Citizens' Issues
India announces $1 billion aid for rebuilding Nepal
India on Thursday announced an aid of $1 billion for rebuilding Nepal, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced at an international donors meet here.
 
The aid will be used in the reconstruction of physical infrastructure as well as some key heritage sites.
 
At the International Conference on Nepal's Reconstruction, Swaraj said: "Nepal is not alone. Today I convey to you the deep and abiding commitment of the government of India and 1.25 billion people of India to stand shoulder to shoulder with you."
 
Referring to the operation India undertook to help Nepal soon after it was hit by a massive 7.9-magnitude earthquake in April, Swaraj said: "Operation Maitri was our largest ever disaster assistance effort abroad valued at nearly Rs.400 billion."
 
"From the debris of destruction a stronger united and more confident Nepal will rise," she said.
 
Swaraj hailed Nepal's efforts in making a major bid to rebuild the nation and said raising $6.7 billion was a challenging task.
 
"As the oldest and closest friend, India is ready to stand with Nepal," she said.

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Flood alert sounded in Kashmir
A flood alert was sounded in Kashmir on Thursday as the level of Jhelum river crossed the danger mark in some areas, an official said.
 
The level of the river at Sangam in Anantnag district was 26.80 ft., which is above the danger mark, while it was 19.80 ft. at Ram Munshibagh in Srinagar city at 8 a.m., also above the danger mark.
 
"A high flood alert has been sounded in the Kashmir Valley. All staff with flood protection duties have been ordered to report on duty," an official of the provincial administration told IANS here on Thursday.
 
The low lying areas in south Kashmir Kulgam district have been inundated due to the flood waters of the local Vessu river. People from these villages have left for safer places after over a dozen houses suffered damage due to flash floods.
 
Incessant rainfall since Wednesday has swollen all rivers, mountain streams and seasonal rivulets in the valley.
 
The Met Office has forecast more rainfall till Thursday evening.
 
"The weather will start to improve from today (Thursday) evening," an official said.
 
Kashmir witnessed one of history's worst floods in September last year.

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For the Betterment of Underprivileged Rural Children
Aham Bhumika works for rural children to prevent migration to cities
 
Rural poverty is usually the result of lack of opportunity, training and resources. Subrat Goswami and Kavita Bhattacharya, an idealist duo based in Bhopal, decided to do something about it and started Aham Bhumika in 2007. Their ideal and vision was clear: “No one should die due lack of proper clothing. No one should sleep on an empty stomach. Importance of education should be spread far and wide.” Over time, a diverse group comprising artists, housewives, engineers, tourist guides, teachers and government employees have come together to help realise Aham Bhumika’s goal.
 
How is it achieved? Its mission statement has the answer. It says, “Our mission was to help the underprivileged children, destitute and orphans by involving generous people from the cities by collecting material discarded by them (clothes, bicycles, books, toys, newspapers, etc).”
 
Subrat Goswami says, “We have seen the problems of rural India closely and have observed that the talent of rural children does not get a chance to flower or get exposure due to lack of basic materials like pencils, drawing books, paints and colour crayons,. Also, without training in skills, such as sewing and embroidery, rural women cannot earn some extra income, after doing the household chores.” 
 
A unique initiative is the ‘Grain School’ run by Aham Bhumika. Its objective is to teach illiterate women labourers, often stone-crushers, to read, write and do arithmetic. To ensure regular attendance at school, Aham Bhumika gives students a monthly quota of grain for their families. They are encouraged to continue their schooling more as a study circle where they learn various skills to improve their livelihood.
 
Aham Bhumika works at making women self-employed, to the extent they can. And their children are able to do well in a free schooling environment, even without tutors. Where the mother is not able to educate the daughter, the NGO is able to do something for the girl child, in particular. Where professional tutors are not available, volunteers help impart basic education.
 
Over time, the NGO has expanded its activities. Says Mr Goswami,  “Aham Bhumika has set up an after-school support centre in village Borda, where school children are taught the basics of Hindi, English and arithmetic after school hours. This year, the support centre has been converted into an art & craft centre during weekends. Here, the children are taught painting, paper-quilling and papier-mâché work.” As many as 35 children attend this art & craft centre. 
 
Another interesting activity is organisation of summer camps. Theae are aimed at creating excitement about education and school through a series of activities, learning arts, crafts or getting introduced to computers. 
 
Aham Bhumika has trained 30 women and girls in embroidery and sewing. It also commissions work from them to ensure a steady stream of income for them and quality products that the NGO markets. Every week, the NGO provides these women the fabric, design and threads along with a sample of the work required. The finished product, usually cushion covers and sling bags, are deposited with the NGO for sale. 
 
If you would like to do your bit for society, you can volunteer of Aham Bhumika or provide a helping hand by donating to their cause. Or, if you are a trust or organisation, you can help by sponsoring events, buying their products, donating art material or computers or even grain and clothes. 
 
Donations to Aham Bhumika are exempt under Section 80G of the Income-tax Act.
 
Aham Bhumika Swayam Sevi Sanstha, 
65, Elegant Estate, Sai Ganesh Mandir,
Near Mother Teresa School,
P.O. Bairagarh Chichli, Kolar Road, Bhopal 462042
Madhya Pradesh Phone +91 98264 72718
Email Aham [email protected]

 

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