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VOLUME I, ISSUE I, JANUARY 2011 www.bubblewrapped.asia

Bubblewrapped January 2011

CONTENTS THE TIPPING POINT 07 JUST DO IT Social entrepreneurship is the name of the game and the internet is the new playground. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE GREEN TONE 17 SUN IS SHINING... WELL ALMOST Harnessing solar energy for daily needs distant dream or reality in the making?

21 SEEING REDD IN INDIA UN's programme to save the world from deforestation slowly clears its way into India. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE WILD TRUTH 29 SAVING SHER KHAN Does the tiger really have any hope of survival?

33 THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS... AND PEOPLE Not all men are dog's best friends. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EDITOR Chetna

DESIGNER Guru Munishwar

CONTRIBUTORS Akhil Sood Anushree Chatterjee Mili Gandhi Nandini Dumaswala Nikita Sawant Pooja Bhulla Rahul Fonseca Riddhima Saxena Sakshi Sigh Tolani Sachin Rai Sheetal Paknikar

B+ 39 CHILDREN OFF THE STREET Street kids have choices. Akanksha and Childline are two of them.

43 ANYONE CAN WRITE That's what Dheera Kitchlu tells the kids she works with. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE CORPORATE PITCH 47 A SOCIAL VENTURE

‘Together we can' says EdelGive - Edelweiss' CSR initiative. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Produced and Published by

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graffiti publishing house

DISCLAIMER Views and opinions mentioned in this eMagazine do not necessarily reflect those of Bubble Wrapped or Graffiti Publishing House.Whilst every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, Bubble Wrapped and Graffiti Publishing House cannot accept liability for errors and omissions contained in eMagazine. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission from Graffiti Publishing House is strictly prohibited.


THE TIPPING POINT 5


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JUST DO IT Author: Anushree Chaterjee What was once perceived as an occupation for those who had no occupation is now a sought after occupation. 20-odd years ago, when it came to social work, most people looked at it as something one who had more leftist leaning would do. The stereotypical image of an individual engaged in community service was that of a khadi kurta or sari clad, jhola carrying activist who lived a hand-tomouth existence, fighting for the rights of the downtrodden and cutting themselves away from all else. Unless you had this kind of bearing, you couldn't really be a 'social worker'. You had to look underprivileged if you wanted to fight for privileges. If you came from a well-off family and chose to enrol in a graduation programme for social studies with a leading institute, it would be an 'odd' thing. As is the case with most human issues, we ridicule what we don't know enough of. The fear of the unknown also manifests itself as derision of the unknown.

Today, there has been a 360-degree change in the way generations both young and old perceive 'social work'. Working for social betterment has become a part of life for the hip, cool and tech-savvy, for whom community service projects run parallel with school exams,

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VOLUME I, ISSUE I, JANUARY 2011 www.bubblewrapped.asia

college festivals and five-day work weeks. The

multi-faceted plan to save the universe. All

and greenery. Choosing investigation over

country's biggest corporate houses and

that's needed is a basic idea that appeals

ignorance, Menon and his friends began to

campus recruiters like Tata Group of

with its simplicity and catches on

study the climatic effects of reckless

Companies, Hindustan Unilever Ltd. and Indian

thereafter, everywhere.

urbanisation. The study was intended to go

Oil Corporation are known for their Corporate

beyond what was discovered, converting it in

Social Responsibility (CSR) plans that exemplify

Three simple ideas, three young minds and a

to strong action. 'Batti Bandh' or 'Lights Out'

the act of using resources to better society

whole lot of out-of-the-box thinking has given

was thus born, with the slogan 'Save Electricity.

earning them the title of 'social entrepreneurs'.

rise to three separate initiatives that spurt mass

Go Green. Save Earth.’

movements at regular intervals. Batti Bandh, Young blood is taking noticeable and

The Bicycle Project and The Sapling Project

“We had read about the Earth Hour,” says

praiseworthy social initiatives, to repay society

are just three from the many social initiatives

Menon, “which was a very international

in whatever ways they can. Primary to post

thriving on the internet.

concept. What India needs is a much more

graduate, institutes have weaved in social

localised concept, intelligible to our people,

issues into their agendas, encouraging students

no matter what their level of education is.”

to participate in big and small activities that

Through designated one-hour lights out

make them conscious of humanitarian,

The Illuminati

sessions, street plays, cycling campaigns and

environmental and other relevant issues.

more, Batti Bandh engages more and more of

Moreover, icons for the generation, like Steve

India's urban youth in spreading awareness

Waugh, Salman Khan and Bill Gates are

about air pollution, conscious use of electricity

pioneering 'social entrepreneurship', without

and the message of being eco-friendly. Doesn't

cutting out on any of their unique personal or

Batti Bandh originated after a road trip that a

sound too new or revolutionary? Well, this

professional identity aspects and in fact

bunch of friends took. Amidst what could have

movement, promoting 'unplug' as a way of life,

leveraging on their 'brand value'.

been the usual chilled out getaway, normally

is fast and fabulously building on its awareness

just a good way to switch-off from the hectic

via online media. With more than 4,000

The young blood represents the dynamism that

urban life, this holiday turned into an inspiration

members on Facebook, Batti Bandh garner's a

is the face of social work today and they aren't

for Keith Menon and his friends.

lot of attention from the 20-somethings, who

sticking to age-old means; they are adapting newer ones for the larger goal. The internet, with all its wondrous networking abilities, is being used to communicate messages, gather

regularly attend as well as promote the

How would you like it if someone turned you on and then left?’ – the lament of a sorrowful light switch!

people and gain attention for several

movement. Accepting to attend the fun-filled events, sharing images of these, posting positive reviews and comments, does more than just creating awareness. With the

initiatives. Each person, like their Blackberry

The rural and semi-urban places they passed

omnipresent Blackberry handsets, word-of-

messenger and Facebook Ids, is encouraged

through in Maharashtra brought them face-to-

mouth in its fascinating virtual form, brings

to be unique but act together as one, strong

face with a severe decline in natural habitats

together the sometimes fragmented youth

force of change. 'Think global, act local' is

and resources. Experiencing torrential

opinion, as to how worthwhile campaigns like

slowly becoming 'Think local, act personal'.

downpours, these regions suffered flooding,

Batti Bandh can be.

One needn't barge in with a massive,

rising sea levels and displacement of vital trees

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Street plays engage every day, colloquial

Twitter, Flickr, etc. are all just the platforms and

that he or she will attend all the meetings, let

references and use humour to make viewers

tools that activists like Menon are using to get

alone the final event. The challenge, that

aware of what environmental threats can be

the messages across a very busy but extremely

Menon and his teammates are facing now, is

and how the effects can be well averted. For

connected population. Those who need to be

how to keep their target activists engaged

Batti Bandh, the idea is to create an

plugged in at all times need to know

and continuously interested. The youth, to put it

experience that reduces stress and not add to

electricity's essential value. Once such

plainly, are often fickle-minded getting bored

it. “The key”, Menon believes, “is in engaging

messages are out there, they create curiosity,

pretty soon, always looking for something new.

fun, interactive and dynamic methods, rather

attendance and then a genuine interest in

To communicate with them, which requires a

than shocking or didactic ones.” Their

taking things forward. In fact in many instances

two-way channel, is difficult. One has to

Facebook updates get very creative indeed.

there is a snowball effect which creates

override the mob mentality and find the more

A poster depicts a delectable fried egg on a

awareness and elicits response even from

permanent enthusiasts and also not just

pan, stating 'Turn off the heat' and another

those who may not be constantly connected

depend on technological platforms. After all,

clearly puts it out there – 'How would you like it

and are facing the brunt of

the goal is to save electricity so one has to

if someone turned you on and then left?' – the

reckless urban lifestyles.

get away from their computer screens. “Seeing is believing”, Menon asserts. So, he implements

lament of a sorrowful light switch! All of these are hip, cool designs created by and for the

It's not always a rosy story for sure. While tweets

initiatives through colleges like Jai Hind,

similar-minded people. No, this doesn't mean

and buzzes do go from one buddy to another,

educational institutions like Akanksha and

that those at the frontlines or at the back-end

the rate of the awareness being converted to

several corporate houses that bring interested

of this movement wish to project Batti Bandh as

activism does not rise proportionately. Over the

people together, in flesh and blood. Qais

something exclusive or of the elite. Rather, to

past two or three years, there have been

Husein of the Jai Hind Rotaract Club agrees,

use Menon's words, “The intention is to take

several such events and campaigns being

“We also rely on word of mouth and personal

those with Blackberrys to those without

launched and so any single person gets at

persuasion to get our friends and classmates

Blackberrys.” Facebook, Blackberry messenger,

least four invites in a month. It's rather unlikely

together and participate in such events.” The

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VOLUME I, ISSUE I, JANUARY 2011 www.bubblewrapped.asia

select few who feel the need for a change

some saplings and planted them. The Sapling

Growing Up

remain committed, acceding to him. 'Haath

Project is now a well-known initiative that runs

Mila', a human chain and canvas painting

tree planting drives across six cities, including

endeavour, saw youngsters from different

Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi.

professional, social and academic backgrounds come together for the cause of the earth. In the end, the organisers believe that it is important to stick to one's eco-friendly guns and not lose hope. Though the younger generation goes through its transitional thought processes, they remain the bastion of change for the future. One has to believe that the message that has been planted, will sprout

The Sapling Project, started by Satish Vijaykumar and Ranjeetsinh Walunj, began over a year ago, when a bunch of people realised the need to do something about the depleting greenery in major cities. Vijaykumar realised that, like the lack of trees, the urban lot have much to complain about,

sustainable response.

Save Electricity. Go Green. Save Earth.

saplings to volunteers, who have to take these back home, plant them in their own residential spaces and look after them, for at least two years. The entire idea is to engage people in a very simple and basic task that doesn't need them to go out of their way or do anything complicated. The saplings distributed are

but do little to help.

effects at some point, in some way, beyond the virtual world to create a tangible, more

During these drives, the team distributes free

evergreen, low-maintenance plants that only

60-70% of those who queue up to collect saplings, according to Vijaykumar, belong to the younger generation.

require regular watering and sunshine. In case residential areas don't have much space for trees, one can even go ahead and plant it in the office premises, if permitted. The idea is to ensure that the sapling is looked after by the

The inaction is mainly because of the lack of time to put in that kind of effort. With some friends, he pooled in some money, bought

planter and the latter sees his initiative bearing fruit. “Trees are the biggest investment we can make for our city's future and that is something our colleagues are realising,� Vijaykumar says.

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Starting with 500 saplings at their first drive, the

heartening act indeed. “They all get their

engage with a larger number of schools,

Sapling Project's last drive distributed over

updates through our regular posts online, they

colleges and corporate houses and get their

4000 saplings in six cities.

contribute to our blogs with responses and

support. The Project's core team has already

that's how more people get involved,” he says.

worked with individuals who give saplings as

Twitter, Facebook and blogging have

Moreover, an amateur gardener's queries

take away gifts for weddings and parties.

boosted The Sapling Project, claims Vijaykumar.

about looking after plants also get addressed

“Children who have their birthday parties at

Having started off in a very small way, these

in a quick, practical way. That's why one has to

restaurants, etc. can also be encouraged to

mediums were pertinent in giving the project

keep it simple, Vijaykumar believes. His intention

give their friends a plant each as a souvenir. It's

the required visibility and results. They became

is to benefit the average person who has to

free but has far-reaching effects,”

the best way to spread the word, being

battle health problems that result from pollution

states Vijaykumar.

cheap, eco-friendly, fast and far-reaching.

or global warming. So, he gives a direct

Further, they have been effective in also

solution, wherein these thousands of average,

The Sapling Project does indeed urge one to

converting the concept into action. For a

middle class citizens go ahead and plant

go from online to offline with one's actions. An

movement that is still to get its formal

thousands of fresh, life-giving saplings. Children

unimaginable number of Facebook users stress

appellation of a registered NGO, an official

of all ages have come together with great

about the state of their virtual farms in Farmville,

website and Facebook updates have been

gusto, going back as proud possessors of

worried about their strawberry patches,

ideal means of communication successfully

saplings that they will be responsible for. They,

purchasing fertilisers, and so on. If so much

attracting attention to the cause.

in all probability, would grow in to individuals

attention can be paid to a flower that can't

who respect the environment far more than their

even be smelled, think how much more will be

60-70% of those who queue up to collect

elders nurturing a sense of inherent

given to a sapling that can be

saplings, according to Vijaykumar, belong to

responsibility towards the world they live in.

carried home to cherish. This year a simple

the younger generation. When they come

Going forward, once the formal registrations

bouquet of flowers just won't do. Get yourself a

forward to do whatever they can, it's a

come through, The Sapling Project seeks to

sapling and gift some to your loved ones too.

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VOLUME I, ISSUE I, JANUARY 2011 www.bubblewrapped.asia

Riding Towards Change

Roadsters, BMXs and BSAs poured in as kids willingly contributed towards a larger change.

students in rural schools, so that they can literally ride their way to a happier academic experience. Other surrounding villages like Wada and Thappar Pada have also

The spirit for sustainable living helped them see

benefitted from the Project. The simple gift of a

Taking absolute direct action is a very novel

that it is at the grassroots that development is

cycle that one may have just grown out of has

and effective social movement, The Bicycle

required. The children of Alonde in the

created a chain reaction in urban areas like

Project. Born out of a true need of the hour, this

Vikramgarh taluka, they observed, walked for

Mumbai and Pune, with donations pouring in

initiative was taken by Hemant and Sangeeta

miles to school. It was these children who

and volunteers cropping

Chhabra, a Mumbai-based couple, along with

wanted to attend school, during rains, harsh

up with their generosity.

their friend, journalist Simona Terron.

sunshine and winters, that needed assistance.

The Chhabras, who believe in the holistic

The best people to help were their

The Bicycle Project, a very basic and

urban counterparts.

straightforward plan, depends on social media and online networks to take its plans forward.

development of the community, are credited with HideOut, an environment-friendly, organic

This observation put into motion The Bicycle

With a 1400-strong membership on Facebook,

farmhouse in Jhadpoli village, Maharashtra.

Project, when the Chhabras and Terron got

the project garners volunteer help by the

Their interactions with their tribal and rural

together, repaired 68 old, discarded cycles

awareness created through their posts online.

neighbours over 20 years inspired them to take

and gave them to these children. Roadsters,

Simona Terron does see a lot of young

some initiative by which they could give back

BMXs and BSAs poured in as kids willingly

volunteers come in whenever a campaign is

to a land and people from whom they have

contributed towards a larger change. Since

organised. “Facebook and Twitter remain just

gained so much.

the past two years, this trio has been

tools to reach out to maximum number of

accepting bicycles from those who don't need

people creating awareness about what we

them anymore and generously giving them to

are planning and how we want to go about it,�

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Terron clarifies. “Such platforms”, she continues,

then isn't just left unconsidered. If people have

Project's blogs help anyone who wants his

“create 80% awareness and 20% action.” Yet,

no more to donate, they even volunteer at

actions to matter, sending an eager child to

the 20% that chooses to be part of the active

collection centres across the cities, get bikes

school. Reaching out without worrying about

proportion is a great figure. The 80% remains a

repaired and have them sent to the villages.

geographical boundaries and eliciting

largely unchanging figure since those who are

This, though it is the 20% that Terron had

responses with minimum loss of time would have

made aware may not really be interested or

spoken about, is a strong hold that keeps the

been a never-ending, uphill climb were it not

available, she feels. “No matter how much noise

work of The Bicycle Project going.

for these media. Those who have organised such projects face similar problems as those

may be created, this 80-20 ratio The way forward, the organisers believe, is

who they expect help from. Apprehending such

through more on ground events that bring like-

issues, they choose to circumvent them by

Nonetheless, one can't deny that, at the initial

minded people together and join hands so

methods that benefit both parties, and, thus

stages, the boost provided through online

that the school going kids can get their much

benefit the primary target areas. Such foresight,

social media is very vital to community social

needed bicycles. These will be organised with

essentially, is what pioneers are made of.

projects like this one. The people who can

young and eager participants, who would

afford to give away an old cycle, or get an

include professionals and students for whom

As has been seen in the case of The Sapling

unused one repaired or even buy a new one

social networking has more

Project, it is the attention garnered across

belong to a certain strata of society, who are

connotations than one.

social networking channels that can aid the

doesn't change much”.

most likely frequent participants in online forums.

influx of corporate sponsorship. Moreover, it

To communicate with these large numbers, the

lends to the identity of a pro-green brand,

best thing to do is to get into the same

working as a great marketing strategy that

channel of communication. “The Bicycle Project

would attract a potential sponsor. Also, since

idea sprouted out of a lengthy discussion

there is the direct action of planting a sapling

between three people. So, there are chances

Movements to protect the environment, social

or sending across a bicycle, the sponsors and

of more and more ideas coming about when

needs and resources cannot count solely on

donors are not kept ignorant. No one remains

people start writing on the Facebook wall,

technological developments for their foray into

in the dark as to where their proceeds have

comment, join online discussions, etc.,” says

public consciousness. But their role in boosting

gone and if they have been misused or not.

Terron. The Bicycle Project started with a

their importance, intent and people

“Did my money actually fetch a kid his

problem that needed a concrete solution. The

involvement holds heavy weight. Batti Bandh's

notebooks for the coming year?” Instant

solution they have found as of now can't get

4,000 Facebook members don't immediately

gratification is available when the act is done

more concrete than this. When people around

spell a solution to power cuts but they do

individually or even by promptly posting the

see the solidity of the goals and methods to

make a statement: There are a rising number of

campaign's photographs online.

achieve them, their interest and sincerity builds.

people who won't leave their LCDs on standby

This is in opposition to a project that is fluid in

mode all night long. The Sapling Project's

The internet, new-age media and fast-

its focus and means. Here, people can actually

membership hasn't stopped the plundering of

changing technology give an idea of the

see that their contribution is helping someone

forests lands but it represents a group that

dynamics that plays out in this segment of

in need and then come back and tell

won't blindly dump chemical-filled idols into the

society: What do those capable of creating

someone about it. An event notification online

waters; a clear shift in mind-sets. The Bicycle

changes think? How are they using their best

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skills towards time management? What's the newest way to get people together for a cause? Taking this point further, any lengthy tweet can tell you how a doctor, a psychology student, a bartender and an archaeologist can get together towards a concrete social project, contributing within and in spite of their learning. Personalisation, that online social networking facilitates, can bring give any undertaking a multi-dimensional character. Let's remember, the causes being worked towards, aren't of a homogeneous nature either. If there are thousands of aspects to a problem, maybe thousands of people can help with their own ideas. Some broths are brews that need several cooks

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THE GREEN TONE 15


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SUN IS SHINING... WELL, ALMOST Author: Sheetal Paknikar & Nandini Dumaswala (www.seventwentyten.org) Photography:Nikita Sawant & Rahul Fonseca A boon can be a bane and vice versa.

Amidst the heat and dust of summer, there is a power failure. And we could still smile at the power of the sun – if we know how to use it well.

Through the floods of rain, we could harvest water to fill our diminishing reservoirs. And we could stack up water bodies to cover the shortfall – if we stopped to think and care.

According to most ‘climate scientists’ and another newly published study, our climate is changing and humans are certainly part of the reason. Will the changes in the climate force us to change the way we live?

Probably, if the past is any guide to the future. What could be the relationship between changes in the climate and human cultures?

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VOLUME I, ISSUE I, JANUARY 2011 www.bubblewrapped.asia

On the outskirts of Bikaner, Rajasthan, North

Near Mahabalipuram in South India, in what

India, 14 year old Sakina sits by a dusty

seems like a small, but happy home – Ira, a 36

pavement in disappearing light, straining her

year old housewife has a diligent daily routine:

eyes under an invisible street lamp, peering into

to heat the food using the energy from the sun.

her text book and preparing for her class in

On medical advice that addresses a

night school. Days of scorching sun and stolen

mysterious stomach ailment, Ira experiences the

moments in hours of powerless workspaces are

benefits of harnessing solar energy.

not enough to finish her studies. Sakina is just

What is Solar Energy? ‘Solar energy’ or the radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of evolving technologies. Solar radiation, along with secondary solar-powered resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available

one of the many labour girls working to earn a

Confirm this at Auroville, Pondicherry, South

decent meal and support their families. Her

India. The solar bowl is ‘concentrating

father, who worked for a small solar energy

technology’ employed by the solar kitchen.

project in Abu Road, passed away suddenly

Here, a stationary spherical reflector focuses

after working for a large part of his life in trying

sunlight along a line perpendicular to the

to bring light to other homes.

sphere's interior surface, and a computer control system moves the receiver to intersect

Juxtapose this against the world's largest

this line. Steam is produced in the receiver at

Scheffler-Reflector ‘solar cooking’ system in Abu

temperatures reaching 150 °C and then used

Road, Rajasthan, India. This one is capable of

for process heat in the kitchen.

cooking up to 35,000 meals a day. As of last

renewable sources of energy on the earth. A partial list of solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, portable water with distillation and disinfection, day-lighting, solar hot water, solar cooking and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes. For many of us, solar energy instantly conjures reflected light or solar panels – called ‘Photovoltaic’ panels. These are used in ground mounted installations, built to provide power for signal lights (thankfully, these are visible in

year, over 2,000 large Scheffler Solar cookers

Before we jump the gun in the relevance of the

had been built worldwide.

above instances, here is a little background about solar energy. And hopefully, its significance in the years ahead.

18

parts of Mumbai, India) and single homes.


The Physics Solar energy is now being used to generate the much wanted electricity using ‘photovoltaic

times to around 10%. Just for the record, recent advancements in research have raised this further to a little over 40%.

made from silicon alloys, which produce electrical energy when sunlight falls on it. The sun’s rays are composed of photons, which contain various degrees of energy, and this energy corresponds to the different wavelengths of the solar spectrum. When sunlight strikes a photocell, the photons falling on it are

Even as the new-age phrase ‘alternative energy’ is being brandished through discussions and debates – as a result of power companies

energy’, converting the sun's rays to generate electric power. These photo cells are devices,

The Future Is Here

In perspective, what started as an experiment with alternative energy more than a century ago, is still being used on a very small scale – for, solar energy represents only 1% of energy used today. However, the International Energy Agency estimates that solar may provide a significant 25% of global energy by the year 2050. That is food for thought.

warning of shortfall for the cities, does it really affect those of us living here in big cities where there is happy overuse of power? Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, in parts of interior India, there are hopeless power cuts with as many as 12 hours in a few villages across the length & breadth of the country. Here, solar energy is being used to fill in – but

either absorbed, reflected, or pass through. It is

the installation costs are still reasonably high.

those photons that get absorbed which

Government policies are currently addressing

produce electricity. As the sun's rays strike the surface of the photovoltaic cell, electron migration takes place and this creates imbalance of charge - which appears as a voltage potential at the output. Large arrays of photovoltaic cells are used to produce enough electricity to light up a small house. Sunlight is therefore a renewable energy source, which is being harnessed to provide power.

Big Deal: When will the use of solar energy be more visible around us? “Why should I conserve power? I pay for it, so I will not put off my supply” “I cannot imagine living without an AC in the heat of summer”

the same and will probably speed up once there is serious threat of reducing power to the homes of the rich and famous. And that alone, may be a while. From our side, let’s stop talking and think how we can educate ourselves in using solar energy as one of the more powerful ways of using light provided to us naturally by the sun. If nothing else, it may help keep our children cool in the rising warmth of the globe

“As long as I have power in my house, I do not have time to think of alternative sources” “We are now used to the 12-hour power cuts. A solar energy project has been promised in

The Beginning Apparently, French physicist Antoine-César Becquerel went ‘eureka’ when he experimented with a solid electrode in an electrolyte solution way back in 1839 to discover the first solar

our village three years ago, we hope it will happen soon”

Plug Into the Sun Arihant Enterprises, Bandra (W)

No prizes for guessing: people sentiments

Nikhil Padhiyar 02267306821

conclude that we will cross the bridge when we

Complete Solar light Solutions

come to it.

Satyam Appliance Agency, Borivili (W) 02267305774

cell. And through the next five decades, the

Solar Water Heaters

efficiency of early solar cells increased ten Chips and Bytes Solutions India Ltd, Grant Road (E) 02261630326 Solar Energy Equipment Dealers honour in 1957.

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VOLUME I, ISSUE I, JANUARY 2011 20 www.bubblewrapped.asia

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SEEING REDD IN INDIA Author: Pooja Bhulla Photography: Rhett Butler The UN-REDD Programme – United Nations collaborative initiative to Reduce Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries – was launched in 2008 and in a small span of two years is turning out to be a double edged sword. While on paper it aims to change the planet’s carbon footprint for the better and protecting the world’s forests, the reality is not so rosy.

29 partner countries from Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America of which 12 have been identified as pilot countries - Bolivia, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Indonesia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zambia. Seven of these have received funds and are in the implementation stage. That’s a global preview; but what’s the Indian story?

As of today the forest and tree cover of the country is estimated at 78.37 Mha accounting 23.8% of the country’s geographic area, of which the forest cover is 69.09 Mha i.e. 21.02% of the country’s geographic area. Though India only has 2% of the global forest area, it is faced with demands of 16% of the world’s

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VOLUME I, ISSUE I, JANUARY 2011 www.bubblewrapped.asia

document to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) called "REDD, Sustainable Management of Forest, and Afforestation and Reforestation". During the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP 13), India used this situation as a basis for making forest conservation central to negotiations of REDD and the proposal found place in the preamble as well as the operative part of the COP’s decision. India advocates two main approaches to REDD, ‘compensated reduction’ and ‘compensated conservation’, which means that carbon saved from reducing deforestation and degradation, and carbon added through conservation, afforestation and reforestation, have to be compensated equally.

Superficial Greenery India projects the image of a low deforestation country, but the loss of dense to moderately dense forests within the recorded forest area hides under the garb of increasing forest and tree cover. In Indian enumeration reports forest cover comprises of all lands more than one hectare in area, with a canopy density of more than 10%, irrespective of land use and ownership. Therefore all perennial woody vegetation and lands with tree crops are considered forests. The 2003 assessment reveals an overall increase of 2,795 km in forest cover but a decrease of 26,245 km in dense forest cover, across the country. The additional increase in forest and tree cover is a result of industrial plantations on degraded forests and non-forest land.

parts of the country, which are plagued by riots, rebellion and separatism, the doing of Maoists and other groups. Executing REDD projects in such areas will be very difficult. However there is another view which advocates giving tribals and inhabitants more control and proprietorship over these forests. This can be done if a profit-sharing model is implemented giving them a right over their immediate vicinity and the means to earn from it. A point is case is Governor Irwandi Jusuf from the Indonesian province of Aceh, a former rebel and one of only 40 to have survived after the December 2004 tsunami struck the prison where he was incarcerated, who has become the country's leading supporter of forest conservation funded through carbon credits.

COP 16 held in Cancun, Mexico, resulted in an agreement on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+). The Indian

...there is another view which advocates giving tribals and inhabitants more control and proprietorship over these forests.

government now proposes to use REDD+ as part of its 'Green India Mission' to restore 20 million hectares (Mha) of land into forests in the next 10 years. The approximate cost will be $10 billion and will annually sequester 43 million tonnes of carbon. Under its climate change policies, a national REDD+ coordinating agency and a national forest carbon accounting program

Similarly UN's definition of forests in context of REDD, that forests can be as small as 0.05-1 hectare in size, where at least 10%-30% of the area is covered with trees reaching a minimum height of 2-5m, gives countries like India the opportunity to manipulate and project a green image despite destructive logging and

The Indian government now proposes to use REDD+ as part of its 'Green India Mission' to restore 20 million hectares (Mha) of land into forests in the next 10 years. The approximate cost will be $10 billion and will annually sequester 43 million tonnes of carbon.

Distribution of Funds and Rights of Communities After failure of the 1988 Forest Policy to gratify the concerns of ecological necessities of

diversion practices.

are being institutionalised.

forests, and involvement of village communities in the regeneration of degraded forests, The

Insurgency Another concern is that most of India's dense forests are in the central and the north eastern

Forest Rights Act (2006) served as an answer to the forest communities' historic struggle in India. For the first time, the Government of India

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through the Scheduled Tribes and the Other

though the PNG landowners who own 97% of

Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, admitted to the

the rainforests had not been consulted. This

injustice suffered by these tribes, during and

challenges the Bank's claim that all plans

post, the colonial period. The Government also

would be subject to wide consultation.

recognised their right to ancestral lands. This Act was a step in the right direction, after the

Further, commercialisation of the forest has the

previous displacement and marginalisation of

potential to adversely affect the conservation

tribes, not only for passing age-old rights back

of biodiversity and wildlife and to accelerate

to the forest communities, but also for

the problem in Third World countries including

protecting, conserving and ensuring

India. Malaysia and Indonesia have already

sustainable use of the forests and its ecosystem.

declared industrial monoculture plantations of rubber and palm oil as forests. Indonesia has

But the hesitation of the Forest Department to

the highest deforestation rate in the world at a

share their power with the forest communities is

loss of 51 sq.kms of forest daily, yet on paper it

a constant hindrance in implementation

can show otherwise. Ironically, the Guinness

of the Act.

Book of World Records has made Indonesia (in)famous in its 2008 edition for this record.

Indonesia has the highest deforestation rate in the world at a loss of 51 sq.kms of forest daily, yet on paper it can show otherwise.

India has several biodiversity hotspots that are

Lack of clarity regarding the ownership of

The UN's REDD project though stems from right

carbon and the role of communities in

intentions, it is polluted with many loopholes

decisions related to participation in carbon

that countries use to their advantage at the

markets, in REDD context, will cause the

cost of the environment. Unless addressed, the

undertaking of community lands for plantations

programme might end up as the main catalyst

in the name of increasing forest cover. Rather

in the further destruction of the planet. In India,

than conserving natural old growth forests or

REDD can churn out results reflecting the true

regenerating forests, REDD may undermine the

vision only if old growth forests are

rights and entitlements of communities and act

safeguarded, the indigenous forest dwellers

as a disincentive towards the decentralisation

and local communities are made

of forest governance. For instance, recently,

accountable, monoculture plantations are

Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government's

excluded from the fund allocation and the

Readiness Plan Idea Note (R-PIN) was

entire project is subject to approval and

approved for funding by the World Bank's

transparency with all involved being held

Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), even

accountable

rich in flora and support thousands of species of wildlife which need to be protected and not put in further danger of extinction.

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LEASE

e please contact bubblewrapped.asia

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THE WILD TRUTH 27


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SAVING SHER KHAN Author: Rahul Fonseca Photography: Sachin Rai Mowgli, Bagera, Baloo and Sher Khan. Would Rudyard Kipling’s story be the same without its two central characters, Mowgli, the man cub and Sher Khan, the Royal Bengal tiger? With the count, down to 1400 pan-India, one wonders if future generations will know anything but old photographs of this gold and black pelted big cat.

According to The Wildlife Protection Society of India, the country has lost almost 53 tigers, 26 of them to poaching alone this year. Wildlife reserves like the Panna Tiger Reserve (TR) in Madhya Pradesh and Sariska TR in Rajasthan have been forced to admit that all of the big cats under their protection have disappeared. Recent efforts to relocate tigers have meant further dwindling of the population. The Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg this year (2010) saw participation from 13 Tiger Range Countries (TRC), including India, set itself the target of doubling the population of the endangered animal in the wild by 2022. However after accepting the failure of 40-years of tiger conservation efforts can these commitments be trusted?

The Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 enabled government agencies to take strict

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measures to ensure the conservation of tigers

NGOs in dispensing compensation as the

previously hunted for sport by the wealthy. A

governments process is long and drawn out.

government initiative, The Tiger Project was set

The WWF compensation program began in

up in 1973 and the first few census of tiger

1997 in Corbett TR and was soon

population in the country proved to be flawed

implemented in Ranthambore TR in 1999.

as it depended on outdated techniques of

Compensation is usually paid within 48 hours of

identification, which led to erroneous data.

the cattle being killed to avoid any delay that

Results of the census conducted in 2007-08

might lead to poisoning of the predator. The

showed that urgent steps are essential to

same cannot be said for a reverse

protect the species from complete elimination

situation, poaching.

in India. Unfortunately, today there are more NGOs campaigning worldwide to save tigers than the actual number of tigers in the wild. Urban awareness to the plight of the tiger is at

To date, only 16 people out of the hundreds caught have ever been convicted of killing a tiger.

an all time high. But what most people fail to

A point in case Pioneers in tiger conservation like author Jim Corbett started off as tiger killers in the late 1800s, heroes of the masses, eliminating the man-eaters. It was only in 1920 armed with a camera instead of his usual weapon, that his admiration for his once arch-enemy grew to a point when he vowed never to shoot another tiger. His efforts in the 1930s with F.W. Champion resulted in the establishment of India’s first national park in 1936. Then named the Hailey National Park after Lord Malcolm Hailey, it was renamed Jim

understand is that more needs to be done in

Tigers are killed to supply the black markets with

tiger habitat than in the city.

organs, pelts and bones. Scarcity has only served to fire the demand for these items that

Tiger reserves in India are very large and

are highly valued in eastern medicine. Today,

effectively monitoring them requires immense

due to sparsely guarded reserve areas even

manpower and infrastructure. Ill-equipped forest

tribals have taken to poaching tigers as a

rangers, strict but ineffective gun control laws,

quick source of income. NGOs such as Tiger

poachers under protection of local political

Watch have implemented undercover

goons and a general apathy on the part of

operations and found that gangs of poachers

the government has lead to regular poaching

operate unchecked in the core areas of the

activities within the boundaries of these

reserve. Along with the local police, Tiger

reserves. Eco- tourism, which was developed to

Watch helped stop a large number of

actively promote awareness, was the favourite

poachers in Ranthambore. The Kaziranga Park

scapegoat of the officials when quizzed about

officials have recently also granted authority to

the failure of government initiatives. Even NGOs

rangers to shoot poachers on sight, an act

that reveal flaws in the system are promptly

which has lead to many fatalities on both sides.

denied access to the reserves.

Most of the poachers in India are poor tribals

Corbett National Park in his honour in 1957.

who know the terrain well and are willing to kill The unfortunate truth is that its people against

a big cat for the right price. Their hunting

tigers. A tiger kills a man’s cattle and he

talents and knowledge is exploited by greedy

receives compensation from the government.

traders and despite severe penalties for

Organisations such as WWF support smaller

poaching, the laws are difficult to enforce. To

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date, only 16 people out of the hundreds

The need of the hour is education and

generating revenue that can compensate for

caught have ever been

empowerment of the people in and around

its keep. But this will only happen if the people

convicted of killing a tiger.

tiger habitats with specific focus on the wild

living in its vicinity have some form of property

cats. Organisations such as the Tiger

right and ownership over the animal and its

India today has less than 1400 tigers left, a

Foundation help set up education facilities in

habitat, and can legitimately claim

widely publicised fact in campaigns launched

villages so as to help alleviate poverty

a share of the profits.

by Aircel in collaboration with NDTV, World

provide for self-sufficiency and help them to

Wildlife Fund (India) and some of the 10 wildlife

lead productive lives. Educating the villagers

The future might seem bleak, but in a realm that

organisations currently active in the country.

on the fringes of the reserves helps instil respect

follows the mantra of 'survival of the fittest', this

Prominent actors were featured in

for the big cats and in turn curb poaching. The

wild cat is more resilient than we give it credit

advertisements to help spread the news. Print

Bandhavgarh Wildlife Tiger Trust has set up an

for. Let each person contribute to the

media carried similar messages. Websites

education centre at Kailash Sankhala

protection of this species and let these big

sprung up and the tech savvy citizens 'roared

Conservation Centre at Kanha to provide

cats worry about fighting extinction

online' and plastered networking sites with pro

guidance for the children of underprivileged

tiger slogans and videos. But as with most

families helping to inculcate respect and

campaigns of this nature, everyone involved

responsibility towards the park.

except the chief protagonists, the tigers, have had their day in the sun. Though these

Today, the tiger is perceived as more valuable

initiatives are successfully in raising much-

dead. But it is just as valuable alive and not

needed funds that aid conservation efforts,

only for environmental reasons. In the wild, it is

poaching goes on and tigers continue to be

one of the most popular attractions for tourists

poisoned in India's reserves.

and nature lovers and is capable of

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THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS & DOGS.... & PEOPLE Author: Mili Gandhi Mumbai is a jungle, maybe a concrete one, but a jungle nonetheless. Along with humans and sparse flora, this urban forest is home to many other species. While the main city is home to cats, dogs, birds, horses, cattle and donkeys; snakes, jackals and leopards are found on its fringes. And we, humans aren’t the only ones struggling in Mumbai. These animals struggle to survive in this challenging place they share with us, cars, buildings, laws and lawlessness. Helping them silently and unflinchingly are several groups of young and old, men, women and children, faces unrecognizable but not easily deterred.

Traditionally and decades ago this task was the domain of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) which could not effectively handle the slew of cases and matters pertaining to animals in the street thrown at them. Today the BMC outsources all matters related to Mumbai’s animals to one of several hundred animal rights and welfare organisations. Thus several new and old animal rights and rescue organisations have made

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VOLUME I, ISSUE I, JANUARY 2011 www.bubblewrapped.asia

their place in this city and continue to carry out

a large number of us don’t consider ourselves

work despite several odds - financial, physical

to be ‘animal-people’.

This is an Animal Hospital in the premises of the

and cultural. They encourage participation

BMC Cattle Compound in Mumabai -

from citizens and show them how animals can

We may not be the direct perpetrators but

be helped in various ways. Outreach and

walking past an animal in distress is not right

education programs for schools, colleges and

either. For those of us who don’t want to get

corporates are carried out frequently by some

our hands dirty, well, the least we can do is call

of them. In the internet age it becomes easier

one of the many organisations that exist for this

with tools like Facebook, Twitter and similar

very purpose. They have a widespread

social networking sites that help connect with

network of volunteers and will guide one or

millions economically and quickly. Most

send someone to assist the troubled/

organisations these days have active social

injured animal.

Malad West. Contact: 02228823742, 28802682, 28821972

Animals Matter to Me AMTM was created with the vision of providing a safe refuge for abused, unwanted, orphaned animals and, supporting NGO's and Animal Welfare Association's to reach out to places

networking pages where a host of information is available on their activities and participation.

Ahimsa

faster and better. Assistance to societies and In situations where a dog, cat or other animal is causing a nuisance to members of a society or

There are people who and times when dogs

locality it is most prudent to call the Mumbai

and cats are considered a nuisance. We see

SPCA or any of the animal organisations for

horses being ill-treated and just walk past. We

assistance. There have been several cases in

see an elephant making his way through the

the recent press where residents with little

traffic jam and can only nod our heads in awe

knowledge of animals have harmed them

or exasperation. We don’t have time for our

grievously and subsequently been charged by

own people leave alone having time animals.

the police for violation. Yes, they too are

Most of us don’t have a clue about animal

protected by the law.

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firms for vaccinations and recovery is given by their volunteers in any emergency for strays and abandoned animals. Facebook: Animals Matter to Me Mumbai Contact: 091-9819380310 (available 24x7)


In Defence of Animals

Mumbai SPCA

Welfare of Stray dogs

IDA INDIA is a non-profit grass root level animal

Situated in Parel behind KEM Hospital this is

The Welfare of Stray Dogs is a Mumbai-based

protection organisation, dedicated towards

Mumbai's largest animal hospital and veterinary

non-profit organisation working to eradicate

establishing and defending their rights. They

college tackling all kinds of animal cases from

rabies and control the street-dog population

have several ambulances and can be

cattle, equine, canine, feline and that of the

in a humane, scientific way. Their focus is the

contacted round-the-clock.

avian and wildlife variety as well.

Animal Birth Control (ABC) program,

Website: www.idaindia.org

Website: www.bombayspca.com

vaccinations and disease control amongst

Karuna

Thane SPCA

Free onsite medical treatment, rescue,

Set up in 2002 by like minded people from

rehabilitation and awareness through a

Thane, it is their endeavour to bring medical

network of mobile ambulance equipped with

aid and relief to street animals on

vets and helpers to assist all animals in distress.

the roads itself.

An animal helpline that runs from 9am to 6pm

Website: www.thanespca.org

street dog populations. Website: www.wsdindia.org

answers calls and ensures help reaches as fast as possible. Website: www.karunaforanimals.org

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B+ 37


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CHILDREN OFF THE STREET Author: Riddhima Saxena Photography: Nikita Sawant Survival of the fittest is the name of the game and the street children are made to learn the rules really fast to survive the tough game. India is emerging as an economic power house and one of the reasons is its huge young population. However it maybe noted that 18 million of this productive set lives on the streets as per the estimate of the international agencies.

‘Street children’ is a term used to refer to children who live on the streets of a city, deprived of family care and protection. Most of these children are between the age group of 5 to 17 years. “The definition of street children has also undergone a change”, said Kajol Menon executive director Childline India Foundation, a 24-hour emergency helpline for children in need of care and protection. The new meaning indicates street children are children with families, earning salaries and living on streets.

Poverty, abuse and disturbed family situations are catalysts that provoke children to run away from their homes and very often seek their fortune in urban areas. Mumbai is still the largest recipient of street kids with twenty five of them

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VOLUME I, ISSUE I, JANUARY 2011 www.bubblewrapped.asia

arriving on trains from around the country. Many

widespread use of cellphones, the number has

Pretty much all of us use social networking sites

of the street children who have run away from

received Category l service (similar to the fire,

of some sort. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter,

home have done so because they were

police, ambulance units) in national

Orkut , Linked In or one of the many other sites

beaten or sexually abused. Most Indian street

numbering plan”, said Menon.

out there, social networking sites provide a way

children work and some of the common jobs

for us to interact with friends and meet new

are rag-picking, in which boys and girls sift

Similarly, Aakanksha began in 1990 with a

people. But these sites also double up as a

through garbage in order to collect recyclable

simple idea. There were thousands of slum

platform for social causes and social

material, begging, street vending, dyeing and

children who needed and wanted to be

entrepreneurship. “It reaches out to an

prostitution. There are fewer girls than boys

educated. There were thousands of college

interesting group of individuals “the youth” who

actually living on the streets as there is higher

students who had the energy, enthusiasm and

are extremely passionate and committed once

pressure on girls to be confined to homes and

time to teach. There existed pockets of

they get involved”, said Menon. “Earlier to get

put up with more abuse. Girls are also less

available spaces located in schools that

the attention of the people one would

visible on the streets as they are often forced

seemed ideal teaching environments. The

need to figure out where and how,

or lured into brothels.

simple idea then, was to bring together the

which is no longer a hurdle”.

three - kids, student volunteers and spaces - in For years now this problem has been

schools for less privileged children run by

Similarly, Akanksha has been able to reach out

acknowledged and efforts have been made

college students.

to retired people wanting to volunteer and

by various organisations and individuals to improve the situation. A number of organisations in the country to name a few

teach in the centre. According to Pandit, it has

...18 million of this productive set lives on the streets...

CRY (Child Relief and You) Childline India

become so much easier to spread awareness, get reactions, fundraising, branding and most importantly mobilise volunteers. Akanksha runs its

Foundation, Aakanksha, Butterflies, Prayas,

“Shaheen Mistry, the founder of Aakanksha

campaigns and volunteer initiatives regularly

Magic Bus, are dedicated towards uplifting

mobilised friends, youth in colleges and like-

and has been successful in receiving positive

these children and fighting for their basic rights.

minded people to volunteer in centres and

responses from potential volunteers.

started towards building an organisation that “Childline was built on networking and it spring

has 54 centres and 7 schools”, said Chitra

Pandit cited its recent intitiative with Kodak, the

boarded on the technology available when it

Pandit, director marketing. While the core

photographic company to promote awareness

started in 1996”, said Menon. Telephone was

activities continue to happen with the target

and importance of education. It used the

the connecting medium and an easy-to-

group, sustaining these projects does require

social networking platform to invite

remember toll free number 1098 was available

constant communication, awareness, support

photographer across India to send in pictures

round the clock for street children in the city of

both financially and morally. The evolution of

of children in schools and classrooms. Another

Mumbai. With its success, it evolved into a

technology has not only bought everyone

successful online campaign was that of

service for children in need and protection

closer but also made it easier to nurture a

Akanksha and MTV, the entertainment channel

spreading across 83 cities across the country

support group that helps by way of spreading

where every comment posted on their page

carrying the same number. 14 years on, it

the word getting people involved

generated revenues for Akanksha. The

continues to spread its network reaching out to

and raising funds.

campaign generated 10 lakh hits and even

more in need every day. “Today with the

more monies.

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Social networking, while it provides branding and reach, is a front end to all the core work that the NGOs are doing, agreed Menon and Pandit. According to Menon, while mobile and telephone connects us to a million children, it is the fact that we reach out to the distressed children that defines Childline. “Connecting to several volunteers and fundraising online is convenient but to nurture longer term commitment from such individuals they have to come to our 54 centres and 7 schools across the city”, said Pandit.

The target audiences that both Childline and Akanksha work with are not the internet using population. After all, the internet medium is limited to 1-2% of the population. But it has definitely provided a great network for what they do. Feel very strongly about certain issues? Feel the need to make your voice heard? It’s so much easier to do that now than ever before. Come forward to lend your support… as Mistry put it “together we can make a difference"

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DHEERA KITCHLU

ANYONE CAN WRITE Author: Akhil Sood “Anyone can write,” stresses Dheera Kitchlu, as she explains the purpose behind her latest initiative that goes by the same name. The programme, launched in March '10, aims at encouraging young children to write, and provides them with an opportunity to get published. She is aiming at compiling an anthology of 30 pieces sent in by children, and launching it by the middle of 2011. “Once children see their name in print, they'll get the taste of blood, making it difficult for them to resist the temptation of writing more. Soon, we'll have budding young authors all over the place!” she says with childlike enthusiasm. Dheera, a published author with eight books, for both children and adults, to her credit, wants to harness the talent that children of today may have, and further nurture it through constant interaction with them, and provide them this channel for articulation. “I've been corresponding with around a hundred kids, and the point of the interaction is not to teach or correct them,” she says, “but to suggest ways to improve their work. My role is to merely offer another perspective, and help bring the child's talent to the fore. Even if it's a work in progress, that sense of accomplishment helps drive the child forward”

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VOLUME I, ISSUE I, JANUARY 2011 www.bubblewrapped.asia

The programme, in collaboration with Serene

years of age, to tell him that he's adopted.

clever children, but also the ones “who may be

Woods, a publishing platform for promising

“Parents find this task daunting, but the book is

quiet and reticent, and have an interest in

writers and photographers, is slowly gaining

written in a way which makes the child feel

writing.” She's comfortable with children

momentum through a steady campaign to raise

special.” She has also authored From Darkness

dropping out of the programme if they lack the

awareness. Dheera has addressed several

to Light, a non-fiction book profiling 25 women

necessary patience and discipline. “They have

schools, including her alma mater, Welham in

who have accomplished a great deal despite

the liberty to leave if they begin to lose interest;

Dehradun, to alert students and teachers

their disability, commissioned by the National

it makes me glad to know that they tried,” she

about the campaign, and proudly informs us

Association of the Blind.

says. Her own dyslexia makes her empathise

that the idea has been welcomed by all.

with children suffering from the same, and she

“Aside from that, we are aiming at promotion

The intention behind creating this platform for

wants such students to approach her for

through word of mouth, as well as a

children stems partly from Dheera's own difficulty

guidance. And she assures us that she prefers

widespread Facebook campaign. While

as a child suffering from undiagnosed dyslexia.

children writing to her themselves. “Once the

Dheera interacts with the children and posts

“I couldn't write well, and I had trouble reading.”

parents come in, they insist and put undue

writing tips on the website, the promotion is

she says. She became aware of her learning

pressure on the child.”

handled primarily by Swapnil Chugh, the

disability while undertaking a teaching course,

founder of Serene Woods, which will be

and tells us, “All the tension that was bubbling

releasing the anthology for the programme.

up inside me came out through my writing, and

“He's the one taking the movement forward. I

now this programme.” She has also penned

took him on for the quality of his work,” she

and illustrated a largely autobiographical story

gushes. “Once the first anthology is released,

about a dyslexic child, called Maya. She

we can further expand the programme as

explains the difficulties she faces, telling us how

children will realise the possibility of getting

she's unable to read in front of an audience,

published, giving them a huge boost.”

and requires lengthy periods of time to pen her

We quiz her on whether the initiative is

thoughts down. “I have a passion for it, and a

restricted only to the English-speaking upper-

Dheera has already published two of her

discipline. I write all day. If you embrace your

middle class, and she duly responds that she

books with the Serene Woods publication,

difficulties, and enjoy the process, then you

has enlisted the services of several Hindi

'Ouch!' Cried Planet Earth, a story about how

can't call them difficulties anymore,” she says

scholars for children interested in writing in Hindi,

children can contribute to awareness about

determinedly. She states that awareness about

while she hasn't yet found people to help with

the earth since they hold untapped potential

learning disabilities is a lot higher today among

Marathi writers. “We are aiming at spreading

for change, and a collection of her poetry

the urban populace, and the attitude of the

the word in Hindi-medium schools in Delhi, but

called Nippy, Nipper & Others. Aside from

people is definitely changing, but most schools

we don't have access to these schools as yet,”

several children's books, Dheera has also

lack a separate wing for students with these

she says. She freely admits that she's in no rush

written Your Story, a book commissioned by the

disabilities, and not enough is being done

to expand the movement, “I don't want to take

Indian Association for Promotion of Adoption &

to help them.

on anything I can't deliver. I believe it is very

Child Welfare. It's distributed free of cost to

“My role is to merely offer another perspective, and help bring the child’s talent to the fore. Even if it’s a work in progress, that sense of accomplishment helps drive the child forward”

important for me to reply immediately to every

anyone adopting a child at the centre. It is

She tells us that the aim of the Anyone Can

child who writes in and make sure they don't

meant to be read to the child when he's three

Write programme is not simply to focus on the

feel neglected

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THE CORPORATE 45


E PITCH 45


A SOCIAL VENTURE Author: Sakshi Singh Tolani A typical day in EdelGive starts at 8:30am and ends by 9pm. Spending time with investees on ground, their sites, centers and offices, counseling them, working with them, figuring out their challenges and providing them quality inputs are some of the things Aditi Thorat, CEO EdelGive, and her team do through that fairly long working day.

So what's the big deal? Many companies have long working hours and multi-task through their day. The EdelGive Foundation is the not-forprofit subsidiary of financial services company, Edelweiss Capital, and focuses on providing capacity and capital to non-profit organisations working in the sectors of education and employability. Using the venture capital approach in the social sphere, EdelGive has found its innovative and effective way of bringing about what they call systemic change.

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VOLUME I, ISSUE I, JANUARY 2011 www.bubblewrapped.asia

How it all began… organisation and provide the much-needed

“Bringing the venture capital approach to the social sector”

financial support, it's more challenging and

Aditi says, “What we mean by this is that like

demanding to work with them closely. EdelGive

venture capitalists work closely with companies

started off by doing what most corporates do

they invest in with not just money but also their

which is finance a non-profit organisations or a

time, expertise, networks, we too do the same

social entrepreneur, however the need to do

thing. Our focus is on organisation capacity

more was not easy to ignore. “We believed

building and associated areas because we

that whatever we do has to be strategic and

believe that what we call 'venture philanthropy'

to make systemic change in the sector, we

is crucial to accelerating the growth of

believe that we need to work closely with the

social enterprises.”

While it's easier to adopt a non-profit

the organisations think through 5-year budgets and helping them understand how they can raise money as well as leverage additional funding. Impact Assessment - A crucial aspect for social organisations, this demonstrates how EdelGive works closely with organisations to develop systems around this.

Aditi says, “Each of the above areas we have Edelweiss employees closely involved and mentoring the social entrepreneurs we work

organisation in both financial and operational

through research was that although funding

Model EdelGive: How it works!

constraints were there, most organisations

With so many different ways and means to work

hurdles to overcome such as structures,

with a non-profit organisations, EdelGive has to

systems, processes, technology, MIS, impact

choose its expertise zones while working closely

assessment, financial reporting, monitoring.

with a social entrepreneur

aspects. The other thing that we discovered

Financial Planning and sustainability - Helping

Considering that these are the very areas Edelweiss had to work on to sustain the rapid

Strategy and leadership – Developing second

growth it experienced, we knew what it was like

line leadership among the team and also help

to work with these entrepreneurs. We saw an

develop a five-year vision and plan for the

opportunity to do more and decided to apply

organisation.

our strengths to the social sector”, says Aditi.

Human resources - HR strategies, talent

with. It actually works like a beautiful win-win situation where Edelweiss employees get exposure to the social sector and social entrepreneurs are able to draw from the corporate world as well.”

The criteria EdelGive is currently working closely with 20 non-profit organisations and has relationships with 28-30 organisations through their annual

acquisition, retention, helping them with hiring, job prospects and building sustainable

awards program which identifies and honours innovative organisations that are working to deliver essential services to women and the girl child. They receive more than just financial

The concept

organisations.

The EdelGive vision is to support high potential

Systems and processes - This includes

social entrepreneurs and non-profit

technology and MIS. For e.g., EdelGive has

organisations, to achieve systemic and

built two different technology systems for two

sustainable social change. The key approach

different non-profit organisations - an

is a combination of financial capacity and

automated payroll system for a large

hands-on building support for social

organisation and a web based MIS for the

entrepreneurs and non-profit organisations.

Aangan Trust.

support from EdelGive. The organisation follows a rigorous process before it decides to work with a non-profit firm and a social entrepreneur. “We have a rigorous investment committee process which we call as due diligence. We basically work like a fund. Before we reach the investment committee stage we start off with the

48


process of desk based research moving on to extensive discussions on the phone through meetings. Then we actually make a stage where we make a field visit. Based on this assessment which is very critical aspect of our due diligence process; we take a call whether we should put up this organisation through our investment committee process or not. The next step is to define the purpose of funding, the measurement metrics and present it to the

We get reviewed by Edelweiss on a quarterly

Challenges A not so conventional CSR initiative is bound to have its own share of challenges. EdelGive confronted many obstacles. In fact most came

basis and we follow a strict disciplined approach in our day to day functioning”, says Aditi.

from the organisations themselves. “It was difficult for the non-profit organisations to understand that we weren't just pure funders for

Future plans

them. To convince them that unlike most donors

EdelGive has a well charted out plan of action

we are going to be around and work closely

for the next five years until 2016. Aditi says, “We

with them is a task in itself”, says Aditi.

have an ambitious plan for 2016 of being a

investment committee. It's a layered process

100-crore platform. We will leverage money

where we also identify the key risks involved

through corporates, international organisations,

and list down the mitigation strategies.

and individual donors getting them to invest in

Checking balance sheets, annual reports,

The journey so far

the entrepreneurs and non-profits we believe

EdelGive is a relatively new name in the CSR

in. Apart from this we want to look inwards,

management team are some of the things that

initiatives being only two and half years old.

become better, evaluate and monitor our

impact our decision process.”

Working on a new foundation with a fresh team

processes and forge strategic partnerships

and starting from scratch is not just challenging

and networks.”

doing web based research, meeting the core

but extremely exciting and demanding. Aditi says, “Last two and a half years have been the

The criteria

Having found their own unique methodology of

real journey. We have learnt and innovated

bringing the venture capitalism strength to the

- Key management team

every day, and unlike other organisations that

social sector, EdelGive Foundation has paved

- Are these organizations hungry for growth?

come with baggage, we had to set up systems

a new way for other organisations to conduct

- Are they hungry to expand, grow and scale?

and process from scratch.”

their corporate social responsibility initiatives

- Are they looking to engage with us on a non-financial level?

With limited budgets, the team strives to work

- Do they fall in our sectors?

with discipline and is conscious of how they

- Are they really thinking about systemic impact

manage their finances. “We function like any

not just individual and community impact? - Are they game changers and innovative?

other line of business. We have KRA's as our review mechanisms, key performance indicators.

49


VOLUME I, ISSUE I, JANUARY 2011 www.bubblewrapped.asia

50


VOLUME I, ISSUE I, JANUARY 2011 www.bubblewrapped.asia

A few days ago Economic Times carried an

THE BEGINNING

article on The Future of Philanthropy discussing

Walunj, Hemant and Sangeeta Chhabra, and

The next issue will cover the organic vs.

the shift in India Inc's mindset from just creating

Simona Terron who have changed the way the

inorganic products' debate, the plight of the

wealth to actually giving back to the society.

business of social causes is conducted. A

river dolphin, the recycling mechanism or the

Corporate Social Responsibility is now a full-

simple idea, a lot of determination and a little

lack of it in our country as well as another CSR

fledged career option. Social work has moved

help from friends and well-wishers is all it takes

programme that is successfully helping those in

onto a larger platform called 'social

to bring about positive change.

need. If there is any topic you would like Bubble Wrapped to touch upon do write in to

entrepreneurship'. Fighting for a cause, making change possible, working for a better tomorrow

Discussing pros and cons of the UN's REDD

me. Also, your feedback and constructive

is suddenly very 'cool'. It looks to me, people

programme and the country's fight to save the

criticism is always welcome as it will only help us

have taken the idea of “being the change�

tiger to highlighting the availability and

improve this eMagazine that is truly yours.

quite seriously!

benefits of switching to solar energy as well as

Until next time...

giving due credit to Edelweiss for its CSR

Cheers!

So I've decided to join the bandwagon and

division called EdelGive, Bubble Wrapped

Bubble Wrapped is my way of giving back. I

through every subsequent issue hopes to

Chetna

started this eMagazine with the intention of

create awareness and elicit constructive

editor@bubblewrapped.asia

creating a platform for information sharing,

responses towards many problems that need

highlighting problem areas and celebrating

to be addressed. I hope this eMagazine

those who are the change. In its very first issue

becomes the mode of communication for

Bubble Wrapped has showcased people like

people involved in protecting our planet and

Keith Menon, Satish Vijaykumar, Ranjeetsinh

the lives of those that inhabit it.

50 51


FOR HIRE To advertise here please contact Chetna at adsales@bubblewrapped.asia

52


SPACE AVAILABLE To advertise here please contact Chetna at adsales@bubblewrapped.asia

Bubble Wrapped January 2011  

Bubble Wrapped is a platform for social causes, non-profit organisations and corporate social responsibility programmes that endeavour to pr...

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