Archives For India

I think it’s important that I preface this entry by admitting that social justice had, quite frankly, nothing to do with why I was in India.

I moved there with my family in 2009 after my dad, who works for a multi-billion dollar Fortune 50 company whose name isn’t important,was transferred to an office in Chennai, a city of roughly 8 million souls on the southeast coast of the country. There could not have been more social and economic disparity between my world and the world of so many Indians. My world had air-conditioned luxury cars, and chauffeurs who called me sir instead of my name. My world had security guards, maids, gardeners, cooks, paid vacations and 5-star restaurants; and if I wanted it to, existed primarily behind gates and tinted glass.

Most of my neighbors didn’t have shoes.

Continue Reading…

I love kids. Who doesn’t? Some of the wittiest and most fabulous people I know… are children.

And I’ve always loved supporting different causes that benefit kids around the world—mostly education. Because education is one of those few things in my life that I know is real, and good, and life changing.

But it has recently come to my attention that when we talk about children’s education, the conversation feels a bit one-sided.

Because what happens when that kid comes home from school to a family that doesn’t value education? To a mother who can’t read or write? To a father who could care less?

Take it from Jaya. As you can see, she’s obviously awesome. Continue Reading…


United Nations
: India has recorded a decline in maternal mortality rates between 1990 and 2013 but along with Nigeria it accounted for one third of the global maternal deaths last year, according to a UN report.

An estimated 289,000 women died in 2013 from complications in pregnancy and childbirth, down from 523,000 in 1990, according to World Health Organisation’s trends in maternal mortality estimates from 1990 to 2013. The figure represents a decrease of 45 per cent. Continue Reading…

When I first started working in the nonprofit field, I was a lowly intern with big ideas of a world transformed in my lifetime. Literacy felt like a nice, fluffy topic. I knew education was important—but literacy felt like such a backseat issue compared to extreme poverty, slavery, and the other deep injustices of the world. So I thought, really, let’s prioritize.

Over the years, my perspective has obviously widened and developed and grown, but I’ll admit, it wasn’t until a recent trip to India that I totally changed my mind about literacy.

Because when we talk about literacy, we’re not talking about teaching people to read and write. We’re talking about giving them the opportunity of their lives… lives that they’ll live out with purpose… lives that will help end extreme poverty, slavery, and the other deep injustices of the world.

So there I was, in a decent-sized village called Yadagirigutta, in South India, where I met Kiran.

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Photographer Karolin Klüppel visits an Indian village where girls hold all the power

In the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya lies a small village where the girls hold all the power. Mawlynnong, which is home to just 95 houses and a population of around 500, runs a matrilineal society, meaning that the family’s lineage is traced through the wife’s surname, and the youngest daughter inherits her parents’ property. Continue Reading…

 

Nearly 400m people live in cities in India and during the next 40 years that number will more than double. Not only is the proportion of India’s total female population that is economically active among the lowest in the world, but urban areas do even worse.

New analysis of data from the 2011 census shows only half as many urban women work as their rural counterparts. Continue Reading…

Less than one-in-three households in Indian villages have toilets, a dire situation that poses major safety risks for women who are often attacked while using communal bathrooms.

Lack of sanitation access has long been a concern in India, but advocates hope to make an intensive push for better facilities on the UN’s inaugural World Toilet Day, a campaign that raises awareness for the fact that 2.5 billion people live without toilets. Continue Reading…

Child bride Krishna, 13, stands with her husband Kishan Gopal, 15, inside a newly constructed room at her house in a village near Baran, located in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, July 17, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Despite laws banning child marriage in South Asia, deep-rooted social acceptance of the practice and a failure by authorities to crack down and punish perpetrators has led a culture of impunity in the region, the Center for Reproductive Rights said on Friday.

According to a new report by the New York-based charity, 25,000 children worldwide, most of whom are girls under the age of 18, are married every day – with the South Asia region accounting for almost half of all child marriages.

Yet the practice – which activists say is a gross violation of human rights, exposing young girls to a multitude of abuses such as rape, domestic violence and forced pregnancies – continues unabated largely due to government inaction. Continue Reading…

Reference: SC = Scheduled Castes & ST = Scheduled Tribes (all part of lower castes)

The literacy rate among scheduled castes and tribes remains well below the rest of India’s population, but the gap has closed significantly in the last decade. During this period (2001-2011), ST and SC women made the most rapid progress, latest census data reveals.

Data released earlier this week shows a 14.6 percentage point increase in literacy among ST and SC women over the decade, compared to a jump of 10 percentage points for non-SC/ST women. The literacy rate of ST men and SC men has jumped by 9.4 and 8.5 percentage points, respectively, compared to just 4.8 percentage points among non-SC/ST men.

The pattern of SC and ST women showing a higher increase in literacy holds good across almost all states, and in both rural and urban areas. Of course, the base was very low to start with in the case of both women and men in the two communities, compared to the general population. Continue Reading…

Out of 136 countries measured, India falls towards the bottom for almost every indicator, including “health and survival”, ranking second-to-last at 135.