVP and the inmates of these camps. On regular basis they were contacted for their daily needs and assistance related to health and other basic needs.
GENVP with the support of its generous supporters and donors was able to directly supplement the food and nutritious needs of the inmates in the above mentioned camps. Approximately 2500 families were provided dry food packets and supplementary nutrition.
Safe Drinking Water and sanitation
The whole camp benefited from the safe drinking water intervention of GENVP. We in collaboration with the VISWASH Network were able to establish a number of hand pumps and water storing arrangements. In addition to this a large number of people in emergency situation received safe drinking water packets. 50 latrines have been constructed in these camps.
Supplementing medical needs
The out break of common deceases and water borne deceases have been a serious concern of the organization. GENVP mobilized a team of at two doctors and two trained nurses for each camp and supplied a team of volunteers to assist them. Approximately 5000 families benefited from the medical intervention by the organization. The services provided included medical check up, follow up treatment, daily consultation, medicines etc.
Services for mothers and babies
One of the most important area of operation supplemented by the contributions of the GENVP supporters have been the nutrition and care needs of the lactating mothers and the new born babies. The pregnant women have been assisted and given regular consultancy services as well as medical care. Approximately 52 pregnant women benefited from this service. Nutritious food packets and necessary vitamins as well as medicines were provided to the lactating mothers. Extra baby feeds were also supplied.
Posted on Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 4:21 PM
We thought you'd like to know about a cool way to draw attention to global poverty -- Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty on October 15, 2008. Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. The aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.
Global issues like poverty are extremely complex. There is no simple, clear answer. By asking thousands of different people to give their viewpoints and opinions, Blog Action Day creates an extraordinary lens through which to view these issues.
GiveIndia is registered to take part in this movement and I encourage you to do so as well. More than 6500 bloggers have signed up. What are you waiting for? Register yourself today and then on October 15, write a post about poverty — your thoughts, how to fix it, a personal anecdote, the problems it brings, anything — just do it!
Posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 12:18 PM
From Isolation to Participation...
After five years Dharmistha and her parents came to our Institute where they saw blind students studying with special equipment. Dharmistha became inspired and joined. She learned to read and write Braille, used the library extensively, and participated in many extracurricular activities. We also gave her home management training to make her self-sufficient around the house.
Dharmistha’s activities at the Andhjan Kalyan Institute prepared her well for a normal life. She passed the 12th standard with first class marks and can now take of herself. She is married to a music teacher and enjoys a full and happy life."
Posted on Monday, October 6, 2008 at 11:45 AM
Category: Disaster Relief
Since so many of our donors have been interested in knowing the latest situation in flood affected Bihar, we've asked the NGOs working there to try and send us updates. Anju Sinha of GENVP has been taking a few minutes to send us pictures and news when possible.
As you'll read below, the immediate disaster is over, but the long term rebuilding is just begining.
Just a reminder that GiveIndia as a practice does not do any due diligence on iGive projects. GENVP is compliant with Credibility Alliance norms. Donors are advised to take their donation decisions keeping this in mind.
1. Which area/village are the GENVP team in right now?
The GENVP team is right now in two camps namely Phulkaha and Batnaha Blocks of Araria District
2. Have the flood waters entirely receded?
The flood water has almost receded by now but the people are not still in the position to return to their homes.
3. What is the condition of the villages?
4. Since people's homes have been destroyed, where are they sleeping, cooking, etc?
The people are still staying in the camps. It may take another two more months for the people to settle back in their villages. Most of them are depending on the food and other items being distributed and some of them have managed to cook by themselves but in the premises of the camp itself.
5. Is there electricty or clean water available?
The condition of electricity supply is good in the camp site. For clean water supply GENVP is working in close collaboration with Wisvas Network. GENVP is one of the Governing Board members of this network. The network has been able to install hand pumps and water a few water tanks.
6. How many doctors/nurses are there to help?
Two doctors per camp and 4 paramedical staff are working in each of these camps from the side of GENVP. This supplements the government arrangements in the camp site. Four volunteers are also assisting these medical teams.
Posted on Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 2:59 PM
Category: Disaster Relief
The following news report has been taken from the website of The Hindu newspaper.
If you'd like to help the victims of this disaster, visit the iGive page set up by Sahara, an Orissa based NGO. Donors in the US/UK/India will receive tax benefits and all donors will receive a receipt.
Just a reminder that GiveIndia as a practice does not do any due diligence on iGive projects. Sahara is compliant with Credibility Alliance norms. Donors are advised to take their donation decisions keeping this in mind.
24 lakh hit by Orissa floods
Flooding in the Mahanadi continued on Sunday causing 61 breaches in river embankments, leaving behind a trail of devastation submerging hundreds of villages. Lakhs of people were waiting for rescue and relief in the flooded zones.
According to State Revenue and Disaster Management (RDM) department, 5,70,000 people in 1,849 villages were marooned owing to floods in Mahanadi and many of its branch rivers.
A total of 24 lakh people of the State were affected by this flood, stated to be a massive one seen in last few decades. The official death toll figure was put at 17.
Although helicopters of the Indian Air Force made nine sorties dropping food packets and water pouches in regions cut off by floodwaters, administration was struggling to reach people stranded in inaccessible areas.
Thousands of people in Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Puri districts took shelter along roadsides and river embankments under temporary polythene roofs depending purely on whatever little food was supplied by the administration. with intermittent rains have made their shelters inhospitable creating fear of diseases.
Mansi Firth, a GiveIndia volunteer, is working with MoneyLIFE magazine on their Beyond Money column.
In this article, Mansi profiles AWAG, a NGO that deals with gender inequality issues. AWAG is compliant with GiveIndia’s rigorous due diligence and Credibility Alliance’s norms for NGOs.
“You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women” -- Jawaharlal Nehru
To erase these inequities and work on the developmental aspects for
Many of the women who come to AWAG are victims of domestic violence. Parvati came to AWAG in unbearable physical pain after being battered by her husband. She was rushed to a hospital and, after she recovered, was put up at a Short Stay Home run by AWAG and trained in stitching export quality garments.
Thirty-seven-year-old Salma’s husband threw her out of their home. He even refused to accept their children as his. Disturbed and traumatised, she came to AWAG and was put up at its Short Stay Home at Bapunagar in Ahmedabad with her two daughters and two sons. She was treated by a clinical psychologist for trauma and later learnt stitching.
When Salma began to earn a steady income, she moved to a small rented house with her children. Today, her eldest daughter is married; her elder son has a job and the two younger children are studying in school, giving her a sense of fulfilment.
AWAG provides support and welfare to women in the form of counselling, training and legal advice to women of all ages. Its other projects include organising health awareness programmes, employment programmes, running children’s nurseries, sensitising the police force of Gujarat to women’s issue and to begin registering complaints of domestic violence, which has led to reduced cases of suicide. AWAG has provided shelter to 3,600 women at its Short Stay Homes, while 630 women have been counselled and 3,600 children have been nurtured in crèches.
In 1997, AWAG started a campaign to make rural women aware of their rights. This campaign has today helped women to consider the importance of their own health, seek medical assistance and assert their right to procure services from healthcare providers.
How can you support AWAG?
Posted on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 1:20 PM
October is the month that we celebrate the birth of the Father of our nation -- Mahatma Gandhi. Let's remember the sacrifices he made for us and let's try and do our little bit to make India a better place.
October 1 - International Day of Ageing
You can show respect for our elders by sponsoring an elderly person in West Bengal’s expenses for the month through Vikahar Paribar Bikash Kendra for Rs1500 (appx US$33)
October 9 - World Sight Day
Children with disabilities have a right to an education. Sponsor a blind child’s education for one year through the Andhjan Kalyan Trust in Gujarat for Rs2300 (appx US$51)
October 11 - World Hospice and Palliative Care Day
Sponsor a home care nurse's visits for one month through DEAN Foundation for Rs4500 (appx US$100)