Specially for him.

India is a country where “special children” are never treated as normal. We show sympathy towards those with these special children and also bless our stars for having a normal child. So you can see that they have a stigma attached to them even before they are brought into the world. While they may be with disabilities, a lot of special children can perform their own menial tasks and in some cases even earn a living. But in the Indian society they are considered to be nothing more than a burden on not only the parents but the society in its entirety. Mental disabilities in India are treated with utmost judgement and they are treated more as ‘freaks of nature’ than fellow human beings.
But as we have been saying from our very first articles, the mentality in India is truly changing.
In the month of January 2016, Aditya Tiwari became the youngest Indian to adopt a special child. When Aditya had met Binney, the law stated that single parents below the age of 30 could not adopt and thus he suffered disappointment but not for long because in August 2015, the law was amended to let single parents adopt from the age of 25. Aditya was ecstatic as he had been trying to adopt Binney since September 2014. Binney sufferes from Down syndrome but this did not stop Aditya from fighting to adopt the toddler. She was at the time living in Matrachhaya which is a shelter for abandoned and homeless kids and a volunteer organization in the year 1997.
When Aditya had his first meeting with Matrachhaya in September, he was bombarded by useless questions like how he would get married if he adopted this ‘special child’ showing that Indian society does not see these children with mental disabilities as normal children that bring joy and happiness to the lives of their parents.
Fortunately, good news is that after much pestering, Aditya has finally brought the toddler home and begins his new life as a single parent.we begin to live in a better society where people like Aditya exist and it is through them that the ordinary man learns to hope and we see ‘human’ in the word ‘humanity’ come out in it’s true essence.

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Soaring high

Terrorism is inspired by insane objectives, motivated by bottomless depths of hatred, instigated by puppeteers who have invested heavily in havoc through the mass murder of innocents. This is war beyond any doctrine, a cancer which must be operated out with a firm scalpel. There is no good or bad terrorism, it is pure evil. Amidst such a horrifying scenario, Niloofar Rahmani, has become Afghanistan’s first female fixed wing military pilot, living out her father’s dream and emerging as a symbol of her country’s revolutionary assent to roles for women outside the home. Now at the age of 23, Capt. Rahmani is facing death threats from both the Taliban and her extended family members for daring to work in the male dominated profession of military aviation. The U.S.-led coalition had publicized Capt. Rahmani’s achievements, helping turn her into one of the faces of the post-9/11 generation of Afghans, those who came of age after the end of Taliban rule. Online photos of the young pilot in her khaki jumpsuit, loose head scarf and aviator sunglasses went viral. Capt. Rahmani flies a Cessna 208 turboprop plane that ferries soldiers to battle—and sometimes brings home their remains. A year ago, she became an aircraft commander. Life has become increasingly difficult for her and her family after the threats. “I really wanted to be in the military. I really wanted to be in the Air Force,” said the aviator, currently one of three female Afghan military pilots. “But I can’t continue like this”, she rues. The fact that she continues to serve daringly despite the fear of consequences, speaks volumes about her courage and valour.

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Zika Virus Causing Malformed Infants in Brazil

Image Source: The Hindu

Image Source: The Hindu

Brazil finds itself struck by a major health crisis as a little known virus, the Zika virus is doing the rounds causing brain damage resulting in babies born with small than usual heads. The virus is believed to be spread by mosquitoes. While the government faces criticism for its late responses, pregnant women across Brazil can be found panicking. These women have been advised to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. In some regions, where mosquitoes are too widely prevalent, the women have been asked to delay having children “if they can wait”.

The number of registered cases of this incurable condition has risen from 167 in 2013 and 147 in 2014 to 2,782 in 2015. The technical term for the disease is microcephaly. Another country hit by this virus from the various Latin American countries is Mexico. Cases have also been registered in USA in travelers that have visited countries where the virus has shown its effect. Resultantly the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued an warning over the possibility of the disease spreading across.

The place of origin of the virus is Africa and some researchers say that the virus probably arrived in Brazil at the time of the 2014 World Cup. Another theory is that it arrived with the canoe race through French Polynesian paddlers, which has been another region to have seen a surge in the number of cases recently.

Brazil had already been struggling with dengue before the arrival of Zika, having reported 1.6 million cases as opposed to 569,000 cases of dengue in 2014. With an 80% increase from last year, 839 people have died from dengue in 2015. Health officials believe that weather and rainfall could be another factor, since climate change and its resultant increased temperature makes it easier for them to multiply. Also the increased rainfall has given them increased areas to breed in.

Image Source: V News 24

Image Source: V News 24

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Syria’s Ray of Peace



In today’s world, for a country to be having a civil strife is common-place news and generally such a conflict is not ephemeral, usually lasting for months and years on end. Watching such news on our respective televisions everyday may not make us raise our brows in despair and shock but being present in such conditions and situations is a different story altogether. Even though countries having a powerful standing in the international arena and other peace-keeping international organizations like the UN have tried to douse down the massive eruptions of violence and vehement protests in such volatile situations, yet they are mostly in vain and to no immediate relief. However, there have been efforts at an individual level and by small and big NGOs and organizations to take the distress into their hands and find solutions to the problems causing the warfare, no matter how short-lived these solutions maybe. One such person who has added to this cause is Majd Izzat al-Chourbaji, a Syrian national, who was born in 1981 in the town of Darayya. Even though the Syrian issue started as a part of the Arab Spring which was a series of revolts and protests against the autocratic governments in the Gulf States, however, this violent tussle won other world players who have only helped in worsening the situation and causing a “war within a war”.

To all those who aren’t specifically abreast with the Syrian conflict, it was a civil war between the President, Mr Assad’s forces, and the “rebels” who demanded democratic reforms after the Syrian government took violent measures to curb the public’s chagrin and dissatisfaction against it’s rule. However, soon both the parties were backed by different countries like Assad’s forces started getting ammunition and oil transfers from Russia and Tehran whereas the rebels were being backed by the Gulf countries and the US, UK and France. Soon enough, the Islamic State and other terrorist groups started taking over parts and pieces of the Syrian land, leading to a chaotic and bloody mess in the state of Syria. This state of affairs has affected the civilians the most and continues to do so, leading to their immigration and rise in their death toll rate day by day.

A Syrian living in Serbia displays a placard on March 16, 2013 during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the center of Belgrade. Courtesy:

A Syrian living in Serbia displays a placard on March 16, 2013 during a protest against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in the center of Belgrade.

To get the political prisoners released, Chourbaji organised sit-ins due to which she was arrested by the police and was brutally treated, causing her several profound injuries. Despite her injuries and the violent treatment meted out against her, she organized peace-building and citizenship workshops among the prisoners and insisted on peaceful and non-violent methods of protest against the regime. She also persuaded 150 women detainees to go on a hunger-strike so as to pressurize the regime to present their cases in a court of law and was released among many others due to her peaceful methods of action. However, she fled to Lebanon along with her three children due to continued surveillance by the security forces. She has not failed to work to help the Syrian people even after she left her country since she established “Women Now” in Lebanon on 2nd January, 2014 as a center to provide assistance and aid to the women refugees of Syria by providing them vocational training and also psychological help to the women and children to help them get over the trauma they suffered in the civil war. These noble and brave-heart efforts of hers won her the International Women of Courage Award in 2015.

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Not just a walk in the park.

To find solace, I went to the nearby park. I had honestly visited this park a million times, never alone but I didn’t think going there alone would be a big deal until today. I finally found the peace, I had to come to look for. As I sat there, listening to songs and waving hi to the kids nearby, I saw a white car cross the park. It had loud songs playing and thus was hard to not notice but I didn’t pay much heed to it. My instincts came up on high alert when the car came around a second time and stopped near the park. I found that to be weird but I brushed it off as nothing. Nevertheless, I made my way out of the park and started walking back to my college. As I moved forward, I heard the same song that was playing in that car once again. My curiosity took over and I turned to see that the same car was now behind me along with another blue car. I breathed a sigh of relief when the cars crossed me and moved ahead but the both stopped a little while after. I continued walking and walked right past them and they moved on only to stop again at some distance. By this time my instincts were flaring so I decided to take a shorter route. I was happy to see the blue car driving away but the white car stayed on my trail for quite some time. As I came near the gate of the college, he stopped his car but I crossed it without showing him any sign of the fear that was rising inside of me. As soon as I crossed him, he started following me again. I quickly retracted to my college, finding relief in the fact that nobody could actually harm me in there.
As I walked to my hostel, I played the whole scene again and regretted going alone in the first place. That’s when I came to my senses and realised that going alone did not seem to be unsafe because it was 1 o clock in the afternoon and the park was situated well within a good residential area. But still I was followed. I still felt a fear inside of me, every time that guy stopped his car.
I will not stop going out or live in fear but what this experience specially made me realise that I might as well be just a girl in a world full of men. I talk about being strong and not letting men control the best of you but when I came face to face with such an experience all I thought was, I need to get out of here safely. All I felt was plain,simple fear in its rawest form.
So to the man that followed me, I would only like to say that I hope that you someday too feel like the way you made me feel and I’m much more than some girl you can bully, I am a women on her way to change society so nobody can make a girl feel the way you made me feel today.

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On the face of it

It is said that the face is the index of mind. It is an integral part of an individual’s identity, personality and sets them apart from the rest of the world. It betrays their deepest emotions, with just a twitch, and their happiness with just one smile. Such is the beauty of the face. It enchants, endears, and amazes. So much so, that nature carefully designed it for each individual to have their own. Custom – made for all. Sometimes, the demons around us take it upon themselves to mar it. The reason may be petty like rejection, disappointment, or humiliation. They retaliate by disfiguring the face of a person. The identity of a person. The attack is not just physical, it’s supremely personal and emotional at the same time. The number of acid attack victims has been steadily rising in the country and is higher now than it was a decade ago. Amidst such a ghastly situation, some of the victims have taken an initiative to help others afflicted with similar brutality. One such group, have set up a cafe for the abused women. The café, situated in Agra, India, aims at gaining acceptance for the victims often shunned by their own society. ‘Sheroes Hangout’, is the cleverly named café run by Lakshmi, Rupa, Chanchal, Ritu, and Sonam, who do everything from cooking and cleaning to accounting and dress designing. Rupa was attacked when she was 15,and the acid melted her skin, burned off her eyebrows, and disfigured her upper lip, leaving her in a coma for six weeks. Devastated by the incident, she has finally gained her confidence back after founding Sheroes. Ritu had to forego her education and volleyball, at which she excelled, to escape from the stigma posed by the society. She too found her self- respect back at Sheroes. Apart from healing from the emotional scars themselves, these women also reach out to other women and help them. Dolly who was attacked by a lovelorn local boy at the age of 14,now does her school work at the cafe, and dreams of studying medicine in the future. They have been told by their customers that they were beautiful before, and are beautiful now. We couldn’t agree more.

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Child Sex Ratio Rises by 5% in Haryana

2015 seemed to be a good year for human rights and women empowerment because according to a report made by Haryana Chief Minister Lal Khattar on Thursday, child sex ratio in the state has increased by 5%. This is another 5% marked increase from the ratio of 2014—846 girls per 1,000 boys. The CM further claimed that efforts would be made to increase child sex ratio above 900.

We appreciate the aims and efforts of the present Haryana government and hope 2016 would bring even more fruit than 2015. Women empowerment is the need of the hour and all must respond, participation of the state authorities being of the utmost importance.

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Report: Women Head 6.67% of Educational Institutes

A report carried out by the Edushine Advisory Group showed that women head 6.67% of the higher educational institutes of India. It reviewed 810 higher education institutions of the country and found that 54 Vice-Chancellors or Directors were female. The report also claimed that women headed 9.8% Central Institutes and 8.61% state universities.

This is definitely good news. It indicates that the powers of progress and development at our work, even thought at the surface, they appear to be working sluggishly. Women all across the country must take inspiration from this and dedicate themselves to achieving fulfilling careers.

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Saudi Arabian Women Vote for The First Time

After centuries of suppression and discrimination, the women of Saudi Arabia have finally got to vote. They took part in the municipal elections held in December, 2015—contesting as both voters and candidates. 978 participated as candidates and approximately 1,30,000 women will got to vote.

This event is another landmark in the careers of those fighting for equality and women rights and we celebrate with them in this moment of history. Female suppression has long been synonymous with middle eastern countries. This occasion is a step in the direction, the destination equality

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India ranks 130 in Human Development Index

It’s good news for India. As per the latest report of United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), India was ranked on the 130th position on the Human Development Index(HDI), having jumped up five places since its 135th rank in 2013.

India’s HDI value for 2014 was calculated at 0.69, placing it under ‘the medium human development category.” Norway was ranked 1st.

HDI is a scale that measures the status of a country according to its life expectancy, literacy rate and per capita income. Currently, HDI is giving ranks to 188 countries.

While it is commendable that India has managed to better it’s standing since 2013, the country has still a long way to go before it can manage to be categorised as a ‘developed nation.’ A rank of 130 out of 188 countries indicates much room for improvement

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