Empowering sex workers to improving school infrastructure – all the top Social Stories of the week

This week, SocialStory showcased inspiring stories that spoke about the upliftment of many sections of the society, including women, children, and LGBTQIA+ among others.
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Girish Kulkarni from Maharashtra has been empowering sex workers living in red light areas across India and educating their children for free. Meanwhile, Shilo Shiv Suleman uses art as a medium to express thoughts and emotions on social issues through her campaign, Fearless Collective.

While India’s vaccination drive is going on in full swing, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Foundation is providing several deep-freezers and ice-lined refrigerators for storing vaccines at an optimum temperatures.

Here are the top Social Stories of the week:

Girish Kulkarni is empowering sex workers and educating their children

Girish Kulkarni with the children of Snehalaya

In 1989, Girish Kulkarni founded Snehalaya, an NGO that works in the verticals of education, healthcare, rehabilitation, awareness, and campaigns. The main beneficiaries are women, children, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community – as they are often burdened down with poverty, and fall prey to the commercial sex industry.

The NGO serves them by providing various healthcare facilities, including a ‘Caring Friends’ hospital, which treats HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. Through the ‘Smile Project’, the NGO provided vocational training and awareness on menstrual hygiene.

Artist Shilo Shiv Suleman is creating safer spaces for the oppressed

Shilo Shiv Suleman

Committed to making public spaces more inclusive and joyful, Shilo Shiv Suleman has been breaking barriers through her art by using public spaces as her canvas. In fact, she uses technology for her artwork and has created large-scale installations across the world.

“When I was working with so much technology, there was a huge crisis with the most basic technology we know, which is our body in public spaces. That’s when I started the Fearless Collective,” she says. The Collective engages with different impacted communities, including the Syrian refugees of Beirut, queer activists in South Africa, transgender activists in Pakistan, the women at the forefront of Shaheen Bagh, and queer men in Rajasthan, among others.

The ONGC Foundation is helping states make the COVID-19 vaccination drive a success

In India, safe transportation and storage of the vaccines have been key concerns. Both Covishield and Covaxin vaccines have very specific cold chain requirements, and have to be stored at 2-8ºCelcius. The strict temperature-controlled environment that the vaccines need to maintain efficacy has been a significant challenge, especially in remote areas of India.

The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation(ONGC) Foundation, in partnership with the government, is providing several deep-freezers and ice-lined refrigerators (ILRs) to help store the doses at optimum temperature at vaccination centres across the country.

Bal Utsav encourages learning by improving the infrastructure of government schools

Bal Utsav also provides computer lab facilities for the students

In 2009, Bengaluru residents Ramesh Balasundaram and Binu Verma had decided to quit their corporate jobs to start their own NGO. While competing with another NGO was an option, the husband-wife duo decided that it would be better to complement another’s efforts. They set up Bal Utsav in 2009.

Bal Utsav is a collective of people bound by a shared passion to promote social good by focussing on sustainable interventions for children, especially in education. The NGO has two flagship programmes — Sampoorna Shaala and iShaala

ABGUS, Hindustan Unilever set up treatment plant to recycle 40,000L of wastewater

The wastewater treatment plant

The rural areas in India suffer from acute water scarcity for domestic and agricultural purposes, owing to water-intensive crops, low water efficiency, and unregulated groundwater. In fact, water pollution has also effectively decreased the quality of the water in these regions.

With the support of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), the Akhil Bhartiya Gramin Uthan Samiti (ABGUS) on Tuesday inaugurated a water management project in Dhingi village in Patiala district, Punjab. The project aims to recycle wastewater for irrigational purposes, groundwater replenishment, and rainwater harvesting.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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