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Monday, April 30, 2012

Scholarships for students from class 5 onwards

From -

Program Benefits

1. Trust will pay 75% of the school fees of the Students, subject to a maximum of Rs. 18,000 per year / 1,500 per month. Fee will be paid directly to the school on a quarterly basis. 2. Students who get 80% or higher marks will receive an additional stipend of Rs. 3,000 per year for use towards their intellectual growth, at the end of the school year.
Eligibility and application process 1. Students who have been a resident of Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) (including Mumbai, Thane, Mira Bhayandar, Kalyan Dombivali, Vasai-Virar, Navi Mumbai) for a minimum of 3 years at the time of application. 2. Studying in Standard V to XII of any school located in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. 3. Belonging to families whose annual household income is less than Rs. 4,50,000 per annum. (combined income of both parents / guardians). 4. 1,500 such scholarships (including continuing Students) shall be given each year on first-come-first serve basis, of which minimum 50% shall be earmarked towards female Students.
Decision on award will be notified by email by 30th May for all except Std X passouts and within 30 days of the declaration of the respective board results for Std X passouts. For any queries, write to us at Download the form here: Last Date of Application for the 2012 program is 14th May, 2012.

Bhoomi Habba Celebrating Justpeace

Bhoomi Habba Celebrating Justpeace May 5, 2012 at Visthar, Bangalore

Visthar invites you to the Bhoomi Habba, a festival celebrating Justice and Peace on May 5 in Bangalore. This annual festival includes an International Food Festival, a Documentary Film Festival, Poster Exhibitions, Dolls Exhibition, Art Workshops for Children, Music, Dance and Theatre. Held at the green, environmentally friendly Visthar campus, the festival will showcase traditional foods from 10 countries – Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, India, Burma, Bangladesh, Philippines and Africa. The film festival screens documentaries from around the country on urgent, contemporary issues. Exhibitions of posters and dolls invite visitors to engage with struggles for justice across India. The objective of the festival is to increase peoples' awareness of justice and peace issues. A vibrant participatory democracy calls for such informed citizens. As in the previous years, there will be stalls selling traditional handicrafts and traditional varieties of rice. The Bhoomi Habba is held between 10:00am – 6:00pm on May 5, 2012 at the Visthar campus, near Kothanur, off Hennur Road, Bangalore.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Poster Exhibition
Saturday May 5, 2012 at Visthar Bangalore

Visthar invites you to a Poster Exhibition celebrating peoples' struggles for Justice and Peace on May 5 in Bangalore. Held at the green, environmentally friendly Visthar campus, the poster exhibition presents posters from around the country on urgent, contemporary issues. The poster exhibition will highlight peoples' struggle around India against the Violence of Development. This year, we have posters and cartoons from different struggles: anti-nuclear struggles, the Bhopal campaign, and the struggles of the victims of Agent Orange. The Poster Exhibition will be accompanied by an International Food Festival, Documentary Film Festival, Dolls Exhibition, Art Workshops for Children, Music, Dance and Theatre. The Poster Exhibition, organized as part sof the Bhoomi Habba, is held between 10:00am – 6:00pm on May 5, 2012 at the Visthar campus, near Kothanur, off Hennur Road, Bangalore.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dolls Speak
Saturday May 5, 2012 at Visthar Bangalore

Visthar invites you to "Dolls Speak", an Exhibition of Dolls by Belgian doll-maker Francoise Bosteels on May 5 in Bangalore. Held at the green, environmentally friendly Visthar campus, the exhibition will present miniature dolls depicting daily life from India and the violence of development. Francoise Bosteels' dolls have travelled around the world from India to Latin America inspiring people to share their stories. They are about people forgotten in our memory. Though silent, the dolls eloquently give them a voice. Created over a period of 32 years, the dolls have moved people to write poems about the oppression and hopes in daily life. The Dolls Exhibition will be accompanied by an International Food Festival, Documentary Festival, Poster Exhibitions, Art Workshops for Children, Music, Dance and Theatre. The Dolls Exhibition, organized as part of the Bhoomi Habba, is held between 10:00am – 6:00pm on May 5, 2012 at the Visthar campus, near Kothanur, off Hennur Road, Bangalore.

Vacancy for the post of Data Entry Operator

Vacancy for the post of Data Entry Operator
The Humsafar Trust Job Description: Data Entry Operator (Research Unit)
Posts: 2 Location: Mumbai Work timing: 10 am to 6 pm The Humsafar Trust (HST) is a Community Based Organization (CBO) instituted in 1994; HST is dedicated to supporting and uplifting the sexual health and human rights of LGBT community in India. It works closely with other government agencies in efforts to curb the HIV epidemic. HST has 9 Targeted Intervention projects that work at the grass root level, spreading knowledge and awareness of HIV, safe sex practices and promoting HIV testing, in addition to distribution of condoms. HST offers psycho-social, nutritional and legal support to the LGBT community, and fosters CBOs of Transgender, MSM, and LBT persons for greater mobilization in the LGBT community Research in HST plays an important role in informing, designing and guiding interventions pertaining to the unique problems faced by men who have sex with men (MSM) and Transgender persons (TG). A wide spectrum of studies are conducted on various topics ranging from HIV/STI research, programming and evaluation, and also explorative research on the legal, social and cultural components that affect the life of LGBT individuals Research in HST has strong principles of ethical research and is guided by the expertise drawn from the Ethics Review Committee Over all job description Work in sync with the research team on data cleaning, data entry and quality check of research data. Roles and responsibility Work with the research team on data entry of various research data in electronic form. To do the cleaning and quality check of the data of the research projects. Help in documentation and data management. Reporting to the Project Manager and managing data collection at the sites, and other project related activities.
Bachelors (in any subject) 0-1 work experience of working as a data entry operator. Good computer skills, especially MS word, excel and power point Ability to speak English and Hindi/Marathi fluently For more information: Send us your CV at -- Rashi Desai Clinic and Counselling Head & Research Associate The Humsafar Trust Vakola

Sruti disAbility Rights Center invites you to join an online essay competition

Sruti disAbility Rights Center invites you to join an online essay competition.
Topics: 1. My response to a wheelchair. 2. When the bus conductor denied Nagma, a young blind girl, a journey to her destination… 3. Inclusive Education for children with disabilities in the post Right to Education Act 2009 era. 4. Bollywood’s attempt to mainstream the marginalized.
Word count: 3000 (upper limit)
Deadline: 10th May, 2012
Date of announcement of winners: 30th May 2012 · All applicants must mention their name, age, and postal address at the end of the essay. · 3 top essays will be awarded attractive prizes. · Best essays will be published by Sruti and used as advocacy material for disability rights. For entries and queries, please mail to
For more information, please call Proma Basu Roy at 09748856474.

Jobs Avbl.: for Electrical technician and accountant in Phaltan

Jobs Avbl.: for Electrical technician and accountant in Phaltan Posted by: "nandini nimbkar" Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:48 am (PDT) Dear sir, We urgently require the following: 1.Wanted a* chief technician (Electrical/mechanical) *with a minimum of 5-6 years' experience. Should preferably be a graduate of an I.T.I. and should know about fitting and general workshop practice. Please apply with salary expectations. 2.Required immediately an *accountant*. Should be B.Com or M.Com, preferably with experience in handling accounts of trusts. Complete knowledge of computer- especially good knowledge of accounting software desirable. Salary commensurate with qualifications. Apply immediately with all particulars and three professional references. Both are required at our institute in Phaltan. Best regards, Nandini Nimbkar -- Dr. N. Nimbkar President Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) P.O.Box 44, Tambmal, Phaltan-Lonand Road Phaltan - 415523, Maharashtra, India

Job Avbl.: State Co-ordinator for NGO MACT in Tamil Nadu

Job Avbl.: State Co-ordinator for NGO MACT in Tamil Nadu Posted by: "Cyril Alexander" Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:28 am (PDT)

TITLE : State Co-ordinator, Tamilnadu, India ORGANIZATION : Mary Anne Charity Trust (MACT) REPORTS TO : Director, MACT DUTY STATION : Chennai, Tamilnadu
MACT works to improve the health and well-being of people in the poorest communities of the world. We promote gender equity, advocate for sound practices and policies, and inspire people to assert their rights to better, healthier lives. Working in partnership with local organizations, we adapt our work in response to local needs. MACT�s works in 5 districts of Tamilnadu i.e Trichy, Pudukottai, Kancheepuram,Tiruvallur and Chennai district.
The state coordinator and fundraiser will provide support for the performance monitoring, evaluation, maintenance of a database for MACT�S programs. He/she will be responsible for developing reports, dissemination of information to staff, working in close collaboration with the director, staff, donors and network groups.
RESPONSIBILITIES: Administrative Work
� Collect monthly reports coming from the Regional coordinators and consolidate them,
� Prepare the reports for donors and other implementing partners (6 months reports),
� Consolidate monthly and annual operational work plan send by the field staff, � Monitor projects budgets in line with implementation, � drafting projects and pass on to the director, � Creation of administrative follow-up tools, Networking and lobbying � Attend the network meetings as and when required. � Create linkages with the government. � Support in the creation of communication tools for specific campaign � Collect information and create fact sheet for lobbying and advocacy � Writing the right to information (RTI) petitions. Human Resource Management � Responsible for training the staff on the project implementation. � Ensure implementation of sectoral policy. � Draft job descriptions for new positions. � Conduct recruitment interviews with the Executive Director � Maintain flow of communication between the Director and the Field. � Manage effectively and with respect the team of District officers and coordinators. Solve encountered problems. � Conduct performance appraisal for staff once in a year. � Conduct �All staff� monthly meetings � Draft the annual training plan for all the field staff and follow the training of the staff � Support Regional coordinators in the selection of external training programs and resource people � Be responsible for Interns graduating in MSW. � Project Management � Responsible for conducting field visit to monitor project once in a month. � Prepare monitoring reports. � Participate in monthly staff meetings held at regional level. � Ensure follow-up and evaluation of the projects � Design of the new projects � Conduct periodic evaluation of programs. � Drafting of annual and 6 months reports for the donor � Ensure the visibility of the projects toward the outside Fundraising and project proposal writing � Responsible for raising funds for programs. � Organise and support fundraising events � Meeting with the donors when presenting new projects Knowledge required � Ability to organize team work � Project management skills � Good verbal and written communication � Good English and Tamil spoken, written � Computer literate and proficiency in Pack Office � A personal interest in social issues in Tamil Nadu Skills required � Monitoring and Evaluations skills � Proposal writing � Human resource management � Financial management � Team Management � Reporting � Communication � Adaptability � Working in team Qualification: � Should have completed Masters in social work. � Knowledge on SPSS. Experience 2 to 3 years of experience in social work field. Remuneration Compensation package offer will commensurate with qualification and experiences (in the range of Rs.13, 000-15,000). To apply for this position, please send you resume to before the 5thth of May 2012. Please provide two or three references for us to consult/refer.

CBR Training courses-Admissions are open for 2012-13

CBR Training courses-Admissions are open for 2012-13
Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:27 am (PDT)

*CBR Training courses-Admissions are open for 2012-13 Academic year*

* * *National Human Resource Development Programmes in Rehabilitation Sciences (A programme initiated by CBR NETWORK(South Asia)in collaboration with Bangalore University and Rehabilitation Council of India) *
*For further information contact us *
Courses: 1.Teachers for inclusive education 2.CBR professionals to work in rural areas 3.Diploma in Epilepsy care 4.Certificate courses in early intervention with children with special needs and courses on inclusive education -- 2012 Focus-CBR Quality Enhancement at Grassroots Dr Indumathi Rao* Regional Adviser CBR NETWORK (South Asia) Mainstreaming Disability Issues using CBR strategy Special Consultative Status to UNECOSOC Associate Member-Rehabilitation International Member-Global Partnership for Disability and Development 134,1st Block, 6th Main, BSK III Stage Bangalore-560085, India Web-http\\ Phone-91(India)-80(Bangalore)-26724273, 26724221 CBR NETWORK SOUTH ASIA STRUCTURE ➢ Regional CBR NETWORK (South Asia, Bangalore, HQ) ➢ Dr Razikhan Hamdard (Regional Coordinator’s office RNCBR ) ➢ National CBR Network, Nepal & & & ➢ National CBR Network, Maldives & ➢ National CBR Network, Sri Lanka ➢ National CBR Network Bhutan ➢ National CBR Network, Afghanistan & ➢ National CBR Network, Pakistan ➢ National CBR Network, Bangladesh *Regional Adviser-CBR NETWORK(South Asia) Chairperson(Global Partnership for Disability and Development) Zonal chairperson(South) Rehabilitation Council of India Former member National commission for persons with Disabilities,India

Jobs Avbl.: for Tally Accounts and .NET experts - in Navi Mumbai

Jobs Avbl.: for Tally Accounts and .NET experts - in Navi Mumbai
Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:24 am (PDT)

A.KINI & Co; a CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai based Management & Software Consulting firm has full time/ part time openings for .NET experts with 2-3 years experience for their new development centre at Chembur, Mumbai. A.KINI & Co also can provide careers at its clients for Tally Accounts persons with 2 years experience, Tally Inventory experience persons, Mechanical Engineers (Graduates/Diploma/ITI) with pressed/turned parts shop experience for Manufacturing and QA openings, Mechanical Engineers with 2 years Sales experience in Motion Control automation/Hot Rolling steel plants/Heat Treatment Interested candidates can email to for interview

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Part time job available

Part-time jobs avbl
Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:36 am (PDT)

I am looking for part-time, literate worker/s who can sell books of great social purpose. Commission of 30 to 35%

-- With Regards, Dr. S.V. Nadkarni, Ex. Dean L.T.M. Med. College, Sion, Mumbai, Email:, Tel: 09320044525 / 022-24468633, Website: Suraj Eleganza II, Mahim (W)-400016

Six-Year program at Govt Tech Schools Class 8 to Apprenticeship-The Saksham programme for underpriveleged studentsSix-Year program at Govt Tech Schools Class 8 to Apprenticeship

Six-Year program at Govt Tech Schools Class 8 to Apprenticeship
Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:56 pm (PDT)

SAKSHAM Program: The Group has initiated a flagship Technical Education programme called `Saksham'. This six-year programme is scheduled to roll out in June 2012 in select Government Technical Schools in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur based on the proposal and in principle acceptance by The Directorate of Vocational Education – Government of Maharashtra. The aim is to transform students into technically qualified and skilled adults with an overall grooming and training to work in the Manufacturing Sector.SSC syllabus had always offered technical subjects as optional (100 marks TECH paper starting from Std 8)called V2 & V3. This is what we have set to revive.
Background: Directorate of Vocational Education & Training (DVET) has about 150 technical schools/centres in the State of Maharashtra. The current state of these schools is not particularly inspiring; with very low admission levels, high drop-out rates and poor staffing/infrastructure. Saksham is the first such CSR intervention by any corporate. What is more important is that this programme goes beyond school, and addresses the needs of these under-privileged children in their journey from adolescence to responsible men/women at work, duly qualified with technical skill, life skills, soft skills and English. About the Programme:
The Programme is being introduced in three Government Schools and Centres of DVET from June 2012.
1. ETHS at Dhobi Talao (opp Metro Cinema) 2. RV GTHS Khar - Pali Hill. 3. GTHS at Ghule Road – Pune 4. GTHS at Nagpur Thereafter, the programme will be taken to other states.
Students should seek admission at these schools from Class 8 onwards and continue till the Plus 2 Bifocal/MCVC. The syllabus followed with technical subjects - V2 and V3 is as per the SSC Board. Students will continue in this six-year programme `SAKSHAM', opting for the Plus 2 Bifocal/MCVC studies and then go for an Apprenticeship programme at select plants of the RPG group & its associate companies.
For further details write to, or call us:-
Venkat Rolla - Head CSR, RPG Grp ( 1. Venkat Rolla: 022-24930621 – extn 3626. 2. Sunil Pathak – Head Master of ETHS & Jr College: 9892031293 3. Ghanshyam Mhatre – 9930246000 4. Tanaji Patil - 9969491319

Part time or full time job available at anasuya foundation for women and children ,chennai

Job Avbl.: Part-time / full time Admin work with Chennai NGO
Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:17 pm (PDT)
April 28, 2012
This is a part time / full time job at Chennai with an NGO. Details are as follows: 1. Name of the Organization: Anasuya Foundation for Women and Children, No. 1, First Cross Street, Indiranagar, Adyar, Chennai 600020. Phone- Managing Trustee, Sri. D.K.Oza, IAS (Retd): 044-24422269 / 9444216627. Email id - (Administrative Secretary � Smt. B. Vijaya � 9600138954. Email id -
2. The location of the job is at Indiranagar, Adyar, Chennai 600020.
3. Approximately four hours a day, four days a week. Flexible timing.
*4. **Excellent knowledge of English and ability to work very fast on computer are required. *
5. A College student or a housewife can reply. Remember the job is in Indiranagar, Adyar.
6. Salary � Rs. 10,000 or above depending upon merits.
7. Job requirement � Assisting in a good deal of administrative work, some research and some secretarial work. (Traveling outside Chennai not required).

-- D.K.Oza I.A.S (Retd) No. 1, First Cross Street Indiranagar, Adyar Chennai 600 020 Tel: 91-44-24422269 / 94442 16627 Email:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A new type of cell may bring solar energy indoors

A new type of cell may bring "solar" energy indoors
Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:48 pm (PDT)
Photoelectric cells To dye for A new type of cell may bring "solar" energy indoors THE phrase "indoor solar power" sounds like an oxymoron. But there is growing interest in the idea of using photoelectric cells to run gadgets as well as power grids-and doing so even when those gadgets are inside buildings. Much of the light these cells used would, of necessity, come from incandescent bulbs, fluorescent tubes and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) rather than through the window from the sun. But if the right sorts of cells were available this could be cheaper than constantly replacing the batteries that currently power electronic gizmos. On April 8th G24 Innovations, a firm based in Wales, announced that it may have come up with just such a cell. The latest version of its special, dye-based photoelectric devices has set a new record for the conversion of light from bulbs into electricity: an efficiency of 26%, compared with the 15% which previous ones can manage. That lifts dye-based cells to the point where they might be widely deployable for indoor power. Dye-based cells are similar to the silicon-based variety found on rooftops around the world in that both rely on a semiconductor to assist the conversion of luminous energy into the electrical sort. The difference is that in the case of silicon cells, this conversion happens directly. That means the frequency of light absorbed is constrained by the physical properties of silicon itself. In the case of dye-based cells, which were invented at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne, in Switzerland, in the 1990s, the light is first captured by molecules of a photosensitive dye. Tinker with the composition of this dye and you change the frequency of light that can be captured. This makes dye-based cells more flexible than silicon ones. The dye molecules themselves are bound to tiny particles of titanium dioxide, a less-famous (but cheaper) semiconductor than silicon, and the whole assembly is immersed in an electrolyte and sandwiched between two electrodes. When a photon of light is absorbed by a dye molecule, an electron is knocked into the titanium dioxide. From there it travels to one of the electrodes and a current is thus generated. The flexibility brought by the dye-based approach makes this sort of cell particularly useful indoors. Silicon-based solar cells have been optimised for sunlight. But artificial light, whether of the incandescent, fluorescent or LED variety, contains a different mixture of frequencies from that put out by the sun. By changing the composition of the dye, G24's engineers ensure that the maximum sensitivity of the cell coincides with whatever frequency mix is appropriate for the artificial light concerned. Besides being tweakable to match the spectrum of a light-bulb, dye-based cells also work well in dim or diffuse light of the sort often found indoors. Silicon-based systems do not. And dye-based cells, having no rigid parts, can bend, and are mechanically robust compared with the silicon sort. That gives them a further advantage over silicon cells, especially for powering consumer gadgets. Steven Burt, G24's chief financial officer, talks of light-bulb-powered TV remote controls, smoke detectors and computer keyboards. (A non-removable internal battery would store charge for use when the lights are off.) The company already offers prototypes of bags and jackets with photosensitive panels woven in, designed to charge digital cameras and mobile phones, and a hotel in Las Vegas is using G24's products to run its electric window-blinds. Mr Burt also sees a market for powering the networks of sensors needed to monitor things like temperature and humidity in modern "smart" buildings. Eventually, says Mr Burt, the ability of dye-based cells to produce useful quantities of power even in dim and diffuse light could see them used outside, perhaps on rooftops in cloudier parts of the world-a market at present dominated by traditional, silicon-based cells, even though they are not well-suited to the purpose. But for now, G24's factory in Cardiff, not a city known for its sunshine, remains powered by a wind turbine. URL:

Efficiency House Plus, Berlin(Energy Surplus house)

Efficiency House Plus, Berlin
Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:18 pm (PDT)
My house is my filling station Efficiency House Plus in Berlin (Source: Werner Sobek) In October 2011, as part of its building and electric mobility research, the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development will begin with the construction of the follow-up model of the plus energy house which combines building and transport. The idea is that the energy generated by the house is stored in suitable high-capacity batteries and used to recharge electric vehicles. Before the end of this year, the first fully functional and habitable "Energy Surplus House" is to be presented in Berlin. For this, an electric car charging point and an electric vehicle are added to the Efficiency House Plus. The research project will be constructed as a single-family house with around 130 square metres. It will serve as a "showcase" for joint innovative developments in building and vehicle technologies. The house in Fasanenstrasse 87, 10623 Berlin, will be used, scientifically tested and publicly displayed in a real-world setting for two years. Under the heading "My house is my filling station", it will display the resource-conserving, sustainable use of synergies between the building and transport sectors. The surplus electricity generated by the house can be fed into the grid or used for electric mobility (car, motorcycle, bicycle). Several German automobile manufacturers have already expressed their interest in a cooperation in this project. Federal Minister Dr Peter Ramsauer said: "Buildings and transport together account for almost 70% of overall final energy consumption. There is an enormous potential for saving energy. In order to meet our climate change targets, we want to make optimum use of all options available. We see building and transport as a unit. It is important to take the charging infrastructure into account, in particular when constructing new buildings. With our energy plus house we will go even further. With the help of a habitable prototype, we want to demonstrate that a family can use the energy generated by the house also for their mobility. Our energy plus house generates twice as much energy as it consumes. This is enough to charge the electric vehicle outside the door. This is why we will build a model house in Berlin. Such innovative ideas can and are to make Germany a lead provider of and a lead marked for electric mobility." The project will be closely monitored. Following a test phase, a family of four is to live in the building for one year, starting in 2012. The results are to be available for the large-scale, economically viable construction of such buildings and for the advancement of technical systems. With regard to suitability for everyday use, Ramsauer said: "We want promising innovative ideas, technologies and materials to be used at an earlier point in time. For this to happen, we need viable products that are fit for everyday use and inspire users. And we want to examine new ideas thoroughly within the framework of model projects so that in the end the product is socially and economically successful. It makes little sense to fund projects and do research without considering what the market requires." The house has more advantages than just a positive energy balance: a.. recyclability of all materials used, ease of dismantling b.. flexibility as regards demographic change, accessibility and various support systems c.. operation supported by mostly automatic functions, user intervention possible at any time d.. easy upkeep and operation, repair and maintenance e.. modern design and at the same time flexibly convertible Current Status: At the end of 2010, Professor Werner Sobek and the Stuttgart University Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK) won the competition between universities in collaboration with engineering companies for the design of the project "Efficiency House Plus with Electric Mobility". The project will be constructed as a model house of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development and will be scientifically monitored by the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and the Berlin Institute for Social Research (BIS). The BIS is preparing the selection of the test family based on sociological findings. Federal Chancellor Merkel and Federal Minister Ramsauer opened the house on 7 December 2011. After a three-month scientific test run of the project, a test family is to move in in March 2012 and live there for 15 months. During this time, various research studies will go on.

The $300 house project

Know about: the 300$ house
Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:18 pm (PDT) The $300 House was first described in a Harvard Business Review blog post by Vijay Govindarajan and Christian Sarkar. Initially, we just wanted to put the idea out there, but now, due to the tremendous response, we've decided to see how far we can go toward making it a reality. The project is investigating three countries with participating organizations: Ethiopia (with Anteneh Roba and International Fund for Africa), Haiti (with Vijay Govindarajan and Dartmouth) and India (with Stuart Hart and Enterprise for a Sustainable World). The $300 House needs you: students and teachers, individuals, universities, institutions, businesses, and governmental agencies - learn how you can participate! Our goal is to bring together people, institutions, and businesses in a "creation space" to: 1) turn this idea a reality, and 2) test it out in the field. We're building an online collective - with passionate, caring participants who choose to collaborate to make this project a reality across the planet.

The world's largest solar inverter factory in Germany

The world's largest solar inverter factory in Germany
Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:18 pm (PDT) Solar Factory 1 The Solar Factory 1 is currently the world's largest solar inverter factory with CO2-neutral production. It will contribute to the improvement of the spatial and logistical conditions of the production processes in the manufacture of inverters for obtaining solar electricity. The building, with a clear height of 8.50 m, runs parallel to the existing buildings. The horizontal shed is intended as an analogy of an industrial extruded profile. The longitudinal façades of the building are sligh Building Typology:Industrial Location:Kassel Country:Germany Planning / Construction Period:2008 - 2009 Order type:New Building Client:SMA Solar Technology AG Project Participants:Structural engineer: EHS, Lohfelden HVAC: Imtech Deutschland GmbH & Co.KG Energy concept and CO2-neutrality: deNET e.V., Kassel Energy concept: IB Hausladen/EGS, Stuttgart Landscape architecture: PWF, Kassel Scope of Services:Architecture Gross Floor Area:25268 m² Gross Volume:178950 m³ Awards:Nomination for the "Great Nike" BDA Architecture Prize 2009 Prime Property Award by Union Investment 2010 Energy Efficiency Award by DENA (German Energy Agency) 2010 German Solar Prize plaque 2010 "Selected location" for 365 locations, Germany - Land of Ideas 2011 The Solar Factory 1 is currently the world's largest solar inverter factory with CO2-neutral production. It will contribute to the improvement of the spatial and logistical conditions of the production processes in the manufacture of inverters for obtaining solar electricity. The building, with a clear height of 8.50 m, runs parallel to the existing buildings. The horizontal shed is intended as an analogy of an industrial extruded profile. The longitudinal façades of the building are slightly curved and "perforated" by vertical window elements. In contrast to this, the two end walls are completely of glass. A recessed pedestal level gives the "profile" the appearance of hovering above the ground. In addition to the manufacture and assembly of prefabricated electronic components to form electronic components in the central area of Solar Werk 1, the peripheral areas of the upper storey house ancillary rooms, social spaces and the production department's offices. Access to the building for the 450 employees and visitors is at the two end elevations of the building. The roof support structure was erected as a prefabricated steel frame construction on prefabricated reinforced concrete loadbearing supports. The longitudinal elevations of the building were clad with curtain façades of aluminium composite panels in white, with dark-grey window elements. The building is fitted with several kinds of photovoltaic system - roof-mounted, integrated into the roof lights of the building, in the canopies above the logistics yard and around an outside terrace. The overall output of the systems installed is approx. 1.2 MWp. The heat required is generated by a biogas-fuelled CHP and biogas condensing boilers. Absorption air conditioning units provide cooling where necessary. The energy consumption of substantial areas is optimised by means of a thermal simulation of the building. The workstations near the façades have natural light and ventilation from the windows. Cooling ceilings ensure pleasant working conditions even in the summer months.

Healthcare revolution in Gadchiroli, considered India's most backward district as per human index indicators

Public Health: Gadchiroli's trudging doctors spell hope

Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:36 am (PDT)
Gadchiroli's trudging doctors spell hope....Pramit Bhattacharya A healthcare model relying mainly on people from within the community to provide care is reaping success Mumbai: One of India's most backward districts and Maharashtra's worst ranked in human development indicators, Gadchiroli, today finds itself at the forefront of a healthcare revolution that can potentially save millions of infant lives and help India rapidly reduce her abysmal infant mortality rate (IMR). Under the aegis of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), India is replicating a unique model of using "barefoot doctors" to save infant lives, pioneered by an extraordinary team of physicians led by Abhay and Rani Bang and their Gadchiroli-based non-governmental organization, Society for Education Action and Research In Community Health (SEARCH). With around 4,600 children dying each day, India has the highest number of child deaths in the world. Seventy per cent of under-five deaths occur in infancy and a majority of infant deaths occur in the first four weeks of life. India's IMR, or the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births, at 47, is close to that of poorer African nations such as Senegal and Ghana. Even neighbouring Bangladesh and Nepal have lower IMR. The country's IMR has declined only by 2 percentage points per year over the past five years despite the introduction of a cash incentive scheme for mothers who deliver at hospitals. At the current rate of decline, India will easily miss the millennium development goal of bringing down IMR to 27 by 2015. Most deaths in the newborn period are preventable, and occur because households, communities and health facilities are often unable to provide the required care, according to the United Nations Children Fund (Unicef). Health workers are often unavailable and most are ill-equipped to provide newborn care. SEARCH's strategy to curb infant deaths relies on training community health workers to diagnose and treat newborn diseases and has been dramatically successful in reducing IMR. Over a span of 15 years, SEARCH has been able to reduce IMR in its intervention area by 75% to around 30, by providing home-based newborn care (HBNC). At a time when India plans to universalise basic healthcare, the Gadchiroli model has emerged as a cost-effective way to correct the nation's dismal child-health record. At $7 per disability-adjusted life years saved, SEARCH's intervention is more efficient in saving lives compared with other tested methods, such as micro-nutrient fortifications for malnourished children. Behind SEARCH's success lies the meticulous research and undying perseverance of its founders, the Bangs, honoured as global heroes in health by Time magazine in 2005. Trained in public health at the US-based John Hopkins University, the couple returned to India in the mid-1980s to study the health problems of the rural poor, and founded SEARCH at Shodhgram (or research village) in Gadchiroli. Six hours away from Melghat, Shodhgram shows how the drive of a small but committed team can succeed where the state has failed. Abhay Bang, 61, said he was inspired by the Chinese example of barefoot doctors. "The Chinese adopted a simple principle that said that healthcare must be available within that distance, which a mother on foot can walk with a sick baby," he said in an interview. In the Bangs' case, that principle meant providing care to the newborn at home. Almost all Indian states barring Kerala and Tamil Nadu (which have low IMR) and Chhattisgarh (that already has a similar 'mitanin' programme) have initiated the first phase of implementing the Gadchiroli model. The National Health System Resource Centre (NHSRC)-a nodal agency for training community health workers or accredited social health activists (Asha)-is facilitating the training with inputs from SEARCH. Each Asha worker will be paid Rs. 250 for each infant each tends to, using NRHM funds. Around 30 batches of Asha trainers have been trained at Shodhgram so far. "This is a first of its kind initiative at such a large scale," said Rajani Ved, adviser, community processes, NHSRC. While HBNC was emphasized when NRHM was started six years back, it is only now that the state is providing the training and incentives to health workers to implement the Gadchiroli model in right earnest. Several aspects of the model have already been adopted in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and parts of Africa. Both the World Health Organization and Unicef have approved the Bangs' community based intervention as an effective strategy for infant and childcare. The Bangs have helped focus the world's attention on neonatal deaths. Deaths in the neonatal period or first four weeks account for roughly 40% of all under-five deaths and their proportion has grown by 10% since 1990, according to the latest Unicef estimates. Of the 3.3 million neonatal deaths globally in 2009, the Indian share of 28% was the highest, even as it accounted for fewer than 20% of live births in the world. A 1999 Lancet research paper by Abhay Bang and his colleagues at SEARCH, based on their interventions in Gadchiroli, showed for the first time how very sick newborn babies could be saved even in poor nations with a novel cost-effective strategy. Bang's paper found a place in a 2005 compilation of "vintage papers" in the 180-year-old history of the prestigious medical journal. Global impact is not new to the Bangs. Their earlier work on the widespread prevalence of sexual health problems among rural women had forced a big shift in maternal health policies from birth control to reproductive health in the late 1980s. Maternal health policies had until then focused only on family planning. Their work on neonatal health turns conventional medical wisdom on its head. The traditional approach to improving maternal and child health lays emphasis on widening the reach of hospitals in under-served communities. In contrast, the Gadchiroli strategy relies almost exclusively on people from within the community, usually uneducated traditional birth attendants and community health workers, to deliver care for the mother and her child. These health workers, who have undergone rigorous training, form the backbone of SEARCH's intervention in 39 villages. They diagnose and treat infections such as sepsis and pneumonia, two major killers in the neonatal period. Their home visits start when a woman is pregnant and continue till her child is two months old. In case of low birth weight or pre-term babies who are at the greatest risk of death, health workers visit roughly once in two days to check for signs of infection in the neonatal period. A system of rewards and penalties depending on whether or not the correct diagnosis is made and regular visits by a supervisor have ensured that the strategy has worked efficiently. "Everyone including doctors of the village trust us to take care of their children's illnesses," said Anjana Uikey, one of Bang's "miracle workers" at Bodhli village in Gadchiroli. After Abhay Bang's research was published in 1999, it has taken more than a decade of advocacy in partnership with a global alliance called Saving Newborn Lives (SNL)-supported by Save the Children USA and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-and more field trials, to win acceptance at home and abroad. A lifelong vision to see Indian villages become self-reliant in health propelled Bang. Brought up in Sevagram, Mahatma Gandhi's ashram at Wardha, Bang had decided early in life that he would follow the path laid out by his hero. "Gandhiji spoke of gram swaraj (free or self-reliant villages); I decided to work on arogya swaraj (self-reliance in health)," said Bang. The decision was not just about idealism but also a hardheaded assessment of reality: Qualified doctors are often unwilling to work in villages. "As long as rural communities continue to depend on outsiders for even basic health needs, they will continue to face neglect," said Bang. Only 47% of Indian women give birth at hospitals and the figure is much lower for rural areas, according to Unicef. And with 21% vacancies among general physicians and 50-60% vacancies among specialists at rural health centres, access to healthcare is skewed against the rural poor. The Gadchiroli model addresses precisely that gap. The runaway success of the HBNC model raised doubts on whether this could ever be replicated. Sceptics questioned the wisdom of allowing uneducated health workers to administer injections. Others saw in SEARCH's work an island of success, which was possible only because of Bang's commitment. To answer these doubts, the Ankur project was launched in 2001 to replicate the SEARCH model in seven different parts of Maharashtra in collaboration with local NGOs. In four years, neonatal mortality dropped by 50% and infant mortality by 47%. The Indian Council of Medical Research has also conducted field trials on HBNC in five different states of the country and while the results have not been published yet, the trials have shown significant impact, Bang said. It is difficult to predict the success rate across the country as the SEARCH model is scaled up since a lot will depend on effective administration. Unlike in Gadchiroli, health workers nationally are selected by the government and not the Bangs, and the technical and moral support that SEARCH gives to its community workers while handling complications will be missing. Bang is aware of the challenges. "There will be uncertainties in such a large scheme but we will remain focused on how to make things work because the number of lives at stake is in millions." (The "Tracking Hunger" series is a nationwide effort to track, investigate and report India's struggle against hunger and malnutrition. This special report on malnutrition is the result of a fellowship jointly awarded by Save The Children and Mint. To know more about Save The Children:
pramit. * Filling the gap: Abhay Bang, the founder of SEARCH, at his office. Photo: Pramit Bhattacharya/Mint * Anjana Uikey, a health worker, providing care to an infant boy at his home in Bodhli village in Gadchiroli. Photo: Pramit Bhattacharya/Mint URL:

Tracking Malnutrition and hunger in Melghat's tribal belt

Lessons from Melghat's health crisis

Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:53 am (PDT) Lessons from Melghat's health crisis....Pramit Bhattacharya Despite an increase in the number of health centres, tribals are seeing a rise in rates of stunting, show data
Mumbai: At a time when India plans a multi-pronged attack on malnutrition in 200 high-burden districts, it will pay to examine the cracks in state institutions that have led to past failures and can still derail well-intentioned plans. Melghat, a tribal corner in the northeastern fringes of India's richest state-Maharashtra-is an apt example of almost everything that has gone wrong in India's response to malnutrition and child deaths. Every 14th child dies in Melghat before reaching the age of six, often owing to malnutrition-related causes. The statistic has remained largely unchanged over the past five years and puts Melghat almost at par with less-developed sub-Saharan nations such as Senegal and Tanzania.
The fate of tribal children in Melghat mirrors that of children in other parts of tribal India and reflects the yawning chasm between tribals and others. Nearly one in two tribal families are poor in rural India, according to the latest official estimates, a ratio that is 40% higher compared with the rural average. Melghat also demonstrates the ineffectiveness of state-sponsored schemes such as the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in improving child health. India's poor record in tackling malnutrition has come to the fore once again after the recently published results of a survey led by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as the Naandi Foundation found rates of stunting or chronic under-nourishment to be 59% across 100 districts, 11 percentage points higher than what the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) recorded across India in 2006. Just like everything else in the nation, the spread of malnutrition is uneven. The inequality in malnutrition rates is higher in India than in most other nations, a February report by Save the Children said.
Tribals are the worst affected and are the only social group that saw a rise in the rates of stunting between 1992 and 2006, according to NFHS data. Yet, malnutrition rates in the country can improve only if tribal malnutrition rates drop. As a World Bank report pointed out in 2005, a quarter of Indian districts-many of them tribal-account for over half of India's malnourished children. In Melghat, a shoddy health care system and ineffective ICDS workforce have contributed to the stasis in child mortality rates but the root of the problem lies in the apathy of the political and administrative class that has failed to address either poverty and livelihood issues or deliver basic public goods. The villages of Melghat-with treacherous roads, closed schools and mostly without electricity or piped water-appear to be in a time warp, left behind by India's famed engine of economic growth. In several villages, child deaths are more frequent than the visits of public servants. Other tribal areas of the state with the second-largest tribal population in the country tell a similar tale. Maharashtra is one of the better-performing states when it comes to tackling malnutrition, but its progress hides deep inequalities. Five tribal districts out of a total of 35-Amravati, Gadchiroli, Nandurbar, Nashik and Thane-account for a third of severely malnourished children in the state. The number of child deaths in some of these districts has grown in recent years. According to official estimates obtained through Right to Information applications by a Melghat-based NGO, Khoj, the number of child deaths went up 17% in Gadchiroli and 10% in Nandurbar in the past three years. Melghat, composed of two blocks in Amravati district-Dharni and Chikaldhara-is special though, as it has the longest recorded history of child deaths and has seen decades of well-meaning judicial interventions starting 1993. Media-savvy NGOs have managed to keep the spotlight on malnutrition and several politicians have made flying visits but life in Melghat has not changed much. A child in Melghat is thrice as likely to be severely malnourished compared with an average child in Maharashtra, according to ICDS data. To be sure, the number of health centres has gone up in the past five years: a new rural hospital and a primary health centre (PHC) have been built, thanks to NRHM funding. The number of vacancies among PHC doctors has dipped to nearly zero. Yet, such statistics hide more than they reveal. A third of PHC doctors are temporary, fresh out of college, and working for the government to fulfil their course requirements. Many doctors have been trained in traditional medicine but prescribe allopathic medicines with impunity. Although there are a few committed doctors, and the health department is better run than most other state agencies in Melghat, the overall quality of healthcare is poor. Often, incompetent doctors get away even after making grave mistakes. When one-month-old Sachin Bethekar of Hatru village had diarrhoea in June, his parents took him to Hatru's PHC, where he was put on a saline drip till his stomach bloated. Sachin's distressed parents took him to a traditional healer or bhumka, who failed to help and he died the next day. Saline injections to malnourished infants is a major cause of death in public hospitals although World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines forbid such treatment, said Ashish Satav, a physician and president of Melghat-based NGO Mahan. Nevertheless, the devastating impact of the saline drip finds no mention in the child death register at Hatru's PHC. It instead identifies the bhumka as the cause of death! Health workers are as aware as other public servants that the chances of getting caught are slimmer than the chances of finding a healthy child in Melghat. Not surprisingly, such tales repeat themselves across Melghat. The details vary: in some villages, one came across stories of inadequate rations in crèches run under ICDS, in others of absent doctors, or of insensitive staff and petty corruption. Sachin's uncle Sakharam Bethekar points out that this is not the first such experience the family has had in a public hospital: Sakharam's wife died while giving birth to a boy four years ago. Such incidents lead to a loss of trust in the public health system, said Bandu Sane, an activist with Khoj. Across tribal India, the picture is equally bleak. A tribal child is 40% more likely to die before the age of five compared with an average Indian child not because he falls sick more often owing to malnourishment, but because he is half as likely to receive proper care, analysis of NFHS data by World Bank economists show.
Throughout history, tribals had a survival advantage over their peers, wrote demographer Arup Maharatna in his oft-cited book on the subject, Demographic Perspectives on India's Tribes. Till the early 1980s, tribal children had lower chances of dying compared with their closest social group, the scheduled castes, but mortality rates reversed in the past three decades as tribals lagged behind others in access to healthcare and basic amenities. This decline in health of the country's most deprived social group has occurred precisely when the economy has grown at its most rapid pace ever, clocking an average of around 6% over the past three decades. The blatant violation of norms and the years of neglect in Melghat arise from wide-ranging state failures and the inability of a weak tribal leadership to demand change. "Our leadership has failed us and anyone who takes up the cudgels on behalf of our community is either intimidated or bribed very easily," said Kalu Bethekar, a plain-speaking health counsellor at Hatru's PHC. Funds for tribal development often lie unutilized or are diverted. In many tribal areas of the state, there is no officer to plan projects, since many consider appointments in such areas as a punishment posting. Maharashtra is among the eight laggard states, which did not allocate funds in the tribal sub-plan-a part of the annual plan-in proportion to the tribal population of the state, despite repeated pleas from central government agencies, according to a 2011 tribal affairs ministry report. Maharashtra has a 9% tribal population but allocated only 8.2% of its annual plan allocation to it. The actual expenses are invariably lower than what is planned. Maharashtra has spent less than 2% of its annual budget on the tribal plan on average in the past decade, according to a 2011 report by Thane-based NGO Samarthan, based on official statistics. In 11 tribal dominated blocks of the state, an Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) officer looks into the implementation of all projects related to tribal welfare. Such posts often lie vacant, and even when appointments are made they are for a brief period, according to the Samarthan report. Melghat did not have a full-time ITDP nodal officer for several years and it is only recently, after repeated strictures from the judiciary, that the government has finally appointed one. Even when funds are allocated, there is little accountability on how they are used and Hatru's PHC is a prime example. The health centre lacks a toilet and does not have electricity owing to a defective solar plant. While there was no effort to build a toilet or hire a mechanic to get the solar machine repaired, NRHM funds worth over Rs. 4 million were spent on a new PHC building at Hatru that has remained unused for close to two years since it was built, apparently because of a leaky roof. Unicef's framework on malnutrition identifies disease and inadequate dietary intake as the proximate causes of malnutrition while political and social systems that determine how resources are used and shared are identified as the underlying or structural causes. In Melghat, all of these factors seem to have conspired together to deprive children of a chance at a healthy life. ...........

Story in numbers Tribal health indicators A tribal child is 25% more likely to be underweight and 40% more likely to die before five years of age compared with an average Indian child. The proportion of low birth-weight children at around 23% as well as the proportion of neo-natal deaths at roughly 40% is similar for tribals and others. However, more tribal children die in the 1-4 age group compared with others, according to the World Bank. Tribals account for 11.7% of all children under five, but account for 14% of under-five deaths and 23% of all child deaths in the 1-4 age group in India. Melghat, with an under-five mortality rate of 74, has twice as many children dying before the age of five as Iraq

India in the world

Half the 7.6 million under-five deaths in 2010 occurred in only five countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and China. India (22%) and Nigeria (11%) together account for a third of all under-five deaths, according to the latest United Nations estimates. With an under-five mortality rate of 63, India falls in the bottom quartile of countries in the world, according to the World Bank and ranks a lowly 165th. Malnutrition statistics are worse: India is nearly at the bottom, with a third of the world's malnourished children. India's score in the global hunger index 2010 is described as alarming and the country is ranked a lowly 67th among 84 nations surveyed, below nations such as Sudan, Rwanda and Pakistan. The global hunger index, developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute, is based on three key indicators: child malnutrition, rate of child mortality and percentage of people who are calorie-deficient
(The "Tracking Hunger" series is a nationwide effort to track, investigate and report India's struggle against hunger and malnutrition. This special report on malnutrition is the result of a fellowship jointly awarded by Save The Children and Mint. To know more about Save The * Facets of hunger: Eleven-month-old, severely malnourished Anita Parate with her grandmother * A child treatment centre at Semdoh village. * Children being fed at an anganwadi in Ektai village.(Photos by Pramit Bhattacharya/Min)

CSR: Companies need to combine environmental vision and profit

CSR: Companies need to combine environmental vision and profit

Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:46 am (PDT) Bransonspeak Environmental vision and profit.....Richard Branson The great news is that companies that get this right will create jobs, save money and propel our society towards a way of life that is far more harmonious with nature and more prosperous for all Money talks. Sometimes the best way to persuade business leaders to rethink their profits-only approach and instead take into account the well-being of their employees, of their community and of their environment, is to talk about what their focus on money is costing them. So let's look at the value of a natural process from a dollars-and-cents perspective-say, the activities of honeybees, whose numbers have been declining, possibly due to pollution and other human actions. The value of a hive goes far beyond the value of the honey it produces to the value of the crops, the fruit and the vegetables that the bees pollinate. In the US, the services of bees as pollinators are worth $15 billion (Rs. 77,550 crore) to $20 billion a year-and worldwide this is estimated at $200 billion to $400 billion. Much of our food supply, and in consequence, human wealth, is built upon bees' work fertilizing crops-bees are just one of our planet's resources that need to be valued in a radically different way. With climate change already under way, in large part due to greenhouse gases emitted by industry, many lives depend on how we resolve the current tension between doing business and doing the right thing. The great news is that companies that get this right will create jobs, save money and propel our society towards a way of life that is far more harmonious with nature and more prosperous for all. We at the Virgin Group are working to ensure that we get our own house in order. We have made great strides, and we have a long way to go. We are following in the footsteps of some great pioneers who have led the way by changing what their businesses value and measure. In the 1990s, Ray Anderson's carpet tile company, Interface Inc., which is based in Atlanta, Georgia, was making a healthy profit selling carpet tiles to customers such as corporate offices, malls and hotels. Then some customers began asking unfamiliar questions: What is Interface doing for the environment? What's in a carpet tile? Is it organic? Will it exacerbate my allergies? Will it poison me or my kids? Ray did not have the answers, which concerned him. His company might lose projects to competitors. Others in the company proposed creating a task force to find answers. "Great," Ray said. "Go for it." There was one hitch: they wanted Ray to launch the project with a speech about his environmental vision. But Ray didn't have an environmental vision. What could he say? "Interface obeys the law. Interface complies." Then a book landed on his desk: Paul Hawken's The Ecology of Commerce. For Ray, it was an epiphany. Hawken explains that the biosphere is in decline, and industry is the major culprit because of the way it extracts resources and uses them to make products that, sooner or later, end up in a landfill. And that only industry can find the solutions to this problem. Ray asked his team to audit the business's entire supply chain, and learnt that their factories and suppliers together extracted and processed more than 1.2 billion pounds of material in 1995 so that they could sell $802 million worth of products. Every year, Interface was responsible for more than 600 million gallons of contaminated water, more than 700 tonnes of toxic gases and 63,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. In the three-and-a-half years following the audit, Interface reduced its total worldwide waste by 40%. This saved the company $67 million, which paid for the rest of Interface's revolution. Ray turned his company into an environmental pioneer by brilliantly working out a way to measure his company's ecological footprint. He added costs to his balance sheet-items that convention preferred to ignore. As he noted in his book Mid-Course Correction: "We define waste as any cost that goes into a product that does not produce value for our customers." Also, he explains, "Our definition of waste includes not just off-quality and scrap (the traditional notion of waste); it also means anything we don't do right the first time- a misdirected shipment, a mispriced invoice, a bad debt and so forth." And: "[We have declared] energy derived from fossil fuels is waste, waste to be eliminated systematically, first through efficiency improvement and, eventually, by replacing it with renewable energy." Interface says that as of 2010 it has reduced energy use per unit of product by 43%, and 30% of the energy that it uses is from renewable sources. Water use per unit of product has decreased by 82%, and 40% of the raw materials that it uses to make carpet come from recycled or bio-based sources. Interface tries not to sell broadloom carpet and carpet tiles any more. It rents them, offering customers a lease programme for carpet, called the Evergreen Program. It replaces damaged tiles free of charge and, when the lease is up, Interface recalls them all and recycles them. Interface now knows exactly what it is doing for the environment. And, as is usually the case, the company is building its customer base and its profits in consequence. The world lost a visionary leader when Ray Anderson died in August 2011. Entrepreneurs who want to make a difference should consider carrying on the great work he started. BY NYT SYNDICATE �2012/RICHARD BRANSON Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group and companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Active. He maintains a blog at You can follow him on Twitter at URL:

Scholarships for studies in the UK

JUBILEE SCHOLARSHIPS 2012 Open for Applications for 2012

David Cameron, British Prime Minister said "Britain today is simply a GREAT place to visit, study and work" Jubilee Scholarships 2012 British Council and the UK Government are delighted to present this wonderful opportunity that enables young Indians to pursue a one year Masters programme in Management, Manufacturing, Science and Technology in a recognised UK institution, followed by a short term internship programme in the UK. Jubilee Scholarships have been launched this year as part of Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the GREAT campaign designed to focus on the areas of British excellence including its high quality education provision. The scholarship programme aims to support greater access to Higher Education in the UK and provide a new opportunity for students to fund their education. The scholars will receive funding for a one-year Masters course in the UK, starting September 2012. The ideal candidates will be Indian citizens who are graduates with excellent academic record. Deserving candidates who would not normally have the opportunity to study overseas are strongly encouraged to apply.

Each award will coverns * University tuition fee * Living expenses for the duration of the scholarship (for a maximum of 12 months) and a one month internship in the UK * Return airfare * UK visa Click here to know about the eligibility criteria and the application process Last date to apply online is Thursday, 10 May 2012 For Queries you can write to URL:

Avanti Fellows - providing support to bright students in need

Intro to Avanti Fellows - providing support to bright students in need Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:38 am (PDT) Q. What does Avanti do? Avanti Fellows helps underprivileged students study at India's best universities. We provide our fellows (underprivileged students with strong academic potential) with the following: a.. Free coaching for IIT-JEE and state-entrance examinations for engineering (We are starting a new chapter in Delhi for medical entrance examinations in association with Maulana Azad Medical College) b.. A dedicated student mentor during high school to help prepare for and cope with the pressures of competitive exams c.. Mentors during the student's undergraduate education d.. Access to IIT alumni as advisors who provide career advice and counselling when the student is at an undergraduate institute e.. English language training f.. Aid in securing internships and jobs Q. Are Avanti's efforts limited to the IITs? Yes. During the first year of its existence, Avanti will focus on extending its program across the IITs. Q. Who is an Avanti Fellow? Where are they selected from? An Avanti Fellow is a 11th/12th standard student who meets the following criteria: a.. He/She comes from a financially disadvantaged background (annual household income

Jobs available at St Judes Childcare Center, Mumbai

Job. Avbl.: General Manager at St. Jude Childcare Centre, Mumbai
Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:11 pm (PDT)
St Jude Childcare Centers India - Mumbai - Maharashtra has filled the Job Openings form in Position / Title : General Manager, Operations Location : Parel area, Mumbai Type : full-time Renumeration : Rs 40,000+, 3 year commitment Job Description : A home for children with Cancer St Jude Childcare centers provides free housing to children suffering from cancer who come to Bombay for medical treatment with their parents. We provide full psycho-social support as well. More information about our work is on our website:
We are looking for a General Manager Operations who will help us with: 1) Management of senior staff and operations of the centres 2) Interaction with new possible sponsors & donors 3) Implementation of a successful project from the development team 4) Preparing and making presentations to Potential Sponsors & Donors and Supporters 5) Preparing Budgets and Proposals We are looking for a mature, energetic woman of 30+ who is willing to work 6 days a week from 11am to 7pm including a few Sundays. What we can offer is good compensation, a positive nurturing place to grow & develop and a lot of personal satisfaction of working in a positive area. Qualification / Experience : -Bachelor's in Social Work / Psychology or Care or experience which compensates. -Should have led a small team of people effectively -Fluency in English / Hindi / Marathi -Computer Literacy -Ability to write reports and plans Please study our website - to understand the nature of work we do and then email with biodata and full details of experience. Contact details will be sent after that for fixing up interviews. Coordinator's Name : Mamta Mangaldas Coordinator's Email : -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Job. Avbl.: Research Assistant at St. Jude Childcare Centre, Mumbai Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:11 pm (PDT)
St Jude Childcare Centers India - Mumbai - Maharashtra has filled the Job Openings form in Position / Title : RESEARCH ASSISTANT Location : Parel area, Mumbai Type : full-time Renumeration : Rs 15,000+ per month Job Description : A home for children with Cancer St Jude Childcare centers provides free housing to children suffering from cancer who come to Bombay for medical treatment with their parents. We provide full psycho-social support as well. More information about our work is on our website: We are looking for a RESEARCH ASSISTANT -To be able to design and execute research oriented projects, social and clinical, for SJICC. -Experience in writing research proposals esp in the medical field. -Creating protocols for data collection, data analysis and report writing. Qualification / Experience : Profile - Looking for someone with 4 to 5 years of experience in the field of medical research. Coordinator's Name : Mamta Mangaldas Coordinator's Email :

5. Job Avbl.: Admin Manager at St. Jude Childcare Centre, Mumbai
Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:12 pm (PDT)
St Jude Childcare Centers India - Mumbai - Maharashtra has filled the Job Openings form in Position / Title : Admin Manager Location : Parel area, Mumbai Type : full-time Renumeration : Rs 18,000 + per month Job Description : A home for children with Cancer St Jude Childcare centers provides free housing to children suffering from cancer who come to Bombay for medical treatment with their parents. We provide full psycho-social support as well. More information about our work is on our website: WE ARE LOOKING FOR A YOUNG, ENERGETIC ADMIN MANAGER WHO WILL : 1) Have Responsibility for all administrative matters concerning the organisation 2) Custodian of all information for Team Members 3) Set up a filing and retrieval system 4) Overall Maintenance of Centres, Bus and Companies assets 5) Work with Sponsors and Donors Team for updates, communications, information, etc 6) Liaise with external agencies when required Qualification / Experience : Should have good computer skills, good english, experience in admin of 2-3 years. Coordinator's Name : Mamta Mangaldas Coordinator's Email :

EMCO Ltd. commissions - 5 MW Photovoltaic Solar Power Plant in Gujarat

EMCO Ltd. commissions - 5 MW Photovoltaic Solar Power Plant in Gujarat

Mumbai, April 23, 2012: EMCO Ltd. has commissioned its 5 MW Photovoltaic Solar Power Plant at Village Fatepur in Surendranagar district of Gujarat state. This project is based on the crystalline-silicon photovoltaic technology.
The plant will generate sufficient green energy, so as to avoid 7,500 MT of Carbon emission per annum. The project is commissioned under Solar Power Policy -2009 of the Government of Gujarat and power generated from the Project will be supplied to Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) through a long term power purchase agreement of 25 years. With the commissioning of this 5 MW Solar Power Project, EMCO has now a total installed capacity of 15.50 MW from the renewable energy sources.

Background Founded in 1964, EMCO LIMITED is one of India’s leading products and solutions provider up to 765 KV for power generation, transmission, distribution utilities and industry. With more than 15 offices and 6 state-of-the-art manufacturing plants across India which are accredited by Bureau Veritas for ISO: 9001:2008, ISO: 14001:2004 & OHSAS: 18001:2007 and as per IEC, ANSI, BS and other international standards, EMCO has been supplying its products and solutions to its customers consisting of electric utilities and Industries in India and in more than 45 countries internationally. Based on a strong foundation of technology and with an in-house R&D that works on cutting-edge technology, EMCO system adapts to the continually evolving needs of the modern world in a customer- centric, environmentally sensitive and sustainable manner.

House panel seeks govt views on mandatory CSR

House panel seeks govt views on mandatory CSR
Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:25 am (PDT)
House panel seeks govt views on mandatory CSR Asks govt to clarify role of internal auditors, in the backdrop of Satyam scam Deliberating on the Companies Bill, a Parliamentary panel on Friday asked the government for its views on making corporate social responsibility (CSR) mandatory at two per cent of net profit for all companies above a threshold, which was suggested by it earlier but rejected by the Government in the revised Bill. In the context of the Satyam scam, members of the Standing Committee on Finance also sought a reply from the government on the responsibility of internal auditors if the company gets involved in a scam. During the course of on Friday's meeting, the Standing Committee members raised several questions and sought the government's reply so that the report could be finalised in a couple of more meetings. Most of the members are of the view the final report should be given in the Budget session, slated to resume on April 24. "The role and independence of auditors was a crucial question raised in the meeting. Since auditors will be decided by the company and its chairman, it is important that they remain independent so that there is no other Satyam-like scam," said those in the know of development.
This is the second time the Standing Committee is examining the Companies Bill, 2009. It gave a report in the 2010 monsoon session. When the government brought the Bill in Parliament, Opposition parties said there were 22 changes which again needed to be sent to the committee. The government had incorporated 157 of the 178 amendments. Members feel CSR should be made mandatory, as public sector companies are already giving five per cent CSR on the total profit, while it is not known what private companies were doing. Interestingly, the committee in its report in August 2010, had recommended two per cent CSR but the government had diluted it. The revised Bill proposes the companies should take a call on CSR, but must give reasons in its accounts if it is not implementing these social obligations. The members also asked the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to explain how the government would ensure labour laws were not violated by companies taking money from banks. "The companies must not be allowed to violate labour laws since they use funds from banks, which are public money. The government should ensure labour laws are not violated," said those following the development closely.

Avbl.: Manual on simple earth buildings for the humid tropics,Manual in self-help construction using mud - Earthbags

Avbl.: Manual in self-help construction using mud - Earthbags!
Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:25 am (PDT) The green house of earth bags Huned Contractor, OneWorld South Asia 10 October 2008 Architects in western India have devised a novel way to construct inexpensive and eco-friendly homes using earth bags, barbed wire and bamboo sheets. Having first applied it to a children's play home, they now want to help others build them through informative booklets on the web. Pune: The first time 23-year-old Sourabh Phadke and his colleague Pooja Joshi found themselves in the news was when they designed a play station for children at the Aman Setu School near Pune. This school is housed in a stone farmhouse, a round kaleidoscope made from bamboo and earth bags. It is designed to accommodate 200 children up to Standard V. It also features a pond teeming with fish, frogs and turtles. Here children have the advantage of a natural and soothing environment in spite of being citizens of a burgeoning city like Pune. The policy is to carefully include children of varying linguistic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds as well as children of different abilities. No ordinary design For the architects who worked on the project, this was no ordinary design. Nor was it contemporary with a glass-and-chrome approach. Rather, the play station was made out of earth, bags, discarded barbed wire and bamboo sheets in a way that not only made the entire structure absolutely eco-friendly but also brought the cost down from its original estimate of Rs 4 lakhs to only Rs 90,000. How was this done? "We purchased 800 discarded cement bags at a nominal cost of 80 paise per bag, filled them with a wet mix of construction rubble from nearby sites, local soil, sand and just five per cent cement. These bags were used to make the walls of the building. Then, discarded PVC pipes were placed between the bags to form small windows," Phadke explains. Later, about 40 kgs of discarded barbed wire was purchased from a market of second-hand goods and used as binding material for the rows of these earth bags. The wire kept the entire thing in place. "We then painted the entire structure in vibrant colours," he said. The architects then used thick bamboo sheets (chataai) to prevent natural elements from seeping into the structure. Later, the roof was covered with dry grass. "During the monsoon season, flex sheets of discarded banner can be spread over the roof to prevent water from coming in," Phadke states. Self-help booklet Such has been the curiosity about this particular project that Phadke decided to write it all down in a manner that would make it user-friendly. "The booklet called 'Earth Bags' has all this information. We have even released a version in Marathi which we hope will be of use to people in rural areas of Maharashtra.
The booklet can either be bought for Rs 20 a copy or it can be downloaded for free from our website:," Phadke informs. This is not to say that the use of earth bags is a novel concept. Sandbags, for example, have been used to build bunds and similar water retention structures. Military structures are often built of earth bags. Old concept Architect Nader Khalili in the mid-80s first propagated the idea that such bags could be used to build environment-friendly shelters. But even here, his concept was designed for lunar housing. During a NASA symposium he had proposed that moon dust could be filled in bags to build shelters. "This concept was then refined by several researchers, especially Kelly Hart and Dr Owen Geigor, to build structures that would be strong and yet not put into use contemporary materials like cement, glass and concrete," Phadke states.
Making houses or other structures out of earth bags is also seen as a socially sustainable venture since it involves only semi-skilled and unskilled labour and it would take just 10 days for four people to build a room of 250 sq feet. "These structures help retain the top soil which is so often neglected during any construction activity," Phadke points out. He is now hoping that with the booklet available on the website, a larger number of people will not only have easy access to this simple technology but will also be motivated to "go back to a more natural style of living."

Avbl.: Manual on simple earth buildings for the humid tropics
Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:25 am (PDT) Introduction
Earth buildings have sheltered most people throughout history. In recent generations many parts of the world have abandoned pure earth for other materials, especially those involving cement and steel. In many areas the skills of building with earth have vanished or become rare. During this same time, the kinds of buildings people need has changed as their cultures have undergone massive changes. Earth is in many ways the best material for the humid tropical regions, especially where naturally occuring pumice or scoria is available to create less dense buildings. Earth is also the most available and sustainable material today. One new technology for using earth in bags may be the cheapest and simplest way to build. Earthbag buildings require sizing and spacing similar to the requirements of mud block or adobe, with slightly closer spacing of wall supports.
This book provides some basic ideas for simple houses that can be built of earthbag. Examples of different styles of piers and roofs and windows are shown to help you understand the options available. The traditional details and styles of buildings are part of a peoples' cultural riches. Although new materials and technologies come to an area, much of the beauty of their traditional buildings can be- and should be- saved.
In many parts of the world buildings must be extra strong for earthquakes or hurricanes and tsunamis. Other publications can help you plan for this.1 West Africa, northeastern South America and some parts of China and India do not have many earthquakes. If you live far enough inland where cyclones are not strong and tsunamis can't reach, these guidelines can help you try a new way of building simple structures with earth. Your buildings must resist termites and mold as well as be right for the climate, and for how people live.

A need to bridge the gap between schools and skills

Young & idle: A need to bridge the gap between schools and skills
Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:45 am (PDT)
Young and idle....Sreelatha Menon The skilling drives in India have failed to bridge the gap between schools and skills One of every five youth in the world is an Indian. This is not bad, except for the fact that most of them are likely to be idle or underemployed. There are 808 million individuals between 13 and 35 years of age in the country (40 million of them are illiterate) and comprise 66 per cent of the population. Of these, about 9.7 per cent of men and 18.7 per cent of women in the age group of 20 to 24 years living in urban areas were unemployed in 2009-10. Add to this the dreary detail of the 130 million children who enrolled in primary schools, but about 80 million did not make it to Class VIII, according to 2009-10 figures. So, these 80 million children went out in the world unskilled and unprepared to seek jobs. The labour ministry and other departments are currently engaged in creating employable youth through skilling programmes, almost like reinventing the wheel. For schools had already provided the opportunity and the audience for such skilling. Since skilling is not part of education, and exposure to workplace through apprenticeships is not heard of in the country, the dropouts generally are doomed. Rarely do skilling programmes have any link with classrooms. In Chile in the 1990s, the government experimented with an approach that tapped school dropouts. It was called Jovenes. Sher Vervick, an employment expert with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), recently showcased this approach as part of an experience-sharing seminar organised jointly by the ILO and the labour ministry. Jovenes focused on disadvantaged youth (school dropouts and other youth from low-income households) and provided a mixture of technical training, work experience (through internships), combined with basic life skills and job search assistance. Vervick says India could borrow from this model, even as he admits that linkage with education is vital. Jovenes had nothing to do with schools, but was a demand-based programme and targeted poor young workers between 16 and 29 years, with vocational training and numerous support services. The model was replicated across the region in Venezuela, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Columbia, Panama, Dominican Republic, etc. In India, in spite of its high dropout rates, skilling is taking place in a random fashion with not every village or district being targeted, not to speak of any linkage with schools in any fashion. Anyway, here is how Jovenes by no means the ideal, unfolded itself to poor Chilean youth.
It did advertising campaigns in select municipalities, screen potential participants, and then trained them in skills of an occupation. This is similar to what the skilling programme of the National Skill Development Corporation does. The course structure includes soft skills for reading, writing, mathematics, problem solving, interactive skills and lasts for 150 to 250 hours. The comparison ends here. Jovenes also offered job search assistance for a month or so. The best part was internship (not paid) in a real labour environment for two to three months. Evaluations of such interventions show that any skilling programme, especially with work experience even without guaranteed placement, helps youth enter the labour market. But, there is no guarantee of accessibility to the poor and needy.
Kerala's former Left-led government had proposed introducing skill education in Class VI. Skills included farming, carpentry, stitching and so on. It already runs a separate vocational education schooling system for those who have completed Class X. But, the upper primary intervention that was regarded as an enlightened step could not take off after the government changed hands. Linkage of skills with schools is yet to materialise anywhere in the country, and it is no wonder that Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal is never part of any gathering that discusses skilling and employment of youth, including the series of seminars being organised by the ILO.


Indians have weaker hearts than Americans: and 81% Indians inactive:Study

We have weaker hearts than Americans: Study
Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:39 am (PDT)

We have weaker hearts than Americans: Study 4 Out Of 5 Indians Are Inactive
Mumbai: There is now statistical proof to say that urban Indian lifestyles are queering the pitch for the Indian heart. Born with thinner arteries and at genetic risk for cardiac diseases, Indians are worsening their risk for heart diseases with poor physical activity, a highfat diet and by steadily shunning fruits and vegetables.
A study released at the World Congress of Cardiology in Dubai on Thursday said four of five Indians led an inactive life and about half were on a high-fat diet. Called the Indian Heart Watch (IHW), spanning 11 cities and covering 6,000 men and women, it was offered as the first-ever study on risk factors for heart diseases in India.
"The study showed risk factors are now at higher levels in India than in developed countries and regions such as the US and western Europe,'' said the study's researchers. Indian Heart Watch looked at three lifestyle factors - physical activity, diet and smoking-as well as biological factors like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure. Shockingly, even smaller towns showed higher incidence of smoking.

81% Indians inactive: Study
Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:39 am (PDT) 81% Indians inactive: Study High-Fat Diet & No Activity Increase Heart Disease Risk

Mumbai: Urban Indians are at higher risk of heart disease than people in the US or Western Europe, thanks to high inactivity, finds a study. The Indian Heart Watch study covered major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai as well as mid-sized towns like Agra and Rohtak. Cities had widespread physical inactivity. Even smaller towns had a higher incidence of smoking and low intake of fruits and vegetables. The research team comprising Jaipur-based cardiologist Rajeev Gupta, said improper urban social development worsened cardiac risk factors in Indians. Around 79% of men and 83% women (who participated in the study) were physically inactive, while 51% men and 48% women had high-fat diets. "About 60% men and 57% women were found to have a low intake of fruit and vegetables, while 12% men and 0.5% women smoke,'' the study said. Around 41% of men and 45% women were overweight. High blood pressure was reported in 33% men and 30% women, high cholesterol in a quarter of all men and women. Diabetes was reported in 34% men and 37% women. One of the study's authors, Prakash Deedwania from the University of California, said in Dubai that India was the world's coronary and diabetes capital. His co-author, Dr Gupta said, "Improving urban planning and living conditions is critical to curb the cardio-vascular epidemic." JJ Hospital's head of cardiology, Dr N O Bansal, said while urban Indians were guilty of low activity, fat content in desi food is not high. STAY ACTIVE, EAT HEALTHY - Physical Activity | Denoted as moderateintensity activity like brisk walking or bicycling, for greater than or equal to 30 minutes per day for 5 days a week, or vigorous-intensity activities for greater than or equal to 20 minutes per day, for 3 days a week - Insufficient Physical Activity | More than a total 10 minutes of moderate or vigorous-intensity activities per week, but less than recommended levels, is insufficient - Inactivity | Doing moderate or vigorousintensity lifestyle activities for less than 10 minutes per week classifies as inactivity - High-Fat Diet | Pork, organs like kidney, liver, fried or butter chicken, yellow of the egg, fried fish and very oily vegetarian, fried-stuff such as French fries, samosas and bhajias - Complications | In some, the combination of low activity and high-fat diet can lead to obesity, higher levels of cholesterol, higher blood pressure and, thereby, an increased risk of heart disease

NGOs provide help at hand, for city's young thalassaemic patients,Better blood transfusion facilities help city's thalassaemia patient

NGOs provide help at hand, for city's young thalassaemic patients
Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:33 am (PDT)

Help at hand, for city's young patients....Menaka Rao
While medical facilities for thalassaemic children have improved, teenage patients have different problems. These include problems related to puberty (or the absence of it in some patients), growth deficiency and psychological problems such as low self-esteem. Last January, Sangeeta Wadhwa, 34, and Pankaj Sethi, 25, (both thalassaemia patients) started the Youth Thalassaemic Alliance (YTA) to deal with the problems faced by thalassaemic youth. "YTA was established in the memory of my sister, Payal, 27, who died in August 2010. She was a thalassaemia major patient and died of a heart attack because of an iron overload in the heart. I felt that if this could happen to my sister, who got the best treatment, then what about patients who do not have the resources," said Wadhwa, a Vashi resident. The group has organised three seminars about thalassaemia treatment, psychological issues and endocrine problems related to growth and puberty.
Wadhwa said that many patients are pampered by their parents. "Many youngsters have not even completed their education. I know of a college student, who calls up his parents while taking transfusion and asks them to get him a gift or else he will not undergo transfusion," said Wadhwa. Besides, most non-profits working for thalassaemia have been started by parents. "We felt that patients should be involved as they understand their situation the best. We want patients to be more responsible for their lives. We want them to do what normal people do," said Sethi, who was Payal's friend.
"We see a lot of children who have not attained puberty because of iron overload in the pituitary glands. Some parents of girls, who have not got periods even up to 18 years, have a misconception that they should not bleed as they anyway lack blood in their body. We try to explain to them that thalassaemia is not a bleeding disease and hormones released after puberty such as estrogen is good for the heart and development of the girl," said Dr Sudha Rao, professor of pediatric endochrinology, Wadia Hospital, Parel Many children lack the growth hormone or testestorone and need regular shots. Patients could also have diabetes, calcium deficiency and weak bones. "I have had to convince many parents just to take their children to a doctor," said Wadhwa.
URL: ---------------------------------------------------- Better blood transfusion facilities help city's thalassaemia patient
Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:34 am (PDT)

On the road to a longer and fuller life....Menaka Rao In their stride - Better blood transfusion facilities, medication help city's thalassaemia patients lead easier lives
Hemang Thakkar was six months old when his body sudden ly turned absolutely pale one day. Alarmed, his mother, Usha, rushed him to the hospital. Tests revealed that Hemang suffers from thalassaemia major, a hereditary blood disorder where the body does not produce haemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. The absence of haemoglobin leads to progressive anaemia. "Doctors said my son would not live for long," said Usha, recalling the 40-year-old incident. The doctors' prediction was in a time when thalassaemia major patients, who require regular blood transfusions, did not live long because of poor medical facilities. Blood supply was scarce, quality of the blood available was questionable and blood transfusion was administered to children with primitive equipment such as needles meant for adults. Patients also need iron chellation therapy every day to remove excess iron from the body.
But Usha did not give up. The Thakkars used to live in Baroda then. For 12 years Hemang traveled to Mumbai every fortnight to get a blood transfusion. In 1984, they moved to Mumbai. "Then, very few children survived beyond the age of five," said Dr Rashid Merchant recalling the days when he started working at the Wadia Children's Hospital in Parel in 1968. "Complications included reactions to blood transfusions, contracting jaundice or AIDS from infected blood, iron overload leading to heart failure, diabetes, liver damage, and other infections," said Dr MB Agarwal, haemato-oncologist who consults at Bombay Hospital and Lilavati Hospital. Hemang is now 40 and has lived to see the transformation in services and facilities that have helped increase the life expectancy. "It's a very healthy situation now. A thalassaemic person does not have to worry so much about survival now. It's about managing the disorder," said Hemang.

Advanced Facilities For doctors, too, the change has been gradual. "My professor would tell us not to treat a thalassaemia patient as the child would not live for long anyway," said Dr MR Lokeshwar, who helped start a day care centre for thalassaemic children at Sion Hospital in 1988. Blood transfusion facilities in the city improved with St George Hospital and the Red Cross Blood Bank starting day care centres for thalassaemic children. Now, there are 20 such day care centres. "At a day care, a child is kept away from other patients to avoid infections. The child is monitored every time he comes for a transfusion. In most centers (except two) blood is provided free of cost," said Vinay Shetty, founder member of Think Foundation, that has helped establish seven daycare centres in the city.
In 1982, Desferal, an iron chellator drug that removes excess iron from the body, was introduced in India. "Before that, the drug was expensive. A cousin, who was a doctor in the US, used to send it," said Hemang. The drug has to be administered subcutaneously in the stomach or thigh for about eight hours every night. "I know of children who said they preferred death to the process," said Dr Lokeshwar. In 1984, a pharmaceutical company conducted its first human trial of another chellator, Kelfar. "We all participated in the trial," said Sangeeta Wadhwa, 34, a patient. Kelfar has to be taken orally but side effects include joint pains and gastric disturbances. Other oral chellators such as Asunr, to be taken first thing in the morning, are also available. Better Monitoring Facilities such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) help track iron depositions in the liver, heart, and other organs. "In addition, bone marrow and umbilical cord stem cell transplants are available, which are completely curative. Prenatal diagnosis is also available," said Dr Agarwal. Dr Agarwal believes that thalassaemia is still difficult to live with. "Constant blood transfusions and iron chelation can be tough. Many patients end up with an HIV infection, jaundice, diabetes, a bad heart, liver and bones. Employment is not easy so the financial burden is huge. Those who undergo transplants have post-transplant problems including infertility. Marriages are rare," said Dr Agarwal.