Features this week
April 25, 2015
   

Tribal Girls Beat All Odds For A Chance To Study

   

Let’s Talk About It: How India Is Breaking The Silence On Gender Viole

   

Arupa’s Stories Of Hate And Violence Strike A Chord


 
   

Fighting The Prejudice of Disability

   

Calling For A Revolutionary Social Change

   

What’s On The Menu? Feel-Good Foods To Stay Healthy

   

Women Health Workers Get ‘Smart’, Tech Savvy

   

Courage Chronicles: Women Who Spoke Up Against Sexual Harassment

   

Empowering Craftspersons, Rethinking Dhokra Tribal Art

   

Rafea Um Gomar: Engineer, Elected Representative, Bedouin Role Model

   
   


 
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India
Let’s Talk About It: How India Is Breaking The Silence On Gender Viole
Gunjeet Sra

Sarang Gupta, 18, was spending his summer vacations doing the regular Class 12 grind – tuitions, home, TV – when he chanced upon a newspaper clip that changed his life. As he read the detailed report on the violent death of a young woman, he felt he “had to do something”. So, with the help of eight friends and 60 volunteers the youngster organised Shakti, a run for women’s empowerment in his locality and managed to pull a crowd of 300 to participate in the event. Although his parents would have much rather preferred that he prepare for engineering entrances, he wanted to “make a difference in society”. In fact, today, Gupta has initiated a group, Students for Change, to influence his contemporaries to take a stand for women and their rights. Like this young champion, there is Manak Matiyani of ComMutiny-The Youth Collective, Arvind Gaur of ASMITA theatre group, Jessie Hodges of Kid Powered Media, among several other activists and social groups that are using innovative ideas, including theatre, poster campaigns, sports and short films, to initiate greater community engagement to deal with the menace of gender violence. After all, “change is indeed possible, once we stand for it together”.

Madhu Bala of Jagori, a Delhi-based women’s resource centre, believes, “People’s involvement is imperative because it exemplifies that one can move forward and combat such issues with collective effort.”

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDO414J 1280 words


India
Arupa’s Stories Of Hate And Violence Strike A Chord
Ranjita Biswas

Arupa Patangia Kalita is passionate about telling stories – of women, conflict, rights, injustice. Although her narratives are set in her home state Assam they have a universal appeal as they give an insight into human behaviour. Having witnessed hostility first-hand during the Assam Agitation in the decade of the Seventies, Kalita is drawn to the subject of violence and the horrific impact fear has on society, especially women. But even as she takes a closer look at the repercussions of instability and terror and explores the reasons behind it her protagonists, mostly strong-willed women characters, defy the diktats of society even at the cost of a backlash. For instance, her novel, ‘Dawn’, which is set in colonial Assam and stretching till the dawn of Independence, is about a woman, who, through her varied experiences as a teenager, wife and mother, emerges into an independent-minded woman, confident enough to stick to her own convictions. In her just-released collection of short stories, ‘Written in Tears’, Kalita, who teaches English in the idyllic environs of Tangla, a little town at the foothills bordering Bhutan in northern Assam, chronicles a disturbing and searing history of hate and aggression.

“I have witnessed injustices heaped on women - just because they are women. I can empathise with their plight, perhaps because I am a woman too,” remarks the writer, who won the Sahitya Kala Akademi Award last year.

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDO415 1100 words


Turkey
Fighting The Prejudice of Disability

As a young Turkish artist, she took a trip of self-discovery while attending film and art school in Zurich, Switzerland. Counting herself fortunate to be able to study abroad, the young woman felt the urge to grab every opportunity she could, including exploring the countryside. Hurtling along the zig-zagging train tracks during that trip, in a sudden and harrowing accident, she lost an arm and a leg. This became one of the defining moments of her life. Refusing to be bogged down by her disability, Şafak Pavey chose to see the accident as an opportunity to adjust to her new circumstances, with courage and determination. One year after the incident, she moved to London and completed her postgraduate studies, hoping to work in international development to serve others who had lived through challenges even greater than hers. After 15 years abroad, Pavey returned to her country as a voice for secularism and the rights of nature. Today, she is the first female parliamentarian with disabilities in Turkey. In this one-on-one, Pavey talks about how she overcame the double discrimination of being disabled and being a woman.

“You already have the weight of your prosthetics. How will you add another 30 kilos of protective waistcoat and a helmet on top of that?”

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: TURO413 960 words



Calling For A Revolutionary Social Change
Elayne Clift

‘Every great social movement begins with a set of ideas validated, internalized, and then shared and amplified through media, grassroots organisations, and thousands, even millions, of conversations,’ wrote David Korten in Yes! Magazine in 2011, “A truth strikes a resonant chord, we hear it acknowledged by others, and we begin to discuss it with friends and associates.” … That was the spirit that resonated with so many when there was call for a new civil rights movement in America that promised a better time for all. Around then, another movement began, aided by a book called ‘The Feminine Mystique’, which brought home the elementary reality that women are people too. Many social critics, activists, and others believe both the civil rights and women’s rights movements were the two greatest social movements of the 20th century. What the world urgently needs today are newly-resurrected movements that will take everyone further in the direction of healthy social change and lead away from a growing collective despair. Do we have what it takes to come together for unified action, which can assure people the right to dignity, right to safety, right to privacy, right to economic security, and a justice system that is colour blind and fair?

‘Something even bigger has to happen …that draws huge numbers of people together in solidarity and makes them visible and powerful enough to exert real influence on those who make policy and control purse strings.’

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: OPIO414 850 words


India
What’s On The Menu? Feel-Good Foods To Stay Healthy

Food can age you. So many things you eat can prevent or accelerate the supply of essential nutrients to the skin and body, ageing you on the outside and within. And it’s not just about the calories or whether you lose or gain weight. Depending on what you eat, food can tire you and nutritionally deprive you, or it can energise and cure you. After all, what you eat directly impacts how you look and feel. In this excerpt from ‘No One Has To know’, published by Harper Collins, well-known dermatologist Dr Jamuna Pai elaborates how eating right can slow down ageing and guarantee good health. Whereas all the foods that taste oh-so-good are, in fact, oh-so-bad for the system, a diet that is all about moderation is the right way to feel good and more energetic.

‘What we eat either has an acidic effect in our body or alkaline. The more you alkalize your system, the more you prevent the spread of diseases like cancer and the greater your ability to combat ageing.’

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDO416 1000 words
 
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