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A ‘Destination’ for your special child

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image: time.com

Guwahati: The story starts ten years ago, when a mother ran around from one school to another with her autistic child, in the hope of getting an admission. Unfortunately, she had to face rejection or the cold shoulder from almost all the schools in Guwahati.

She then promised to herself that no mother should suffer the way she did and that’s the reason she started Destination, a home for children with special needs. Beginning in 2005 with one inmate, Destination has, over the years, grown to accommodate 75 children with special needs so far and evolved as a trusted destination for parents having children with special needs.

“My son Rishi, who was suffering from cerebral palsy and autism, was just 12 years old when we came to know that his condition is not going to improve and that he will need special care for his entire life.

“We have already consulted different doctors across the country and the reply was the same from everywhere. However, back in Guwahati when I took him to the schools for admission, most of them not only refused admission as he is a child with special needs but even their response was not good,” said Rupa Hazarika, who started the novel “Destination” initiative in 2005 to shelter, education and care for children with special needs.

“Rishi was the first inmate of Destination. We started this residential facility in June 2005 and in the first year itself got about 20 inmates. Now we have 75 inmates and Destination has become the most trusted place for parents like me. Even now, we are getting lots of requests from parents to admit their children but due to space constraints we have not been able to extend our seats,” the 42 year old Hazarika told IANS.

Hazaika, who lost her husband in 2009, later completed a Diploma in Special Education, learning more about the care to be provided to these children and trained up all her staff so that best of the care can be given to the children.
Although initially started as a center for children with special needs, Hazarika soon had to admit adults.

“Till we started Destination, there was no such organization or shelter home for these children. Actually, people were not much aware about children with special needs. There is a general tendency to neglect them often terming them mentally retarded.

“Initially, we started this as a school for these children, but later we registered it as a NGO,” Hazarika said, adding that Destination, run with assistance by the Assam government’s social welfare department, also gets funds from the central government and donations from well-wishers and the corporate sector.

The residents are both males and females and they are aged between four and 70 years. “An inmate died recently at the age of 80. The number of minors is 41. The inmates include some who were ditched and dumped by their families. Every time the police here come across a mentally-challenged without an address, they take him or her to Destination,” Hazarika said, adding that the number of inmates has been going up and it is a matter of worry as they cannot keep more people in the same complex.

“A few years ago, the Assam government had selected 15 NGOs like us to shelter these children and people with special needs. We were assigned the Kamrup and Morigaon districts. However, we have been writing to the government to give us some land so that we can have one more complex to house more people. However, nothing was done in this regard,” said Hazarika, who has turned her own house into Destination.

Apart from taking care and giving love to the inmates, the center trains them in basic computer-application, paper bag-making, hankie embroidery, envelop-making, making greeting cards and the like. It has 27 staff, including special educators, caretakers and trainers. A psychiatrist periodically visits the center and if any inmate falls sick, he or she is taken to the government-run Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

“Not all of them can learn. We train those who are found fit for it. I spend my time with them to ensure that they are properly taken care of. We celebrate all festivals and they take part in each of them,” Rupa said.

“The children with special needs normally face discrimination at home from their parents. Most of the parents are not aware about their needs and they ignore them due to ignorance. This is the major problem,” Hazarika noted.

“I have started the journey in 2005 and I have been learning about these children since then. It’s really great to live a life with them and on each of them I see my son,” Hazarika concluded. (IANS)

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    When you start your day with such beautiful things, the whole day goes well. Who can challenge mother’s love?

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Assam Government signs a MoU with Google India to expand Internet Connectivity

It will provide Internet connections to 26,000 villages and 1,500 tea garden areas in Assam

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Assam Government has signed MoU with Google India to expand Internet Connectivity
Assam Government has signed MoU with Google India to expand Internet Connectivity. Pixabay

Guwahati, Assam, September 8, 2017: The Assam government on Thursday signed a MoU with Google India to take Internet connectivity to the remotest part of the north-eastern state.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the government would work to provide Internet connections to 26,000 villages and 1,500 tea garden areas in Assam under the MoU and thus increase digital literacy.

Information Technology Secretary Nitin Khare and Google India Country Head (Policy) Chetan Krishnaswami signed the Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of Sonowal.

“Technology rules the roost in the 21st century and the state government has upped the ante to use technology to carry forward the fruits of development to the remotest parts of Assam,” the Chief Minister said.

He said the ties with Google was a way forward to strongly pitch Guwahati as a natural gateway to the South-East Asian countries.

Sonowal said his government in sync with the Centre was working for the success of Startup initiative but the success of such programmes sans technology would be a distant dream.

“The MoU will be used as a launchpad to achieve the state government’s vision of women empowerment, skill development, and universal education,” he said.

The Chief Minister asked the Information Technology Department to take steps to make technology acceptable and favourable among the rural populace so as to catalyse rural development. (IANS)

 

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US to Witness Total Solar Eclipse in 99 Years: What Makes the August 21 Phenomenon So Special?

USA to witness a total solar eclipse in 90 years. All the 50 states would get a glimpse of at least partial solar eclipse.

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Solar Eclipse. Pixabay

Washington D.C. [USA], August 19, 2017: Hold your breath to relish the most spectacular celestial dance. This has not happened in 99 years in the USA. The sun and the moon would sketch an arc by staging a shadow dance from east coast to the west.
The most remarkable date i.e., 21 August 2017, for which we have been impatiently waiting for almost a century now, is about to arrive.

The total solar eclipse in the United States of America is about to happen. Genevieve De Messieres, Astronomy Education Program Manager at Air and Space Museum calls this month as solar eclipse, an amazing phenomenon.

WHAT MAKES THIS SOLAR ECLIPSE SO SPECIAL?

A solar eclipse occurs when a new moon moves between the earth and the sun, hindering some or all of the sun’s rays from reaching the earth.As a consequence of this celestial movement, there are four kinds of the solar eclipse that are formed. When the moon eclipses the sun, it casts two types of shadow on earth, a small darker shadow i.e., Umbra and a large darker shadow i.e., Penumbra. The Total solar eclipse can be seen in Umbra region and a partial solar eclipse in Penumbra region. The path of totality is the region where a total solar eclipse can be seen.

The most exciting news is that all the 50 states of the USA will either witness a total solar eclipse and a partial solar eclipse. A narrow strip of the country more than 110 Km wide through 14 states will experience a total eclipse. And, the rest of the country will witness a partial solar eclipse.

If you wish to know the exact regions of both the eclipse, then follow this link- Eclipse 2017

If you are in Umbra region, then pre-total solar eclipse, do not forget to astound yourself from incredible experience of glimpsing Baily’s Beads and the Diamond Ring.
Just before the total solar eclipse, when the moon has almost fully covered the sun and the sunlight still continues to peep through the valleys and mountains on the edge of the moon, at this point, you can see the light in the form of beads. These beads are known as Baily’s Beads.

Diamond ring. Pixabay

Finally, the movement for which sky watchers are eagerly waiting for, the formation of the Diamond Ring, which is formed for few mini-seconds when a single bead of light remains in the sky. Once, the diamond ring disappears, the total solar eclipse is achieved.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT THE ECLIPSE: Have you ever wondered, that the moon which is 400 times smaller in size than that of the sun, can fully cover it? The answer to this question is an interesting fact, by cosmic chance, the sun is 400 times wider than the moon, but it is also 400 times farther than the moon. Due to which, both of these celestial bodies appear the same size when watched from the earth.

FUN LOVING WAYS TO VIEW SOLAR ECLIPSE

Don’t even think of watching solar eclipse with your bare eyes, it may lead to a lost eye sight. If you are in Washington D.C., you may go to Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum(NASM), they are setting up various viewing locations by putting up a telescope in these locations.

If you can not make up to these locations, then may preferable buy only certified eclipse watching glass. NASM is also distributing these glasses. You may get one for yourself.
Caution: After the eclipse, do not remove your glasses while watching towards the sky, it may give your eyes a burning sensation. First, look at the ground and then remove the glasses.

If somehow, you do not get these glasses, then are some interesting ways to view an eclipse. If you wish to enjoy these ways, then do follow each instruction properly.

ALSO WATCH:

TOP 10 DESTINATIONS TO WITNESS THE SPECTACULAR    TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE

Total Solar eclipse.Pixabay

Madras, Oregon
This is the territory where the total solar eclipse will occur first at 10:19 a.m. PDT and would last for 2 minutes and 4 seconds.

Snake River Valley, Idaho
Here, the timing for the total solar eclipse to begin is 11:33 a.m. MDT and it would last long for 2 minutes and 18 seconds.

Casper, Wyoming
Here, the timing for the total solar eclipse to begin is 11:42 a.m. MDT and it would last long for 2 minutes and 18 seconds.

Sandhills of western Nebraska
Here, the timing for the total solar eclipse to begin is 11:49 a.m. MDT and it would last long for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

St. Joseph, Missouri
Here, the timing for the total solar eclipse to begin is 1:06 p.m. CDT and it would last long for 2 minutes and 39 seconds.

Carbondale, Illinois
Here, the timing for the total solar eclipse to begin is 1:20 p.m. CDT and would last long for 2 minutes and 41.6 seconds.

Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Here, the timing for the total solar eclipse to begin is 1:24 p.m. CDT and it would last long for 2 minutes and 41.2 seconds.

Nashville, Tennessee
Here, the timing for the total solar eclipse to begin is 1:27 p.m. CDT and it would last long for 1 minute and 57 seconds.

Great Smokey Mountains, Natl.Park
Here, the timing for the total solar eclipse to begin is 2:35 p.m. EDT and it would last long for 1 minute and 17 seconds.

Columbia, South Carolina
Here, the timing for the total solar eclipse to begin is 2:43 p.m. EDT and it would last long for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Moreover, NASA is also organizing various fun-filled activities at various destinations. If you wish to know about it and indulge your self in these events, then go this link- Eclipse 2017 NASA Event Locations

MAKE PROPER RESERVATIONS BEFORE YOU LEAVE

Before you pack your bags, do make proper arrangements for your stay. It would be difficult to get on the spot reservation on 21 August 2017. So, plan in advance. Also, be prepared for the traffic jams in advance.

This link would demonstrate the statistics about the population access and estimated visitations on the eclipse day-  greatamericaneclipse.com/statistics

CAUTION: Avoid driving during the eclipse time as you experience the worst driving experience of your life. This may also affect your eyes.

Another amazing Fact: You will be surprised to know that though total solar eclipse happens somewhere on earth every year at any given point on earth experience this only once in every 400 years.

So, what are you waiting for? Hurry Up! Plan ahead to watch out nature’s most magnificent and spectacular happening.

prepared by a Shivani Chowdhary of NewsGram. Twitter @cshivani31

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The Need to Celebrate National Handloom Day in India: Its Significance and Relevance in Modern Times

This year Guwahati was chosen as the venue to celebrate the 3rd National Handloom Day

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National Handloom Day
Significance of National Handloom Day. Pixabay
  • Various initiatives have been undertaken for the betterment of weavers by the Indian Government
  • More than 50% of total weaver population of India resides in North Eastern Region, most of which are women
  • This year Guwahati was chosen as the venue to celebrate 3rd National Handloom Day

New Delhi, August 7, 2017: In order to keep the country’s traditions alive, and encourage people to wear hand-made loom, National Handloom Day is observed and celebrated in India on August 7. The 3rd National Handloom Day event was held in Guwahati, Assam.

This day is celebrated to remind ourselves of a 1905 Swadeshi Movement during which Indians boycotted British products in favor of the revival of domestic ones and in modern times to encourage people to wear handloom products.

Wearing Handloom is not a practice that should be celebrated for a day but it should be worn all year round to remain rooted in one’s culture, tradition and to support weavers who put their years of experience, time, energy and soul into creating these pieces of art.

Bishnupur Handloom, West Bengal
Bishnupur Handloom from West Bengal. Wikimedia

This year Guwahati was chosen as the venue to celebrate the 3rd National Handloom Day and to grace the occasion a documentary on handloom was also screened.

Ajay Tamta, Union Minister of State, Textiles, Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister of Assam and Anant Kumar Singh, Textiles Secretary were present at the event. Ajay Tamta said that he appreciates and salutes the handloom weavers for their commitment, dedication, and skill. He said that handloom weavers should be able to earn due value for their products and that the Government is working in this direction for which various initiatives have been undertaken for the betterment of weavers such as- Hathkargha Samvardhan Sahayata Scheme and MUDRA scheme.

According to the Hathkargha Samvardhan Sahayata Scheme, the Government of India will assist the weavers by bearing 90% of the cost of new looms. As per MUDRA scheme, loans can be availed by the weavers of Rs. 50,000/- to Rs. 10 lakh without any security.

The Minister also informed that the Ministry of Textiles has entered into MoUs with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) as per which children of weavers will be able to avail school and university education (with 75% of fees being borne by the Government of India). Sonowal noted that more than 50% of total weaver population of India resides in North Eastern Region, most of which are women. If the government is successful in improving the lifestyle of weavers it will empower various north eastern women and girls.

ALSO READ: ‘Livelihood Creation in India’: The Socioeconomic well being of Women through West Bengal’s Murshidabad Handlooms

Smriti Irani, Union Textiles Minister while addressing a gathering at Ahmedabad said, the weavers will be able to derive the benefit of services like online courses, banking, passport, insurance, PAN card, voter ID and AADHAAR from Weavers’ Service Centres (WSCs), from this year onwards. Another MoU was signed between Ministry of Textiles and designers. Under which, the reputed textile designers will work with handloom weavers, passing to them their design assistance and knowledge. This move is expected to improve the earnings of weavers and the market value of the handloom products.

Another MoU was signed between Ministry of Textiles and designers. Under which, the reputed textile designers will work with handloom weavers, passing to them their design assistance and knowledge. This move is expected to improve the earnings of weavers and the market value of the handloom products.

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Jayasri Samyukta Iyer, fashion designer and executive committee member of the Craft Council of India, said that this year, they want to highlight three types of saree’s and its revival process. Kodalli Karuppur saree belonging to Tamil Nadu, it was used in the ancient times during Thanjavur kingdom and seems non-existent now. Patteda Anchu saree belongs to Karnataka, and lastly Gauda Adivasi saree from Goa. Each of the above-mentioned saree’s has an interesting history, but sadly, its relevance is fading away.

Some popular handloom fabrics are Bomkai from Subarnapur, Orissa, Mangalagiri cotton from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Tussar silk from Jharkhand, Paithani Brocade from Aurangabad, Maharashtra, Maheshwari from Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, Pochampally Ikat from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh and Patola weave from Patan, Gujarat.

It is high time that we come up with an initiative to improve marketing strategies for handloom sector in the country and uplift the weaver’s community; also to encourage people to move away from power loom and incorporate handloom products in the form of saree’s, shirts, trousers and skirts in their lives.

There is a need find ways to increase remuneration for the weavers so that they can financially support their families, the future generation is willing to take up weaving and the art of weaving can be sustained. To popularize it amongst youngsters, celebrities can wear handloom saree’s, shirts, skirts, dresses and make a cool style statement out of it, influencing thousands of people at a time.

– by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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