Introducing Sambhava’s pet project – iBus!
iBus, empowerment on wheels, will aggregate and bring growth opportunities for girls at their doorstep! iBus is in the ideational stage and designed to be applied in India. Hopefully, Sambhava can gather the required feedback, experience and funding for the iBus soon.
iBus (can be interpreted in Hindi as ‘bus has come’) is conceived as a mobile training and informational program for girls in India who need extra guidance and encouragement to achieve their dreams. This initiative will offer a menu of workshops including professional development, innovative leadership, technical skills, health care, home-based entrepreneurship and personal counseling to the girls enrolled in the Government schools in India. Government schools cater to the lower economic strata of society and offer basic educational facilities. Students in government schools, especially girls, are not encouraged to fully develop their capabilities and support their livelihoods. iBus, a mobile training/counseling facility, will impart the necessary skills and guidance to enable the girls to create new visions and realities.
This post is originally published on UNC-IntraHealth Blog and is contributed by UNC-IntraHealth Summer Fellow, Taylor Marie Snyder.
After three-plus years of “working in India,” last month I finally had the opportunity to actually work in India. Prior to my UNC-IntraHealth Fellowship, I worked on a program promoting reproductive health in five countries, including India. While I had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia, Nigeria, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates, something always seemed to get in the way of my plans to explore India. Thus, I was thrilled that my fellowship commenced with documenting the USAID-funded Vistaar Project’s interventions improving maternal, newborn and child health, and nutritional status in India.
This documentation process involved collaborating with IntraHealth colleagues in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand to capture Vistaar’s impact. It involved capturing hours of video and audio footage, taking thousands of photographs, enjoying several chai breaks, and eating lots of mangos. Through the documentation process, I became passionate about the project’s efforts to reduce the number of maternal and newborn deaths through strengthening the capacity of frontline health workers to conduct safe deliveries.
When we think of change and empowerment, the traditional target segments includes women, children and youth. Enhancing access to educational, economic and health resources is the most common approach for empowering communities. However, for some people the challenge is dealing with their fears, anxieties and personal traumas. The usual tendency is to view these challenges as personal and not the responsibility of the community. Such challenges may afflict the individual but these originate in and impact the community at large. We can’t expect to empower communities when some members are struggling to deal with their personal anxieties.
One such segment is the veterans returning home from the conflict zones. Normalizing their lives and integrating them into the mainstream is crucial to creating healthy communities. In the midst of other competing priorities relating to development goals, the tendency is to overlook the needs of the veterans. Even though it’s not on the priority radar of the non-profit community, addressing the psychological needs of the veterans is crucial.
20% of U.S. returning veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, experiencing emotional numbness, anxiety, insomnia, flashbacks and nightmares that result in difficulty returning to their normal home and work life. Without tools to manage these symptoms, some veterans are left to cope through alcohol and drugs. About 18 veterans in the U.S. commit suicide every day, a rate now higher than that of combat fatalities.
Open to veterans of all ages and from any war, Project Welcome Home Troops uses transformational breathing techniques to reduce anxiety, deal effectively with strong emotions, increase resiliency and energy, and improve overall performance. Researched at the University of Wisconsin, these techniques are taught over a six-day course and help veterans take back control of their minds and emotions, as they continue the practices on their own.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa
Sambhava is an attempt to create many such ripples and highlight the impact of numerous ripple-creating endeavors elsewhere.
The world we live in is not without challenges – grim economic situation, political instability, climate change, gender discrimination and resource scarcity stare us in the face. But never before in the history of mankind have so many individuals, organizations, governments and corporations dedicated substantial time, effort and resources for finding and implementing solutions to the problems we face. The challenges are numerous but the solutions are smarter and creative. Whether it is the research of college graduates to use rice husk to power remote Indian villages or the strategy of crowdsourcing investment capital for a woman entrepreneur in Africa – our ingenuity at creating solutions has been impressive and worthwhile.
Through Sambhava, thetrajectory will highlight ideas and efforts that contribute to imaginative solutions and infinite hope. Sambhava is not just a blog; it is an affirmation that every problem has a solution and we are responsible for designing and implementing these solutions.
In the six months that I’ve been away from thetrajectory, I’ve missed it immensely. A shift in my professional focus led to the hiatus. Having moved from academic research to program implementation in the nonprofit world, I’ve spent the past one year exploring new possibilities. Working on community empowerment projects has been an enriching experience and allowed to broaden my analytical horizons. After pushing it back for months, finally I’m excited that thetrajectory is taking a turn!
Economic, social, cultural and political realities are central to designing and implementing community empowerment projects across the globe. While social sciences analyze challenges and changes in society, the nonprofit community, along with government and corporate agencies attempt to address challenges and contribute to change. This collaborative process of understanding and effecting change, inspired a shift in my approach. I’m excited that my experience allows me to objectively analyze issues and be part of the change.
thetrajectory will henceforth highlight concerns of and developments in the nonprofit sector while continuing with occasional commentaries on social and political issues in South Asia. thetrajectory will attempt to weave holistic conversations around the factors that either challenge or change our communities. The quest of thetrajectory is still to comprehend change or the lack of it in our communities but from a different vantage point.
The articles on thetrajectory are reflections of my personal opinions and do not represent views of any organization or program with which I may be associated.
Hoping that you’ll join thetrajectory on its new journey!
The Hindu Cartoonscope and Amul Butter cartoons continue to be a great way to capture news in India with humor and satire. This Year in Review presents a montage of cartoons from the two sources to present the highlights of what happened in India in 2011.
Reports of political scams and corruption continued to surface throughout 2011. 2G allocation, hoarding of balck money and illegal mining at Bellary were some prominent ones. Continue Reading
Guest Post by Sidrah Zaheer. Sidrah is a freelance writer who likes to blog about her thoughts. She is a curious person and can’t keep ideas to herself unless she has shared them online somewhere. She is most interested in issues of political and social importance and often writes about them in her various posts. She is a complete movie buff and likes to keep in touch with the latest technology, especially in social media. You can follow her on Twitter and join her Facebook Page.
Whenever I have entered into a chat with an Indian, there have always been feelings of goodwill and kindness for each other as people. This mutual respect between the people of India and Pakistan who communicate online tells volumes about how deeply the people of both the countries admire and appreciate each other in actuality. This fact is unlike what the media often depicts the situation between people to be. I have found Indians to get more interested in knowing better about me as a Pakistani and also about my country. This indicates an attempt on their part to bridge the gaps and understand. If you have understood another human being, you have connected.
First of all, they are amazed to see that I know Urdu and can speak it fluently as my mother tongue. Indians admire Urdu language, or so at least has been my experience when I tell them that Urdu is my first language. The heritage of Urdu literature in India has unique position in its culture and history. The second fact that strikes them is to know that I am from Karachi, which is a city they must have heard a lot of things about; some good, some bad, but always arising a sense of wonderment about Karachiites. Karachi is not much different than one of India’s own largest cities, Mumbai. Hence, many common things come to the fore when sharing experiences about life in these metropolitans. I don’t for one understand how based on similarities of backgrounds from this perspective, people can differ. Click to continue…
India’s Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal launched Aakash, the $35 tablet, midst much fanfare last week. The launch was hailed as a grand moment for India’s innovative prowess and claims to have silenced the skeptics. Aakash is developed by DataWind, a wireless Web access products maker in Montreal in partnership with IIT Rajasthan. The tablet has a 7-inch display with 800-by-480 pixel resolution, 256MB of RAM, 2GB flash storage, a 366MHz processor from Connexant and runs on the Android 2.2 operating system. The tablet costs $50 but government of India is making it available for graduate students at the subsidized cost of $35. Making technology cheaply available is a great way to bridge the digital divide but Aakash is technologically unimpressive and socially insensitive.
India’s Afghanistan policy is a classic case displaying the pros and cons of soft power approach in international relations. Soft power is fruitful as a continuum of the smart power strategy where hard power is purposefully used. Soft power is helpful in creating space for and sustaining hard power options. A strategy that rests only on soft power resources to achieve national interests is flawed.