Have a happy, prosperous and safe Diwali.
Monthly Archives: October 2009
Let there be light and a noise-free diwali
Filed under India
Why Should You Vote?
- Casting a vote allows an individual to express a choice among candidates who wish to become government leaders.
- Failing to register a vote is tantamount to saying you don’t care.
- If you don’t vote, you are missing out on a great national privilege and a significant personal freedom
- Voting provides a medium for citizens to support the democratic structure. If a majority of citizens choose not to vote, democracy might become a thing of the past and will be replaced by another form of government that might prove more elitist in nature.
- Registering to vote means that you believe in the democratic process and will participate in it to represent your right to freedom of speech.
- Showing that you care with your vote tells candidates that they must be accountable to the public.
- Showing up at the polling booth on voting day sets a good example to others. Remember, your children observe all that you do and will learn from your example, right or wrong as it may be. Civic awareness is an important part of their training and one of the early steps on the road to maturity. Voting also sets a positive example to neighbours, friends, and family who may be uninterested in or unfamiliar with the electoral system.
If you don’t vote you really have no right to complain about government decisions you don’t like.
Filed under International, Politics
Sight for the Sightless
Andhakkshi Ashram was started 1937 as a rehabilitation centre for women with schizophrenia. However, today the organisation provides shelter to destitute, blind, mentally challenged and HIV + women and children. The organisation is run by the trust The Association for the Relief and Education for the Street and Needy Blind Indian Female. “Andhakkshi that means sight for the sightless, currently houses about 40 women and children,” says Vengurlekar.
Most of the inmates at Andhakkshi Ashram are mentally challenged and have been abandoned by their families. An example is Prabha who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and was abandoned by her family. After Prabha took to the streets, she was picked up a social worker and taken to Andhakkshi Ashram in 2002 where she was rehabilitated. Prabha is employed as a cook and that is her source of income. “Even though I am still on medication, my family respects me now because I give money at home and I am productive,” says Prabha.
Most of the women and children, says Vengurlekar, come from well to do families. Because of their mental illness, their families consider them as a liability and are ashamed to care for them. The criterion for admitting women and children into this home is that they have to be either blind, mentally challenged or HIV+. “The organisation provides many facilities that help inmates to get educated and gain skills for life that will help them earn a decent living thus making them independent,” says Vengurlekar. Anshakkshi Ashram gives these children an opportunity to live there, attend special schools and have other requirements met.
Four months back, the organisation has started Andhakkshi School that provides functional therapy for fine motor coordination. They also offer Speech Therapy for the speech and hearing impaired and Occupational Therapy to maximise the skills and ability of the differently-abled. A recent addition to the facilities is Chromotherapy (also known as colour therapy) that uses colour and light to balance energy wherever a persons body is lacking whether physical, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. “Through this physically, they feel better as their pains/aches are reduced and their immunity levels increase. Mentally and emotionally they feel secure, safe and strong. Their anger and irritability is reduced,” says Vengurlekar.
Andhakshi is dedicated to the mental and spiritual health of women and children using medication as well as alternative therapies. To widen their horizons and to reach out to more people, there is a Sacred space in Andhakshi which gives mental, emotional and spiritual guidance to people. This sacred space offers sessions and classes of alternative therapies, stress management courses, group and individual counselling and so on.