From creating a green world to making technology inclusive – the top Social Stories of the week

This week, SocialStory shared the story of the ‘Green Man of India’. We also witnessed an amalgam of inspiration, kindness and empowerment in our stories.
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IRS officer Rohit Mehra is on a mission to make things greener. From creating lush green gardens to making mini jungles out of dump yards, there is no one better than Rohit to do justice to the title of Green Man.

Meanwhile, two girls from Bengaluru raised Rs 15 lakh and helped prevent financially disadvantaged girl students from discontinuing their education due to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. In more heartening news, organisations like Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) Punjab are stressing on the importance of speaking out against domestic violence. 

Here are the top stories of the week:

The IRS officer who is on a mission to make the world a greener place to live in

Mehra with one of his vertical gardens

In 2016, IRS officer Rohit Mehra’s son told him that he had a day off from school because of “pollution”. They were living in Ludhiana, which had a very high AQI at the time. Rohit was shocked to learn that as a parent, he couldn’t even ensure clean air for his child. “I knew this needed fixing immediately and started working on it.”

With the help of his wife Geetanjali, and his children, he started working on five different projects to develop cities including Ludhiana, Amritsar, Baroda, Delhi, and Kolkata among others, and make them greener places to live in. In just 4.5 years, Rohit has created vertical gardens with plastic bottles, built lush green forests in dump yards, and rightly earned his name as the ‘Green Man of India’.

“My mother forced my sister and me into the sex trade”

Ahana* was sold into prostitution at the age of 15 by her own mother. Today, she dreams of becoming an air hostess or a beautician.

(Representational image)

In this week’s Survivor Series, Ahana tells us how she overcame betrayal by a parent, escaped the sex trade, and is hoping to fly high someday.

“I was only 12 years old when my father died and my siblings, mother, and I went to live with our maternal grandmother. My earliest childhood memories were of the suffering my mother went through as a victim of domestic abuse. She married again, and I had a very strained relationship with my stepfather. But things took a nightmarish turn when my own mother sold me into the sex trade.”

Read more about Ahana’s story here.

Bengaluru youngsters raised Rs 15 lakh through Project Arambha for girls’ education

Haneen Farid and Disha Panda

Started by two 17-year-olds from Bangalore, Haneen Farid and Disha Panda, Project Arambha aimed to fight gender inequality, particularly in higher education.

The girls raised about Rs 15 lakh through fundraising campaigns to pay the college fees of 44 underprivileged girls between the age of 16-22 years in the city for a total of three academic years, including 2020-21.

Data crucial to fight violence against women and children during COVID-19

The Shadow Pandemic denotes the sharp rise in incidents of domestic violence during COVID-19 (representational image)

The Shadow Pandemic is the term being used to describe the significant increase in domestic violence against women and children across the globe. While data from UN Women shows that calls to helplines reporting violence at the hands of an intimate partner increased five-fold in some countries during the pandemic, the National Commission for Women (NCW) in India said that it had received 5,000 complaints of domestic violence as of December 2020, a sharp increase from the 660 cases reported in July 2020.

Several organisations across the country have been reaching out to offer support to women during the pandemic. The Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) Punjab reached out to 36,000 women during the pandemic as part of an awareness campaign that stressed the importance of speaking out against domestic violence. 

The Programming Foundation is on a mission to make technology inclusive

Subhadeep introducing TPF at talk event organized by Write the Docs at Linkedin San Francisco in early 2020

Founded in February 2020 in Sunnyvale, California, The Programming Foundation (TPF) focuses on providing computer science education free-of-cost, without compromising data.

The 24-year-old founder, Subhajeet Mukherjee, aims to create a smarter general population through The Programming Foundation, and the operating system that he’s developing. He has authored two books on operating systems, and given talks at HackerDojo, ACM, SF Python, and LinkedIn. He previously served as the Data Support Engineer at The Pill Club and Community Support Specialist at BetterHelp.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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