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Foundations and NGOs take initiatives online to enable people to contribute to their efforts. Pixabay

As digital and tech are the new normal, Foundations and NGOs take initiatives online to enable people to contribute to their efforts. To that end, the Swades Foundation, CRY, and TikTok joined hands to launch the #EVERYVIEWCOUNTS campaign to ensure a better future.

The #EveryViewCounts mobilized the TikTok community to watch LIVE sessions hosted by popular celebrities and content creators on the platform which was monetized and TikTok donated INR 5 crore to Swades Foundation & CRY. IANSlife spoke with Puja Marwaha, CEO, CRY (Child Rights and You) and Nikhil Gandhi, India head, TikTok for more details and the initiative.

Q. How difficult it has been for foundations to do social work during COVID-19

Marwaha: There’s no denying that the lockdown was indeed required to combat the spread of COVID 19, and the government rightly imposed it as a mandatory requirement. The single biggest challenge was to reach the children in groups, as all schools and Anganwadi (ICDS) Centres were closed due to the lockdown. Hence we had to reach them at their households, and had to knock every doorstep.

Thankfully, with our grassroots level partner organizations’ embedded presence at every village in our intervention areas, we have been able to reach the children and been able to support them. So far, with the help of our partner organizations, we have been able to reach out to more than 65 thousand households and more than 96 thousand children so far.

Q. Do you feel that the Government has demonstrated a lack of incentive and support for NGOs and foundations supporting those in need

Marwaha: Both the Union and State Governments are doing their bits to ensure that underprivileged children and communities are well protected and in a position to weather the crisis. The immediate impact of the pandemic is visible with the mass migration of the daily wage earners who have lost their livelihoods. With hardly any money to buy provisions, they are struggling to provide for their families – a situation that is not only causing unbearable hunger but also putting their children, who are already undernourished, at the risk of severe malnutrition.

CRY foundation is reaching out to the ones in need amid the pandemic. PC: CRYorganization

Absence of midday meals due to the closure of schools and Anganwadi (ICDS) Centres has added to the misery of children. However, the Anganwadi Workers (AWW), Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM) have been the real heroes risking their lives to ensure that every child’s need has been taken care of. But it’s a long road ahead and we need all the help we can get. Partnering with TikTok has helped us get the timely support we need – their initiative to bolster our efforts is absolutely wonderful and has come at the right time

Q. Give us a few details about the #EveryViewCounts campaign.

Gandhi: During these difficult times, we continue to do our part by supporting organizations working towards providing relief to communities impacted by the pandemic. The teams at Swades Foundation and CRY strive to support the underprivileged sections of society and make a direct impact on their lives. It has been humbling and inspiring to see the participation of the TikTok community in the #EveryViewCounts campaign to spread awareness about the cause. We hope that our contribution of INR 5Cr helps them in their COVID-19 relief efforts.

The Swades Foundation works towards empowering lives in rural India. The plight of the migrant workers who are making inroads back to their villages and their families is set to get harder with additional income drying up, as they no longer have an income stream from their jobs as urban labour.

With the share of funds that Swades Foundation receives, it is committed to build the livelihoods of people in rural Raigad by engaging them in farm-based activities, animal husbandry, or skilling. Some part of the funds will also be invested in scholarships to children to ensure that this crisis does not hinder their aspiration to learn and march ahead to a brighter future.

Building livelihoods and helping the community become self-reliant is of utmost priority for the foundation. They have been in constant touch with the communities since the lockdown and are helping, especially the Adivasi families with food and daily essentials. The next steps for them is to rebuild their lives and livelihoods for the future gens.

CRY is working relentlessly in providing supplementary hygiene products, nutrition and food security and tools of education to ensure the overall health and wellbeing of the children. Pixabay

CRY is committed to changing the lives of underprivileged children and for over four decades it focused on socially deprived communities in the remotest corners of India. As India struggles with the COVID-19 outbreak, children from underprivileged communities are at greater risk. With lowered immunity due to malnutrition and lack of access to healthcare facilities, they are even more vulnerable to this disease in future. Unable to go to school, their education is also suffering and they’re at risk of dropping out completely.

CRY’s COVID-19 programming focuses on:

Providing supplementary hygiene products and ensuring preventative health and hygiene practices within the community for in the future. Ensuring nutrition and food security that is currently completely dismantled as fallout of the pandemic. Ensuring that children continue learning even amidst the changed circumstances

Also Read: The Prominence of Hari-Naam in Hinduism: Benefits of Chanting “Hare Krishna” Mahamantra

With lowered immunity due to malnutrition and lack of access to basic health care facilities, children from underprivileged communities are even more vulnerable. CRY is working relentlessly in providing supplementary hygiene products, nutrition and food security and tools of education to ensure overall health and wellbeing of the children to benefit them in future. Raising awareness amongst these communities on necessary precautions and available medical facilities etc., in addition to connecting them with government schemes. (IANS)



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Milky Way galaxy as seen from Chitkul Valley

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.

The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.

Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.

"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.

Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.

The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).

However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.

Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.

Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)

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