Category Archives: Collective Giving

Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal And Son Kaizad Felicitated With Karmaveer Puruskar Maharatna Award

On 26th November, 2019, our Community’s and India’s leading performer and activist, Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal and her son, Kaizaad Kotwal, were felicitated with the prestigious ‘Karmaveer Puruskar Maharatna Award’ in New Delhi, as part of a Rex and UN initiative. They received this honour for their great contribution to women’s empowerment in combatting violence against women and girls.

With her son, Kaizad, Mahabanoo established The Make-A-Difference Foundation in 2008, dedicated to the cause of battered and abused women as also individual victims of abuse, across all strata, irrespective of religion, caste and creed. The Foundation has done great work in the bastis of Dharavi. The Make-A-Difference Foundation has been created to raise awareness for and funds towards ending violence against women and children, across India. Through this foundation Mahabanoo has collaborated with luminaries including Eve Ensler, Oscar-winning actors – Jane Fonda and Marisa Tomei, and Bollywood personalities and artists – Farhan Akhtar, Zoya Akhtar, Imran Khan, Loveleen Tandan, Chitrangada Singh, Mansi Scott, Suchitra Pillai, Usha Uthup and others. The Foundation works at every strata of society with a variety of projects and program in urban schools and colleges, alongside economically disenfranchised women in the ‘bastis’ of Mumbai.

Speaking to Parsi Times, Mahabanoo said, “Apart from my work in theatre, I use the Arts to bring about social change and towards the empowerment of women, across the board. I have started a group called ‘The Empathy Meeting’, where women meet once a month. The tag line of this group is ‘Share, Support, Survive’. It’s a totally free group where there are absolutely no charges.”

A leading activist and a performer of great repute, Mahabanoo is an actor, director and producer in film, television, theatre and radio, with over 60 national and global credits to her name. A social justice advocate working diligently for women’s empowerment in ending violence against women globally, Mahabanoo has received numerous awards and honours in India and across the world, for her untiring efforts. In 2018, she received the inaugural ‘HER’ and ‘WOW’ (Women of Wonder) Awards for exemplary women achievers in various fields. In 2011, she received the prestigious Karmaveer Puraskar award.

As the owner of Poor-Box Productions, one of India’s premiere theatre companies, Mahabanoo has produced, directed and starred in some of India’s most critically acclaimed works and the longest  running shows in English and Hindi including Shirley ValentineArt(W)Hole In The Head! and now in its seventeenth year in India, The Vagina Monologues (in Hindi and English).

In August 2019, Mahabanoo directed 11 American women in ‘The Vagina Monologues’ to raise funds for three charities – ‘Rape Response’, ‘Centrepoint’ and ‘Adult Literacy’, with amateur actors. “The ‘Vagina Monologues’ will enter its 18th year of performance in 2020. I hope to open its Gujarati version early in 2020,” says Mahabanoo.

Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal And Son Kaizad Felicitated With Karmaveer Puruskar Maharatna Award

Samvaad Fellowship 2019

Samvaad Fellowship 2019 is a chance for tribal youth to undertake a project, through a research proposal or a social action initiative, to work on cultural aspects concerning their tribal community. Application form is enclosed.

Here is the application form:

T A T A  S T E E L  C S R

SAMVAAD FELLOWSHIP 2019

A P P L I C A T I O N  B R O C H U R E

YOUR CHANCE, FOR YOUR TRIBE

PURPOSE

Samvaad, a platform for exchanging ideas and thoughts on tribalism in India, turns 6 this year. Over these years, tribal communities from the length and breadth of the country and overseas have converged on this platform and have taken the lead in initiating discourse on issues that govern them. Each edition has been a meeting ground from over 1,200 tribal artists, development practitioners, social activists and experts from different walks of life.

Samvaad is now fast growing as an eco-system where tribal thoughts and voices manifest in various forms – be it a discourse, documentaries, music collaboration or a work of research. A platform that it offers is supporting unique initiatives in preserving tribal culture through the Samvaad Fellowship.

The past four years of Samvaad, a pan-India tribal conclave, organized by Tata Steel Corporate Social Responsibility division, have brought us in contact with simple yet profound problems and solutions articulated by tribal people themselves. This is why we launched the Samvaad Fellowship that seeks to extend Samvaad footprints across the nation through promoting tribal culture as ideated by the tribal communities themselves.

The fellowship will encompass initiatives which are aligned towards conservation of any indigenous practice from tribal culture particularly on language, art, rituals and customs which are vulnerable to being lost and will adversely impact the unique identity of the community. There can be an array of proposals but focusing on culture preservation and promotion. The key is to let the artists bring out their dreams for preserving and promoting their cultural practices and provide the same with initial financial support and mentoring.

Samvaad Fellowship is in its Third year, and over the last two years, it has extended support to projects working on preservation of tribal language, culture, artet al . In 2107 the fellowship was awarded to three individuals who worked on preservation of their languages through development of the scripts, creation of primers as well as dictionaries and magazines for promotion. Further in 2018 we were able to extend support to more individuals who brought in ideas which were highly important and vulnerable like Peace Building and conflict resolution through Morung building, Preserving and promoting Oraon art, documenting Dehvali Bhil Folktales, rediscovering Kharam tribe language.

PROCESS

The attached application form should be submitted by all interested in pursuing their contribution to their community through the fellowship. The finalists will be selected on the basis of alignment to the purpose of fellowship.

A boot-camp to understand the dynamics of cultural entrepreneurship, the mechanics of innovation, theory of change, budgeting and revenue models and project management will be conducted for the finalists from November 13-19, 2019 during Samvaad 2019.

This will be followed by a simple pitch by the finalists for selection of the best by eminent jury, which will be then supported by Tata Steel.

SUPPORT

  1. A grant of max Rs. 6 lakhs for one year for five teams given in installments as per the proposal
  • Mentoring support throughout the year through training programs and linkages with experts

SELECTION CRITERIA

  • Idea: The uniqueness and creativity in the project idea to preserve and promote tribal cultureNeed: The vulnerability of the heritage that is to be promoted or preserved
  • Impact: The change that the project idea is capable of making for the tribal community at large
  • Sustainability: The long-term contribution that the project plans to be a part of
  • Team: The passion, dedication and expertise in the individuals and partners for achieving the project’s objectives

RULES

  1. The awardee must belong to the tribe for which he/ she is proposing the idea
  • One member of the awardee team must dedicate their full time to the implementation of the idea
  • The project must be a means to preserve or promote tribal culture and must not have any religious or political affiliations, whatsoever
  • Registered not-for-profits in existence for more than three years are requested not to apply for the fellowship
  • Applications are to be submitted by email to samvaadfellowship@tribalculture.org or post to Tata Steel CSR, 3E-Road, Northern Town, Bistupur, Jamshedpur-831001, Jharkhand, India. Anyone facing any trouble in completing the application form may contact us at 8637384843/8144029212
  • Finalists will need to be present for the boot-camp and award ceremony at Samvaad 2019 from November 13-19, 2019. TA/ DA for the same will be organized by the Tata Steel CSR team
  • The grant amount and period will be decided by the jury with respect to the need of the project
  • Monthly progress reports and quarterly meetings would need to be submitted to justify utilization of funds
  • Outcome of the project in terms of research document, film or videotapes, etc. will have to be shared with Tata Steel CSR at the end of the project period
  • Decision of the Tata Steel CSR Management in extending or withdrawing the Fellowship will be final and binding

WZO Trusts update

WZO Trusts are pleased to share with esteemed donors, Volunteers, Supporters and Well Wishers, by way of attachment a round up of welfare activities undertaken during the course of financial year April 2018-March 2019.

We extend sincere gratitude to all for the support extended by way of donations, volunteering for service and supporting us in various endeavors.

We would be failing in our duties if we did not acknowledge the generous support received over the years from the benevolent Trustees of Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao; in the year under review donations received from them were close to 50% of total donations received.

We look forward to continuing support and cooperation from our community to enable our team to carry on meaningful welfare activities that are aimed at not only ameliorating poverty but also to assist those in economic distress to get back on their feet through gainful employment and rejoin the mainstream of society.

Team WZO Trusts.

Mumbai: School for Parsi priests marks 100 years, struggles to stay afloat

The school estimates that it will be required to spend Rs 2 lakh per head for boarding, lodging and educating each student and has sought donations from both Parsis living in India as well as abroad, apart from corporates and organisations.

Dadar Athornan Institute has 25 students from classes I to X. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

In November, the city’s only school dedicated to training Parsi priests will complete a hundred years since its founding. Yet, just last month, it placed an appeal in the Parsi Times, a weekly newspaper, seeking funds to stay afloat.

The call for donations said, “The success and survival of our Zoroastrian community is directly linked to our religion and our priests (Mobeds). Training and introducing new Mobeds into the mainstream is very vital, for without erudite Mobeds, we only face the bleak future of the end of our religion and, consequently, our community.”

The Dadar Athornan Institute, as the school is called, currently has a batch of 25 students from classes I to X. The school estimates that it will be required to spend Rs 2 lakh per head for boarding, lodging and educating each student and has sought donations from both Parsis living in India as well as abroad, apart from corporates and organisations.

The institute, which is located in the leafy Parsi Colony in Dadar East, became operational on November 9, 1919, with the aim of imparting religious, scriptural and secular education to Parsi children and train them to become priests, free-of-cost. It was shut for a year between 1965 and 1966 when funds dried up, before the new management revived it.

On average, the Institute ordains three priests every year. However, after graduating, students first opt for a five-year-long formal college education and then take the decision of either becoming full-time priests at a fire temple, or following a different career path. “In the last 60-65 years, 20-25 per cent of our students have become full-time priests,” said Ramiyar Karanjia, who has been the institute’s principal for 25 years.

The institute provides its students with free education, food and housing and mainly relies on public donations to survive. “Our donations range from between Rs 10 and Rs 10 lakh,” said Karanjia.  While admitting boys, the institute only requires that they shouldn’t be older than 9-10 years. “Many of our previous students came from villages in Gujarat, but incomes of families have steadily increased and most Parsi parents living in rural areas can now afford better schools,” said Karanjia, adding that the number of students has been dwindling.

But the institute has adapted to these changing times by relaxing its rules. Where students were once required to wake up at 5.30 am, classes now begin for older students later in the morning, and in the afternoon for the younger ones. Students are also taken on outings, allowed to meet their parents more often and socialise more.

Written by Srinath Rao, Sanya Runwal

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/mumbai-school-for-parsi-priests-marks-100-years-struggles-to-stay-afloat-5928669/

United Nations: 68th DGC – NGO Civil Society Conference, 

Friends,
Subject:  United Nations68th DGC – NGO Civil Society Conference,
Salt Lake City, 26 to 28 August 2019

As we get ready to present the joint  RAD-AID International/ HRDC / FEZANA/ PARTNERSASIA  Panel presentation at the 68th DGC NGO Civil Society Conference on 27 August 2019 in Salt Lake City, a question was asked as to what is meant by North South South model of SustainableDevelopment

The following article from the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery provides a glimpse of how this model works…

The “Global North” represents, countries that are financially well off, (e.g., in Scandinavia, USA, Canada, Countries in Europe etc., )

The “Global South” is represented by resource poor countries, ( for example in Africa, in South East Asia, Central and South America etc.,)

So when RAD AID International (www.rad-aid.org) takes a team of volunteers from North America to Nepal from 7 to 20 September 2019, and follows up with deliverables, with education, equipment and mentoring, that is an example of a North – South Model of Development .

When poor children from the Neighboring States in North India travel to Banepa, Nepal
to get the surgery done for their club feet, at the HRDC (www.hrdcnepal.org) that is a South – South Model of Development.
For the equation to become sustainable, a move toward a South South Model is what
we should be aiming for in the decades ahead as the UN tries to reach its 17 Sustainable
Development Goals by the year 2030.
Best,
Behram
Behram Pastakia
Co Chair FEZANA UN NGO Committee
Metropolitan Washington DC
Dated:  1 August 2019
CC: Eileen Moncoeur, Friends of HRDC c/o Partners Asia, Oakland, California

Humanitarian Expedition to Nepal, 2019

RAD AID International is taking a team of volunteers to Nepal, from September 7-21, 2019.

During the expedition a visit is scheduled to the Hospital and Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children (www.hrdcnepal.org) which has been caring for children with physical disabilities for over three decades.

On site manufacture of locally designed prosthetic devices at the facility keeps the costs under control. A school on the premises provides education to children during their post-operative phase of rehabilitation.  HRDC’s reputation for excellence in clinical care and outcomes draws patients from the neighboring border states of India.

Individuals with a desire to give of themselves to help in this humanitarian effort in global outreach are invited to join our team.

Contact:
Carlin Ridpath, MD
Rad-Aid Country manager for Nepal, cridpath@rad-aid.org
417-496-1677

Behram Pastakia, MD, FACR,  bpastakia@aol.com
Chair, Zarathushti Youth Without Borders, FEZANA
Metropolitan Washington DC,

Dated : 28 July 2019

[Message from the FEZANA Zarathushti Youth Without Borders (ZYWIB) Committee]

Humanitarian Expedition to Nepal, 2019

Initiative to extend financial support to Parsi Pallbearers

Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao

initiative to extend financial support to Parsi Pallbearers

(Nassesalars & Khandhias) employed at various Dakhmas in India.

In Zoroastrian theology all dead matter is considered unhygienic and polluting.  Parsi Pallbearers (Nassesalars & Khandhias) are corpse bearers invested with Priest like duties and responsible for protecting the living from contamination by the corpse. Theologically Pallbearers are supposed to hold a venerated position, but that is sadly not the case in present day and times.

It is only Zoroastrians who do not have recourse to any other professional positions who gravitate towards becoming Pallbearers at functional Doongerwadi’s / Towers of Silence at various parts of India, especially the west coast.     

The incomes of Parsi Pallbearers are not only modest compared to other professions, but they function under extremely trying conditions that often cause emotional strain.

With a view to providing our Parsi Pallbearers some financial relief as well as to make them feel appreciated, WZO Trust Funds requested the generous and caring Trustees of Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao, to consider extending financial support to this segment of our community, which they readily and willingly agreed. WZO Trust Funds thereafter requested various Anjumans that have Towers of Silence (Dakhmas) under their jurisdiction to provide us with a list of individuals that served as Pallbearers.

We have now received a final list of 76 individuals who perform the duties of Pallbearers at various Towers of Silence (Dakhmas). Upon the recommendation of WZO Trust Funds, the Trustees of Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao have agreed to financially extend support on a quarterly basis (July-Sept 2019) onwards amounting to Rs.22,500 (Rs.7,500 per month) for a period of one year, thereafter to be reviewed and considered for renewal.

It is hoped that the support that will be extended will not only provide a modicum of financial relief to the Parsi Pallbearers but will also make them realise that the community appreciates their services.

It will not be out of place to reiterate that Trustees of Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao have as an institution been extending maximum support through WZO Trust Funds to Zoroastrian individuals in India requiring assistance for meeting medical expenses, towards the pursuit of higher education, providing financial relief on quarterly and piecemeal basis to individuals who are economically challenged or in different forms of distress. The present initiative is yet one more illustration of their large heartedness, benevolence and concern for our community.

Navsari Atashbehram

Sharing for information, an article sent to Parsi media by Navsari Atashbehram & Vadi Daremeher Trust Fund.

WZO Trust Funds consider themselves fortunate to have had the opportunity of playing a supporting role in preserving the sanctity and privacy of the Navsari Atashbehram.

Kudos to Trustees of Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao for having responded generously and with alacrity to the request sent to them.

Dinshaw Tamboly

Amplify Austin Texas 4000 Bike Ride for Cancer by Ervad Burzin Balsara

Hello friends:

Planet Mobed Burzin Balsara:

Ervad Burzin Balsara, Austin, Texas, is an amazing young Zoroastrian from Dallas, TX.

His parents Pearl and Prof. Mobed Poras Balsara have been very active in our Dallas, TX, Zoroastrian Association.

I was honored to be with them for their Dallas Atash Kadeh Inauguration, performing Vendidad Sadeh and a Baj and participating in their Inauguration Jashan and First Boi ceremony in 2011!

Burzin has been a very bright student and got first place in his Science Project.

He with his friend investigated and developed an affordable system that is capable of controlling an electric wheelchair using a person’s eye movement. Such a system can be of significant help in providing mobility to quadriplegics and people with other immobilizing disabilities. The project was awarded a major prize by the organizers.

One more thing: In recognition of Burzin’s achievements at the 2018 Intel ISEF, a minor planet (34599) discovered by the LINEAR program at the MIT Lincoln Labs is now named after him! WOW! What an honor!!

We do not have a STAR amongst us Mobeds!

We have a Planet, Mobed Burzin Poras Balsara!

In summary, Burzin is going to ride a bike for 4000 miles from Austin, TX to Anchorage, Alaska to raise funds in the name of his Science Teacher who has cancer.

They need all the help they can get and we in the name of “Parsi Thy name is Charity” should donate to this worthy cause.

Jo Ann and I have already donated.

Please make a dream of our young Mobed come true by donating to this worthy cause.

You can donate here: https://www.texas4000.org/rider/2020/unassigned/burzin-balsara/

Good luck to you, Planet Mobed Burzin!

Love and Tandoorasti, Soli

From: Burzin Balsara <notifications@givegab.com
Sent: February 28, 2019 2:47 AM
Subject: Texas 4000 for Cancer

Hi,

I am thrilled and honored to be biking from Austin to Alaska as a part of the longest annual charity bike ride, Texas 4000.. Please help me by supporting Texas 4000 for Cancer by helping them fundraise for our campaign: Amplify Austin.

This cause means a lot to me because: Fulfilling my dreams began a long time ago with my childhood experiences in my family. Today, it continues to grow as I start this journey riding for my high school science teacher and science fair sponsor, who suffers from an advanced form of lung cancer that has spread to other organs. My passion for science began in my childhood with simple robotics, but now I know one day I want to push the boundaries of human capabilities by integrating robots into the lives of those who have suffered great losses through cancer and many other immobilizing diseases. I can only strive for these goals with the support of family, friends, and most importantly, my teachers along the way.

My science teacher’s battle with cancer began in 2017 with her diagnosis of Stage IV Leiomyosarcoma right around Thanksgiving. After one round of failed chemo, she had surgery and was free of the tumor in February 2018. Unfortunately, with the reoccurring fight against cancer, the tumor returned in May 2018 along with more failed chemo regimen. After a second major surgery in August, she has been placed in a clinical trial for a new drug. Her battle continues as you read this today.

I owe it to her and each cancer victim, past and present, to ride.

So first and foremost, I ride for CHARITY that funds cutting-edge cancer research to give individuals a fighting chance against this debilitating disease. Second, I ride for HOPE because I love meeting new people and ensuring those affected by cancer that I will ride for a cancer-free world. Lastly, I ride for KNOWLEDGE by advocating for the dissemination of life-saving cancer prevention information to communities along the way from Austin to Alaska.

I hope you can consider supporting me in this endeavor by donating. Every little bit counts.

Thank you, 
Burzin Balsara

You can view the fundraiser here: https://www.texas4000.org/rider/2020/unassigned/burzin-balsara/

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