Category - Health

Knot Of Protection: Celebrating Raksha Bandhan With A Twist

Celebration of Raksha Bandhan

India is a land of a diverse variety of religious beliefs and as a consequence, we also celebrate a wide variety of festivals. India is known for it’s larger than life festivities throughout the world. Today is Raksha Bandhan, another important festival that celebrates the ‘protective’ nature of the relationship shared by a brother-sister. The word literally means ‘the knot of protection’, something that siblings also tie on each other’s wrist as a symbol of the bond.

While the festival was initially limited to brothers and sisters from the Hindu fold, it hasn’t been left out from modernisation. We all have rakhi brothers and sisters, and we have stopped limiting our love to a religion or sect. People have also started challenging the typical archetype, doing so beautifully. Here are a few inspiring people who are positively twisting the idea of ‘Raksha’(protection) and ‘Bandhan’ (relationship).

The Sister Who Risked Her Life

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What if your brother, sister, or a loved one had failing kidneys? Would you go to the extent of giving them one of yours? Sounds like a Hindi movie plot to you, doesn’t it? However, it is the true story of a woman who decided to donate one of her kidneys to save her younger brother’s life. Due to lack of funds needed for the procedure, she started a fundraiser on Ketto, seeking help from others. Her will and love for the bond became her strength and helped her overcome any obstacle that stood in the way of her brother’s well-being. Now that’s what we call a real celebration of bonds, won’t you?

The Sister Who Protected Her Brother

The way we are looking at the dynamics of the festival is changing. As more and more women are becoming a part of the workforce, we are seeing a major shift in who takes up the role of the protector.

Imagine this. A guy named Arjun from Hyderabad develops a rare genetic disorder that has restricted him within his 10/10 room. This is because of disproportionate growth in his body, where one of his limbs has grown abnormally (to 163 kgs approx), keeping him away from light & open air for 5 years!

This is a true story.

arjun shalini

 

Had it not been for his sister Shalini and the power of crowdfunding, the wait for freedom and open skies would have lasted much longer. Arjun now has an equipment that allows him a social life, human interaction and sharing of experiences, all thanks to his sister Shalini and the 46 backers who supported her cause through Ketto.

Rakhi: A Celebration Of Bonds Beyond Blood

Who said that you have to be Indians to celebrate the Rakhi bond? In fact, you don’t even have to share the same race or ethnicity to celebrate the virtue of a brother-sister relationship. We can say so because of people like Uttam Banerjee, who helped two terror survivor sisters from Nairobi who were stuck in India after they had exhausted all their money on medical treatments and hotel bills. Who would have thought that the Kenyan sisters would find a brother timezones away, and one who would source many more brothers, sisters and believers for them – all through online crowdfunding.

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Rakhi is the celebration of that bond which two people share without desire. We should make every possible attempt to nurture and protect the purity of this bond, irrespective of whether blood ties come with it or not! In a relationship where you vouch to protect the one you love, divisions of gender, race or religion hardly hold value!

Join the Quit India Movement 2016

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On 14th August 1947, at midnight, when the clock struck 12, as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru put it, we awoke to life and freedom, celebrating our first independent day. But did this day mark the end of our struggle in reality?
69 years after independence, we’re still fighting to free ourselves from evils such as lack of education, unequal opportunities for women, unprotected environment, limited access to healthcare and many more.

For all of us at Ketto, August 15 holds a lot more importance because it also happens to be the day we started our journey as a crowdfunding platform.
Since our inception in 2012, we’ve worked towards our vision of empowering individuals with a platform, so they can gather funds and create a positive change at a personal and/or a national level.

As we turn 4 today, we wish to start another Quit India Movement, this time for the homegrown challenges that need us to come together yet again.
Over 20,000 responsible people and 2000 NGOs of India have spearheaded the movement by teaming up with us and used crowdfunding to bring about an instrumental change in the following areas:

INR 3,59,15,783 has been raised to make healthcare accessible
INR 4,23,20,173 has been raised for the welfare of children
INR 73,80,647 has been raised to empower women
INR 2,06,11,706 has been raised to eradicate illiteracy
INR 72,24,972 has been raised for the welfare of animals
INR 13,05,839 has been raised to create a sustainable environment

What would you fight for?

Come, be a part of India’s Quit India Movement again, raise funds for an evil that you wish to free India from and don’t forget to spread the word.

Start A Fundraiser

How Crowdfunding Can Rescue You From Helpless Situations

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Reaching out to a crowd for help has existed in our lives since the beginning of human civilisation, or perhaps even before. At some or the other point in our lives, we all have reached out to our friends and family for support.
Using the internet as a medium for asking for monetary help became a concept only as recently as 1999, by the name crowdfunding. Along with being quick and convenient, what makes this approach truly unique is the number of people it allows you to reach, thus multiplying the possible help you can get.
It can rescue you from the most helpless situations that life throws at you. Here are 4 situations in which you can turn to crowdfunding:

After a natural calamity

Credits: NDTV

Credits: NDTV

Natural disasters are something that we have no control over. If you feel helpless looking at images of the aftermath, there’s a way to go beyond praying and hoping for their welfare. As a matter of fact, more than Rs. 100,00,000 has been raised for disaster relief through online crowdfunding for Chennai floods and Nepal earthquake with help from responsible individuals and charity partners.
For the recent Assam floods that displaced more than 18 lakh people and animals, fundraisers on Ketto have raised over 10 lakh so far. This was because there are people who care enough to want to do something about the situation.

When medical bills start piling up:

credits: NDR

credits: NDR

Unexpected events are parallels of one’s life, and we don’t always know what do about them. What do you do when someone you love or care about meets with an accident? If he is not financially strong, you might help him with all the cash you can spare, but that is not always going to be enough. You might end up asking more friends for help, but we all know how medical emergencies are- it’s like you’re on a sinking boat in the middle of the ocean. You’ve got to fill the hole, and you’ve got to do it fast!
This guy called Mangcha would have had to undergo an amputation, had his friend Nishant not started an online fundraiser in the nick of time. More than 4000 individuals have used medical crowdfunding to pay for their hospital bills and high treatment costs using Ketto.

When you want to help someone:

credits: theemotionmachine.com

credits: theemotionmachine.com

Many a times, we might also come across incidents or situations over the internet that spark a burning desire within us to do something to change the way certain things are. But what do we really do? Some of us might take to introspection, as in what could have been done, or just talk about it to our friends and tell them how we feel. There is another way to help so many stories you read over the internet everyday – take it up ourselves.
Here’s Nikhil Sarup’s story of how he made an 82-year old dancer, dance all over again by starting a fundraiser.

When you have a brilliant idea:

credits: licdn.com

credits: licdn.com

We’re the startup generation. By the time you reach the end of this sentence, someone, somewhere might have come up with an idea that has the potential to become a huge success. So, if you have a great idea and know the time is right, you don’t have to wait until you have accumulated enough funds to start. Put your idea out there through an online fundraiser and gather funds for it. Arjun Menon, raised money through crowdfunding to sponsor his participation in the esteemed sustainability project of Antarctica ‘2041’! So if you have a brilliant idea and you’re waiting for funds, let’s begin, shall we?
A calamity, pending bill, creative idea or simply helping something your care about- the power of people coming together can help you with any of your needs. Spread the word by sharing with the world so that persons in need can live and do better despite their means.

2 Ways You Can Help People Affected By Floods In Assam Right Now

credits: Eenadu India

23 out of 27 districts have been affected by these devastating floods. At least 6 villages are completely submerged under water, with an affected population of over 18 lakh. Rising water of the Brahmaputra has not just impacted the everyday needs of people, including bare necessities like food, clothing and shelter, it has also affected a large number of farm animals and poultry birds.
As the flood-waters in Assam begins to recede, there seems to be a ray of light at the end of the tunnel anytime soon.

Assam Floods, lower Assam worst
Courtesy: Oxfam India

If you wish to help the situation in some way, here are 2 effective ways in which you could be a rescue champion:

Donate Now:

Rapid Response, a Chennai based NGO actively involved in disaster management has identified three major issues that need immediate addressing in the flood affected area – relief kits, medical kits and medical camp. They have started a fundraiser for the same on Ketto, where you can support by donating.

Another one of India’s pioneering NGOs in grass-root social engagement – Oxfam India has started a fundraiser on Ketto to help victims. Oxfam is providing key relief items like safe drinking water, emergency shelter material, medical aid and hygiene facilities.
Their cause is based on extensive in-ground assessment of the situation that they have been doing since the past 3 days. Donate to their fundraiser so nothing stops help from reaching the ones who really need it. Remember, every donation counts, so even if it’s a small amount, go ahead and contribute.

All fundraisers started by individuals and NGOs for Assam Floods can be found here.

On-ground Help:

A detailed needs assessment report by IGSSS cites food items like rice & dal, plastic sleeping mats, hygiene kit washing (buckets with lids, bath soaps, washing soaps, disinfection liquids, sanitary napkins), package drinking water, tarpaulin, mosquito nets and candles as urgent items that need to reach the affected families ASAP.

If you are in and around the area, you can share whatever you can by getting in touch with either of the governmental or non-governmental contacts mentioned below:

  • David Kujur: Inter Agency Group: +91-7399016122: collaborating with all organisations working on ground;
  • Kaplianlal Thangluai: IGSSS (Indo Global Social Service Society): +91-8486355571: distress support in Lower Assam;
  • Assam Helpline of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA):0361-2237219
  • National Disaster Management Helpline: +91-9868891801
  • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF): +91-9711077372
  • Jayanta Das : Range Officer: Kaziranga National Park: +91-9435052838
  • Satyendra Singh: Field Director: Kaziranga National Park: +91-9435102834

Share this information on Facebook, Twitter & WhatsApp, let’s spread the word and get Assam all the help it needs.

6 Ways to Help After A Terrorist Attack

The world is shocked and saddened by the twin blasts at Zaventem airport Brussels and on the city’s metro. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
The most universal feelings the human race experiences are extreme grief and the urge to help out after a disaster strikes and claims several lives. After such instances, humanity roars and breaks all geographical, earthly barriers we’ve created with help pouring in globally.

We understand how restless such disasters can make you feel. Here are 5 ways you can help in case of a terrorist attack in India.

1.Head out to help: If you’ve got a strong stomach and an even stronger mind, go straight to the affected area. Head over there and lend out a helping hand to the NGO that is supporting the cause. You can engage in absolutely anything that can be helpful. This involves making a list of people who are missing, who lost their lives, who are injured and need help or ensuring help reaches people who need it, resource management, making rounds to hospitals, emergency camps etc. Volunteer after you’ve followed the necessary protocol. In case of a disaster in India, we think iVolunteer and TechnoServe are the ones you could contact the next time you wish to volunteer.

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2.Donate blood: Blood requirements soar during attacks or disasters of any kind. Hospitals need blood to tend to injured patients. If you’re a local, get in the queue to donate blood.
At such times, there’s always a list of required blood types and hospitals making rounds on the internet. Share them so more and more people come forward and donate.

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3.Share: You just cannot ignore the power of sharing on social media. Important information about rescue camps, accommodation details and emergency numbers can be shared on Google excel sheets. Using your social media clout to reach maximum number of people and influence a bigger network of people is the easiest thing to do.

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4.Connect people: Small things you do can also help incredibly. Like, if you live around the affected place, this would be a great time to make your WiFi connection available and keep it password free. This will help people mark themselves safe on Facebook which would mean a lot of mental relief to their own loved ones.

Or you could offer to do a quick recharge and provide talk time and data packs to people for free. And those portable chargers you carry around, this would be a good time to donate them.

Source

5.Donate MoneyAccording to Charity Navigator, a charity evaluation platform, people tend to send a lot of food and clothes post a disaster.
Unless you’ve got a credible NGO on field, someone like Goonj or Rapid Response who do super work, this isn’t the most recommended way. Instead, it’s always good to donate money to an authentic charity who has taken up the cause so it’s put to better use instead of having unused cartons of clothes and food lying around. 

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6.Raise funds: Disasters always show how strong and kind the crowd can be. Did you know crowdfunding is one of the most effective platforms to provide monetary help during an attack or a calamity?  For instance, Ketto raised over a crore for recent Chennai Floods and Nepal earthquake.Funds were raised by around 95 campaigners just like you who wanted to do their bit to help. Many celebrities pitched in too!

Now that’s a HUGE amount for just a few days. It’s a shame that many people aren’t aware of how useful and effective this method is. Well, we’re sure the numbers speak louder than our words.

If you wish to raise funds in case of disasters caused by terrorist attacks or natural calamities, get on Ketto and get all hands on deck.

My Daddy’s Strongest!

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These amazing fathers would do anything (and we mean anything) to save their little ones. Read on about their amazing journey.

This man who walked 4 km everyday for his daughter’s treatment:

In a tragic incident in Jharkhand, a daily wage laborer’s nine-year-old daughter was brutally raped by a local driver. She managed to escape the incident with her life, but by no means unharmed. The incident left her intestines badly ruptured, mandating her to get a colectomy, removing all parts of her colon. Now, this little girl must carry a colostomy bag for life.

Due to no transportation facilities in their village, this girl’s father would walk 4 km everyday to the nearest hospital to dress his daughter’s wounds and provide her with proper treatment, keeping his job, and consequently his income, on hold. We managed to raise over 2 lakh on Ketto for this father daughter duo, providing the child adequate treatment and the father enough support. Check out the campaign here.

This man who was prepared to sell a kidney to cure his kid:

A hardware store employee, Srinivasulu, raised multiple loans to treat his only child, three-year-old Shrivardhan, who was struck by a severe case of dengue shock and his life was in danger as he had been hospitalized at a very late stage. Despite having raised loans to pay for his treatment, Srinivasulu was still short of funds, and was seriously considering selling a kidney.

Lucky for him, he didn’t have to, and support came in the form of Dr. Suchitra Ranjit and Sonali Ranjit, who managed to raise over 4.4 lakh on Ketto for little Srivardhan. Check out this campaign here.

Apart from the fact that they were both funded on Ketto, what do these stories have in common? Both these men were at a complete loss of funds, and hope. Our country is riddled with such cases, where many are unaware of the array of options they have. If you happen to come across someone who needs support, be it for medical expenses, shelter or any other cause, do introduce them to Ketto or start a campaign for them! Together we can make big differences by doing a little bit.

Monthly Round-Up: Trending Campaigns On Ketto In October

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October’s ushered in the last quarter of the year and the season of back-to-back festivals. The Ketto family took some time out of the Diwali celebrations to note a couple of campaigns doing exceptionally well the past month — something that deserved its own celebration, if you ask us. Here are the issues that are receiving the attention from backers that they deserve.

Read on for the trending campaigns in October that are a shot in the arm for crowdfunding:

I. Help Khaliza Get a Better Life

21-year-old Khaliza Khatoon (or Gaja Laxmi) was born without eyes and a face. She suffers from neurofibromatosis, which makes her prone to tumours and the excess skin has continued growing as she grew up, reducing her mouth to a slit on the left side of her face. Khaliza can generally be found begging in Kolkata’s GPO area, and as her father works as a part-time fruit vendor and her brothers too bring in a meagre monthly salary, the family isn’t able to foot the medical expenses required for her surgery.

khaliza-roundup

Soul Angels Group’s initiative on Ketto aims at raising funds for her surgery, so she may receive the medical consultations and rehabilitation she needs so that she can go on to live the life of dignity that she deserves. You too can be a part of her journey — here‘s where you can contribute to her campaign.

II.) Help 3 year old Srivardhan survive dengue.

This campaign successfully raised Rs. 4,42,827 and more importantly — was successful in saving little Srivardhan’s life. Things looked bleak for his family when his father Srinivasalu, who works in a hardware store in Nellore, completely exhausted his resources for the medical expenses of his only child. Srivardhan had developed a severe case of dengue shock; his organs started failing and he was also haemorrhaging severely.

srivardhan

His fight for survival is truly inspiring, for at one point, even after being administered advanced life support, close to 50 units of blood, many sessions of dialysis, and artificial nutrition via a special line, Srivardhan was comatose, and his bone marrow failed. Thanks to the staggering support on his crowdfunding campaign, his father didn’t have to shoulder all of the escalating medical expenses anymore, and Srivardhan is, today, fully recovered and has returned home.

III.) Kadak Badshaahi

Darpana Academy of Performing Arts’ musical production ‘Kadak Badshaahi’ was a roaring success, narrating the stories of nine different historical and fictional characters from nine different times, whose lives intersect in the city of Ahmedabad. The idea is now to create a musical feature film based on the production, with characters including a badshaah from 600 years past who arrives to create his new capital, an NRI from 2015 to begin her new life as a student, Mr. Iyengar from 1929 to pursue a new fortune in the textile mill industry. Together, they explore the 600-year history and search for the soul of a city that blends the best of the ancient and the modern.

The proceeds from the campaign will go towards funding 4 out of the 9 songs for the soundtrack of the film, each of which requires INR 2 lakh  to create — from the composition of the music, time in the recording studio, and days on set, to bring each song’s magic to the screen. Here’s where you can do your bit and support the creative venture.

IV.) Thanks Bhai

This is a festive campaign in its own right, and an initiative to give back to those who often work thanklessly. The Kochi metro is one of the biggest infrastructure projects taken up in recent times that has the potential to change the face of Kerala. The construction workers who are working hard to make it possible, though, are hardly ever recognised and remain more or less faceless entities. This project aims to change that, and to celebrate Diwali with these individuals.

The idea was to gift each of them a sweet-box of Rs 100 each, and to appreciate their effort and contribution to society. Many of these workers aren’t from Kerala and haven’t had a chance to go back home despite the festival; this is an initiative that aims to give back to them. More details on the initiative’s website here.

V.) Join Nana Patekar to Help Farmers 

We recently wrote about Nana Patekar’s initiative to help farmers and in some cases, their bereaved families, in the Marathwada region where farmer suicides are staggeringly high, and we are happy to report that his acts of generosity and social awareness has sparked off another. This campaign aims to help the drought-struck farmers financially, so they don’t surrender to the dire circumstances.

Source: thelogicalindian.com

Source: thelogicalindian.com

The news of farmer suicides in India has been splashed across headlines for years, a compounding plea for help for those who make up the backbone of an agrarian country like ours. Over 11% of suicides in India constitute of those by farmers who depend on an erratic monsoon for their livelihoods, are burdened with debt and who struggle continually to feed their families. Please contribute to the campaign here to help the cause.

Financial Aid To Grieving Farmers’ Widows By Nana Patekar Is Affecting Real Change

source---ohmyindia

[Want to be a part of this movement? You can contribute to the ‘Join Nana Patekar to Help Farmers’ campaign to aid the drought-struck farmers of Marathwada and their families.]

“The soul of India lies in its villages.”

-M.K. Gandhi

The news of farmer suicides in India has been splashed across headlines for years, a compounding plea for help for those who make up the backbone of an agrarian country like ours. Over 11% of suicides in India constitute of those by farmers who depend on an erratic monsoon for their livelihoods, are burdened with debt and who struggle continually to feed their families. Over 5, 650 farmer suicides were reported across the country in the past year, with the highest number reported in Maharashtra at a staggering 2, 568 tragic deaths.

Recently, actors Nana Patekar and Makrand Anaspure decided to take matters into their own hands and actually effect change. They visited over 300 families of farmers in districts in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, and offered distributed cheques of financial aid personally to the bereaved. A cheque of INR 15, 000 was given to each of the kin, along with a heartfelt plea not to surrender to the dire circumstances.

Source: thelogicalindian.com

Source: thelogicalindian.com

“All of us want to help, but most of us are not sure if the money we want to give will reach the right people. So, I decided to visit these people myself and help them,” he said. He also spoke about how ridiculous it was, that almost 70 years after independence, our government is still not able to provide over 75% of its population, highlighting the lopsided ‘development’ that India is undergoing.

“We need to take these things seriously. I feel it is time for a revolution. If a farmer can kill himself, tomorrow he can kill you. Look at the level of his frustration. Beware, this situation could become dangerous. Their helplessness could turn into rage, they might turn Naxalites. You are creating that kind of a situation. Just give them electricity and water, which is their basic right. Come on, they provide you bread,” Patekar told reporters later.

Source: Scoopwhoop

Source: Scoopwhoop

With his hands-on initiative, Nana Patekar inspired Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar too made a choice to contribute towards the well-being of drought-hit farmers and their families. Organised by Inspector General of Police Vishwas Nangre Patil, financial aid by way of cheques of INR 50, 000 were distributed in the Beed district to 30 widows who has lost their husbands tragically to the agrarian crisis.

“I spoke to Akshay about the drought in Marathwada and the plight of farmers initially during his film premiere,” Mr Patil said. “I showed him a video of how actors Nana Patekar and Makrand Anaspure were helping farmers. So that’s when he expressed his desire to help but he wanted to do it discreetly and silently.”

Akshay Kumar has reportedly earmarked a whopping INR 90 lakh to help over 180 families in the drought-struck region.

It is indeed inspiring to see such prominent personalities from creative fields contributing to important issues affecting our country, and combined with various campaigns on crowdfunding platforms, we hope that we can — through a global, crowd-sourced effort — affect positive change amongst those who are an integral part of our nation.

[Want to be a part of this movement? You can contribute to the ‘Join Nana Patekar to Help Farmers’ campaign to aid the drought-struck farmers of Marathwada and their families.]

 

Strengthen thyself this International Day of Yoga

yogablog

When stormed to power, PM Narendra Modi promised ‘achche din’ (good days). Who expected him to come up with a good day to celebrate the existence of Yoga – an ancient Indian science of exercise and healing? After PM Modi proposed the idea to the UN Assembly in September’ 14, June 21 was declared as the International Day of Yoga on December 11, 2014, with consent of 177 other counties. Our PM had already won over hearts, this declaration definitely got him many more.

Since it’s the first time the day is celebrated, the world is gearing up in full swing. Why do we stay behind? No, we don’t intend to organise an event and invite you for practice (we are low on budget. Sshh!), but we make an attempt to steer your attention toward India’s ancient practice of maintaining health and mind.

Buff bod, improved memory, peaceful spirit, increased energy – these are just a few of the benefits of Yoga. Let’s dig deeper to learn few crazy facts about Yoga. Let me tell you, I am pretty convinced by these facts and so would you be! It’s time I choose a healthy lifestyle – for my body as well as my sanity. After reading the list, you’re sure to give it a shot too. Learn why:

yoga-point11. Life can be measured in the number of breaths we take, not years
Yoga is a breathing exercise. The aim is to make it smooth, long and peaceful. Each breath is treated like the fine and rare treasure it is.

yoga-point22. Yoga as anti-aging agents
The sagging of the skin reflected on the mirror is exactly the version that is also happening inside, meaning to our internal organs. Inversions, especially when done well (best to learn with a teacher) with smooth and long breathing, and for a long time, help all internal organs return to their original place because they have gravity working for it.Isn’t that something?

yoga-lung3. Lungs are the most important organ
And we thought, it’s the heart. It is an important organ too but think about its workings, which is pretty much beyond our control (unless we are very advance at Yoga) but the workings of our lungs (expand capacity, slow their rhythm) is in the realm of our control through the way in which we breathe.

yoga-point44. You don’t choose Yoga, it chooses you
Yoga is a 24/7 practice. It becomes important for you to use your energy in the right space. It helps you discover the radiant person that you already are when you delete the crappy people out of your life. Mental peace is the key: Just IGNORE negative energies, don’t say much.

yoga-savasana
5. You can rest while performing Yoga
Every 30 minutes of asana (poses) practice we must allow 5 minutes of rest (savasana or corpse pose) so that the nervous system has time to come back to normal, quiet, centre, and so we are not over-excited throughout our days.

The list doesn’t end here. We have got a few more interesting facts to feel proud about belonging to the culture that has been ruling the world with the power of yoga. Here we go:

1.Yoga has been called one of the first and most successful products of globalization.

2. Hindu leader Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) is said to have initiated Yoga’s evolution in the West. 

3.The Beatles, especially George Harrison, also helped introduce Yoga into the West.

4. A 90 year old man who has been a Yoga instructor all his life is contesting the Guiness Book of world records for the oldest man practising Yoga.

Now that you’ve got reasons to adopt a healthy lifestyle through Yoga, just go for it! Make this International Day of Yoga a success!

7 Things To Know About Leprosy

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Here’s everything you need to know about Hansen’s Disease, a.k.a. Leprosy, in time for World Leprosy Day on 25th January (also observed on 30th January in India).

What is leprosy?

Leprosy – also known as Hansen’s Disease – is a disease caused by a bacteria that affects the skin and nerves of the limbs, face and even the eyes, gradually killing sensation in the affected area. So, for instance, if an affected person were to touch a hot stove unawares, they would not realise that they have burned their hand. The wound caused by this accident would most probably get infected over time and lead to more complications like permanent deformities and related disabilities.

Is it contagious?

Leprosy is not as infectious as a cold but can be caught in the same manner. If there is repeated contact with an infected person, through droplets emitted from the nose or mouth, leprosy can be transmitted to you. It incubates for up to 5 years and may take up to 20 years to show symptoms.

Is it curable?

Yes! Once detected, it can be treated and cured. Early detection works best to avoid complications such as infections and deformities. So if you live in an endemic area, get a check-up.

Is leprosy found in India?

Unfortunately, yes. Leprosy in India can be traced back to as far as 2000 BC. Today, India accounts for 54% of leprosy cases in the world. A saddening 10% of these cases are seen among children. The disease occurs the most in poverty-stricken areas.

What are the symptoms of the disease?

Pale patches of skin are the earliest visible signs of leprosy. Because they don’t itch, people often don’t get them checked. These patches then develop into bumps and sores, with a gradual numbing of the area, which then leads to deformities and worse.

What are the effects of leprosy?

Besides the physiological effects, possible deformities and resulting disabilities, there are psychological effects to leprosy that need to be dealt with as well. Although the disease is curable and not half as infectious as the common cold, the social stigma attached to it can be debilitating for an individual. Those having the disease are often outcast from society and end up leading lonely, severely marginalised lives.

Shockingly, discrimination against leprosy is ingrained not just in the Indian psyche but within our legal system as well. Although the Leprosy Act of 1898 was made to protect those affected by the disease, discrimination still runs rife through our legal system. Some states have laws preventing those with leprosy from getting a driver’s license, and some hold the discovery or contracting of leprosy as legal grounds for divorce. Things like travelling by train are also off limits for leprosy patients in some states.

What can we do?

Imagine how difficult it must be for those dealing with leprosy to also face discrimination in daily life. Imagine having an amputated foot, using crutches and not being allowed to use the local train. Imagine being turned away from shops and restaurants and asked to vacate public spaces just because you have a visible disease. Imagine being treated as an untouchable.

In the 21st century, it is shameful that this situation actually exists. We need to eradicate the situation and the disease. One way to do this is to help raise awareness about the disease. Another way to do this is to raise funds to help those dealing with leprosy.

You can be the change our society needs by starting a campaign like Raja did for Madurai Health and Leprosy Relief Centre. Or for Damien Foundation, an NGO that works to eradicate leprosy and tuberculosis.

Get started now!