Archive - June 2014

Eve-Teasers Beware! Biff! Bam! Boom! Kapow!

We love Anurag Kashyap. Not only is he a brilliant director, but he also uses his talent and influence for the greater good. We applaud the fact that he is on the board of the Mumbai-based NGO Aangan Trust. And that he often uses film as a medium to raise awareness about social causes.

This 20-minute short (alright, it’s a 21-minute something deal) is a well-made film on eve-teasing and sexual abuse. It’s a deftly woven story with a couple of ‘right-on!’ moments you’ll enjoy as much as we did. Make the time to watch it this weekend. And don’t miss the ending – the little twist had us grinning! You can’t go wrong with the award-winning director!

Let us hope more women like those in the film are able to empower themselves and stamp out the menaces of society. Biff, bam, boom, kapow!

 

The Watershed Moment

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This is a happily-ever-after kind of story….

We often appeal to your magnanimous nature and urge you to fund a good deed. This post isn’t like that. This is a wonderful ‘what happened after they got funded’ story. It’s a heartwarming tale about the residents of the tiny village of Tiruchirappalli. And how easier access to water has changed their lives forever.

It sounds incredible but is true – water really is that powerful a life source. So powerful, in fact, that it has the ability to help a child stay in school. How so? Imagine a child and mother having to trudge miles out in the scorching sun to fill pots of water and carry them back home. Imagine not being able to carry enough water for all the daily activities – bathing, cooking, washing clothes and vessels, and cleaning the hut. Imagine the diseases such unsanitary conditions could bring. Imagine a child being so tired from carrying heavy pots to and fro that he or she skips school or keeps falling asleep and misses out on lessons.

Here is the wonderful ending to this story…or should we say ‘the new beginning’?!

Speak Up!

Your voice is your power. Speak up.

Have you experienced some form of sexual abuse in your lifetime? Were you ever hugged in an unpleasant manner? Pinched by a passerby? Touched or rubbed against? For a majority of women, the answer will be a thunderous ‘yes’.

Did you tear after the offender with a broom and give him a well-deserved whack? Well, yes, it may be difficult to conjure up a broom when you’re on the street or in the elevator and such. Alright, granted.

Did you ever speak up about these instances, though? The answer here may well be a ‘no’.

In theme with yesterday’s post (if you haven’t seen it yet, go ahead and scroll down before reading more here. You know you want to!), today’s post is about a powerful short film titled ‘Bol’. It delves into various instances of sexual abuse and urges women to speak up about them to help put a stop to it all.

We applaud everyone involved in this initiative. And urge you, pester you, nag you to watch the video. It’s certainly food for thought.

Angelina Jolie: Actress and Crusader

Angelina Jolie needs no introduction. She is a woman with many hats, or roles, if we may -– not just that of an actress,s but also of wife, mother, one of the most beautiful women in the world, Goodwill Ambassador and now a Special Envoy for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
She is a pleasure to watch onscreen and off, as she makes a difference to refugees across the globe. Here is a video that showcases her oratory prowess and highlights the problem of sexual violence in war-torn nations.
It really is worth watching and listening to.

 

The Seat-Belt Crew

A lesson in road safety…! We won’t spoil the surprise by saying too much more!

Road safety has been around since the time of the Stone Ages, if The Flintstones are to be believed. But in all seriousness, road safety has been an integral part of our lives right from our days as kindergarteners. We are ingrained with traffic rules for our own safety – look both ways before crossing, only cross on the zebra crossing and so on.

With fast-developing technology and a faster-growing population, it is imperative that we have safety guidelines to protect us. That is why drinking and driving is illegal. That is why using our mobile phones while driving has been ruled against. That is why wearing seatbelts is another rule being enforced.

Although seat belts have been worn in western countries for quite some time now, they’ve been enforced in India only recently. And though the message of road safety goes out loud and clear, there are still innumerable people who ignore it.

To those people, and to all others, we present this ‘infotaining’ video.

Pee Patrol!

Crime fighting has never been this entertaining…!!

There are the usual bunch of superheroes like Superman and Ironman – yawn. And then there are vigilantes like The Clean Indian – they’re the real McCoy. Just like their more popular counterparts, this new breed of superheroes’ identities are also unknown. They wear masks to cloak their identities, which naturally also adds to their mystique.

They patrol the streets of Mumbai fighting crime. What kind of crime, you ask? They prevent public urination. How do they go about this? They ride a massive water tanker called the ‘pi**ing tanker’ and use a giant hose to spray a canon of water onto offenders who are in the process of urinating in a public space.

Their message is simple – you stop, we stop. Their aim – to prevent public urination “one spray at a time”. Their modus operandi – to catch offenders entirely unawares in the unlawful act with their overpowering blast of water . The result – is efficient and hilarious.

Watch the video. You’re welcome!

Do Good And Get Killed For It!

Game of Thrones fans, you won’t want to miss this! Get a chance to meet, chat, dine with and pick the brain of the series’ writer George RR Martin. Get a chance to really know Game of Thrones up close. Get to be IN the show, so to speak. All you need to do is give to Martin’s crowdfunding campaign that aims to support the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and the Food Depot in Santa Fe, NM, where Martin resides.

Rewards range from regular memorabilia to fantastical opportunities, depending on how much you give. The more generous supporters (read: USD 20,000) get a character named after them and the chance to actually choose the character’s station in life. And you also get to have the character killed off in spectacular Game of Thrones fashion.

Don’t have the big moolah? You can still give whatever you can and get a chance to win a tour of the wolf sanctuary, and dine with Martin. One lucky supporter (who gets a plus-one) will be randomly chosen and given this opportunity.

Watch Game of Thrones’ Martin giving you the low-down himself!

A Good Run

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He plays Ultimate Frisbee, he’s a marathoner, and he gives back to society. Meet Rishabh Sekhani, Ketto’s Campaigner of the Week!

This athletic 30-year-old makes sure to have a wholesome, balanced life – work, play and giving back to society are neatly fitted into his active lifestyle. He recently ran the marathon to raise funds for Umedhbhai Patel English School (Mumbai) under the Teach For India (TFI) banner, and campaigned on Ketto for it. We caught up with Rishabh Sekhani to find out more.

The Mumbaiite worked in investment banking and private equity in Singapore and Mumbai, before he settled into the family business. “We own an outsourcing company and we are also into the trading of auto components,” he shares.

Work may have eaten into his downtime slightly, but it hasn’t doused his enthusiasm for sports. “I’ve been pretty crazy about tennis for years now. I haven’t been regular on the court of late (something I hope to change), but I’ve been following the game religiously since the time of Sampras and Edberg,”

“A new love is Ultimate Frisbee,” he continues animatedly. “I started playing last year, although I haven’t been able to play much in recent months due to my travel. I play with the Mumbai team, Storm Chasers, and was part of the team that won a tournament in Surat last year, which was so much fun.”

The semi-pro athlete also runs regularly and has participated in races across states and countries. “Mumbai marathon is one of the best-organized marathons and it’s in my city so it’s been a regular fixture over the last few years,” he explains. “I’m part of a couple of running groups. We stay connected on Whatsapp and we all enjoy runs so we try to catch up a few times every week. Sunday mornings are fixed. Other days have varied attendance depending on people’s schedules.”

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The runner with a social conscience has done his bit for society over the years. “I volunteered for an NGO called Manav where my role involved teaching the underprivileged sections of our society. Back in school days, we also got to volunteer for the National Association for the Blind (NAB).”Rishabh’s training for the marathon involves equal measures of discipline and enjoyment. “I ran 2-3 times each week in the last 40-odd days before the marathon. Being in a group helps in several ways – it keeps you regular and it helps you improve by enabling you to benchmark your performance with others,” he explains.

Most recently, Rishabh has volunteered with Teach For India, for whom he raised funds on Ketto. “I taught Math and English to 5th graders at Umedhbhai Patel English School in Malad with a few TFI fellows. The school serves students from economically-challenged backgrounds and we in the faculty were thinking of ways to raise funds to address various challenges that the school was facing – lack of a library, lack of equipment in the science labs, lack of funding for educational field trips etc.”

“I figured it would be a good idea to address these requirements through my run and to raise funds for this cause,” shares the do-gooder. It was well received by my TFI fellows Rashmi Pahade and Kavita Anand, and after a bit of brainstorming, we launched our campaign on Ketto.”

And how did Rishabh come to know about Ketto? “I’ve known Varun for a while now. When we thought of launching our campaign, we looked at different options. There may have been some other platforms which we also considered for their reach and their slightly longer existence-span, but Ketto had a fresh, young vibe and we were very comfortable with Varun so it wasn’t too difficult to zero in on it.”

There you have it: a stand-up guy who makes time for social work and play while holding up his day job. Three Ketto cheers for Rishabh Sekhani!

Check out Rishabh’s campaign here! Or start your own here!

Climate Change: The Challenge

A lot of people are talking about climate change. A lot of people are taking a stand.  Watch. Join. Start.

Since we’re a tropical country, we complain about the heat and how our summers are getting hotter each passing year. We sing about feeling hot, hot, hot. And joke about our faux winters and how silly it is for garment stores to have a winter clothing line. And we round it all off by blaming the big, bad monster that is global warming.

In other parts of the world, ice caps are melting, snow banks are disintegrating, winters are getting colder and storms are getting stormier. Imagine the residents of these colder regions, the adorable penguins – who choose a mate for life (our favourite thing about the cute, waddling, tuxedoed creatures) – trudging morosely, mate-less, because their life partner was lost in a deluge…caused by global warming.

We need to take a stand. We need to make a change. We need to protect those adorable penguins. And all the other wonderful creatures on our planet. Including ourselves. And the actors Don Cheadle and Ian Somerhalder. And the beautiful Gisele Bundchen. And Manchester City footballer Yaya Toure.

Why them? Because they’re fighting our fight with us. They are the goodwill ambassadors for United Nations’ super cool World Environment Day (WED) programme.  Watch this year’s promo video. And get on board. Join in as we make the change to change our environment.

Refuse to use plastic. Reduce your foodprint by wasting less food. Have tree-planting drives. Walk or bicycle to work. Do whatever it takes. Get with the WED programme today!

Check the WED site out .

The Baked Good (The Bake Collective interview)

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Who knew desserts and social causes could blend so delectably?!

The Ketto team has the deepest respect for red velvet brownies. We also have a high regard for strawberry cheesecake. And chocolate truffles…they do such a lot of good for society. And we don’t just mean how yummy they are for the tummy! What on earth are we talking about? Meet The Bake Collective, a bunch of bakers and volunteers with delicious magic in their hands and goodness in their souls.

We caught up with co-founders Charlene Vaz and Kavita Gonsalves and got to know more about The Bake Collective’s mouth-watering bake sales for social causes, the NGOs they’ve raised funds for and how their campaign for Light of Life Trust came about on Ketto.

Tell us more about the people behind The Bake Collective.

We are an informal network of bakers and volunteers who crowdfund for social causes. The Bake Collective was co-founded by Charlene Vaz and Kavita Gonsalves.

Kavita is a sustainability consultant who works with a number of NGOs and is a part-time lecturer teaching Sustainable Design. Charlene works as a Strategic Global Account Manager at Dimension Data and also moonlights as a Chocolatier and founder of ‘Charlene and Chocolate factory’.

Our team of bakers and volunteers form the backbone of The Bake Collective.  And our well-wishers in India and abroad bolster us further.

Where do you operate from? Any plans to expand further?

The Bake Collective spreads the delicious word about upcoming bake sales and gathers volunteers via social media primarily. In addition, we use our personal and extended networks to connect with the world and crowdfund for our social causes. We don’t limit the work to our cities – Mumbai and Bangalore. For example, a friend in Australia held a bake sale in her neighborhood to support one of our campaigns.

In 2013, The Bake Collective’s Bangalore chapter was set-up. We completely encourage people to start a The Bake Collective chapter in their own cities and towns to work for causes close to their heart.

How did you come upon combining baking and social causes?

It all began as a Facebook chat with a friend who works in the social development sector. We had a brainwave about a bake sale to raise money for one of their causes. It made complete sense to us. We both loved to bake and wanted an excuse to do so. So why not do it for a good cause? That’s how The Bake Collective was born in 2012.

It started as a one-time event that did so well that soon after, we had NGOs and non-profits, in the start-up phase, asking us to help them with their work. We also had many local and home bakers and volunteers asking us when the next event was. Thanks to that demand, we are now two years in the running and organise bake sales every 2-3 months for charitable causes.

The Bake Collective recognises the privilege of being able to help others through compassionate baking, making a difference to someone’s life, someone less fortunate than us.

Any mouth-watering goodies we should know about?! What are the most popular ones?

There are many favourites – red-velvet brownie, meringue, upside-down pineapple cake, cheese cookies, beautifully decorated fondant cupcakes, cowboy cookies, chocolate truffle, snicker doodles, good ol’ sponge and  coconut cake, strawberry cheesecake, fruit crumbles…the list goes on! We’ve also got eggless, butterless, sugarless and vegan options, and offer savory snacks as well.

TBC’s supported several NGOs. Please tell us how you began working with each of them and what the experience was like.

The Bake Collective supports NGOs that are in the start-up phase, typically in their second year of running. We have fundraised for Milaap, Urmi Foundation, World For All, Make A Difference, Mimaansa, Light of Life Trust and Voice of Stray Dogs.

By doing this, TBC has supported shelter homes, orphanages, helped purchase teaching material, furniture, books, etc. for rural schools, toys for children with disabilities, imparted vocational training for candidates from rural areas, funded small-town women entrepreneurs (skilled artisans), helped build water-purification systems, toilets, water connections and solar-lighting systems for rural homes, arranged transport for sending disabled children to school, been involved in the welfare of street animals… this list goes on too!

How did the collaboration with Light of Life Trust come about?

Light of Life Trust heard about the work of The Bake Collective and approached us to support their Anando project which supports teaching materials in rural schools.

How did you come across Ketto?

Kavita, the co-founder of TBC, happened to meet Varun, the founder of Ketto, at one of Ketto’s fundraisers for Shweta Katti, the first girl from Mumbai’s red-light area who got to go to a US university. This led to a collaboration between Light of Life Trust and Ketto.

What are you planning for TBC in the future?

TBC will continue to work with local and start-up NGOs.  In the process, we hope to encourage other individuals and have them organise their own bake sales in their communities, whether at the workplace or at a garage sale.

We also hope to connect with commercial establishments like cafes, restaurants and corporations by having TBC bake sales, vouchers, contributing baked goods to our causes or having a non-day event where a portion of a food bill is contributed towards a social cause. We want people to contribute in the best way they know how, and in the process, build a more compassionate and fairer world.

If you would like to volunteer with TBC or even fundraise for your cause, get in touch via email at thebakecollective@gmail.com or drop them a message on their FB page 

Visit or support the scrumptious TBC campaign on Ketto here!