WBEZ | India http://www.wbez.org/tags/india Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Transgender community struggles to find its place in modern India http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-07-18/transgender-community-struggles-find-its-place-modern-india-110525 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/real pic for web siri.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><br />The Mahabharatha, one of India&rsquo;s most ancient texts, tells tales of gods and demons, of kings and queens, and of common men and women. The epic story takes place over hundreds of years and serves as the foundation for Hinduism. The most popular stories are of Lord Vishnu or Arjun, passed on in Indian households from generation to generation in songs or bedtime stories. But the less talked about characters are Mohini and Brihannala &ndash; who are versions of Lord Vishnu and Arjun in female form.<br /><br />Stories idolizing transgender characters are not uncommon in Hindu mythology, nor were transgender people uncommon in ancient Indian society. Eunuchs, transgender people and cross-dressers were referred to as Hijra &ndash; an Urdu-Hindustani word adopted into modern Hindi. They were hired regularly to guard queen&rsquo;s chambers or assist priests in temples, both highly respected positions.<br /><br />Today&rsquo;s transgender community live in a very different reality.<br /><br />Hundreds of years of imperialist British rule have left imprints of colonial-era puritanical values within, what was, a vastly accepting society. Traditional Indian culture was seen as primitive and soft in contrast to the rational and masculine tradition of the western world. Educated Indians began distancing themselves from customs perceived as effeminate or traditional, so as to assimilate with the British elite. This is when the Hijra first became marginalized and ostracized from the rest of Indian society. &nbsp;<br /><br />Furthermore, the British imposed an anti-sodomy law in 1861 which outlawed all acts of &ldquo;unnatural intercourse,&rdquo; thus criminalizing the Hijra community entirely. &nbsp;Today, the Hijra community find themselves on the margins of society, often living in precarious circumstances and vulnerable to abuse.</p><p><strong>A very different reality&nbsp;</strong></p><p>&quot;The amount of discrimination you face because of your gender and sexuality and because of your caste and class&hellip; that&rsquo;s the matter,&quot; says Akkai Padmashali, a Hijra born in Bangalore. &quot;We&#39;re fighting against this attitude with society every day.&quot;<br /><br />Despite being born into an educated, middle class family, Akkai found that her family reacted with anger and revulsion to her decision to identify as a girl, having been born biologically male. At the age of sixteen she ran away with two of her friends and joined a community of Hijras. Barred from most other professions, the Hijras often earn money from sex work. Akkai was one of them.&nbsp;<br /><br />&quot;I didn&#39;t want to do sex work. It was pressure. I had to earn money so I did it,&quot; says Akkai. &quot;Men. Homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, they all came to us for sex work. They don&#39;t do these things with their wives or their partners so they come to us.&quot;<br /><br />The Bangalore police picked up Akkai and several of her Hijra sisters while they were participating in sex work. &quot;We were taken to the police station. The whole station wanted to know how we had sex, what sort of sexual acts we indulged in. They kept us for the whole day and made fun of us&hellip; the whole station.&quot;<br /><br />In joining the Hijra community, Akkai had lost her value from mainstream society - becoming, in effect, a non-person. If clients were abusive, there was no one to help. Even the police were against her.</p><p>BT Venkatesh is the senior legal advocate for Sangama, a human rights organization for sexual minorities. &quot;Most Hijras do sex work because there is no other work for them,&quot; he says. &quot;They are pushed into that by society and society should accept them.&quot;<br /><br />&quot;In some areas, the Hijras are arrested, beaten, raped, kept illegally in the police station and no one is willing to be a surety for bail. It is a very bad scene. But in Bangalore, Sangama will come to the police station and prosecute them for unconstitutional behavior,&quot; she says.<br /><br />&quot;If the police is [sic] beating me, I will take the beatings,&quot; says Akkai. &quot;I will not turn around and beat him. Then go according to the law, if you die, you die. But we follow the constitutional laws.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div id="PictoBrowser140718161254">Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "500", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Koovagam Festival"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157645752438001"); so.addVariable("titles", "on"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "on"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "mid"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "90"); so.write("PictoBrowser140718161254"); </script><br /><p>On April 15th, 2014, the Indian Supreme Court passed a landmark judgment, which now permits transgender people to legally identify themselves under a &ldquo;third gender&rdquo; option. In India there are an estimated two million transgender people who, until now, have been unable to obtain official government documents due to exclusion from the legal system. In the past, a hospital could turn away a Hijra due to confusion over which ward to place them in.<br /><br />Under this ruling, transgender individuals may legally register for health care, bank accounts and passports. In addition, they now fall under a protected group called the OBCs, or Other Backwards Castes, who are extended a 37% reservation for government positions.&nbsp;<br /><br />Barathi K is a Hijra from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. She says that the ruling is the first step towards acceptance from society.&nbsp;&ldquo;The first problem that we are facing is that the family is not accepting us. That will automatically be eradicated after we get job opportunities, economically some growth will come, slowly acceptance will come.<br />Society will also start to respect us once we get opportunities for employment&hellip; so that will happen once we mingle with our family. And that will happen because of the Supreme Court judgment. So really, really we are happy.&rdquo;<br /><br />After four years of sex work, Akkai decided it was time to rejoin her family. With the help of her younger brother, Akkai was able to negotiate a way back. &quot;I fought in a very positive sort of fight,&quot; she says. &quot;I am this. I just want to be what I am. Just to have my own feelings. That kind of debate was taking place for eight years.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>For higher caste families, Akkai imagines the struggle is even more difficult as those castes can often be more conservative. &quot;Just imagine if you&#39;re [the highest caste] and become homosexual and you come out, how does your caste treat you? The community will put you out of your caste. Same with transgenderism. People don&#39;t [compromise] with that, they&#39;ll always judge you.&quot;</p><p>BT Venkatesh has been going door to door and working with families by encouraging them to accept family members who are part of the hijra community. &nbsp;He says he also wants to see &nbsp;law enforcement to provide more protection for hijras.</p><p>&nbsp;&quot;We have to start with the police. They are the ones who should enforce the protective laws to help sexual minorities...A police officer we were prosecuting got angry with me and shouted &#39;Are you a Hijra?&#39; and I said, &#39;Of course I am!&#39; Because I feel their struggles, their issues, their pain.&quot; In all of Venkatesh&#39;s time working with Sangama, he has never lost a case.</p><p>&quot;Things are changing very slowly. But they are changing. Now in Bangalore, the police think twice before arresting a Hijra. They know that Sangama will come after them,&quot; says Venkatesh.</p><p>Meanwhile, the day-to-day struggles continue for Akkai and the transgender community. Despite growing awareness and small signs of acceptance, there are many challenges yet to be addressed.</p><p>&quot;I think behind the happiness there is a huge amount of sadness,&quot; says Akkai. A huge amount lack of space. You can&#39;t wear a sari outside, you can&#39;t behave feminine in the outside society. If you do, you&#39;re done, you&#39;re killed.&nbsp; You&#39;re targeted and you can&#39;t express what you are.&quot;</p><p>It&#39;s only been four months since the Supreme Court ruling so changes on the ground are slow. Still, many members of the hijra community feel like the recognition of their human rights by the government and society at-large are an important step toward rejoining the mainstream.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Siri Bulusu is a freelance journalist based in Bangalore,India. You can follow her on twitter @siri_notsiri</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 15:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-07-18/transgender-community-struggles-find-its-place-modern-india-110525 Israeli troops in Gaza http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-07-18/israeli-troops-gaza-110523 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP423508536818.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Israel sent ground troops in to Gaza on Thursday in an expressed effort to secure tunnels it says are used by Hamas fighters to smuggle arms and gain access into Israel. We&#39;ll get an update on the humanitarian situation inside Gaza.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-israel-sends-troops-to-gaza/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-israel-sends-troops-to-gaza.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-israel-sends-troops-to-gaza" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Israeli troops in Gaza" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-07-18/israeli-troops-gaza-110523 Global Activism: ishi vest makes clothes based on fair trade, sustainability and equity http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-ishi-vest-makes-clothes-based-fair-trade-sustainability-and <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ishi.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-6afee34c-e3f5-6d6e-9163-44784ffc9032">While on a trip to India, people kept asking <a href="https://www.facebook.com/harishivestwalla">Harish Patel</a> about the vest he was wearing. It made him &quot;think hard&quot; about </span>how his clothes came to be - from pollution - to the worker exploitation it takes to make them. So Harish co-founded &ldquo;<a href="http://www.ishivest.com/">ishi vest</a>&rdquo;, a clothing line that would guarantee what he wore would help provide a livable wage to the artisans that create them and also protect the environment. For <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism"><em>Global Activism</em></a>, we talk with Patel about his business model that strives for fair trade, sustainability and equity.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/132232940&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe>Patel calls ishi &quot;Vests with Benefits&quot;:</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">&quot;There&#39;s this joke in my family about how the young man who left India for Chicago at age fourteen to study hard and become the next Doctor Patel ended up... well,<a href="http://ishivest.com"> selling vests</a>.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">My story of transition, like the stories of most social entrepreneurs, is not accurately shared in a &ldquo;portrait-frame&rdquo; -- with me as an individual making all the right choices to get to where I am. Instead it is best shared in &ldquo;landscape format,&rdquo; with a whole lot of support and inspiration from friends, family, co-founders, mentors, and community members along the way.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">On that note, ishi is a story of both individual and community transformation. It is a story of &nbsp;a new kind of sustainable fashion start-up that is connecting communities in India and communities in the US, which share a desire to re-think consumption. To start caring about people and planet before profit.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">There have been a number of turning points for me on this adventure. One came after I returned from a powerful trip to India with a handful of traditional Indian vests. Total strangers kept coming up to ask where they could get a vest like mine. Conversations about fashion quickly turned to the disturbing process by which our clothes get made -- polluting rivers and harming workers across the globe. A simple clothing choice became an invitation to connect -- and inspire.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">After that initial spark, I quickly turned to my friends and co-conspirators, Rhea and Jackie, and together we began dreaming up how to create a hip, conscious clothing line that reminds us how our smallest choices can have a huge impact.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">We&#39;re still in &quot;<a href="http://www.ishivest.com/pages/about-us">startup mode</a>,&quot; but we&#39;re thrilled to see so much love for the product and the vision in just a few short months of launching. Our community campaign on Kickstarter brought in more than double our hopes in seed funding and encouraged us to grow and scale what we&#39;re doing to inspire even more people.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">This march, we will be adding Women&rsquo;s vest, new scarves collection and new Men&rsquo;s vest styles to our already existing Men&rsquo;s vest and Scarves collection.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 30 Jan 2014 10:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-ishi-vest-makes-clothes-based-fair-trade-sustainability-and Global Activism: Bookwallah update on bringing books to Orphans in India http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bookwallah-update-bringing-books-orphans-india-109505 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bookwallah.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Seena Jacob is founder and CEO of <a href="http://www.bookwallah.org">Bookwallah</a> Organization. &ldquo;Bookwallah&rdquo; is a Hindi word that means &ldquo;book peddler.&rdquo; Her group works to give books and provide quality libraries to orphans in India. Seena is just back from India to give us an update.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/123417608&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Seena on why this matters to us:</p><p>&ldquo;Why is this important, especially to people who may feel they aren&rsquo;t directly impacted? The world is globally connected and we learned that particularly during the Great Recession. But, if you know a child has suffered or has endured hardship such as HIV, abuse, living in brothels and you have a chance to make a difference in their lives -- bring hope, happiness, and smiles -- through the simple gift of a book-- does it matter where they live? A child is a child no matter where they live in the world. But, there are truly global challenges such as 793 million people who cannot read, 143 million orphans in the world who have undergone some major things in life. A [dollar] can go a long way in the developing world. So, to know that you can make a difference, be spiritually fulfilled in changing the life of one child, opening their world, should be a great motivator, particularly during this holiday season.&rdquo;</p></p> Thu, 05 Dec 2013 09:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bookwallah-update-bringing-books-orphans-india-109505 India's economy and Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-09-12/indias-economy-and-syrian-refugees-jordan-and-lebanon-108664 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP313679455788.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On Thursday&#39;s edition of Worldview, we assess the state of India&#39;s economy with Sumit Ganguly. Ray Offenheiser of Oxfam America tells us about conditions of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F110081800&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/income-inequality-india-s-economy-and-syrian-refug/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/income-inequality-india-s-economy-and-syrian-refug.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/income-inequality-india-s-economy-and-syrian-refug" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: India's economy and Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon " on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 12 Sep 2013 12:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-09-12/indias-economy-and-syrian-refugees-jordan-and-lebanon-108664 A new potential path forward in Syria, women's issues in India and Chicago youth clean up city http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-09-10/new-potential-path-forward-syria-womens-issues-india-and-chicago-youth <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP41580686969.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>George Lopez joins us to talk about a potential diplomatic path forward with Syria. We talk about women&#39;s issues in India. Plus, we get to know Nicole Brandon, founder and president of Project Y.E.S. (Youth Earth Savers).</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F109750361&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-analyzing-a-potential-path-forward-in-sy/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-analyzing-a-potential-path-forward-in-sy.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-analyzing-a-potential-path-forward-in-sy" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: A new potential path forward in Syria, women's issues in India and Bangladesh and Chicago youth clean up city" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 10 Sep 2013 10:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-09-10/new-potential-path-forward-syria-womens-issues-india-and-chicago-youth Global Activism: Family planning and public dialogue in Jharkhand, India http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-family-planning-and-public-dialogue-jharkhand-india-107612 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ga india.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>How comfortable are certain Indian tribal communities with talking about family planning in public settings? <a href="http://www.sarahcolekammerer.com">Sarah Cole Kammerer</a> calls herself a &quot;Humanitarian Photographer&quot;, that&rsquo;s why she set out to answer this question almost a year ago as part of a Fulbright Scholarship. For <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism"><em>Global Activism</em></a>, Kammerer joins us to discuss her work and the family planning priorities that tribal communities in Jharkhand, India set forth.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F94695127&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 30 May 2013 09:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-family-planning-and-public-dialogue-jharkhand-india-107612 Obituary for a man I knew for 10 minutes http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/obituary-man-i-knew-10-minutes-107233 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/flickr_Fuzzy%20Gerdes.jpg" style="float: right; height: 263px; width: 350px;" title="File: Chicago sunrise. (Flickr/Fuzzy Gerdes)" />Last week I got to meet a man in the last six hours of his life, although I obviously didn&rsquo;t know that at the time. I don&rsquo;t remember his name or where he was from, but I believe he was born in India. I shook his hand and looked at his face.&nbsp;He was visiting my roommate, dressed in a comically oversized suit and a cheap bowtie. He looked like he was dressed to perform at a child&rsquo;s birthday party, the kind of man who might be secretly versed in magic. With golden apple cheeks covered in whiskers, he had the kind of warmth that sticks with you, like someone out of a Bob Hope movie.</p><p>He and my roommate searched for a particular brand of cigarettes on the streets of Devon all day, and as they waited for the elevator, they were going upstairs to her boyfriend&rsquo;s place in retreat. They found out the cigarettes are illegal here, even though her boyfriend swore you could buy them on the street. I said goodbye to him as the elevator doors opened. I never saw him again. His bags are still in my apartment; his military duffle rests against my couch and his books linger on my table.</p><p>Shortly after meeting me, he fell out from the fourteenth story of our Edgewater apartment complex. The selling point of our building, which is otherwise the sort of economy buy that attracts college students and recent immigrants, is the view: a panoramic gaze upon the shores of an endless crush. On quiet days, I like to sit on my windowsill and watch the cold fabric continually wrinkle toward me, as if it were an invitation to meet. When he saw the lake and the sunrise that bursts into our apartment every morning, he decided to poke his head out to take a look.</p><p>My roommate described him as an adventurer, a &quot;reckless Lisbon type&quot; who wasn&rsquo;t afraid of anything, even something as unbeatable as gravity. He reminded me of Shakespeare&rsquo;s Mercutio, the type who narrowly stays out of trouble until it eventually finds him. My roommate trusted him to continue his record of narrow escape and went to the restroom. When she came back, he was gone. She figured that he went up to the roof to get a closer look and took her boyfriend with her to go get him, just in case. He wasn&rsquo;t there either. She was the one who found him on the sidewalk. I can still see the mark he left behind.</p><p>After the incident, I didn&rsquo;t see my roommate for days and wondered where the visitor had gone. She mentioned he would be staying with us. Was he too busy exploring? Were the sights that intoxicating he couldn&rsquo;t resist staying out all the time? On Monday morning, a neighbor approached me to tell me she had seen an ambulance earlier that day. She wondered if I had seen it too, or if the white sheet was a ghost only she had witnessed. I confessed I hadn&rsquo;t seen or heard anything and quickly dismissed it, sure everything was fine.</p><p>I went outside to look and the ambulances were still there, cleaning up the scene. I was still sure everything was fine. I never thought to connect the two events, until I got the news. I haven&rsquo;t been able to stop thinking about that moment since, my casual ignorance of how precious and fragile life is. I&rsquo;ve spent the time since reflecting and trying to take it in, mourning a man whose name I can&rsquo;t remember off the top of my head. Writers often want to put a period on things and give a closure to our lives. We want to celebrate the living and eulogize the departed to give their lives meaning. It&#39;s what we are born for.</p><p>I can&rsquo;t give his life meaning, because I hope it already had that. I hope that, as he fell, he had the time to pray (if he is a person who prays) and settle up his tab on good terms with the proprietors. I hope he had the time to reflect and make amends in his heart where forgiveness was needed and that his mind was clear enough to leave one final thought, something you would want to write down for later. I hope he got one last look at that view.</p><p>We live with a third girl, who we&rsquo;ll call Ann. In the last few days, she has found comfort in faith, revisiting the spirituality that helps the world make sense during times like these. But I don&rsquo;t believe in God. I believe in us. I believe in our power to find light in the darkness and create meaning out of chaos. Humanity is my faith, even when its tested in moments like these. Humanity brings me back to the light.</p><p>I keep thinking of a man I met on the train a few weeks ago. He was coming from Panama to visit his mother for Mother&#39;s Day. He&#39;s traveled the world and found one constant.</p><p>&quot;They always say the world is a terrible place and people are out to get you,&quot; he told me. &quot;But the one thing I&#39;ve learned is the world is good. The world is good. The world is good.&quot;</p><p>Even as I can&#39;t help but mourn for the visitor and for his family&#39;s loss, I have to remember this. The world is good.</p><p><em>Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ issues in Chicago. You can find Nico on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/nicorlang" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="http://www.twitter.com/nico_lang" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://achatwithnicolang.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 17 May 2013 11:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/obituary-man-i-knew-10-minutes-107233 Global Activism: Bright Hope International gives aid and comfort to the extreme poor http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bright-hope-international-gives-aid-and-comfort-extreme-poor <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/BH_Haiti_fixed_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F86395084&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em><strong>Join Worldview on Saturday, 4/6/13 for WBEZ&#39;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/air-events-6th-annual-global-activism-expo-102172">6th Annual Global Activism Expo</a>, hosted by the UIC Social Justice Initiative.</strong></em></p><p><a href="http://www.brighthope.org/">Bright Hope International</a> helps faith communities provide aid and assistance to the extreme poor in some of the world&rsquo;s most devastated countries. The group aligns many of its programs with the UN Millennium Development Goals. Some of Bright Hope&#39;s primary goals are in: extreme poverty and hunger eradication; universal primary education; combating infectious disease and promoting environmental sustainability - all this with a focus on gender equality, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. Bright Hope recently started a program to rescue girls from the sex trade in northern India.</p><p>We&rsquo;ll talk with Bright Hope&#39;s CEO and president, C.H. Dyer about the group&#39;s work. Dyer has encountered a number of memorable people in his travels:</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">Justine Nkandu is a single mother of six from the rural area of Samfya, Zambia. She is thriving after being given the opportunity of a microloan through Bright Hope in 2009. From three years on the program, Justine increased production of beans by 300%. Last year, she harvested 84 gallons of peanuts and used the profits from her farming business to build a house and iron sheets for her roof. &ldquo;My vision is to save money for my children&rsquo;s education before they reach high school, and to maintain food security for my family,&rdquo; she said.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">Justine now feels that she has made enough capital to stand on her own and has requested that the leadership from her church allow her to step aside from the microloan program so that others may benefit. &ldquo;My family no longer worries about where our next meal will come from. We are not poor anymore. Now we can bless others. I thank the Lord for giving me knowledge and wisdom to make me reach this far in sustaining my livelihood and my family,&rdquo; she said. Justine is expecting to double her harvest of peanuts, cassava, and maize this year.</p></p> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 07:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bright-hope-international-gives-aid-and-comfort-extreme-poor Global Activism: LIFT-USA making a difference for families in India http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-lift-usa-making-difference-families-india-106354 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/LIFT_0.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F85363322&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Reese Mugerditchian heard Father Jamels James on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism"><em>Global Activism</em></a>, in 2010, talk about his group, Leading India&#39;s Future Today <a href="http://lift-foundation.org/">(LIFT)</a>. The NGO provides education and leadership training for children from various religious and social castes. It changed her life. Since then, Reese has been to India several times to work for LIFT. Mugerditchian and Dan Quinn, director of Operations for LIFT USA, are back from recent India trips.</p><p><em>You can see Reese and hear more about the work of LIFT and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/LIFTUSA">LIFT-USA</a> at the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/air-events-6th-annual-global-activism-expo-102172">2013 Global Activism Expo</a> on Saturday April 6th at the UIC Forum. </em></p><p>Reese said the Expo had a profound effect on her:</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">&quot;In 2011 while driving to an appointment I listened to an interview Jerome McDonnell had with Fr. Jamels James. I&#39;ve always had a passion for the children of India and dreamed of getting involved with an organization there. Something in that interview spoke to me. Luckily the [Global Activism] Expo was coming up and LIFT was planning on being there. After the Expo I attended a LIFT meeting. Fr Jamels asked me what had motivated me to come to the meeting, I told him I wanted to volunteer in India. And just like that he extended the invitation for me to visit LIFT. I&#39;m not sure what I expected from my trip, I knew I wanted to volunteer, lend a helping hand - find a way to contribute in a meaningful way. I found so much more. The students of LIFT are amazing young adults. They are fiercely dedicated and joyful even though their lives have given them every opportunity to give up. These children are talented leaders and are making such a wonderful impact on their community. I really believe that they will be part of a great social change in India. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for worldview and WBEZ. Your program is doorway to the world for all of us dreaming to get out there and make a difference. I have since been to LIFT 4 times. Each visit allows me to connect with more of the children, learn their inspiring stories, and encourage them to continue their hard work.&quot;</p><p><em>Here&#39;s a <a href="http://vimeo.com/33763345">video</a> of two LIFT students talking about the program.</em></p></p> Thu, 28 Mar 2013 07:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-lift-usa-making-difference-families-india-106354