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February 2004 : Vol.1 - Issue 6

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Top stories:

  1. Wake up call : As more and more activists get murdered, NGOs and the public are asking questions
  2. The female condom is launched: It has been mooted as the best answer to women's right over her body and for the control of not only reprodu\ction but also against HIV but it is still to expensive for many
  3. The WSF : At the end of it all it was a great energizing space that allowed a lot of people to feel-good!
  4. Success stories : The Coca Cola agitation led to the High Court stopping the soft drink giant from drawing water at the village because of drought…and since 1998 the Society for Participatory Research in Asia has been engaged in mapping the Non-profit sector in India. Its 10th working paper provides some glimpses .
  5. Issues : Greenpeace activists demand information on the field-trials of 60 genetically modified crops but were stonewalled by officials from the Department of Biotechnology.
  6. Sue them! : A major gathering of health activists in Mumbai plans to call for law suits all over Asia against drug multinationals who have been using patent laws that makes essential and life saving medicines expensive and inaccessible.
  7. Driving away AIDS : Usually blamed for transporting the dreaded AIDS virus on their inter-state haul, a group of truckers are now carrying a message of a different kind across India - that of awareness and prevention.
  8. Awards : The Sanctuary Lifetime Service Award presented to an individual who has devoted his life to protect India's wildlife and their habitat went to Arjun Billy Singh who has been protecting the Tigers in Dudhwa since four decades.
  9. Media: The latest books and films - a list of documentary films shown at the Festival of Docufilms in Khatmandu.

Wake up call
Delhi: Nearly seven years ago, Shri Chandrashekhar who was merely exercising his right to speech was murdered in day light by the henchman of a don who continues to adorn our Parliament. Two years ago Navleen Kumar an activist working with the tribals in Thane, Mumbai was ferociously stabbed to death in her own apartment at dawn. Some months ago, engineer Shri Satyendra Dubey, who steadfastly refused to succumb to pressures, was murdered in Gaya, when he tried to expose corruption in highway construction.

Hardly a few weeks ago two more activists, Sarita and Mahesh, were brutally murdered in Gaya. Sarita and Mahesh were working in Shabdo village to help local community achieve a sustainable and equitable use of land resources. This antagonised the local land mafia, partly because it involved reclaiming common land that had been encroached by powerful gangs. Last Saturday, Sarita and Mahesh were stopped by heavily armed men as they were travelling on a motorcycle, and shot at point blank range.
The pattern in these cases is much the same - anyone who antagonises vested interests or corporate interests, is vulnerable to elimination. The state machinery typically fails to respond, in fact, it is hand in glove with the criminals in many cases. There are umpteen instances when social activists have been abused, threatened by life, and assaulted, by those who want to polarize money and power and rule over those whose rights are abused. This also puts a very valid question on the democracy, if we are one.

A dharna was held at: Sardar Patel Chowk, near GPO, Lucknow on January 31, 2004
By the NAPM, and supported by Saajhi Duniya, Citizen's Campaign Against Fascism, WAMA, 'Maiswa', Healthwatch (UP), NFI, Task Force and others. Contact : 9415022772 (Arundhati Dhuru), 2347365 (Sandeep Pandey), 98390 73355(bobby)

A protest dharna at Jantar mantar, Delhi to protest the killings of Sarita and Mahesh was also held on February 4 by the NAPM, Socialist front, NCPRI, Anhad, Lokayan, NCRF, Nacodor,Vasudhiava kutumbakam, Jan abhiyan, BGVS trust, Insaaf

To campaign against criminalization of politics a huge cycle rally, begun from IIT Kanpur to Gaya on 15th February ending on 12th March, was organised by Asha, Parivartan, NAPM, MKSS

Referring to the deaths mentioned above, including those of Graham Staines and his sons, the activists said, "All these deceased persons were voices of conscience in their areas, often fighting injustice and corruption and questioning the status quo of vested interests. They had to ultimately pay in terms of their lives for the causes that they were working for. It is a sad state of affairs of our society that these legends were working for bringing about a change in society towards betterment and we were not able to guarantee their safety. It is also a threat to democracy that people working for change through peaceful means are done to death by criminal elements who often are able to deceive the law and order machinery and go scot free.

Besides seeing the perpetrators of the crimes brought to justice, it is a question of freeing the Indian political system from the clutches of criminal and corrupt elements. Today the nexus of politicians-administrators-contractors ably helped by criminals reigns supreme. This nexus has to be broken. A larger exercise for cleaning up the Indian political system needs to be taken up. We have to ensure that criminal and corrupt elements don't get elected as people's representatives. Instead we would like candidates who truly represent common people's interests, are genuine and honest and most importantly have a record of serving the people get elected. For this we need to campaign for awareness among people so that they are empowered about electing the right candidates and are not taken in by the opportunist politicians.

Supported by Aruna Roy, Arvind Kejriwal, Trilochan Sastry, Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey
Female condom launched

Delhi: "Female Condom", the first female initiated prevention option was launched in India on February 13, 2004, by Union Family Welfare secretary to Government of India, Mr PK Hota, in New Delhi amidst a gathering of over 300 NGO partners. This will be a big boon to millions of women who weren't in a position to negotiate or insist on male condom usage with their partners putting them at risk of contracting an array of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies. Many prevention programmes find that including the female condom actually increases both male and female condom use.

"Female Condom", is a hopeful answer to the epidemic of HIV/AIDS, and is a partnership between Government of India's HLL (Hindustan Latex Limited) and FHC (Female Health Company)

Dr.Mary Ann Leeper, COO of Female Health Company (FHC) said that most of the studies done show that number of protected sex acts increased upon introduction of female condom, by 25-35%, in Thailand, US, Zimbabwe and Ghana.

Twenty-eight NGOs who conducted acceptability and feasibility studies in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra discussed their experiences of service delivery and as users of the female condom. High use of female condom (over 90%) was reported in Indian study. Srinivas of Nrityanjali Academy in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, called it a"breakthrough initiative which gives an opportunity to talk about taboos on sex in India". Hanif, of Udaan Trust, Mahipal Singh, Samabhavna Trust Mumbai, Maharashtra, representing MSM population said that female condom 'encourages dialogue between partners for better decision making on sex related issues and prevention'. Woman representatives of the sex workers collective 'Saheli' in Pune, Maharashtra, said that female condom is very good and a fallback option when customers refuse to use male condom.

The Female Condom is a soft transparent polyurethane sheath inserted in the vagina hours before sexual intercourse. It seems to have the same percentage of protection as a male condom that is dependant on correct and consistent use.

Presently manufactured by The Female Health Company , and is marketed by the Hindustan Lever Limited as Confidom and Rani in India. through commercial venues and through social marketing. The volume of sales that the company intends to target in the coming year is 1 million.

At present, the cost of a single condom is Rs 45,and the company is hoping to bring it down to Rs 20/25 after negotiations with the Government, while the NGOs feel they should be sold at Rs 3/ or be given free.

Get ready for March 20
20th March is International Protest Day, ONE year since the United States of America & its allies launched its attacks against the people of Iraq. There is a global call to organise movements internationally in the form of demonstrations, protest marches and meetings calling for the United States to leave Iraq immediately.

People Against War, a coalition of human rights and public interest groups, unions and concerned citizens in Mumbai is in the process of planning the event and seeks your participation, cooperation and assistance to help organise a protest to effect an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq. Contact:Melanie dsouza"

The last two months have seen hectic activity in the NGO world. It is obvious that NGOs are beginning to be seen positively as the only non-political, non-governmental way to empowering the poor and enlightening the not-so-poor.
The World Social Forum was at one level, the "if you weren't there, you don't exist" kind of event for NGOs, but at the back of everyone's mind was the realization that many people who couldn't make it to the event were still working with their communities. For Mumbaikars it was yet another event in their calendar of Events…an event many people drove all the way to Goregaon to witness. Those who did were not disappointed…they left in awe of the number of issues that were left loose by governments, ignored by the people and often misinterpreted by the media.

It also brought into focus the amount of work the NGOs have been doing, have to do and will have to do in the future. The Government is becoming more and more aware that it needs the NGOs to deliver health messages and education to the villages and the vulnerable in the cities. The NGOs are also now aware that change can be achieved faster if they work with the government…each handling different levels, but working for the same cause. Especially in the case of HIV, Education and Trafficking NGOs and the government have to work hand-in-hand.

The Marathon also showed Mumbaikars there were many NGOs that are not fighting for issues to be resolved but are working at grassroots for education of the underprivileged. If the WSF was for advocacy of issues, the Marathon ran for those who worked at these issues. It was a scene that was to be cherished, as colours flew with the wind and feet ran to a beat. The beat was and the cheers were for the men and women, the boys and girls who epitomize Mumbai: the will to fight.
And now for the finale of the WSF and Marathon: the March 20 People against War campaign is the culmination of standing up and saying that you believe in Peace and not aggression…Rima Kashyap


It was a 6-day Event with a capital E…and the E was for Energy and Everyone. Despite all the glitches it was a mammoth task extremely well-managed. The media went agog over the personalities, but not the issues. The "other media" held cetnrestage with their theatre and their music and vibrance. The NGOs had a field day literally as they net-worked and met old friends and made new ones. The foreigners got a taste of India in one place they could never have gotten otherwise. Small sheds saw Big Issues being discussed by people across the board- farmers, activists, educationists…and Mumbai got a glimpse of "another world (that) is possible."

Give Peace a chance!
A workshop was organized by South Asia Peace Initiatives (SAPI) a conglomeration of 15 organizations on ' South Asia Peace Initiatives and Conflict Resolution' with avowed objective to see that South Asia remains peaceful and possible extinction of rancour and nasty strife which dents on the realization of the people's democratic rights and aspirations. The speakers included Mr. Ravi Nair of South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre, Delhi, Mr. Peter Jacob of Pakistan Justice and Peace, Ms. Saloni Singh, Didibahani, Nepal and member of Peace for Global Sisterhood and
Mr. Newton Fernando of Justice and Peace Srilanka who alls poke of the ethnic strife in their various countries.
In the end Fr.Rudi Heredia concluded that peace was the fulfillment and contentment of life. He quoted Gandhi that 'No Justice without law'. Ambedkar 'Peace with Justice' and Tagore 'Peace with harmony' According to him peace could be achieved through proactive humanist action, through empowerment process and commitment towards secular enlightenment and modern values. Let us give much needed peace a chance, he hoped.


On January 19th, 2004, Aanchal Trust did a workshop on Lesbian Activism in a patriarchal society at the WSF. The panel consisted of Geeta Kumana, Chairperson and Managing Trustee of Aanchal Trust, Rosanna Flamer-Caldera of Women's Support Group (WSG) Sri Lanka and Emily Oritz an advocate in Boston working on same-sex violence rights. They all talked of the difficulties faced by lesbians and the groups from society…and sometimes within their own groups. And they discussed ways of keeping active despite their problems. The hall became full in the end with women.

The Marathon in pix
And the people of Mumbai came out all of seven Dream kms to cheer the runners of the Marathon.Most of the runners for the Dream run were NGOs representatives who took the opportunity to showcase their cause and name and to run for their cause. Whether funds were received by them is yet to be confirmed. But they all found sponsors for their runners.


Getting Tough on Soft Drinks
It's been a long and strenuous fight, but the Coca Cola Virudha Samara Samiti, the forum fighting against the soft drink giant, Coca Cola has got the Kerala cabinet to put a ban on the company drawing the ground water from Plachimada in Kerala where they have their manufacturing facility for four months, "Because of drought conditions," (See NGOConnect Pg.1, Vol. 1/ of 03)….) The Samiti leaders however plan to continue their stir against their use of ground water.

Mapping the NGOs in M'ra
Since 1998 the Society for Participatory Research in Asia has been engaged in mapping the Non-profit sector in India. Its 10th working paper provides some glimpses. It is estimated that there were about 88,000 active NPOs in 2000, 60% in the rural areas. About 77% were registered formal units and the personnel engaged in the entire sector numbered approximately 10.8 lakhs consisting mostly of unpaid volunteers (8.2 lakhs). There were very few full-time volunteers (43,000) while there were 2.2. full-time paid employees
Religious organizations (35%), followed by community and social welfare services (30%) and educational institutes (14% dominated the scene. In the communities sector, which comprises 30% of the entire NPOS sector, it was children who got the major share of attention (18.5%) with youth following (16.2%).
Total funds received the sector in 1999-2000 was approx Rs. 1,055 crore with foreign contributions amounting to Rs. 305.2 crore (2.89%).
NGOs spent Rs 10.13 billion in 1999-2000 and had total assets worth Rs 50.64 billion.
Nearly 74% of NGOs had one or none aid employees and the major part- 80% do not even have an annual budget of Rs. 50,000. (Source "Philanthropy No.91) Contact

Protecting biodiversity.
New Delhi/ Even as Indian representatives maintained a stoic silence on the issue of protecting Indian bio-diversity at the Convention of Biodiversity (CBD) in Malaysia, Greenpeace activists demanding information on the field-trials of 60 genetically modified crops were stonewalled by officials from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) today.

Greenpeace activists met Dr. T. V. Ramanaiah at the DBT office to follow upon their long-pending demand for a comprehensive list of - all GM crops undergoing field trials, the corporations involved, the locations of trials and corresponding Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) reports, information on GM imports into the country etc.. This information is crucial given that the irreversible, uncontrolled and potentially dangerous release of GMOs will have an irreversible effect on agricultural biodiversity
Earlier, on 2 September 2003, Greenpeace activists questioned their decision to expedite the release of risk-laden GM-variety of potatoes and bypass the required regulatory processes including biosafety assessments. On that occasion too, the DBT had
refused to part with information on specifics regarding the controversial 'potato'.

Why would the government refuse to give us critical information despite repeated requests? Why does the USDA have more information than Indian farmers on the GMO crops being grown in India? Why did the government fail to oppose Monsanto's patent on Indian wheat?"asked Divya Raghunandan, GE campaigner, Greenpeace India, "Powerful multinational corporations seem to dictate the Indian government's policies on agriculture."

On 21 May 2003, the EPO at Munich granted a patent (Patent No. EP445929) to Monsanto on wheat that has been bred, cultivated and processed in India for decades. The Government's only option now is to support Greenpeace' opposition to the patent and save Indian farmers from the ignominy of taking permission every time they grow wheat for chapatis. Contact: Divya Raghunandan, GE Campaigner, Greenpeace India: +91 9845535406
Call for law suits all over Asia-PHM
Mumbai: A major gathering of health activists in Mumbai plans to call for law suits all over Asia against drug multinationals who have been using patent laws that makes essential and life saving medicines expensive and inaccessible to low-income consumers.
The call for a legal campaign against drug patents is part of an international effort to build moral pressure on companies and force them to place the lives of people before corporate profits.
The People'sHealth Movemen tmade a call to make medicines affordable and accessible: The International Health Forum for the defense of People's Health, held on 14 and 15 January in the run up to the World Social Forum, also called upon governments all over the world to put health at the center of all their
policy making and priorities. Over 700 delegates from 50 countries are expected to attend the Forum organized by the People's Health Movement.
People's Charter for Health, the guiding spirit of the People's Health Movement is the largest consensus document on health in the world. Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, the Indian collaborator of the global PHM facilitated the International health Forum.
Contact:98450 91319 Unni or 2614 7727 , 2613 2027 (CEHAT)
Driving away AIDS
Ahmedabad: A100-odd truckers, waging a war against the scourge of HIV/AIDS under the aegis of All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA). Usually blamed for transporting the dreaded AIDS virus on their inter-state haul, a group of truckers are now carrying a message of a different kind across India - that of awareness and prevention. They have seen their colleagues die ignominious deaths, leaving their families on the death row. And now they are determined to put a stop to it and instead generate awareness on the national highways - the highest HIV/AIDS-prone zone in the country.

Founded in 2001, with 8,500 offices and 850,000 members, AITWA has rolled out a caravan of trucks titled "Raston Ka Rahee-Jaagriti Rath". Flagged off by Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat from Haryana Jan 7, the truckers will cover 1,100 high-risk points across the country over the next two and a half years. "I know many of my fellow truck drivers who died of AIDS after indulging in unsafe sex with street walkers on the highways," said Rajendrabhai Parmar, one of the truckers in the caravan from Vadodara, This caravan has so far crossed the national highway in Gujarat, covering dozens of villages and wayside eateries in the state. At each stopover, AITWA will put up a documentary film featuring real life cases of HIV/AIDS affected truckers and their lives. The film has been translated into the various languages of the states through which the caravan will pass.

A team of health officers and volunteers is also accompanying the truckers.The total cost of the campaign is pegged at Rs.500 million. A survey conducted by AITWA in the high-risk points across the country revealed that approximately seven percent of truckers were infected with HIV and more than 31 percent were afflicted by sexually transmitted diseases (STD).

Ashok Goel, managing director, Bombay Ludhiana Roadways (BLR, who is coordinating the AIDS awareness project among the truck drivers, was along with a few representatives of AITWA to follow up on the drive they carried out in Gujarat last week.
The AITWA and BLR are jointly working on the scheme to install condom vending machines at roadside eateries, petrol pumps and transport hubs across the country. "Launching the caravan was the first step in our fight against HIV/AIDS on the Indian highways. In order to sustain our mission in the long run, we require active support from the central government," said Goel.
(Indo-Asian News Service)

The fourth Sanctuary Wildlife Awards were presented in Mumbai in December. The Lifetime Service Award presented to an individual who has devoted his life to protect India's wildlife and their habitat went to Arjun Billy Singh who has been protecting the Tigers in Dudhwa since four decades.

Wildlife service awards conferred on individuals currently working in the field of wildlife conservation who have displayed extraordinary courage, dedication and determination went to Bhupen Talukdar from Assam who has been saving the endangered Indian one-horned rhino, Girish Vashisht from Maharashtra working in the Taboda-Andhari Tiger Reserve, where along with anti-poaching work he improved the conditions of the forest. Sarang Kulkarni from Reef Watch, Mumbai has been doing yeomen study of the coral reefs in the Andaman islands. T Venkatesh was the bane of timber smugglers at the Bhadra Tiger reserve in Karnatka. Abdul Rahman Mir of J&K has been risking his ilfe to protect the forests of Dachigam in the Kashmir valley; Arvind Kumar Chalasani from Dehra Dun is the quintessential Green teacher. (The awards were sponsored by ABN-AMRO Bank, India)
The Wildlife photographer Award went to MDParashar from Rajasthan, Runners-up were NC Dhingra and HV Praveen Kumar.


STD Education Made Easy

TNVHA have produced a CD on"Educating People on STI" in Tamil with colourful pictures,words and voice explaining each section. It can be used by
both for a group or for individual self-learning. Kindly
contact us regarding the same.
CD Title : STD (Tamil)
Duration : 21 Minutes
Features : STD Pictures, Content in Text, Audio in Tamil
Cost : Rs. 150
Playable : through VCD / Computer
Contact J.P.Saulina Arnold

Documentaries can be fun!
The fourth edition of the festival of South Asian documentaries, Film South Asia '03, was held in Kathmandu . Fifteen outstanding films will be travelling over the subcontinent and the world.

List of Films
Bhedako Oon Jasto - In Search of a Song ... (55 min)
Nepal, 2003, dir - Kiran Krishna Shrestha
Winner of the Special Mention at FSA '03
A well-known Nepali journalist, goes in search of the source of an old song.
Buru Sengal (The Fire Within) (57 min)
Jharkhand/India, 2002, dir-Shriprakash
Winner of the Grand Jury Award at FSA '03
The land of the Tana Bhagats in Jharkhand, India, a peaceful sect of the Oraon tribe who follow a Gandhian lifestyle and philosophy, is today beseiged by Naxalite violence.
The 18th Elephant-3 Monologues (62 min)
Kerala/India, 2003, dir-P. Balan
Winner of Ram Bahadur Trophy for the Best Film at FSA '03
This film is a critique of modern man's mercenary attitude towards nature and his anthropocentric conception of development trhough the sad plight of the elephant.
Godhra Tak: The Terror Trail (60 min)
Gujarat/India, 2003, dir-Shubradeep Chakravorty
The film investigates in journalistic form the Godhra train burning and subsequent rioting that killed 3,500 Muslims in Gujarat, India in February, 2002.
Hunting Down Water (32 min)
India, 2003, dir - Sanjaya Barnela and Vasant Saberwal
India's present water crisis is of its own making. ..swimming pools in cities, rain dances and water amusement parks have led to rural poor being forced to migrate.
Itihaas Jitneharuka Laagi (History for Winners) (55 min)
Nepal, 2003, dir - Pranay Limbu
It portrays the changes in the Nepali music scene, as represented by two singers who are a study in contrasts, with their diametrically opposing personalities and attitude towards music.
Made in India (39 min)
India, 2002, dir - Madhusree Dutta
Symbols of nationalism become a fashionable commodity as shown in the contemporary visual cultures in India.
Naata (The Bond) (45 min)
Bombay/India, 2003, dir - K P Jayasankar and A Monteiro
Naata is about two friends who work on conflict resolution and communal amity initiatives between the different communities in Dharavi, reputedly, the largest "slum" in Asia.
A Night of Prophecy (77 min)
India, 2002, dir-Amar Kanwar
The film travels in the states of Maharashta, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, and Kashmir. Through poetry that aeaves into the identity of these states comes the simple moment of prophecy.
Resilient Rhythms (64 min)
India, 2002, dir - Gopal Menon
Deals with a range of dalit responses to their marginalisation, from armed struggle to electoral politics.
Sand and Water (105 min)
Bangladesh, 2002, dir - Shaheen Dill-Riaz
Winner of the Third best film award at FSA '03
The middle section of the Jamuna, one of the three main rivers in Bangladesh, is called "the deadly paradise".where people live in the most extreme natural conditions
Shei Rater Kotha Bolte Eshechi (Tale of the Darkest Night) (43 min)
Bangladesh, 2001, dir - Kawsar Chowdhury
Winner of the Second Best Film Award at FSA '03
The film tells the story of the killings by the Pakistani army in Dhaka University. Surviving members and witnesses speak, and bring alive the havoc of that night.
Swara - A Bridge over Troubled Water (40 min)
Pakistan, 2003, dir- Samar Minallah
Swara examines and comments on the Pakhtun practice, in northwest Pakistan, of giving minor girls in marriage as reparation for serious crimes such as murder committed by their forefathers.
The Unconscious (19 min)
Maharashtra/India 2003, dir - Manisha Dwivedi
This film is a journey with men who call themselves kothi. They are men for their families and society, but for themselves they are women, and wives of other "macho" men.
Vikas Bandook Ki Naal Se (Development Flows from the Barrel of the Gun) (54 min)
India, 2003, dir-Biju Toppo and Meghnath
The film gives voice to people affected by development projects-and repressed by the state for speaking out. And asks why, in the age of globalisation, the state has turned from protector to predator.
For more details about Traveling Film South Asia, including travel schedule, please contact TFSA Coordinator Reshu Aryal at fax + 977-1-541196 or email

Student Films
Prod: by students of Dept. of Social Communications, Sophia College
Water Problems in Mumbai (15 mins)

An A/V about the conservation and use of water
The Girl streetchild ( A/V 15 mins)
They are the most vulnerable of street children: prey to men, hunger and loneliness. NGOs like Anmol, Pavement Club, Yuva and Sneha Sadan step in where the government has failed but there are hundreds arriving on the streets of Mumbai everyday
Women and HIV (A/V 15 mins): They become the rejects of society although they carry no infection or guilt, yet they are banding together to give each other support and get on with their lives.
Children and HIV (A/V 15 mins) The story of Gopal, a 6 year old who have to lead sickly lives but can grow up if treated normally.
Laws of the Jungle ( 5 mins video) -a tentative exploration of the issue of communalism through metaphors
Tamasha artistes (5 minsvideo) The life of the women of the 'Kolhati' community who dance the laavni still has a stigma
Contact for copies or call 23671104

The following UN publications in English are available
1) Treating 3 million by 2005, Making it happen, The WHO Strategy
2) Technical briefs (12)
3) Human Capacity-building plan for scaling up HIV/AIDS treatment
4) Guidelines for Conduction HIV Sentinel: Serosurveys among Pregnant Women
and Other Groups--UNAIDS/WHO Working Group on Global HIV/AIDS and STI Surveillance
5) Guidelines for the Management of Sexually Transmitted Infections
6) Partnership work: the health service-community interface for the prevention, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS: Report of a WHO Consultation 5-6 December 2002, Geneva, Switzerland
All publications can be accessed electronically through the HIV web site at the following URL:

Balbir Pasha in words
Population Services International (PSI) has published a case study of its HIV/AIDS prevention campaign called "Balbir Pasha." PSI/India's Operation Lighthouse Project, with funding from USAID, implemented the campaign. The study describes the creation of the Balbir Pasha icon, the evolution of a behavioral role model, the communication challenges, the praise and criticism the campaign received, and the lessons learned. The Balbir Pasha campaign targeted urban men aged 18-34 in the lower socioeconomic
groups and sought to dispel HIV/AIDS myths, increase risk perception, generate
discussion, and motivate people to use HIV/AIDS hotlines, and voluntary counseling and testing services.
A copy of the case study is available at the following url

Modi govt not listening
"Listen to what the river is saying" Cultural artistes and activists, condemn the move by the Gujarat government to deny the cultural protests against the riverfront project, globalization and communalism by involving the 'draconian' censor board to prevent the performances of the Samvedan cultural programme.
samvedan cultural programme in Ahmedabad is an effort by several to strive
and build a youth cultural cadre and a cultural movement to resist cultural fascism.
The police license to perform in a theatre for public viewing is cleared by the Censor Board in Gujarat and Maharashtra only. The script was submitted on Jan.3. As per their norms, they replied on Feb.3 asking for a revision of the script objecting to over 30% of the major dialogues dealing with riverfront project, globalisation, 'vibrant Gujarat, gender violence, communal riots, POTA. In a way, the play has been banned! The script cannot be revised as the desired changes in the script (constituting the core messages of the play) cannot be changed. And of what use is a play or culture if it does not voice the contemporary concerns of the poor and initiates a dialogue in society for social transformation? The play must go on.

Sign the petition at
Petition supported by Nandita Das (Delhi), Habib Tanvir (Bhopal); Gopi Desai, Anand Patwardan, Rakesh Sharma, Shyam Rajankar, Simantini Dhruv (Mumbai), Gopal Menon, Gautam Sonti (Bangalore); Gargi Sen, Shubradeep Chakravarty, Amar Kanwar (Delhi); Apoorvanand (Delhi), Vara Vara Rao (Hyderabad), Shabnam Hashmi ANHAD, Anil Chaudhary PEACE (Delhi), Rajendra Sail INSAF (Raipur) Contact: Rohit Prajapati / Trupti Shah >37, Patrakar Colony, Tandalja Road,

Post-Akota, Vadodara - 390 020 Phone No. PARYAVARAN SURAKSHA SAMITI (O) + 91-265-2412499 / (R) 2320399 Email: ,

From Darkness to Light
By Dheera Kitchlu
Price Rs 100
Available at NAB.

The Neelum Kanga Prize is given to two or three outstanding blind women achievers every year since 1983. So far this prize has been awarded to 53 blind women who have achieved distinction in academics, teaching, music and blind welfare. In recent years, blind women have been successfully entering new fields like law, banking, computers, community and public service, homeopathy, reiki, physiotherapy, physical fitness, sports and even mountaineering, The book, Darkness to Light, honours these women and hopes to create an awareness about the capabilities of differently abled women who deserve to be encouraged in the job market.
In addition to the English edition, Braille and audio version of the book were released at a function organized by the NAB-Finance Raising Committee .on Jan. 21 at the Horniman Circle Gardens., Mumbai.

'Health and Human Rights Readers'
by Claudio Schuftan
Pgs. vi +111, Paperback
Price Rs. 80 / $5/ £4 (+ postage: Rs. 20 / International postage: $2)
For Copies write to Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT)

This book is a compilation of fifty-two 'Readers in Human Rights',essays which have been previously circulated by Claudio on various electronic list-servers, some of the more recent Readers having been circulated on the PHA-exchange. Here Claudio squarely places Human Rights concerns at the centre of all health work, and gives the call for "a start-over, a global movement, a grassroots revolution around the right to health." The Readers discuss a wide range of issues such as Human Rights based planning; the role of the state, UN and civil society; Health sector reform and the unmet needs of the poor; etc.
These informative yet provoking Readers would appeal particularly to health activists, health professionals and health sector NGO workers

A Directory of Funding Agencies in the Disability Sector.
Edited: by Subhash Datrange
Edition: Jan 2003
Price Rs. 300, USD 20 (+postage)
Copies available at Association for Blindness & Low Vision

The directory contains basic information on Foundations, charities, Public Trusts from 17 countries across four continents culled from over 1 lakh entries. The Directory is divided into 14 sections according to donor countries. It also lists 63 schemes of financial assistance of various ministries of the GoI which support NGOs in work relating to the welfare of the disabled, along with a standard specimen form of application, and a model letter of appeal.


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New Nature group

A new organisation with grassroots, nature and youth as the focus. PRAGNYA (meaning intellect) which stands for, Promotion of Research Activities for Grassroots, nature and Youth Advancement. You can visit their website at

The main focus of their work is youth and channelising the youth power in various activites related to nature and research activites relatedto technical projects developed mostly students. We see a lot of opportunity there to nurture so that it can be converted and oriented towards better India and better future.

"Do visit our site and give your opinion as we would like to work with people who really care a lot about the envrionment. We have collaborated with ANALA, Ahmedabad for educating the students and youth about the nature and making them understand the value of Nature." Contact Avni Bhatt

The Songachi project is 12!
Kolkata: Melinda Gates made them famous and as they celebrate 12 years of the renowned Sonagachi Project on February 15, 2004 mega celebrations are on the cards. that marks a milestone in HIV/AIDS intervention projects. DMSC (Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee), a sex workers' organization in West Bengal, have been involved in an internationally acclaimed HIV program - SHIP (STD/HIV Intervention Program) since 1992, widely known as the Sonagachi Project.
DMSC took over the management of the SHIP project from All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health in 1999. Since then they have been continuously mobilizing sex workers in the districts to replicate the Sonagachi model in other areas of West Bengal.
Drop-in centres for counselling, referral and STD care services have also been established among street- based sex workers and their clients covering a population of over 20,000.

The organization was formed when a need was felt by the management of SHIP to empower the sex workers socially, economically, and politically to effectively strengthen its implementation. In 1995, DMSC was created to provide a formal structure to the already growing unity among sex workers. DMSC is an autonomous organization and functions as an exclusive forum, to give the sex workers community a platform to voice their opinions. With 66 branches, 39 STD clinics and a strong membership of 60,000 sex workers across West Bengal, their objective has always been to raise awareness concerning the AIDS epidemic, health education, literacy and empowerment of sex workers and their families.

They are also involved in various non-formal educational programs both for sex workers as well as the children of the sex workers through 29 educational centres in and around Kolkata. As part of empowerment strategy they also promote talents of sex workers through development of a cultural wing - 'The Komol Gandhar.' The anti-trafficking unit controlled by the self-regulatory boards, work across West Bengal to prevent the forcible entry of minors and operate two homes to provide a safe shelter for children in distress. In addition, for the improvement of economic security of the sex workers, a co-operative society of the sex workers was registered in 1995. Presently there are 5281 members and the annual turnover is more than rupees five crore.

The celebrations will take place in Kolkata, India from 15 February 2004 to 3 March 2004. Contact Swapna Gayen 033-2543 7451/7560/7777 Email:,

"GHAR"for PLHAs in Mumbai
Mumbai: Udaan was selected for a grant award by Avert Society-USAID. The grant for Drop-In-Centre "GHAR" in Mumbai (Ghatkopar), for People Living with HIV/AIDS - was awarded by Mr. Robert Blake, Charge D'Affiars & Acting Ambassador from USA to India. This is the first ever Drop-In-Centre for People Living with HIV/AIDS in Mumbai. The grant was received by Vijay Nair, Vice President on behalf of Udaan Mr. Robert Blake, while addressing the audience and group of Journalists - congratulated Udaan for the hard work it has been doing for People Living with HIV/AIDS for years in his speech, in an official function at the offices of SHED in Dharavi, Mumbai, on 11th December 2003. Mr. Mahesh Jadhav, garlanded Mr. Angus Simmons, Consul General, US Embassy (Mumbai) and Ms. Ujwala, Head of Soudamini Network gave momentos to both Mr. Robert Blake and Mr. Angus Simmons. The function concluded with a vote of thanks from Avert Society. Contact Dilip Vichare, Gen. Secretary E-mail:

Empowering students vs. HIV
has been identified by the UNICEF as one of the five Core Resource NGOs at the Tamil Nadu level for covering Tuticorin, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari, Virudhunagar and Ramanathapuram Districts to offer resource support to the headmasters and nodal teachers from 684 schools. At each District level, the local DIET faculties are already trained by EMPOWER . EMPOWER offers Resource support to the DIET at all stages of implementation.

So far, EMPOWER in partnership with the DIET (department of Education) of the 5 districts has conducted 5 District Level Coordination Meetings at District Headquarters with the participation of the District Collector, Joint Director of Health Services, Chief Educational Officer, District Educational Officers and the School Health Medical Officers.

In each of the 5 districts, the organization has completed 14 Headmasters Sensitization Programs covering about 582 headmasters. In an one-day Sensitization Program, the need, the importance and the salient features of the School AIDS Education Program are explained in detail. Besides, an exhaustive slide presentation on Basic facts of HIV/AIDS and the concepts relating to Life Skills, Adolescent Pressures and the Basic counseling guidelines to deal with adolescent problems are dealt in detail by the Core Resource Persons of EMPOWER .

In the next level, 1 male and 1 female teacher and 1 male and 1 female peer educators are being imparted training on HIV/AIDS, Sexuality Education and Life Skills Education from 684 schools in the 5 districts. The Nodal teachers and the Peer Educators are expected to conduct the sessions in the class room environment following the training manual 'Learning for Life' .The thrust of this venture is to ensure the quality of training at all levels and hence the active involvement of NGOs like EMPOWER experienced in HIV/AIDS ,Human Sexuality and Life Skills Training Methodology among adolescents.Contact A.Sankar, 0461-2310341 Mobile: 094431 48599

Indian NGOs on Global Fund Board
Congratulations to Anandi Yuvaraj for being elected as a boarder member to represent the communities. living with HIV. With Anandi, we have two members from India in voting capacity on the Global Fund Board

Announcement of selected candidates for the Global Fund NGO positions The Selection Committee is pleased to announce the candidates who have been selected for the NGO positions at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). Board Member from the Communities Living with the Diseases Anandi Yuvaraj, Program Officer at India HIV/AIDS Alliance holding a key role in implementing Community and Home Based Care programs in Tamil Nadu State. She founded a network of PLWA in the district level to address the issues of PLWA with the local policy makers and leaders. She has experience in HIV/AIDS counseling and was actively engaged in HIV/AIDSissues at various forums. She has a professional background in education and guidance and counseling. Contact Ms. Anandi Yuvaraj E-mail:

Manifold action from Sneha
A multi-disciplinary team of psychologists, social workers, doctors and lawyers are working in tandem with local police to provide a comprehensive program to help alleviate problems of families who live in slum conditions. Medical care is offered to orphaned and deserted children, women who have been forced to suffer loss of dignity etc. A crèche in Dharavi set up and run by workers at Sneha also focuses on the health of women and mothers through basic nutrition, healthcare and education Sneha, located in Dharavi in Mumbai, was founded in 1999 by a team of medical professionals who were concerned about the incidence of trauma experienced by women in slums

Sneha has access to hospital facilities at LTMG Hospital and the Integrated Centre for Women and Children. The mobile hospital's scheduled visits are now indispensable, though plans for a 24-hour ambulance are still in the offing. Contact: SNEHA, Urban Health Centre, 60 feet Road, Dharavi, Mumbai 400 017. Phone: 24042627. email:

WB team visit to BLP
The World Bank assisted 2nd National Leprosy Elimination Project (Phase - II) was implemented in Maharashtra State to accomplish the integration of leprosy services with general health care services. An evaluation of the World Bank assisted Project was undertaken by a team of experts from World Bank,WHO and Government of India (including the Dy Director General of Health Services, Leprosy) on 30th & 31st October 2003.

The team visited Bombay Leprosy Project (BLP) to assess the implementation of the leprosy programme in the context of integration in urban areas. The team discussed at length the operational and technical problems in achieving functional integration
in urban areas due to the complexity of health services. Dr R Ganapati made an audio-visual presentation at BLP's Training & Research Centre highlighting the role of NGOs in augmenting the services related to prevention of disability (POD) particularly in rural areas where the POD services has not been practiced effectively. The problem due to migration of population posing a major
hurdle in undertaking special campaigns was emphasized. The team applauded the contributions made by BLP by involving the medical colleges in leprosy control programme.

A big procession was taken out on the first day to focus the attention of the common man as well as the Government officials towards the day to day problems faced by the disabled. The rally started from Gate way of India and terminated at Churchgate. About 1,000 disabled patients of all categories participated in this rally. Bombay Leprosy Project also joined the rally and took an active part. The highlight was that for the first time leprosy affected / cured persons went hand-in-hand with the other disabled. The problems faced by the Leprosy affected are much more serious than the other disabled due to the added stigma. With this, Bombay Leprosy Project's object to integrate the unwanted and less fortunate people of the society was achieved to a certain extent.

Matrimonal for PLWHA
We are looking for the links, email ID, Addresses of networks, associations, groups and Individuals who can provide information, guidance and support to HIV positive male and females interested in finding partners/ proposals for marriage. We are also looking for the current legislation and laws in India under which the marriage between the two positive or agreeing partners can be solicited without any interference from the legal guardians and others. Contact: SPARSH (Society For Prevention of AIDS and Reinforcing Self-Help)B-163,Indira Nagar, Lucknow- 226016, Email:

Gates foundation in HIV prevention deal
Mumbai: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the State of Maharashtra, through the Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society (MSACS), yesterday announced the signing of a memorandum of understaning (MoU) to expand access to HIV prevention in the state.

The prevention activities will be funded by Avahan, the Gates Foundation's India AIDS initiative and augment the ongoing HIV prevention efforts by the MSACS.

Avahan will provide grants to launch prevention programmes in Mumbai and 12 districts with high HIV prevalence. The Gates Foundation will announce the specific grant recipients for Maharashtra in the coming months. The initiative is part of the foundation's commitment of $200 million to support HIV prevention in India, of which grants totalling $67.5 million were announced in October 2003. "The MoU is the culmination of six months of work between the Gates Foundation and Maharashtra where we have identified specific gaps in HIV prevention that the foundation can help to fill," said Digvijay Khanvilkar, Health Minister. (Source: AIDS-INDIA eFORUM] )

Obituary (box)
With a lot of sadness and grief I inform you of the sad and untimely demise of the head of The Freedom Foundation's Hyderabad operations and site Director (Hyderabad) Mr. Karl Sequeira. Mr. Sequeira died of a cardiac arrest in France in February

Contact Ashok Rau, Executive Trustee/CEO, Freedom Foundation-India, 080 5440134,5443114(Dir) 5449766, Mobile(Cell)-98452 47616

Adolescents and Youth
A two year project, "Adolescents and Youth-Sexuality, Gender and Reproductive Rights" has been taken up by the Concerned for Working Children. The project has been taken up under the MacArthur fellowship, to be implemented throughout Karnataka. It aims to provide adolescents and youth relevant information on sexuality, gender and reproductive health and rights. It also plans to facilitate the development of strategies and tools to increase levels of sexual and reproductive health knowledge with special focus on child marriage, female foeticide and HIV/AIDS among around 3000 underprivileged adolescents and youth in the State.

Petersberg Prize For ICT and Development
The Development Gateway invites you to submit nominations for the Petersberg Prize. The 100,000 euro prize will recognize the most outstanding contribution to social and economic development using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) during the last ten years. Nominations are due by March 22, 2004. Learn more at:

A new SHAN
Gujarat: On January 29, Members of PSH partners established network known as SHAN(Sexual Health Action Network). There are total 89 partners are doing intervention on HIV/AIDS in Gujarat with the help of PSU,GSACS and NACO. Presentlythree members have been selected from Five Zone of Gujarat. SHAN has been established with the Vision to create more justification for the program on HIV/AIDS in Gujarat.For further information contect Tel. (02772)235196, Mobil-98255 55854.

ILO, GoI launch program to fight Child Labor
February 17, 2004 The International Labor Organization, the government of India and the U.S. Department of Labor launched yesterday in New Delhi a $40 million program to help eliminate hazardous child labor in India, where 11.2 million children work.

The project, financed by the Indian and U.S. governments, targets 80,000 children below 18 years of age working in hazardous industries such as manufacturing fireworks, beedi cigarettes, footwear, locks, matches, bricks, silk and glassware. It is expected to be implemented for the next three years in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

"Child labor is not inevitable," said ILO Director General Juan Somavia. "We know there is no simple solution. However, strategies have to reflect national specificities and be backed by political will. We must remain fixed on the goal of 'work for parents,
education for children, opportunities for young people.'" Under the project, children working in hazardous occupations will be identified, withdrawn from their jobs and will receive education, social and financial support (ILO release, Feb. 16).

Voicing +ve concerns
Women living with HIV/AIDS in Tamilnadu held a public hearing to voice their concerns and initiate dialogues with various state agencies. The event, hosted by the National Commission for Women, was held Thursday Feb 19 at Hotel Ashoka
in Chennai.

There were several presentations by members of the Positive Women's Network, HIV positive women from around the state, and representatives from INP+ and TNP+. The event was moderated by Ms. Kausalya, President of PWN+.

As a member of the audience noted: "It was a moving experience, and I was both anguished by the testimonies and inspired by the women's courage and determination to hold the concerned authorities and agencies around the state accountable."

xWomen for Women International requests your assistance in distributing the attached Call for Papers for our upcoming academic/practitioner journal on gender and development. This issue will focus on gender and microlending,and highlight some areas that have not gotten a lot of attention likeIslamic Banking, Shari'ah lending, and role of religion in defining lending methodology, etc. The submission deadline is April 1.Contact

Student volunteers for AIDS
AIESEC, a unique and growing network of 25,000 students working on the lines of youth engagement and volunteerism have been working with various organizations like CSR,VANI, Naz Foundation India Trust, Pravah, PEACE, Save the Children.
for the past nine years.

Now, AIESEC in Delhi University has initiated the project Aabhas - GeneratingThought and Action", through which they will arrange for internships for youth in NGOs working with HIV/AIDS issues. The Expected Output of this Project is An Awareness Generation Campaign on the issue of HIV/AIDS. The geographical focus area of the project is Delhi.
The organization requires technical know on how to dissipate information on the issue of HIV/AIDS. AIESEC can provide young international professional and students of Delhi University who are interested in working on the project. We have already received assistance from Naz Foundation and SHARAN for the project and would like to invite other organizations to partner with us.
Contact: Amit Agarwal, Global Internship Programme, AIESEC in Delhi University The Hindustan Times House, 8th Floor, 18-20 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110 001

AIDS victims form network
With an express aim to address the issues and concerns of HIV + people, over 300 people with varied backgrounds but diagnosed as having AIDS virus, have formed Gujarat State Network of People (GSNP) living with HIV/AIDS in the textile city.

Their motto is to collectively aim at not only income generation but also to instil among themselves social dignity. GSNP members have genuine understanding of the problems faced by HIV + patients and their endeavour has given a new dimension to AIDS advocacy.

Inspired by the Surat initiative Gujarat State AIDS Control Society (GSACS) is planning such a network of HIV + people in Surat , Palanpur, Vadodara, Gandhidham, Bhavnagar and Rajkot .

The formation of the network of HIV +ve people made more sense for HIV advocacy as they are more realistic in their approach and specific about the needs of people with AIDS.

Already. a group of 18 people with HIV + in Rajkot have said they wish to develop a network in Rajkot ",HIV + Chotaniya Heena who came to know about the GSNPrecently said.

V-Care Day
To celebrate the tenth year of "caring for cancer" V Care, an emotional support group for cancer patients and their families held a series of events in February--ancer Survivors Day."We also take this opportunity to spread the message that people can and do survive cancer and lead a normal meaningful life. Cancer Survivors' Day was started in India by V Care in 1994, and is now being commemorated in several cities all over the country including Delhi, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Jaipur, Bangalore and Coimbatore. Starting with a "Walk with V-Care - a step towards cancer survival" on Feb 14 evening at Worli Sea Face toflag off the Cancer Survivors' Day celebrations with Dilip Sardesai (ex-cricketer) and Giants International. This was followed by a Children's Funfair and Party on Feb 14 when children under treatment and their families celebrated Cancer Survivors Day at Priyadarshini Park. Ward Visits were followed by a panel discussion "Zindagi Tum Kyun Gayi",for cancer patients, with eminent oncologists including Dr. Badwe, Dr. Purvesh Parikh and Dr. Rajiv Sarin "V Care at Sea" on Feb 19 was when patients and their families sailed out at sea along with the V Care team. "Dealing with Fears in Cancer" on Feb 20 morning at the British Council Auditorium featured a panel of doctors including chairperson Dr. F. Udwadia, Dr. Dinshaw, Dr. S. Pradhan, Dr. V. Haribhakti, Dr. R. Soonawala, Dr. Murli Kamat, Dr. Roshni Chinoy and Asha Kapadia. Topics covered included self-image and fear of diagnosis, fertility and sexuality, disfigurement, fear of recurrence, heredity and lifestyles, second opinions, the role of voluntary movement, and financial aid.Presentation of Victor Awards on Sat Feb 21at Horniman Circle Gardens, and attended by Dr. K Dinshaw, director of the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mr.Nana Chudasama, is a tribute to the glowing courage of real life heroes.The V-Care events were sponsored by Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt. Ltd., Bristol Myers Squibb Co. Tata Steel, Suman Ramesh Tulsiani Charitable Trust, BPL mobile communication Ltd., British Council, Leverina, Himalayan Natural Mineral Water, Rotary Club of Mumbai -Queencity, Tata Memorial >Hospital, United Apparel, D.S Mittle and Giants.Contact 9821058678 / 22188828 or Sandhaya Vora at 23672085 / 9821058679.

Call for law suits all over Asia-PHM
Mumbai: A major gathering of health activists in Mumbai plans to call for law suits all over Asia against drug multinationals ho have been using patent laws that makes essential and life saving medicines expensive and inaccessible to ow-income consumers.
The call for a legal campaign against drug patents is part of an international effort to build moral pressure on companies and force them to place the lives of people before corporate profits.

The People'sHealth Movemen tmade a call to make medicines affordable and accessible: The International Health Forum for the defense of People's Health, held on 14 and 15 January in the run up to the World Social Forum, also called upon governments all over the world to put health at the center of all their policy making and priorities. Over 700 delegates from 50 countries are expected to attend the Forum organized by the People's Health Movement.

People's Charter for Health, the guiding spirit of the People's Health Movement is the largest consensus document on health in the world. Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, the Indian collaborator of the global PHM facilitated the International health Forum.
Contact:98450 91319 Unni or 2614 7727 , 2613 2027 (CEHAT)

Visitors at BLP
Mumbai: Mr Hiroyuki Kato, of Bombay Japanese School, accompanied by teachers and the Principal of Japanese School visited Bombay Leprosy Project (BLP) on 21st January 2004.

Basic and preliminary information on leprosy about transmission of leprosy, BLP's services to disabled persons living in rural areas of Thane and Raigad districts by using "Mobile Service Units" was explained. Aids and appliances like various types of splints, MCR sandals, dressing kits were demonstrated.

Activities of BLP's Vocational Rehabilitation Centre in Pratiksha Nagar,were shown by the trainer himself, a physically challenged person. Apart from this, the rehabilitation of the female cured leprosy individuals undergoing training in tailoring using sewing machines donated by the Consulate of Japan was also demonstrated.

Will Medical Fraternity Manage Leprosy?
Mumbai: At a Seminar in the KEM Hospital on 10th Feb. 2004, various techniques employed by NGOs in Mumbai and a few other cities to involve the medical profession in the total management of leprosy were discussed. Investigations carried out over 27 years and documented by Bombay Leprosy Project ( BLP ) have clearly shown that medical colleges, practicing dermatologists and physicians are ready to accept and manage all aspects of leprosy, provided efforts are made with tenacity to integrate the isolated subject of leprosy with the main stream of medicine.

Dr R Ganapati, Director BLP pointed out that the general medical sector, consisting of a very large segment of colleges, teaching faculty, post graduates,specialists and general pactitioners should be considered as a voluntary agency, as they deal with enormous number of leprosy patients. However , this sector is not as cohesive as the conventional NGOs.Their involvement is crucial particularly in today's context of "integration" of leprosy into the general health services.

The seminar was organized by Bombay Leprosy Project, IAL Maharashtra Branch and the Dept of PSM of GS Medical College & KEM Hospital. Financial support was received from Bank of Baroda.
Contact BLP

Women's Day programme- March 8
Mumbai: All Mumbai Women's Organisations met and it was agreed that "given that this year's 8th March is being observed against the background of the general elections, it was decided to appeal to women to oppose and defeat the communal and fundamentalist forces represented by the BJP-Shiv Sena and allies. The focus would be on the adverse impact of these forces on women's rights and equality and the growing violence experienced by women during communal attacks. Many suggestions were made as to the issues that needed to be highlighted. The issues and demands will be finalised in the next meeting and will be brought out as a joint leaflet.

It was also decided to have a hall programme preceded by a rally. The venue suggested are the Kamgaar Kalyan Bhavan halls in Parel, or otherwise Worli or Naigaum. The suggestion for the programme was to have two speakers, a short play or film etc. A contribution of Rs 500/- per organisation was also fixed. The resolution of the above was endorsed by Bharatiya Mahila Federation, FAOW, Stree Mukti Sanghatana, Women's Centre, Awaaz -e-Niswan, YWCA, Swadhar, Vacha, Majlis, Maharashtra Mahila Parishad, Samajwadi Mahila Sabha, Mahila Dakshata Samiti, WRAG, Sakhya, Akshara, Forum for Women's Health, Yshwantrao Chavan Mahila Vyaspeeth, Special Cell for Women & Children and Centres for Women's Studies. Contact Sonia Gill (AIDWA)

Eunuch activists hold rally
Mumbai: The huge community of eunuchs in Mumbai is a worried lot: scores of them are falling victim to AIDS. Leaders of the hijras, or eunuchs, say that some 250 of them have already died in Mumbai in the last six years and the figure could be as high as 4,000 in the rest of the country. In February eunuchs took to the streets here to highlight their problems, HIV and AIDS being just one of them. Shabnam Guru of the Dai Welfare Society said many of the HIV victims quietly went back to their villages in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to die. "Nearly 72 percent of the 3,000-odd hijra community that has been tested in Mumbai in the last four years is HIV positive," said Vivek Anand, chief executive officer of Humsafar Trust, which works with gays and lesbians
Carrying placards demanding equal rights, the rally attracted a great deal of attention at the Bandra railway station in northwest Mumbai where the marchers congregated. Activists view the high prevalence of HIV in the community as a consequence of the prejudices eunuchs face. Once hit by the disease, a majority of them take to begging and prostitution, which in turn makes them more vulnerable to HIV infection. "What is the alternative? How can they survive? Leave alone rights, the eunuchs are not even allowed to travel in the women's compartment of local trains," said Anand. Indo-Asian News Service.

Nirmala Niketan Sings!
Mumbai: To kick off their 50th anniversary celebrations, Nirmala Niketan had a swinging week of music. Starting with Bismillah Khan on the shenai, the tempo quickened to Jagjit singh and the play Tumhari Amrita and ended with a rocking Falguni Nite on Feb. All the events were held at the Nehru Centre and were part of their fund raising activities.

NGOs Run for the Marathon (3 pix)
Mumbai: There were many many more than the camera could capture. Some of them ran for the heck of it…some ran because they were promised grants, some ran because they had sponsors. A lot of them got sponsors for T-shirts and the run itself…but the chaos at the Azad Maidan was unbelievable. People searching for their groups, an entertainment program of sorts going on , no directions till the last minute and no evidence of any food or shelter in sight.

Republic Day celebrations
Mumbai: Children and parents in 34 slums around Bandra East celebrated Republic Day at the Childrens Complex run by the National Society for Clean Cities-India. The cultural programme consisted of a koli dance followed by several other items done by the slum children. Then came a fancy Dress and a dance by Deaf children of the Dance Centre.
The Society has a very active balwadi with a nutrition programme, a creative arts centre, a library with speech, music and drama clubs, workshops on film making and it sponsors students to go for higher studies. Their skills-oriented classes include training for beauticians, mehendi and fabric painting, tailoring and embroidery, computer training and a well-staffed medical centre. For adults there is an adults literacy programme. The very active society has now started branches in Khar-Danda and Ghatkopar. Contact KCNainan 26473742

Districtwise mapping of HIV/AIDS

Surat: To document and map ares with a high concentration of individuals practicing high-risk behaviour and to identify vulnerable groups in the state, a mapping exercise was commissioned by the Gujarat State AIDS Control Society. Ninety-one NGOs identifieid buy the Gujarat Insisttite fof Dvevelopment Research, Ahmedabad using over 10,000 key informants and methods like snowballing, group discussions and direct observation identified 2500 HRB sites and 30+ vulnerable groups outside Ahmedababd and Surat cities.

The broad results indicated that 55% sites were of core transmitter groups like female sex workers and MSMs, with the rest being bridge groups. Two outstanding characteristics were that most of the latter were in the informal sector and belonged to the lower socio-economic strata. In fact 48% of the sites only were in the urban areas and 42% in the rural areas with 10% on the highway. Contact Ramakrishna Mishra (GIDR) Ahmedabad

Carrom tournament for partially blind
Mumbai: The tournament was held at the National Sports Club of the Blind (NSCB) in Dahisar, and was sponsored by Bombay Community Public Trust (BCPT) from Nov 7-9. The winners were: Men's singles--Harish Kharat; Men's doubles--Harish Kharat and Yatin Patankar and Mixed doubles--- Chandrakant Mithagari and Shweta Kode. Contact Jadiyar 20520284/ 22185416

Correction: Please note the tel no of Maher (as reported in Vol.1, Issue 4) should read 02137 --252174 and 253839. . The address is MAHER, Vadhu Budruk, Pune - 412 216

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