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Archive for May, 2010


I got his email as part of my AID Bangalore campaigns and got really excited to know that my home state is going to host this year’s Convention on the Right to Food and Work. Most importantly, the Convention could not have been at a better place because Orissa is one of the poorest state of Orissa and just moving into a village, can show the pathetic state of poor infrastructure and reach. Poverty and deaths due to lack of right kind of food has always been a concern in the state. I, still, remember when couple of months back we raised funds for an AID Orissa center to sponsor 100 kids where the only reason for the poor parents not to send kids to school was: who will earn for their food and education if the kid are going to study (Mind you, the kids were in the age range of 4-8 only). I, sincerely, hope that a such a convention can increase awareness among the people in the cities so that they can take the plunge to help the poor and the needy. The venue has not been decided yet but I will keep all of you guys updated.


FOURTH NATIONAL CONVENTION

ON

THE RIGHT TO FOOD AND WORK

6-8 AUGUST, 2010,

Place: Orissa

(Venue to be announced shortly)
Dear friends,

The Steering group of the Right to Food Campaign[1] invites you and your organization to the fourth National Convention on the Right to Food and Work, to be held in Orissa from 6-8 August 2010.

This convention, convened by the Right to Food Campaign, is extremely significant in the current context where the Government on the one hand is increasingly eroding people’s control over their livelihoods and resources while on the other, promising to enact a National Food Security Act that guarantees food security for all. With spiraling food prices and widespread drought experienced across the country last year, pushing people further into hunger and poverty, the principle of universality in food entitlements must be established in an urgent manner. The draft National Food Security Act proposed by the government, in fact falls far short of any such guarantee and even erodes entitlements that already exist.

The right to food for all can only be realised if water, land and forests are not diverted from food production and people’s control over these resources is safeguarded.  The Government has to be forced to make a commitment that nobody goes to sleep hungry. Further, with such high levels of malnutrition as in India, food security must be understood to mean “nutritional” security and not just access to cheap food grains.

It is in this backdrop that we want to discuss issues related to the question of people’s right to food that are of concern to our campaign.

Among the main issues to be discussed at the convention are: the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act; the Public Distribution System; children’s right to food; the agrarian crisis; social discrimination in the context of the right to food; food security of vulnerable groups such as the elderly, disabled, and widows; farmer’s suicides; coercive change of land use; displacement of people and its impact on food security; legal action for the right to food; and organisational aspects of the Right to Food Campaign. This will be an action-oriented event, structured around a series of parallel workshops, plenary sessions, cultural activities, and more.

Please consider organising meetings, workshops and conventions at the district/state level on these issues in advance of the national convention. This would facilitate better involvement of local groups and grassroots organisations at the national convention. Participating organisations are also invited to bring their campaign material (e.g. reports, posters, exhibitions, etc.) for circulation or display at the Orissa convention.

The cost of this convention will be met through voluntary donations and registration fees (tentatively Rs 100 per participant for three days, including food and accommodation – to be confirmed). Thus any donations that you can send will be most helpful. All participants are expected to make their own travel arrangements. Kindly book your tickets well in advance. And kindly intimate us about your participation as it will help us plan for the convention.

We request you to share news of this convention within your organization and with other interested organizations/individuals as well. The same letter in Hindi and English is attached.

For further information, please send a line to righttofood@gmail.com , check the campaign website (www.righttofoodindia.org), or contact the Right to Food Campaign secretariat at 011-2649 9563.

In solidarity,
Steering group of the Right to Food Campaign_e are

We are,

Annie Raja (National Federation for Indian Women), Anuradha Talwar (New Trade Union Initiative), Arun Gupta& Radha Holla (Breast Feeding Promotion Network of India), Arundhati Dhuru and Sandeep Pandey (National People’s Movement of India), Ashok Bharti (National Conference of Dalit Organizations), Anjali Bhardwaj, Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey (National Campaign for People’s Right to Information), Asha Mishra and Vinod Raina (Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti), Colin Gonsalves (Human Rights Law Network), Kavita Srivastava (People’s Union for Civil Liberties), Mira Shiva and Vandana Prasad (Jan Swasthya Abhiyan), Paul Diwakar (National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights),  Subhash Bhatnagar (National Campaign Committee for Unorganized Sector workers), Jean Dreze ( Former support group and Allahabad University), V.B.Rawat (Former support group  and Social Development Foundation)

For more information, please contact

Kavita Srivastava (0141-2594131 or 09351562965),

Dipa Sinha (09650434777)

Sejal Parikh (09560266167)

Secretariat – Right to Food Campaign

C/o PHRN

5 A, Jungi House,

Shahpur Jat, New Delhi 110049.

India

Website: http://www.righttofoodindia.org

Email: righttofood@gmail.com

Phone – 91 -11 -2649 9563

www.righttofoodindia.org


[1] The “Right to Food Campaign” is an informal network of organisations and individuals committed to the realisation of the right to food in India. We consider that everyone has a fundamental right to be free from hunger. For a brief account of the campaign’s activities so far, please log into our website http://righttofoodindia.org/.

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This post is going to be very short. As some of you might know, I volunteer for AID Bangalore activities and with that respect, I could not stop myself from posting this requirement that I received in my email. Unfortunately, due to some personal work commitments, I am not able to be part of this activity but I would really appreciate if anyone of you do volunteer your time for this noble cause. I have written exams a number of times like this earlier and I can assure you that one can get immense pleasure in self-satisfaction and utilizing time in the most efficient manner.

Hi Friends,

This is my personal request.
I have a group of friends (6 people) who are blind and they are studying BSc. They want help from people who have eyes and heart to write their exams. Volunteers are very much required. Volunteers want to just read the questions and write the answers dictated by the student.
Their exams are scheduled on 14th, 17th, 19th, 31st of May and 2nd, 7th of June.
Exam timings is 9.30AM to 12.30PM and

venue : BNM College near Basavannagudi.
       Surana College near Southend Circle.

Please let me know by this evening if any your friends / cousins / brothers who are free on these dates and have a heart of helping others.

My contact number is 9886469252.

Anil Kumar S.P.
Bangalore.

Do feel free to contact Anil and communicate your commitment but please do ensure that you do make yourself available at the exam center at any cost. WebLink source here.

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Today I delivered my Project 3 Speech of Toastmaster and it was well appreciated. Again the main source of the speech is here. At the same time, I feel the time is coming that I have to begin writing my speeches of my own soon. Till then, let me manage as there are too many things in my kitty now.

The Objectives of the Project 3 Speech were:

The third Toastmasters speech project stresses the importance of clearly identifying your target objective, and then maintaining precise focus to achieve it. The basic aims for this speech project revolve around being focused and precise:

  • Determine your general purpose.
  • Focus in on your specific purpose.
  • Ensure that the entire speech maintains focus on your objective.

The Easy Part: Get to the Point

The first task is to get to the point. Before we generate an outline or our first draft, we need to make sure to know our purpose precisely. Make sure we can state it in a single simple sentence.

The Harder Part: Stay Focused On the Point

The much harder part — and the part that many speakers struggle badly with — is staying focused on the point.

No speaker intends to stray from their purpose; rather, it happens quite accidentally. Somewhere between getting to the point and writing the first draft, a collection of off topic elements are inserted into the speech.

  • It might be an off-topic opening anecdote which is “too good not to share”.
  • It might be some jaw-dropping statistics that are only remotely related to the topic.
  • It might be the latest whiz-bang effect in PowerPoint that is glitzy, but content-empty.

Find these extraneous elements, and eliminate them while editing our speech. Every element of our speech must reinforce our purpose. Each time we edit our speech, our goal should be to sharpen the focus.

Did you know that if you’re being forced to withdraw money from ATM at gunpoint, you can inform the police by entering your pin in reverse?
Or that Coca-cola logo is a secret message directed against a particular religion and the blasphemous message is clear if you hold the logo in front of a mirror?
And of-course, you know that Bill Gates is sharing his fortune and you can be a beneficiary if you choose to forward a certain mail?

All of these seemingly unrelated examples are: appealing, interesting and informative; But the biggest connection is: Source of all of these are chain-emails and at the same time each of them is incorrect.

Ms. Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and Dear Guests,
My speech today is to urge you to break-the-chain:: to stop being part of chain-emails.
Well, not all chain-mails are bad. My grudge is against the mails that seek to lure or threaten the recipient into forcefully continuing the chain: the ones, which are meant to spread hatred, superstitions, misinformation or simply to continue the chain. Yes, I’ve even seen a chain saying: let’s see how far it can get; just add your name to the list and forward it to your friends. Can it get any dumber than this??

At this juncture, many of you may be feeling what harm an innocuous forwarded mail can do even if it’s factually incorrect? This is what many of my friends argue. But believe me it’s more dangerous than it looks.

To start with, it can make you look like an idiot. Sample this: I got an email from one of my juniors asking me to forward it to 10 guys and then press F6 five times. The mail claimed that after this, the name of my Secret admirer will appear on the screen. Such garbage coming from a software engineer!! I stopped reading his mails after that.

Many of us, who normally do not forward unsolicited mails, often give in to the emotional appeals and consider our job to the society done after forwarding such mails. I believe that most of us must have at some time received a mail regarding Red-Cross donating a cent for a cancer-struck child or for some 9/11 victim. What we don’t realize is the fact that we’re in fact causing more harm to the reputation and work of such organizations by forwarding unverified information about them. And then, they need to spend hundreds of man-hours for refuting the contents of the mail.

Coming to more serious effects:
Remember: often the original context of the mail is often lost in a chain and if some legal issue crops up and the mail is traced back to you, then you can be considered the author of that mail. Are you prepared to take that risk? Let us take a fictional scenario of Mr X, working for Microsoft, India, who gets a hoax-mail regarding a new virus attacking Windows XP. Mr. X forwards it to some of his friends thinking what’s wrong with being cautious. His friends forward it claiming “This comes from one of friends, who is working for Microsoft.” It won’t take more than two-three steps of the chain for that to become “This comes from officially from Microsoft” Very soon, MS is contacted for verification and when they trace the mail to their own employee, do you think it’s going to be easy for Mr X. I’ve read about employees losing their jobs on similar grounds.
Things can get worse for people who fall for such imaginary ideas. Think what can happen if you try the ATM trick and the tech-savvy robber gets to know that you were actually trying to inform the police.

Now that I believe I have managed to convince you against the dangers that this menace poses, here are some ideas to counter it.
The minimum we can do is not to be the source of any such message. A 2-minute search can reveal its falsehood. There’re sites like Break-the-chain and Hoax-slayer dedicated to the cause and they’ll give you scientific reasons why the particular message is hoax. But don’t stop at just ignoring the mail. If you’re able to establish the fakeness of the mail, do attack the source. Reply to the sender, mention the links and request him to write a damage control mail to recipients of this mail as well as the person from whom he got the mail. I know this may create a kind of reverse-chain, but this surely is worth it.
Further if you really like to forward something, ask yourself if you’re ready to be identified as the original source of message. Such simple steps and you’ve done your bit against this menace.

Dear Toastmasters, the e-mail is one of the best things to have happened to mankind in the field of communication. Let’s be responsible users and not abuse this great communication tool. We just need to use some common sense and follow some simple steps to Break-the-chain every time we encounter one!!!

PS: I was awarded the “Best Speaker” of the session for this speech.

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