women’s day
8 incredibly interesting paths chosen by female Acid Attack Victims for ‘Inclusion’, 2 March 2016

Café for a cause: The Cafe Run by Acid Attack Survivors
Close to the Taj Mahal, in Agra, India is a small café run by acid attack survivors. The women walk with confidence wearing white shirts with ‘STOP ACID ATTACKS’ written in bold red color at the back serve the visitors who come from all over the world to support the warriors. Sheroes Hangout is a crowd-funded café, pay-as-you-wish, with contributions going toward the rehabilitation of survivors of acid violence in India.
The five women employed at the café share very similar horrific, spine-chilling stories of the attack and the dejection that followed. Rupa and Kumari work alongside Ritu Saini, Gita Mahor, and Neetu Mahor. The women, according to TakePart, lived a secluded life until they found Stop Acid Attacks on Facebook and learned of its initiatives, one of which included Sheroes’ Hangout.
Sheroes’ Hangout provides them with the financial stability to gradually move away from their assailant and gives them confidence to lead a normal life.

Acid Attack Survivor debuts for a Bollywood film
An acid attack in 2008 robbed Kavita Bisht of her eyesight and her face was left disfigured but this has not stopped the determined 25-year-old from realising her dreams. Bisht is all set to debut for Dilkhush Rishidev’s upcoming Bollywood movie ‘Crazy Lamhe’. The movie is based on the lives of acid attack survivors from across the country.
Bisht told TOI, “I am excited to be a part of this movie because it will spread awareness among people about the physical as well as the mental agony that a woman undergoes due to acid attack and on top of it the indifferent behaviour of society makes things worse for her. I had given my consent to get featured because the movie promises to show acid attack victims in an empowered and motivating role.”

Acid Attack Survivor studies at New York fashion school and interns with Manish Arora
Monica’s journey started 10 years ago, when she was a budding model in the first year of her degree in apparel design at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, in New Delhi. An incident that followed left her skin burnt with acid and changed her life forever. It has taken over 46 reconstructive surgeries to recover. Monica Singh is now studying at top New York fashion school Parsons, which boasts alumni including Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs. She was a great performer and was soon interning for renown Indian fashion designer Manish Arora.
And in January 2014 she went one step further when she was accepted to study fashion marketing at Parsons.
Monica told dailymail: ‘My passion has always been to make people feel beautiful, like princesses, and hopefully in New York I will get the opportunity to prove what I can do.’A crowd-funding campaign was launched to raise $50,000 (£32,000) to pay for her fees and she finally started in August 2014.

Lounge cum Spa run by an acid attack survivor in Agra
Ghaziabad’s Sonia Chowdhury’s face was battered by a heinous acid attack in 2004. She was then employed at a private salon. After so many years, Sonia is ready to begin a new life. She is soon launching a lounge-cum-spa in Agra. The upcoming spa-cum-lounge will also sport a cafe-lounge set up in the front with the customers getting a chance to avail facilities of salon and spa. It is the next initiative of the survivors who have established ‘Sheroes Hangout’ café.

Online Shopping for a cause: Acid attack survivor’s label to be launched at snapdeal
Rupa is a 21 year old acid attack survivor- entrepreneur and designer. Her designs are showcased at Sheroes Hangout, Agra. A Dream of becoming a designer seemed far-fetched, however, Instead of hiding her face behind a scarf, she went out and launched her own label. She is now setting up an online store at www.snapdeal.com to aim at a bigger audience who support the cause but cannot be reached directly at the store in Agra.

Beauty of the soul- Acid Attack victims walk on the ramp and face the camera!
An acid-attack survivor in India has been made a model for a fashion brand, drawing attention to the crime in the country with one of the highest rates of acid violence in the world.
Laxmi, who goes by one name, features in an advertising campaign for a new range of apparel from Viva N Diva in an initiative the company said is aimed at raising awareness of those who have lost their physical beauty to acid attacks.
A video clip titled “Face of Courage” shows Laxmi being made up and then striding down the catwalk while smiling at the cameras, her scarred face in focus.

In another event, last year, Acid attack victims were photographed by Rahul Sharan in Rupa’s clothing collection called Rupa designs. The 41 photos show 22-year-old Rupa and four friends laughing and striking playful poses while wearing some of her fashion designs.Photographer Rahul Saharan to get involved and together helped the girls feel confident enough to be photographed. Rahul, who worked free of cost for the shoot, added: ‘I kept telling the girls “don’t let others tell you what beauty is, you yourself are beautiful, every woman is beautiful”.’

Beauty Salon helps acid attack victims become self-reliant
In Lahore, Pakistan, An entrepreneur has opened a beauty salon to help rehabilitate the female survivors of acid attack.
Mussarat Misbah founded the Depilex Smile Again Foundation to help victims become self-reliant members of the community following their horrific ordeal. The foundation’s aim is to provide the women with medical and psychological care and help them gain confidence and employment. Over the last decade, Misbah has helped around 600 women, with most electing to be trained as beauticians. Aneesha Zoya and Bushra Shafi are both acid attack survivors who work in the salon.
Aneesha told Dailymail: ‘After this tragedy of getting burnt, I had a feeling that I am not the same person anymore. I stopped venturing out of my house. I stopped meeting people as well. I stopped attending any gatherings and functions.
‘After coming here, Mussarat Misbah helped me a lot. First she made me undergo surgeries for my face and then I did a course to become a beautician.’
Bushra added: ‘After coming here, my life changed completely. She taught me confidence. She taught me how to face the world.
‘She made me believe that I have the ability to cope with anything and anyone. It boosted my self-confidence so that I could lead my life in a better way.’
Acid attacks continue to be a problem in Pakistan, with women burned for everything from having a female child to offering too small a dowry.

‘Beauty tips with Reshma’: Beauty tutorials to ban sale of ‘Acid’

DIY(do-it-yourself) channels are very popular on YouTube. DIY channels upload beauty, makeup and art tutorials usually featuring women with glowing skin and high cheek bones. Having said that, YouTube channel ‘Make Love Not Scars’ has been uploading beauty tutorials with a bit of a twist. Channel has released a series called ‘Beauty Tips with Reshma’ where you can see a heavily-scarred but completely undeterred acid attack victim in the videos, showing how to apply the perfect liner with the confidence of any beauty blogger.At the end of their videos, they inform us how these beauty products are easily available in the market, but so is acid. In a bid to ban acid from being available in the markets, the campaign ‘Make Love Not Scars’ has partnered with Ogilvy and Mather to reach to a wider audience with these videos.

You can reach all the organisations working for Acid Attack Survivors

Photo Courtesy: Dailymail

Author: Digital Empowerment Foundation
Category: DEF, NEWS
Date: March 2, 2016

8 m-health interventions to improve the lives of Rural Women across South Asia, 1 March 2016

m-sakhi: Mobile Friends with ASHAs
Increasingly the Government of India is looking at ways to leverage the vast reach of mobile technology to address some of its biggest health issues. Last year, IntraHealth pilot-tested an intervention designed to support ASHAs in communicating with and caring for their patients through the use of the mSakhi mobile application.
mSakhi, which means mobile friend in Hindi, is an interactive tutorial that offers 153 key health messages on prenatal and delivery care, postpartum mother and newborn care, immunization, postpartum family planning, and nutrition using a combination of text messages, audio, and illustrations all contextualized with localized illustrations and dialects. Developers created the educational content based on the National Rural Health Mission’s curriculum for ASHAs and sought feedback from ASHAs through a series of focus groups.

AMAKOMAYA: Maternity health & Gynecologist interviews reach to the remotest areas of Nepal

The main aim of ANAKOMAYA is to make pregnant women aware about their pregnancy situation by delivering audio and video content to their simple mobile device in the remotest areas of Nepal. The objective is not limited to delivering multimedia enabled content to pregnant women in the rural and remote areas but maximizing the benefits of Internet services and mobile application by connecting all the concern stakeholders such as Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHV), Local health post doctor, family members (specially HUSBAND of pregnant women) and government District Health Officers (DHO) and making them aware about the situation of each pregnant women and make them responsible to better plan for safe and institutional delivery in rural and remote areas. Animated video has been taken from the baby centers and dubbed in Nepali language. For weekly purpose the project has developed separate videos by interviewing gynecologists. More than 450 pregnant women have already registered in the application and continuously monitoring by FCHV and Health workers.

Living the teenage dream at grassroots with “Stories of Life”
“Stories of Life” is commonly known as mobi-sodes. The idea is to introduce a similar concept like episodes to the young generation in a private mobile screen. Mobi-sodes is a venture to reach out to the young people at their most vulnerable point of time i.e. between ages 13 to 19. NEEDS, intends to address this vulnerability in a positive way by making educative video clippings to enhance the knowledge, skill and information of young people for their informed choice.
Using small video clippings as “Stories of Life” as a tool in communication and development interventions involves: Listening to the concerns of adolescents through formation of young people’s platform. Communicating the messages and supporting information in simple facts for life in interesting and constructive videos that are relevant to a particular context. Dealing with the questions, anxieties, regarding adolescent issues and myths and misconceptions that affect them the most.

Paywast mHealth: Largest Social Network in Afhghanistan
Paywast (meaning “to connect” in Dari), is Afghanistan’s largest social network with more than 1.5 million users. The platform, which stands at the forefront of SMS-based social networking technology in the country – processing roughly 30 percent of all SMS messages – also assists government departments, NGOs, and other enterprises to customize mobile solutions for Afghan citizens. Responding to a low rate of facility-based deliveries and limited referrals, the call center aims to ensure that all women have the opportunity to deliver at health centers with qualified medical professionals by managing customer relationships between patients and community health workers (CHWs), and facilitating access to emergency medical transportation when necessary. Mobile Money Health workers contact the mHealth call center in Kabul to ask for medical information to help them manage cases of obstetric emergencies. For low-risk cases, call center staff provide instructions and suggestions to health workers concerning safe maternal health practices. In high-risk cases, the call center encourages the health worker to refer the patient to a health facility and will provide emergency transport through informal transportation partners (local car or motorcycle owners) to ensure patients go to clinics that provide the appropriate medical services to address their needs. During its first year of operation, the Paywast/CAF mHealth call center enrolled more than 2,000 citizens into the program, of which approximately 65 percent were women. The call center made transportation referrals to more than 1,800 women and their families – all facilitated by mobile money transactions. The center also observed an improvement in the ratio of childbirths that took place in a clinic versus at home in affected areas.
Women Mobile Life Channel
MIRA Channel (also called as Women Mobile Lifeline Channel) is an integrated mobile phone channel to provide health information to rural women and connect them with public health services using mobile phones in low-resource settings. The objective of MIRA is to enable women improve health indicators by self-managing their health and reach towards a larger goal of women empowerment using digital connect. MIRA has multiple sub-channels like Pre-natal care, Child immunization, Newborn care, Family planning and Adolescent health issues with an objective to improve maternal and child health through RMNCH+A approach. Each sub-channel has multiple tools which delivers information to women through interactive edutainment tools by building their knowledge and creating awareness on critical health issues, and ultimately connecting them to the public health services.

Mobile Kunji- Maternity tips in Santhali
Improving maternal health is a real priority in Jharkhand. Despite recent improvements, child mortality in certain areas of the state is shockingly high. To curb this issue, Mobile Kunji (Kunji means a ‘guide’ or ‘key’ in Hindi) is an audio-visual aid used by community health workers to advise rural families about maternal health, child health, family planning and immunisation. It consists of health messages, voiced by a fictional doctor (“Dr Anita”) delivered via mobile phone and supplemented by an illustrated deck of cards. To reach those who needed it most, Mobile Kunji is rolled out in two languages – Hindi as well as Santhali.

Everything about diabetes in 12 local languages- mDiabetes
Arogya World reached more than one million people from all over India with text messages in 12 languages about diabetes and its prevention, and has tested the program’s effectiveness in bringing about behavior change known to prevent diabetes. mDiabetes was designed as a population-level nationwide public health intervention using mobile technology to establish health behaviors known to prevent diabetes.
Messages were provided free to the consumers twice a week for six months. Participants came from all over India and a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Arogya World then refined the messages, adapting them culturally for Indian audiences based on consumer feedback and review by its Behavior Change Task Force. Nokia Life provided the translation and transmission infrastructure, and transmitted more than 56 million mDiabetes text messages to the consumers throughout 2012.Arogya World assessed program effectiveness by comparing responses of 950 consumers, based on telephone interviews, before and after they received the messages, and also by comparing them with the responses of a similar number of consumers who did not receive mDiabetes messages. Detailed analysis of program effectiveness is ongoing.
Consumers’ awareness of diabetes and its complications increased, and promising trends in behavior change were noted: an 11% increase in daily exercise, a 15% increase in the intake of 2-3 servings of fruits a day, and an 8% increase in 2-3 servings of vegetables a day. The self-reported data are statistically significant. With mDiabetes have helped 150,000 people lead healthy lives.

Conduct 33 diagnostic tests on Mobile through Swasthya Slate
Research and interactions with rural doctors and health care practitioners showed that the real power of mobile based health (mHealth) lies in point of care diagnostics. It is not hard to see the power of your phone or tablet being able to do ECG, measure your heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, know the status of pregnant mother, help in monitoring mothers during birth and knowing whether a patient has malaria or dengue.
Swasthya Slate is a powerful device that allows Android Tablets and Phones to conduct 33 diagnostic tests on the mobile device. The Swasthya Slate includes specialized applications that help users perform a variety of screenings and health analysis protocols. It allows users to deliver fast and accurate care at home, in clinics and just about anywhere. It contains decision support tools to enable users to deliver quality recommendations for achieving better health.

The slate stores electronic medical records both locally on the phone/tablet and also pushes the data onto our cloud. This allows offline/online operations and doctor on call services. The tests and diagnostic equipments include ecg, urine, heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, blood hemoglobin etc. Swasthya slates have been installed at more than 80 locations worldwide. It has impacted 40,000 lives approximately.
Photo courtesy: www.rethink1000days.org

Author: Digital Empowerment Foundation
Category: DEF, NEWS
Date: March 1, 2016