India’s first squad of Women Firefighter is not just breaking the stereotypes but proving that there is nothing impossible that woman can’t do.
First in its kind in Asia, meet this squad of 14 girls creating the history, proving there is nothing a woman cannot conquer and thus inspiring millions of young girls to chase their aspirations.
Together they have made history. And it has become possible by the Kempegodwa International Bangalore Airport which is the first to have this Squad, first of its kind on their rolls. Earlier firefighting was the men’s only job, but when the authorities found the girls are ready to pick up the job, they trained them and created the team.
Out of 56 girls, 14 were selected for a 4 month training at ARFF, Bangalore Airport, and sent to Kolkata, where each one has undergone extensive physical and mental training.
There inspiration are there mothers, who made their girls shine and let them pursue their dreams and aspirations, which once they can’t acquire in the shackles of the societal pressures. Today they are role models for one of the toughest jobs, which was once called impossible for women.
As they continue to break barriers and challenge conventions, we salute their spirit.
“We reap, what we sow” is an old proverb and the credit goes to the parents of a daughter, who is making India proud while staying abroad by leaving her marks (not footprints) on this earth through her passionate green actions.
This is an inspiring story of a 17 years old girl, Arushi Madan who has became a saviour of the environment at such a young age and is making a huge difference from her actions for more than 6 years.
She has made India proud by winning many laurels at national and international levels. Due to her passion for the environment she had been given the title of “Green Machine.” Many leading newspapers and magazines in UAE have featured her story calling her as ‘Green Machine’, ‘Inspirational Teen’, ‘Green Star of UAE’, ‘Green Champ’ etc.
She inspire others by organizing:
positive environmental campaigns,
organizing environmental activities and sharing environmental values and achievements through print and social media.
“I am on a mission to inspire and empower more eco-warriors to get into action and lead us into greener future,” says Arushi. She campaigns at malls, supermarkets, labor camp, factories, Toastmasters club meetings etc.
She convey her message with a significant positive impact through the use of:
• Multimedia presentation (video, a short movie, advertisement).
• Awareness campaigns.
• Social media (Facebook, twitter, and Instagram).
• Volunteer work.
She plant trees, make tables from recycled tires, visit schools for Green Talk(sessions), persuade factories to recycle packing material, give motivational presentations to educate women, laborers and children. By organizing many environment events and campaigns, she mobilize youth to work towards environmental protection. By involving them, she had taught them environmental values which they will never forget. “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” is what she believes in.
Resident of UAE since more than a decade, and currently undergoing Electronic and Electrical Engineering at University of Birmingham, UK, Arushi aspires to become an Electrical & Electronics Engineer to acquire skills, knowledge and expertise which she can utilize to work on energy projects & contribute to future CLEAN ENERGY WORLD.
Arushi told Discover Indians, “I aspire to play an important role in the future development of a sustainable world.” She further added “I want to study and explore various energy saving technologies and help build a better, smarter, greener and a high tech world.”
She told many instances to us,
Arushi told us that she involved so many people in the campaign “A Dose of Help” through which she collected more than 1000 medicines from 120 different types. These medicines were unused, not expired and would have been thrown to landfill spoiling the environment. She collected them and gave to Emirates Red Crescent (UAE) for the poor patients.
Believing in the saying “Man with words and no deeds is like a garden full of weeds”, she practice and preach. She work at the grassroots level to set an example for others to follow alike by her self -initiated projects “Waste segregation system “and “Energy Saving system” in her community.
She further told, “My “waste segregation system” set up in my building community is being widely used by all 66 families in my building community. It has contributed to proper segregation and management (recycling) of waste which has resulted in reduction of carbon emission and protection of environment. It also very well demonstrated to all the 66 families (in my building) that we need to make simple changes in our daily life style to be able to reduce & recycle waste and help protect environment.”
Through her Earth Hour campaign in India “Save Energy, Save Earth”, she had a positive impact where students learnt the true meaning of Earth hour, they learnt energy saving tips like “candle light dinner”, “LED lamps” etc. which they started practicing at home.
As President and mentor of the youth community group “Students for the Earth” and founder of “Ecoholics” and a supporter of “Save The Mother Earth” community, she involve members and their families in activities like Tree Plantation, Recycling, making best out of waste-which directly benefit the environment.
She visit schools and educate students about environment values like the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse & Recycle) with the help of videos, quizzing, Environmental Games and Green Talk sessions. She demonstrate the concept of recycling by her self-made coffee tables from discarded tyres. She also visits various factories and summer camps to educate people. She had linked up many companies having non-working inventory – to recycling agencies.
She organizes educational trips to green sites like “The Change Initiative”, “DEWA building”, “Agricultural Box” to educate people about sustainability. She also write articles on environmental issues/values like recycling, waste management, frugality, energy efficiency etc in various national newspapers to inspire people to be eco-conscious.
She is trying to impact all segments of society as everyone is a stakeholder in environment, she believes. Besides spreading environment awareness among youth, she had also done the same for laborers and women through environment awareness session exclusively for them.
She believes in the saying “If you educate a man, you educate an individual but if you educate a woman, you educate a generation”, that’s why she regularly hold sessions and workshops exclusively for women from different segments (separately for working women & housewives). She had been able to educate the women especially who had no idea about what is happening globally on the environment front and with her session and workshop, those ladies are now inculcating environmental values at their homes, among their families.
Wherever she gets opportunity, she address people and promote environmental values like on the eve of Indian festival where Hindu married ladies gather for a ritual, she addressed 50 women and shared with them simple tips to save energy and reduce waste. She also linked them with recycling companies and the women, subsequently, started segregating waste and giving for recycling.
She believes that trees are the lungs and lifelines for our Mother Earth and hence supports /organises “Tree Plantation” on various occasions. She has been planting trees on her birthdays, her parents’ anniversaries, significant days like Earth Day, Environment Day, International Youth Day etc. She visits primary schools, carry saplings with her and plant them with young kids to involve them in tree plantation and to lay their green foundation.
She is promoting the idea of ‘Birthday Plantation’.“While we have many days to celebrate like Environment day, Earth Day etc. besides these everyone has their own very special day, that is our birthdays,” she adds.
Trees are one of the most efficient ways to combat climate change and global warming. “It would be a big positive move towards environment protection if we all, as a responsible inhabitant of this planet, start planting birthday trees and help promote this idea till it becomes the most trending thing,” she emphasises.
“World population is reaching 7 billion. Imagine, if each of us plant a tree on our birthday alone, this world will be much greener and purer with 7 billion more trees in a year. Imagine if parents plant a tree when their new child is born, take his picture with the tree every year on his birthday. This way watch the tree growing with your child and build a green future,” she adds.
“Change has to begin from us so whoever is reading it, make it a practice to plant a tree from your next birthday onwards and spread the word around till all 7 billion people of this world have at least one tree each,” says Arushi.
Her campaigns and efforts have been positively impacting the environment and influencing others in the youths and wider community.
She says that she had motivated her schoolmates to reduce their environmental footprint and even presented the same in her school awareness sessions, spreading awareness about reducing food waste & it’s harmful impacts on environment.
She had initiated drives in the school to collect “no longer to be used” books and stationary items from the students so that they don’t add to landfill but rather they are used for the poor and needy children.
She had made beautiful serving tables using discarded tyres and is using those tables at her home and also use them to demonstrate how recycling can turn waste items into beautiful, useful and economical stuff saving money as well as environment.
She has taught small factories in Industrial area to fold the cartons and collect them to be given for recycling and also visited food courts, cafes and malls and inspired them to keep collecting recyclables.
She had been able to link many students/their families with environment management companies and recycling agencies thus helping them in disposing their un-wanted inventory in an environmentally friendly manner.
By giving an environment awareness session at a big factory in India, She promoted environmental values to 450 employees and they carried the green message back to their families as well.
There are endless examples of her activities/projects that have not only directly impacted the environment in a positive manner but also transformed people’s attitude towards environment.
She is serving as:
the Regional Environment Ambassador to the Middle East (appointed by Tunza Eco Generation-venture between UNEP and Samsung Engineering),
the President and mentor of youth community group ‘Students for the Earth’ (registered under Earth Charter International Youth groups),
Country incharge of ‘Green Dream Earth’ and Environment Ambassador by Bee’ah.
She was invited to represent the UAE at Global Youth Eco Leadership Summit at Seoul, South Korea. She was the youngest speaker in the first ‘International Women’s Peak Performance Summit’, the guest speaker in SEAA ceremony on World Environment Day 2015 and the special honorary speaker for Brainobrain.
Her eco habits like ‘Birthday Plantation’ and ‘alternate day candle light dinner’ is inspiring so many. “I urge global youth to shed away hesitations and don’t wait for others to initiate, have a “Let me” approach rather than “Why me,” she advocates.
Apart from academics, involve yourself in social and voluntary activities to improve the lives of others, to give back to society and to make this world a better place. Be the change you wish to see in the world. For e.g. if you find a place dirty, please don’t say “the place is dirty”. Rather, clean it and say “It was dirty” show others by examples and that’s what she is demonstrating.
Youth has immense potential to bring about a revolutionizing change, let’s use “Youth Power” and bring a positive change to the environment and to the world. Let’s leave our mark (not our footprint).”
Her efforts had won her many laurels, on national and international levels, listed here:
International Awards and Recognitions
Won the “International Diana Award” –one of the most prestigious global award with the certificate signed by the then British Prime Minister Mr. David Cameron.
Was invited and felicitated at Indian Embassy, Abu Dhabi as well as British Council.
Won International Young Eco Hero Award from US based “Action For Nature” in 2015 and was the only winner from UAE among 10 global winners.
Honoured as High Achiever Youth by “Commonwealth Youth Council” and featured in “Commonwealth Young Achievers Book” published in 2015.
Featured as inspirational “Hero” on “Kidsareheroes.org.”
Member of “National Society of High School Scholars”, USA.
Won cash prize for achieving distinction and being the MIDDLE EAST TOPPER in TERI Green Olympiad Contest ( an exam on energy, environment and sustainable development) – accredited by Indian Ministry of Environment & conducted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
Won the “Best (Environment) Ambassador” & “The Most inspiring Ambassador”award from Tunza Eco Generation (an initiative by UNEP & Samsung Engineering ) among more than 60 global ambassadors.
Was invited to represent UAE in Global Youth Eco Leadership Summit at Seoul, South Korea in Feb 2014.
Selected by “Women for Wildlife” as one of the 35 Global Women Visionaries and heroines of today’s world who are passionately devoted to a cause.
Won the most prestigious & UNESCO recognised “Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum award for Distinguished Student” in 2013.
Won “Sharjah Award for Educational Excellence” in 2015.
TWICE Won Ist Prize- Outstanding student in Sharjah Environment Awareness Award (SEAA) in 2014 & 2016 on World Environment Day.
Won 2nd Best Scholar in World Scholar’s Cup 2014.
Won Bosch Green energy efficient washing machine as award in Nov 2013 for winning “Green Star UAE” title for my environmental contributions & achievements.
Won “Dunia Young Leaders Scholar” award as one of the only 20 winners. As an award, she got the scholarship worth 1 year school tution fees.
Won Big Idea Amazing Star 2015.
Reading all her achievements, can you believe she is just 17?
Yes, she is proving again the saying “age has no bar” and with her efforts making India proud. We wish her more power for her enduring and passionate work. We are sure she will leave her marks (not footprints) on this planet and we wish her good luck in her journey.
Sarabjit Kaur, 40 years old is a passionate pharmacist in Naushera Dhalla village, Amritsar serving the nation in her unique way. She is a widow and a mother of three.
Completing her everyday chores she runs her dispensary with a 60 years old helper without failing treating 30 patients daily. After the Uri attacks the area is under the escalating pressure and fear. Still she is assisting and treating villagers who are sick or affected by the strikes.
“On Wednesday afternoon, we received an order from the district administration … our duty hours were extended from 6 to 10, so I come in at 8am and leave by 6pm. The weekly off has been cancelled and we were told to be prepared for night duty at camps where evacuated villagers have been put up,” she says.
The dispensary is hardly 200 mts away from the India-Pakistan frontier. The area is strictly under high-alert and often gets a lot of casualties suffering from bullet injuries.
“I have faced similar tension during the Kargil war. My family refused to vacate the house even though there was military all around,” she said.
We salute to her brave spirit to serve the nation.
With enough practice and a good DIY guide, anyone can ‘assemble’ a computer from new parts. But Jayant Parab has fashioned it from parts salvaged from e-waste, and cut the acrylic body himself. He got the know how of repairing computers from his elder brother, who repairs computers.
The 16-year-old, Jayant Parab from Mumbai is comfortable in the solitude of his Ghatkopar house, consumed by his 9-inch computer that he has made from scrap.
“I want to make affordable computers. The computer I have made is from leftovers from offices, banks and hospitals,” he says, pointing to his invention. “The screen is similar to one seen in operation theatres. It’s not a real computer. I used bits and pieces from here and there, and acrylic for the body, which I cut myself. What you see is the first step towards achieving my dream,” says Jayant.
Jayant had set out on actualising this dream much earlier. As a child, he accompanied his father, then a small-time scrap dealer, in collecting ‘waste’. “He picked up things he thought he could use at home. In Std V, he repaired a laptop that an office had disposed of. That was the time I sort of knew that he would end up in the field of computers,” Ravindra Parab, his father.
Today, Ravindra collects scrap — old and unusable computers, other hardwares from offices, hospitals and schools. “This is how e-waste is generated. Some I sell, some I give for recycling and others I hand over to my son,” says Ravindra, looking fondly at Jayant.
The youngster says the e-waste he gets is usually “as bad as it could get”. “But I try to modify it, by adding new parts and wires. So, it becomes as good as new. If nothing, such computers can be used by families and students who can’t afford to buy a regular one,” claims Jayant.
“He had no interest in studies and that pained me,” says his father. But he was impressed with his son’s vision.
I want to ultimately revolutionise the e-waste industry,” says Jayant. The kid hasn’t given up on education entirely, pursuing Std X via correspondence, while dabbling in ethical hacking and security systems.
V Nanammal :: This 93 years old woman is an incredible Yoga Instructor
Some people are the perfect example to go with the phrase that “Age is No Bar, Because its just a Number”. Not only do they inspire but also strengthen the motivational spirit of other people. Hats off to these people.
V Nanammal is a 93 years old woman who lives in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The most unique thing about this woman is that even at this age she is as flexible as a person in his youth and in fact so much more that she is a Yoga Instructor.
She teaches yoga to around 100 students per day among which are of the ages like 70 and 60. Her youngest student is 6 years old. She calls her students as her own children.
She won a contest of “Silambattam” which a type of South Indian martial arts when she was 14 years old. She started practicing yoga since she was 10 years old.
She has not went to any doctor or taken any medicine till now which shows her love for YOGA.
We all know about the harmful effects plastic has on us as well as the environment. That’s the reason too many corporates are concerned about and are trying to bring more and more biodegradable products into the market.
A year ago we told you about edible cutlery and now it’s Earthware. It’s the South India’s first only manufacturing unit of products made from plant fibre which are 100% bio-degradable.
Earthware manufactures eco-friendly food containers, plates, bowls etc. that are also healthy to eat out of. Products made from fibre like sugar cane, wheat, bamboo, cellulose etc. are known as bagasse products. They are a result of natural plant fibre and compostable.
The containers are made of bagasse which are water-resistant, shatterproof, microwave-safe and decomposes on their own within 90 days, which makes them a perfect substitute to plastic.
“We’ve been around for a long time and then suddenly the demand has doubled,” says Samanvi Bhograj, founder of Bengaluru-based Earthware. Samanvi recalls the start point for Earthware, saying, “We weren’t looking at it as a business: it was more of a social responsibility thing for us. The business has emerged now,” she told Indiahikes.
Plastic is toxic! It is full of harmful by-products and chemicals that are released during its breakdown process. Biodegradable products, however, are completely safe and free of toxins which end up harming us over the course of time.
Earthware makes cups,plates, bowls, cutlery and lunch boxes. The Bangalore-based company ships all over India as well as abroad. It’s time for us to shift our focus towards more environment friendly products like these in innovating, spreading and using such products keeping it’s impact on our health and the environment at large.
There is a tradition in muslim marriage known as “Mehr”, a compulsory payment by the groom to the bride at the time of marriage.
This Malayali muslim bride, Sahla Nechiyil went against the tradition to demand just 50 books where she had every right to demand gold, jewellery or cash as ‘Mehr,’ who hails from Kerala’s Malappuram district.
Sahla told Indian Express, ” I wanted to show the Malappuram Muslims that a wedding can take place without obsessing over the amount of gold transacted between both parties,” giving a hard hitting social message to the gold obsessed Muslim community in her region.
Sahla is a political science post graduate from Hyderabad university, who is now married to Anees Nadodi, who supported her decision. “Mehr is the right of the women, not the generosity of the man,” he added.
Sahla handed Anees the list of the books she wanted and her husband went hunting for them, travelling from Kerala to Bangalore, to fulfill his wife’s desires, despite disapproval from both the families.
“They could not argue for long, because we were not doing anything against the religious texts,” said Sahla. Her book list included Islamic feminist literature, feminist literature, fiction and politics.
“The religious texts allow us to live according to our wish, yet these girls fear to speak up or decide for themselves,” she said. “Ani (Anees) had to struggle a little looking for the books I demanded. Making your husband struggle a little is the idea of mehr, anyway,” she added.
This 14 years old boy, Tushar Talawat had brought laurels to his gurukul and his country by winning the International Mathematics Competition organized by Abacus Learning of Higher Arithmetic (ALOHA) in Indonesia Yogyakarta. The student of Ahmedabad-based Hemchandracharya Sanskrit Pathshala won among 1,300 students who come from 18 countries.
Tushar has also excelled at similar contests organized at state and national levels. A release by BSM claimed that during the Gujarat leg of the competition in October last year, he had solved 70 questions in 3 minutes and 30 seconds defeating 5300 competitors.
At the national level competition held in Chennai during last year December, he solved 70 questions relating to addition, subtraction and multiplication of six digits in 3 minutes and 10 seconds, and defeated 4300 students.
Tushar also met the HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar who later tweeted, “Like Tushar, other students can really showcase their talent through various competitions”.
“Khaas”meaning ‘special’ in Hindi, is a unique travel agency company in Delhi which only hires visually impaired women and acid attach victims.
Founded by Akash Bhardwaj, “Khaas” is providing empowering experience to it’s physically challenged employees. The agency organizes domestic and international tours for corporate organizations, schools and colleges, other than industrial tours, family trips, adventure camps, etc.
All the work is done by the visually impaired employees – right from making appointments and helping with the presentations to closing the deals and even accompanying the groups on the trips if required.
“I was in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar area during the Diwali celebrations of 2015 when I came across a lady selling balloons. She had acid scars on her face. When I asked her what had happened, she said a boy in her neighbourhood threw acid on her face and her husband abandoned her after that. She had two kids and was working alone to look after them. She used to work as the security in-charge in a mall before the attack, but no one was willing to give her a job after the incident. ‘Everyone talks about the importance of face value,’ she told me in proper English. So I decided to help people like her by providing them better employment opportunities,” says 32-year-old Akash Bhardwaj.
He further adds “The women I work with are talented and determined. But they did not have the right platform to showcase these qualities. So I have given them that platform and am trying to make it bigger.”
Currently “Khaas” has six employees in total who are all visually impaired. They reach the office located on the fourth floor, get it clean, set up and start the work without any external aid. These girls operate their PCs with the help of the JAWS (Job Access With Speech) program that helps visually impaired people read the screen with text-to-speech output. They are also adept at using smartphones. In the last 20 days, the six employees had made 75 calls, confirmed 19 appointments, and finalized over five tours.
Akash spent almost two months training the girls, including teaching them how to get to the office. He is further planning for the company’s second round of hiring 15 girls and training them. Some will come to the office while others with mobility issues will be able to work from home. He plans to hire acid attack survivors as well.
“They are so happy with their work that many of them say they would like to work on Sundays too. They enjoy coming to the office, working together, meeting new people and talking about worldly affairs. Some of them live in hostels and don’t have their families here. One of the employees is a 32-year-old woman who lost her husband. She has a seven-year-old daughter,” says Akash.
You can help Akash take Khaas forward by contributing here.
You would have heard of Bio-gas plant, but here’s a totally different story.
This story is of village Poorejham Tiwari located on the Sultanpur road 5 kms. from Haidergarh town in Barabanki of Uttar Pradesh.
Brijesh Tripathi, a young farmer in village Poorejham, who is just intermediate passed out has invented this new way of producing electricity in a mud pot with cow-dung and discarded battery cells.
He takes cheap Chinese bulbs used in electric welts, and 3 discarded battery cells. He replaces the cover of those discarded cells and connects the positive and negative wires to it and then dip then in three mud pots filled with cow-dung paste and then he mixes a small quantity of salt and detergent powder to the paste and his process works well to generate electricity.
The village is deprived of electricity and only 2 liters of kerosene oil is distributed per family from the ration stores. In such conditions, the lives of the people of Poorejham village is miserable in the absence of any electricity. Few years ago only pillars for electricity have been installed in the village but no wires or electricity ever came to this village.
Brijesh says he read in the newspaper about the process and he thought of testing the same. When he experimented first the bulb lighted, then he checked it for radio and it worked and next he thought to charge the cellphone and the process worked.
Following Brijesh most of the villagers of Poorejham are producing electricity by his method and making their life easier. Now this formulae of Brijesh has became a hit in his village as well as in most of the nearby villages. Even the children in the village also know the formulae and are happy as they have electricity to carry on their studies.
Villagers are happy and surprised with the experiments that they get some electricity for their daily usage but they don’t know what chemical process goes behind to produce electricity in a mud pot filled with cow-dung and discarded battery cells. They hope when technical people will discover their experiment someday, they will create a better technology using their formulae.
We hope spreading their story can bring a change as well as electricity to their village.