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Impact Guru and GlobalGiving team up to scale Crowdfunding in India

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An old person treated in hospital in India (representational Image), VOA

New Delhi, May 2, 2017: Impact Guru, India’s leading crowdfunding platform for NGOs, medical and personal causes has entered into a strategic partnership with US and UK based GlobalGiving, the world’s first and largest non-profit crowdfunding platform.

This partnership will enable vetted Indian NGOs and social enterprises raising money on www.impactguru.com to offer tax benefits to international donors in US and UK, particularly NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) / PIOs (People of Indian Origin) when they donate towards social causes using GlobalGiving’s technology on the Impact Guru platform.

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India is home to the highest number of nonprofits in the world (33 lakh NGOs) and raises more than Rs. 8,500 crore annually from international donors. Tax incentives are often considered a crucial factor in encouraging philanthropy. By offering tax exemptions to US and UK donors, this partnership will help Indian NGOs and social enterprises to attract more philanthropy or grant capital from the Indian diaspora.

The Indian government estimates that there are more than 60 lakh NRIs / PIOs residing in the US and UK. According to a research report by The Bridgespan Group, if the charitable contributions of the Indian diaspora in the US were consistent with those of other American households in similar income brackets, and they directed 40 percent of their philanthropy to India, Rs. 8000 crore additional funds could flow from such donors towards Indian social causes per year.

International donors can be rest assured about the transparency and authenticity of the participating organisations as all participants will need to go through an intermediary facilitating the process of due diligence or should have been vetted in the past by one.

Social enterprises based in India are also eligible to either fundraise online or route their grants via Impact Guru. Beyond India, this partnership will also enable nonprofits and social enterprises across Southeast Asia (including Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia) to raise funds via Impact Guru.

“Having spent over a decade outside of India prior to starting Impact Guru, we can relate to the desire of Indian diaspora to give back while obtaining local tax benefits, and their concerns around transparency of Indian NGOs. Impact Guru is thrilled to be partnering with GlobalGiving to address these gaps, thereby making us the platform of choice for crowd funding by Indians globally,” said co-founder and CEO Piyush Jain, Impact Guru’s.

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“GlobalGiving is excited to partner with Impact Guru to help Indian NGOs transact with donors in India, the US and the UK on a single giving platform. This partnership will help GlobalGiving, Impact Guru and the global social sector to understand more about how donors and NGOs interact locally and globally,” said GlobalGiving’s Spokesperson, John Hecklinger, Chief Network Officer.

In the past, Impact Guru has executed a successful partnership with Fundnel, a Singapore based private investment platform. This collaboration strengthened the Indian platform’s presence in Southeast Asia. Since 2016, Impact Guru and Fundnel have helped mobilize over Rs. 329 crore for various projects across 15 countries.

Impact Guru was also recently chosen as the official crowd funding partner of Project Inspire, an initiative by Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard that focused on creating a better world for women and girls in Asia Pacific. It raised approximately Rs. 25 lakhs from more than 1,100 supporters from over 30 countries in less than a month. (ANI)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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EXCLUSIVE- ‘Mitti Ki Khusboo’: Why did Amanjot Ramoowalia leave Canadian Citizenship?

Nationalism sprouts within the home itself and such has been the story of Roomawalia, for which she left Canadian citizenship

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Amanjot Ramoowalia
Mitti Ki Khusboo Campaign with Amanjot Ramoowalia
  • ‘Mitti Ki Khusboo’ is an initiative which thrives on connecting NRIs and PIOs to their motherland
  • Amanjot Ramoowalia left Canadian Citizenship for her native land
  • She now runs an NGO called “Helping Hapless”, which aims at helping the needy people.

– by Naina Mishra  

Chandigarh, June 08, 2017: ‘Mitti Ki Khusboo’ is an initiative which thrives on connecting NRIs and PIOs to their motherland. No matter wherever you set off, your native land must never be forgotten, and the smell of the motherland should always fill your heart with reverence.

Newsgram brings to you the gratifying narrative of an ex-NRI, Amanjot Ramoowalia who left the Canadian citizenship for the welfare of her native land– “Punjab”.

Ms. Ramoowalia, 47, is a resident of Chandigarh and the head of a charity for women. At the age of 19, she left to Canada and got married. During her stay in Canada, she always had a subtle inclination towards her homeland.

“I always had a whole in my heart for my nation. I still remember the first time in years after I visited India. As soon as the plane landed, I greeted the motherland and sighed relief.” told Ramoowalia to Newsgram.

Nationalism sprouts within the home itself and such has been the story of Roomawalia. Her family background explains the inclination towards the nation:

She grew up watching her father and grandfather fully immersed in serving the motherland. The young girl instilled the similar patterns in her as she grew up. Ramooawalia’s grandfather, Karnail Singh Paras was a renowned Kavishar of ‘Indian Punjab’. He used to sing patriotic songs and inspire people to devote themselves to Dharma (religion) and Vatan (nation). Ramoowalia also saw her father, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, now Cabinet Minister of UP, who ran ‘Dharam Yudh Morcha’ while struggling at the time of emergency period.

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“One night cops entered my house looking for my father. Few armed men tried to shoot him at back. At that time, we didn’t even know whether my dad would return back or not. On that night my mother told me not to cry. She pointed towards a painting of Guru Gobind Singh with 4 sahibzaade and said “our Guru sacrificed himself for us. We must not fear to lose him as he will sacrifice himself for the nation if the situation commands.” said Ramoowalia recalling the memories of her childhood.

It was certain that Ramoowalia was turning as a nationalist herself while growing up. Before shifting to India, Ramoowalia did some election campaigning for her father who was a politician in Punjab. She covered her father wherever it was required.  Ramoowalia would listen to the plight of the marginalized sections of society, which changed her perspective wholly.

She says, “I heard a woman lamenting over her 19-year-old son who died due to a drug overdose. I was touched with the problems people faced in Punjab and wanted to bring a change in the state of affairs”. By this time she was about to hail as the chief of Planning Commission Board under SAD-led government. However, I was a Canadian and was suppose to renounce my citizenship.”

Ramoowalia adds,”Someone on the immigration board did ask me “Are you sure you want to renounce the citizenship. People are dying for this.” But out of my people’s love and patriotism, I gave up my citizenship, quoted Ramoowalia on leaving Canadian citizenship.”

Roomawalia now runs an NGO called “Helping Hapless”, which aims at helping the needy people. It strives to solve myriads of issues like Human Trafficking, Drugs, and Domestic Violence.

“We wanted to continue our work which we also carried out during elections because it was the need of an hour and not something to be vouched politically”, she explained.

Ramoowalia put in plain words the essence of Mitti ki Khusboo.

 When you leave your home country owing to a better education or better life but do not forget your homeland, mother tongue, culture and traditions of the land you come from. The smell of the motherland is the smell of your own natives. Our land has the oldest legacy in the world. There might be others as well but for me, this is the place I found my soul always belonged to where heart fills more than the gut. I am fully satisfied living here and working for my people

– by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: @Nainamishr94

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393