Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative & HAQ
Press Statement, 17 December, 2014

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and HAQ: Centre for Child Rights are appalled and horrified at the wanton killing of children in Peshawar. Our hearts go out to the the parents, families and the country in this unspeakably tragic hour. Democratic forces must come together to fight this inhumanity. We hope that there will be no attempt to use this human tragedy for political ends. The children that were murdered were not only children of Pakistan but our children and children of the world."


Enakshi Thukral & Maja Daruwala
New Delhi 16th Dec 2014


Teacher Training and Capacity Building workshop by Smile Foundation

Smile Foundation, a national level development organization, is conducting a series of Teacher's Training and Capacity Building Workshops for grassroots organizations from across India under its Mission Education programme. This is a step further in ensuring quality education and effective learning for children, mostly first generation learners.

The workshops have been specifically designed to make Mathematics a friendlier subject while teaching and learning. It was observed that children in many Mission Education centres were scared of Mathematics and were not doing well for years. This had also been affecting their overall academic performance and self confidence adversely.

The series of workshops are designed to focus broadly on thematic issues such as introduction to the utilisation of Mathematical Tool Kits; facilitating the teachers on the utilisation of the Tool Kits, enhancing the mathematical skills of the children and generating interest among students in learning mathematics.

The first training workshop held in New Delhi has been successfully concluded with 23 teachers and instructors from 19 grassroots organizations from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

24 participants from 22 organizations from West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir will be participating in the second workshop in the series this week in New Delhi.

Mr. Vikram Singh Verma, COO, Smile Foundation said, "Quality of learning for the children, who are the first generation learners, begins with a passionate and skilful teacher who creates interest in the classroom. If we expect a child to learn with interest, our teachers have to create that interest and excitement. All these efforts will eventually help them to build a brighter future with the help of good education."

Smile Foundation has also provided interactive and innovative Mathematical Tools to 55 of its partner organizations to further help the children learn better.


Media Fellowships on Decentralized Planning - 2015

Government of India and UNDP Media Fellowships on Decentralized Planning

The Planning Commission, Government of India (GoI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) invite applications from journalists working or willing to work in Madhya Pradesh and Odisha for a Media Fellowship Programme on Decentralized Planning. This Fellowship Programme is being managed by OneWorld Foundation India.

The fellowship is open to mainstream media journalists (including freelance) from print, electronic and radio media (including community radio) and news agencies/wires. Journalists working for online news media websites may also apply. The fellowship is for a period of six months, from January?June, 2015. There are six fellowships, three each for Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. The working language will be English, Hindi or Odia. Compensation
To support their research study and writing through the six?month period, the fellows will each receive a total stipend of Rs. 1,50,000 (Rupees One Lakh and Fifty Thousand only) subject to tax deductions at source.

In addition, each fellow will be reimbursed Rs. 40,000 (Rs Forty Thousand) for travel and accommodation and another Rs. 10,000 (Rs Ten thousand) for books and periodicals needed for research.


Silver Linings Trust

Press Note

Greetings from Silver Linings,

On the occasion of World Disability Week, Silver Linings organized an awareness raising event Raahagiri at CP New Delhi, under the banner of it's innovative initiative, FUSION! Disabled and non disabled alike came together on the cold Sunday morning to celebrate 'FUSION fun time', a social platform, for people with and without disabilities, to come together to interact and network, build relationships and partnerships and develop friendships and share experiences, and have fun doing so! There were 11 Fusion members present, 5 visually impaired members and 6 non disabled ones, proudly supporting yellow caps with "FUSION and Silver Linings", in a brilliant pink printed in front, walking, talking laughing, dancing and singing as they walked around; milling and interacting with the thousands there! Many asked for our yellow caps, so many wanted to get photographed with us and all were enchanted by the sight of 3 visually impaired girls and 2 visually impaired boys dancing to the enthralling Bollywood music along with the rest of the happy crowd! Fusion is one of the first such social networking group which had everyone on the same platform, making thousands of Raahagiri populous aware of equal right of the disabled, to enjoy and to be included in mainstream activities!

About FUSION: Fusion meets regularly at the India International Center Delhi.


A Face to Face Social Network for Promoting Inclusion & Mainstreaming For People With & Without Disabilities

FUSION has been launched to create a platform where people with and without disabilities, are being invited and encouraged, to come together at regular intervals, to form friendships, partnerships and relationships. Fusion provides an opportunity for both worlds to bridge the existing gap between the two worlds and help each of the groups to appreciate as well as value one another as co citizens, sharing and caring for the society in tandem!

Formation of the Fusion forum is one more of our humble efforts, to foster inclusion of people with disabilities into mainstream society. Our aim is to create a forum which enables all members to share views, skills and talents in an informal environment; to promote mutual appreciation, value and comradeship. Via Fusion, we envisage to effectively bring about a positive change in mindsets and attitudes towards disability, as we go along!

Each invited disabled member has to bring along a non disabled member, to the Fusion meetings; this is how we begin the snowballing effect. Preeti Monga, CEO and Founder of Silver Linings Trust, blind herself, is always present to lead, motivate and guide to soon Inspire Inclusion and Foster Dignity in all sphears of society!

We envision a great number of opportunities sprouting from the forum; like, social groups working for social causes, friendly social outings, opportunity of getting to appreciate mutual abilities and talents, employment related opportunities, raising of awareness in mainstream society, getting automatically drawn into social and community programmes, leisure and fun activities plus maybe a chance at matrimony as well!

Preeti Monga
Chief Executive Officer



8th Dec.2014 Press Release

A delegation comprising of Brinda Karat (AIDWA Patron), Sehba Farooqui ,Secretary, Delhi AIDWA, Jagmati Sangwan, General Secretary, AIDWA, Sudha Sundararaman, Vice president , AIDWA and Sonya Verma, President , AIDWA Delhi met the Delhi Police Commissioner and Special CP, Law & Order and submitted a memorandum on the rape of a girl in a taxi operated by Uber Cabs today.

The police commissioner assured the delegation that he would look into the matter immediately and would ensure that an FIR is filed against the cab company by this evening. The police have just informed Ms. Brinda Karat that Uber Cabs operations have been suspended in Delhi and an FIR has indeed been filed against the company.

AIDWA hopes that the police would follow up on the case and that the case would be fast tracked.

Please find the memorandum submitted to the Police Commissioner attached herewith. Memorandum to the PCr Dec7, 2014


Warrior Cover Design Competition

Talenthouse India, SEA's leading creative crowdsourcing platform, and Penguin Books India have collaborated to provide a unique opportunity for one artist to have his artwork featured on the cover of the next print run of actor-writer Olivier Lafont's powerful new novel Warrior.

Set in Mumbai, Warrior interweaves mythology, epic adventure and vintage heroism to tell a story which will change the way you see gods, heroes and demons. Artists are required to read the book and then create a new cover design which they feel will capture the spirit of the book and its hero, Saam, Shiva's only earthly demigod child.

Participants are required to submit their entries on Talenthouse's website from 26th November until 22nd December. They will then be judged by representatives from Talenthouse India, Penguin Books India and Olivier Lafont and the winning entry will be used as the cover design for the next reprint of the book. More details can be found at


Women excluded from leadership roles in South Asian disaster planning

New index measures extent of female involvement in disaster risk reduction

Most South Asian countries in index score half as much as Japan

Pakistan is worst performer

First step to empowering women is access to finance, finds research

South Asian countries largely fail to consider the rights of women to be included in their disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience-building efforts, finds a new index published by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

This is despite women being more adversely affected by disasters (an estimated four times as many women as men died in India and Sri Lanka in the 2004 tsunami, for instance) and despite numerous examples of their capacity to lead such efforts (there are some 3m women's self-help groups registered in India alone).

The Women's Resilience Index (WRI), commissioned by ActionAid, with support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, assesses the extent of women's involvement in preparing for and recovering from disasters in eight countries (including Japan as a comparator).

Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, the Maldives and Bangladesh achieve an overall score in a relatively narrow band of 40-46.4 (out of 100)-half of the score awarded to Japan. Pakistan emerges as a lower outlier in the WRI, with an overall score of 27.8.

More so than elsewhere in the region, women in Pakistan are highly restricted in their access to credit; large swathes of the population lack everyday access to sanitation facilities and healthcare; and social and cultural attitudes restrict women's mobility and access to education.

Research for the WRI shows that to bolster resilience in these disaster-prone countries, policymakers need to empower women economically (for instance by improving their access to credit) as a first step towards including them in local DRR planning as decision makers.

David Line, the editor of the report, said: "South Asian countries need to realise the tremendous capacity for leadership women have in planning for and responding to disasters. They are at the 'front line' and have intimate knowledge of their communities. Wider recognition of this could greatly reduce disaster risk and improve the resilience of these communities."

Full results of the WRI are available in a white paper, an infographic, an online data-visualisation tool and in a downloadable Excel spreadsheet.

Press enquiries:

Mathew Hanratty, corporate communications manager, +44 (0)20 7576 8546;

Sumana Rajarethnam, senior analyst, +65 6428 2622;


Governing Board of Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) holds its 52nd meeting

The Governing Board of Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) under the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, held its 52nd meeting along with its newly appointed members in New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister of Women and Child Development. Addressing the members, the Minister said that the Board has been reconstituted to make it more effective. The RMK should assist women in various ways including training, marketing as well as financial assistance, she said. Setting the target, the Minister said that at least 10 lakh women should be covered under RMK over the next three years. She asked the members to draw plans within a month to identify states and clusters along with timelines, number of women and skills to be imparted as well as the financial assistance to be given. The RMK should also identify partners already working in the field, to increase its outreach as suggested by the restructuring committee appointed earlier in August, 2014, she said.

The new members of RMK said that a wide range of areas are available across the country to train women. They also felt that it is important to provide forward and backward linkages to make the projects taken up under RMK sustainable. The members suggested that the targets and goals of RMK must be identified clearly to be achieved within a specified time and Standard Operating Procedures should be developed for better management especially financial management of RMK. Some members suggested that there is a great demand by banks for hiring of business correspondents in rural areas and this offers a big potential for generating employment for women. Some of the other areas identified by the members include Information Technology and other soft skills, organic farming, plumbing, mobile repair, operating machines, among others. Women can be attached to companies/factories for acquiring skills and given hands-on training to increase their job prospects, they proposed.

A presentation was also made on the report of the Committee which was constituted in August 2014 to suggest restructuring of the RMK. Secretary, M/o Women & Child Development, Sh. V S Oberoi, Joint Secretary, Sh I.S. Chahal, Adviser (Planning Commission), newly appointed members and officials of RMK were among those who attended the meeting.

NB/PS (Release ID :112478)


Gender And Rising Inequality Conference

Dear all,

My colleague Cecile Jackson and I are very pleased to send details of an international conference on Gender and Rising Inequalities, which we are organising at UEA, Norwich on July 6-8 2015. As 2015 marks the end of the Millennium Development Goals, and their replacement with new Sustainable Development targets for the following decade it is timely to interrogate the interaction between global change in the context of increasing inequalities and the shifting construction of gender relations from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The increasing evidence for rising inequalities across developing and developed countries has left us with a deepening concern about where this leaves gender relations, with new questions about directions of change and the new forms that gender inequalities may take in the years to come, and the challenges this will pose for development and social justice. It feels like an important moment for gender analysts to take stock and to look forward.

As part of the conference I am organising a panel on Intersectionality and Inequalities to really engage with the issue of how gender interacts with other identities in the context of a polarising world, how identities get fragmented and new solidarities built. The attachment provides details of the panels as well as instructions for submission. You will also get a sense of some of the other panels that have been proposed so far, in case of interest.

There is no conference fee but participants will be expected to meet the costs of their travel and accommodation.

You can find further details and more if you go to : and click the Gender Conference" tab. Please feel free to pass this on to other researchers and colleagues who may be interested.

best wishes,

Dr Nitya Rao
Professor, Gender and Development
School of International Development
University of East Anglia
Norwich NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom





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