Category - World News

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.

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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.

7 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity

“People suck!”
“Seriously, why is no one kind anymore?!”
“Whatever happened to good people!”

If you’re having a sucky day and tweeting deep thoughts questioning the existence of humans, take a look at these heartwarming incidents. They may restore your faith in humanity and detox your mind.

He rescued a penguin once and it comes back to thank him EVERY YEAR!
We just can’t get over this one! Read all about it here.

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This guy decided to spend his first salary on getting a real “happy meal” for street kids. What a noble thought!

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He feeds on the happy smiles of homeless people. We can’t get help but adore that genuine heartfelt smile. Find out more about this selfless hero here.

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He decided to not leave anyone behind, not even this voiceless furry pooch.
Someone raised funds for animals during Chennai floods on Ketto. Find out more here.

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This professor doesn’t let walls or benches confine education. Respect! Read more about him here.

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This man raised funds to restore the pride of this veteran Indian dancer when the whole world had forgotten about her. Find out how he did it here.

Kind people unshackled Lakshmi the elephant from a life filled with misery, scars and starvation. Read more about it here.

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If these pictures made you smile and cheered you up, share and make someone’s day maybe?

Also, if you feel inspired and want to make a difference, get started with a campaign to raise funds. Go ahead!
 

Slum Soccer: Scoring big!

When was the last time you chatted with your chaiwala, while sipping a cuppa? Have you ever spoken to a child who lives in a slum, about his or her life? Do you know the kind of work-hours an average cab driver puts in a day, or the personal problems of your kaamwali bai? Uncomfortable questions? Yes. Irrelevant questions? Absolutely not.

These are the very questions that also happened to trouble Mel Young and Harald Schmied and they decided to do something about it. These two acquaintances came up with a brilliant idea of a ‘Football World Cup for the Homeless’ in 2001. They reasoned that what poor or homeless kids need is not charity. They need respect, an identity, and a life-changing experience. And what better way to do that than through sports?

The strength of the idea and the organizational skills of these two founders have made the Homeless World Cup a high-profile event today. The 2015 version, held at Amsterdam, between September 12 and 19 saw 63 countries participate. India was one of them.

For over a century, Indian NGOs have been working for various sections of the underprivileged. Slum Soccer, a Nagpur based organization is one of them. It involves children from slums or low-income families in sporting activities. The promoters of Homeless World Cup have been working closely with them and other organizations, to identify and coordinate participants from India for this annual event.

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The 2015 Indian squad consisted of 10 boys and 10 girls from underprivileged families. While the event organizers pay for food, accommodation and local travel, participating teams must pay for their visas and air tickets. While previously, Slum Soccer and other organizations raised these funds through donations, in 2015, they decided to try a more effective approach.

Ketto, being the largest crowdfunding website in India, was the default choice. An exclusive page was created for the Indian squad, on Ketto’s website. An appeal was included for people, to contribute liberally towards the required amount of 8 lakh. The organizers were pleasantly surprised as the required amount was raised in less than a month. The Indian squad could participate in the event without any hassle, thereby scripting one more success story for Ketto.

 

What makes Ketto popular is the ease with which anybody can raise funds, irrespective of their background. Which means that if you have a meaningful cause, you can start an online campaign on Ketto overnight to raise funds. Rest assured, Ketto will help you manage the entire process for better results.

Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Valentine’s Day

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There is more to Valentine’s Day than meets the eye. Here are some fascinating facts you’ll be amazed to know!

The popular holiday of Valentine’s Day is celebrated internationally on February 14th, a tradition that dates back to the third century AD!

The day is named after Valentinus, a Roman Catholic priest who later attained martyrdom and became known as Saint Valentinus or Saint Valentine.

Valentinus attained martyrdom when he was executed for going against the king’s wishes. The day his death sentence was carried out – February 14th – became known as Valentine’s Day.

There are several stories as to why Valentinus was imprisoned and sentenced to death. In fact, over the centuries, many priests were named after Valentinus and their stories began to merge with his, leading to an abundance of myths revolving around St. Valentine.

The Most Popular Myth

The story goes that the Roman Catholic priest Valentinus lived in Rome during the rule of King Claudius in around 3 AD. The king had many beliefs that stifled his kingdom. One of his decrees made Christianity illegal. Another belief he enforced regarded his soldiers’ marital status. Claudius believed that soldiers should remain unmarried. His reasoning was that if soldiers had families, they would not fight fearlessly to death, since they would want to ensure they returned home to their wife and children.

Valentinus, being a staunch Catholic, stuck to his faith though it was made illegal. And he continued to perform the marriage rites for any soldiers who approached him wanting to get married. When King Claudius found out about this, he had Valentinus imprisoned and sentenced him to death.

While in prison, one of the prison guards asked Valentinus if he would tutor his blind daughter Julia. Valentinus agreed and began to pass on his knowledge to Julia. He spoke to her, describing nature, objects, art, etc. so she could understand them even through her blindness. He taught her about faith and belief in Christ. One day Julia confided in Valentinus that she had begun to pray for the blessing of sight, and so she and Valentinus joined her in her prayers. Their faith grew so strong that one day Julia suddenly saw a bright light and gained back her vision. On the day Valentinus died, February 14, he left her a last note, urging her to keep her faith strong. He signed it ‘From Your Valentine’. And that is how Valentine’s Day came into being.

So Valentine’s Day was originally not about romance but about the goodness of sacrifice and about the power of faith.

So, in the true spirit of Valentine’s Day, why not do something to instill faith in others and spread goodness? Start a campaign and make life a little sweeter for the underprivileged. Spread the true Valentine spirit this year!

 

Green Your Cup

2. Green Your CupSometimes, all it takes is a small act to conserve the environment. We aren’t always aware of the magnitude of the situation when it comes to environment conservation. It all boils down to little things. For example, did you know that your daily coffee uses a paper cup that cannot be recycled at all?

That means that all of us consuming our coffees-to-go are causing irreparable harm to the environment. The British inventor Martin Myerscough has come up with an alternative to facilitate the recycling process.

Most paper cups are made with cardboard and plastic, to keep the drink warm and the cup from getting soggy. But this also makes the cups almost un-recyclable. Myerscough’s invention will continue to use cardboard to keep the drink warm, but will attach the plastic layer at a later stage. This is what will allow for an easy recycling process.

This way, the plastic lining can be easily separated in a recycling plant. This process is much simpler, leading to the cups being used more than seven times. These simple steps make it easier not only for the purpose of recycling but also makes a difference to the environment. As the dump clears out faster, the damage done is far lesser.

The ‘Green Your Cup’ project will become available in 2015.

Curbing Austerity

2. Curbing AusterityThe language of social change is now shifting its angle. Gone are the days when there was a particular type of influential line to follow. With rigid ideals and notions that are imposed by the government, the public expenditure reduces and thus suffers the common man. Coming to the addressable of these issues, the perception in carrying forward such messages is changing.

Recently, Russell Brand addressed the crowd with his customary rockstar zeal. He addressed the crowd at the People’s Assembly with over 50,000 families turning up for this event. He stated, “It’s time to take back our common unity. Happiness will come when we connect with one another.” People now realise that they aren’t economic commodities anymore. They too have a right to happiness, equality, health and opportunity.

Brand gave his speech a positive spin rather than sticking to the old format where hatred against the government was reinstated. Usually when protests take place, they are based on anger, hopelessness and dismissals. But now, with the shift in social thinking, new protests are taking place with profound love for the world rather than anger of what’s already left. However, this shift can take over worldwide only when every individual realises that he/she can believe in a more beautiful world from deep within.

Purple Toenails For One Smile

3. Ralph KapostinsNail polish may not cure cancer, but they say laughter is the best medicine – and laughter is exactly what Valeria Brosdal got when her husband Ralph Kapostins took her for a pedicure to lift her spirits after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

While Valerie was getting her toes painted her favorite color, purple, Ralph decided he’d get his toenails painted too, to try to make his wife smile.

It worked, and Ralph was so encouraged by her reaction that he posted a picture of their purple toes online. He then asked others to share their photos of painted nails in support of Valerie, according to NBC.

What Ralph didn’t expect was the over 400 people who participated in extremely beautiful, and creative ways.

The project has since grown and is being aided by a friend, Susan Woolf, who started a “Purple Toes Campaign” through the Lung Cancer Foundation.

The campaign allows anyone to submit a photo of his or her purple-painted toes for a living mural.

Best of all? Valerie seems more than excited by it all. “I’ve got a huge grin on my face. Thank you!” She wrote on Facebook.

Sometimes something as simple as purple toenails can change a life.

Stop Crime By Paying Criminals!

4. CaliforniaIn some of the largest cities in the United States, the statistics for violent crime rates are rising. Drastic measures are taken in many of these cities to curtail the violence, but one city in California has an unusual solution: Paying people to not commit crimes.

The Office of Neighborhood Safety in Richmond, California operates independently from the Richmond police on reducing the area’s soaring crime rates.

They do so by analyzing police data, and combining it with intelligence gathered by their own street team, consisting of former convicts, to compile a list of individuals most likely to carry out violent crimes, and the ones most likely to fall victim to them.

They then pay those most likely to commit crimes not to, and mentor them away from their dangerous lifestyles. They are approached with an opportunity to join the ONS under a “fellowship,” which includes being paired with a mentor, and a monthly stipend of up to $1,000 to encourage them to forego their at-risk lifestyles.

ONS founder DeVone Boggan says the programme is a mixture of past ideas that have been partially successful, and his own ideas gathered during his time as youth mentoring consultant.

Boggan, a former convict himself, was arrested for selling drugs when he was younger in Michigan. “I desperately needed strong, caring, and consistent adults who were willing to take a risk in believing in me,” Boggan said.

While the ONS and the Richmond police have a cooperative relationship, the ONS absolutely refuses to share its information with the police department, as it would compromise the delicate and up-close relationships that ONS fellows have with the people and neighborhoods they protect.

With both public and private funding, the city of Richmond saw its violent crime rates drop to their lowest point in over 30 years in 2013.

Whether it’s directly related to the work of the ONS or a combination of factors is difficult to say, but there’s no denying that what the ONS does is a progressive and promising idea – one that other major cities might learn a thing or two from.

A Potato Sack To Prom

2. Prom Dress18-year-old Courtney Barich of British Columbia, Canada turned her mother’s advice into thousands of dollars in donations for the Saint Martin de Porres Orphanage in Manila. After finding her perfect prom dress (with the imperfect price tag of $700) at a local boutique, Barich said she felt selfish for how much it would cost.

So, she abandoned her idea of the perfect dress and created a website where she pledged to “give up the glitz and glam of a beautiful grad dress and wear a burlap dress instead” for the purpose of raising $10,000 in much-needed donations to help the Manila orphanage, which she’d be visiting on an upcoming school mission trip.

Not only did she manage to raise $7,500 towards her goal, but she also surprised everyone by showing up to the dance looking like this:

2. Courtney Barich

Designer Suman Faulkner of Lata Design volunteered two weeks of her time to design and create the burlap gown for Courtney and her cause. “I loved it. It was better than I thought it was going to turn out. The overwhelming support has been so great,” said Barich

Courtney is continuing her efforts to raise more money for the orphanage before she returns to Manila in September for more volunteer work. You can donate to the cause on her website here: http://www.courtneysburlapgrad.ca/index.php/home-3

Queer Muslim Pride

1. LGBT MuslimThe LGBTQ and Muslim communities don’t often go hand in hand, with the latter traditionally considering homosexuality a sin. With such a rift between the two, many Muslims choose to leave the faith instead of being discriminated against by members of their own religion.

But photographer Samra Habib and her subjects seek to challenge that distinction. “Just Me and Allah,” a powerful series of portraits by the Toronto native, depicts queer Muslims who maintain both their faith and their sexuality.

The project’s roots were humble, with the photos originally appearing on Habib’s Tumblr page, titled “Queer Muslim Project.” The photos, along with interviews with some of the subjects, were exhibited throughout Toronto in conjunction with World Pride between 20th and 29th June.

While historically used as a slur for members of the LGBTQ community, “queer” is an umbrella term used to describe anyone who identifies outside of heteronormative identities both in terms of sexuality and gender representation. It’s now a term used by the LGBTQ community and its allies to describe anyone who’s not straight, but doesn’t necessarily identify as gay, lesbian, bi or transgender. Basically, it’s a non-label for those who are proudly non-mainstream. In this case, Habib likely titled her work the “Queer Muslim Project” so as not to label any of her subjects.

Habib got the idea for the project a few years back, after having a desire to showcase the many interesting LGBTQ Muslims she encountered. “I wanted to show everyone the creative and brilliant LGBTQ Muslims I identified with the most and would hang out with at art shows, queer dance parties and Jumu’ah prayer,” said Habib in a Tumblr post. “So I picked up my camera and decided to photograph what I was witnessing.”

Since launching the project, Habib has received emails from LGBTQ Muslims all around the world who have been impacted by her work. “I think that it’s so great that young queer Muslims around the world are mobilizing,” she said. “[They’re] saying, ‘You know what, my relationship with Islam doesn’t have to be guilt-ridden, I can take aspects of Islam that resonate with me and celebrate that.”