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.
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.
To mark the centenary of the first women in the UK winning the right to vote, and to drive forward gender equality across the London today, the Mayor of London and the London Assembly has launched a year-long women’s equality campaign: #BehindEveryGreatCity.The campaign includes a year-long programme of public art by women artists on the London Underground, the unveiling of the first statue of a women in Parliament Square – suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett – and launching an initiative to support women into leadership roles.
Women make extraordinary contributions to their communities and London, but they’re not always recognised. That’s why the Mayor and the London Assembly created the Hidden Credits campaign – a crowd-sourced celebration of fantastic women from all backgrounds. You will be glad to learn that our own WZCC Chair Shernaz Engineer has been nominated.
From: Meher Amalsad, Westminster, California, USALet’s Create An Inner Desire, To Honor Our Sacred Fire Banameh Ahura Mazda
My Dear Zartoshti Brothers and Sisters: Our mission is to promote our core essence ofGood Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds with Humanity. With this sense of our Zarathushti pride… Let’s begin by watching this 5-minute heart warming clip on
“The Secret of Holy Fire, Azar Goshnasp”
This is a very ancient fire which is believed to be still alive by many in Azerbaijan – Iran .
This documentary endeavors to showcase this rare fortune to everyone who likes to know more about this Holy Fire, The great Pars, The power of mesmerizing Sassanid Kings and about our glorious Persian History in the past 2,500 years.
To date, Mona Sedaghat, the producer, funded $69,700 USD
for this documentary from her own personal funds.
The production of this documentary movie started in May 2018.
She has been working diligently with a well known History Professor of UCI, Dr. Touraj Daryaee and Mobed Zarrir Bhandara, the head priest of Zoroastrian Association Of California.
While the movie is at its completion stage, Mona has ran short of funds.
She is in urgent need of financial assistance from those who would like to become a part of this fabulous journey.
She also needs help to promote this movie by showcasing it at various Universities, museums, galleries, festivals as well as on prominent TV Channels across the globe.
The funds needed to complete this movie is $14,000 USD.
To date she has invested about $69,700 USD from her own personal resources.
If you would like to be a partial or full sponsor for this laudable project please contact:
Professor Almut Hintze FBA, Professor of Zoroastrianism and Co-Chair SOAS Shapoorji Pallonji Institute of Zoroastrian Studies, London, along with her colleagues Ms. Celine Redard, Mr. Benedikt Thomas and Mr. Kerman Daruwalla, presently at Navsari were keen to visit some villages in South Gujarat Navsari to see for themselves and understand the harsh conditions in which many of our Zarathushti brothers and sisters live and the work the WZO Trusts are doing to bring them into the mainstream of society.
Two members of Team WZO Trusts at Navsari accompanied Professor Almut Hintze and her colleagues on a day trip to a few villages on January 30, 2019. We are pleased to attach some photographs taken during their visit.
WZO Trusts express their gratitude and are very grateful to Professor Almut Hintze and her colleagues for their interest and having taken the time and trouble to visit some of the villages for firsthand knowledge.
WZO Trusts have since 1991 impacted the lives of 489 families in 198 villages, having facilitated their transition from abject poverty and back into the mainstream of society.
Taking on a holistic approach to solving the many basic and infrastructure concerns villages have, the couple’s Swades Foundation has helped several migrants in Mumbai return to their homes with assured means to earn a living.
In 2003, Sanjeev Dhasde left his family and a five-acre farmable plot in Bhandare village, Mangan block in Raigad, Maharashtra, and migrated to Mumbai. He eked out a living as a sales executive for an MNC, earning a salary of Rs 2.4 lakh for 14 years. He sent home whatever he could and spent the rest on rent and a frugal existence in the expensive city.
Home beckoned, but Sanjeev could not return for fear of financial difficulties. But he soon discovered Swades Foundation, an NGO that helps migrants like him to return to their villages equipped with the means to earn a living. He began attending monthly meetings at Dadar, where thousands of migrants discussed the challenges they faced and sought help to reverse migrate.
With the support of the foundation, in November 2017, Sanjeev returned to his village and started farming and goat rearing. The foundation provided him with 11 goats and 22 kids and, within six months, he earned close to Rs 1 lakh by selling goats. With the help of YouTube tutorials, Sanjeev learned to farm, and he implemented drip irrigation on his plot. By May 2018, he earned Rs 2 lakh through farming alone.
“When without experience in farming I could earn so much, I realised that with time and practice I could sustain a monthly income. I also set up a vegetable shop in the village and earned a profit of Rs 400-500 daily. My family was initially skeptical about my decision to return but my mother is now happy that I moved back. More importantly, we did not suffer a financial loss,” Sanjeev recalls.
Like Sanjeev, 63 other families have benefited from reverse migration in Maharashtra and are supported by the Swades Foundation’s multiple income generation programmes, including goat rearing, farming, and poultry.
“Migration is a huge issue in our villages where 40 percent of the homes are ‘closed’ i.e. the family is living in Mumbai. The main issue today is the lack of opportunity in the villages. In the old days it was the lack of education for children but that does not seem to be the core driver today,” Zarina Screwvala, Founder of Swades Foundation, says.
Founded in 2013, the organisation has, over the past six years, worked in over 2,000 hamlets spread across Raigad district, 150km from Mumbai, impacting over 4.7 lakh individuals. By partnering with multiple organisations including Tata Trusts, Reckitt Benckiser, Mahindra & Mahindra, Red Cross, Rotary, and Room to Read, the Swades Foundation has implemented 35 programmes that aim to aid social reforms by bringing access to healthcare and education facilities, implementing water and sanitation projects, and conducting multiple agriculture related workshops to help boost the income of the farmer.
In 2012, after Zarina and husband and investor and businessman Ronnie Screwvala divested their UTV Motion Pictures shares to Disney, Zarina was on a lookout for a new project that impacted rural India. Upon Ronnie’s suggestion she joined SHARE, an NGO that was involved in water management projects in Maharashtra villages. “Ronnie told me, ‘lets lift a million people out of poverty!’ And I was hooked,” Zarina recalls.
Through the NGO, Zarina began working with rural upliftment projects and, by 2013, she founded the Swades Foundation to create a model for transformational change in rural India that could be replicated at scale. She wanted to create a 360-degree model that focused on the overall development of a village rather than focusing on one domain alone.
“During one of my discussions with a group of women in a village, I stressed the importance of girl child education. After hearing me out patiently, the women raised a very interesting query: ‘If we sent our girl child to school, who will fetch water from far-off places every day?’ This query led us to the realisation that we have to first solve the problem of drinking water before we even address the issue of education,” Zarina says.
Hence, with a focus of holistic development, the organisation is working with 1,275 schools in Raigad block to ensure there is access to functioning toilets. Portable drinking water has been provided in 20,000 households and the team has constructed 20,000 toilets as well.The Swades Foundation team comprises of 300 full-time professionals and 1,200 trained community volunteers.
‘In the next 20-30 years, Tata Trust hopes to set up a pattern along with the Government to reduce the number of deaths taking place due to cancer,’ said Tata.
RANCHI: Tata Trust Chairman Ratan Tata believes that the Tata Trust in association with the Government would be able to set a pattern to reduce the deaths caused by Cancer in the next 10-20 years. Ratan Tata while laying foundation stone along with Chief Minister Raghubar Das for the world-class cancer hospital in Ranchi on the lines of TMH in Mumbai, also lauded the central as well as the State Governments for showing their vision to tackle cancer by springing up a number of cancer hospitals across the Country.
“In the next 20-30 years, Tata Trust hopes to set up a pattern along with the Government to reduce the number of deaths taking place due to cancer,” said Tata.
Lakhs of people die due to cancer and many have lost their will to live due to the high cost of treatment and the difficulty involved, he added. Tata said that since North East region have a lot of cancer patients this hospital in Ranchi will be a great relief for the patients coming from the region and also play a leading role to tackle the disease.
“Tata Trust was committed to make Ranchi hospital a success which will also be a symbol of prosperity and good health of the people living in the area,” said the Trust Chairman. Tata praised the initiatives taken by the Governments, both at the Center and States, to tackle the disease.
“I believe the government at the Centre and the state governments have displayed considerable vision in setting up a string up cancer hospitals for the screening of cancer early and treat cancer at a reasonable cost and provide access to State of the art hospitals in India,” Tata added.
Chief Minister Raghubar Das, in his speech, said that the demand for this hospital was raised during Momentum Jharkhand summit in the year 2017 so that people do not have to go outside the State for treatment of cancer and other illnesses.
“As I was quite aware of the problems faced by the people, I tried to improve health services in the State, as soon as I became Chief Minister and started construction for 6 medical colleges in the last 4 years along with a centre of All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS),” said the CM.
With the start of the work for a cancer hospital in Ranchi, one of his greatest wishes was fulfilled, he added. Initially, there will have a facility of 50 beds in the Hospital which will be gradually increased to 300. People of Jharkhand will be given priority in the hospital and given some special facilities in the hospital.
50 per cent beds of the hospital will be reserved for the people hailing from Jharkhand. The hospital will have 14 world class operation theatres with 28 beds Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and a blood bank.
The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust is pleased to provide an update as on September 06, 2018 on the work done so far, funds received.
The support that The WZO Trust are extending in collaboration with The Kinder Trust at Bangalore is minuscule when compared to the total welfare measures that have to be undertaken to alleviate the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of individuals affected by the floods. However, both WZO Trust & Kinder Trust shall continue to do their bit in this massive humanitarian exercise.
As highways have been washed away it is still very difficult for vehicles to ply in the internal areas. Volunteers are trekking through inhospitable terrain carrying relief materials with them. Keeping these ground realities in mind, we have till date delivered two consignments comprising the following relief materials to the affected areas:
Sarees & Blouse materials,
Ladies petticoats and nightwear.
Gents & Boys underwear,
Assorted cleaning brushes,
Within the next few days it has been programmed to provide roof sheets and other cleaning & construction materials that will be required.
The Kerala Floods Relief appeal was first released by us on August 19, 2018. Since then we have received, as on September 05, 2018 donations amounting to Rs.22,51,392 from 118 donors. The WZO Trust extends its sincere gratitude to those who have contributed so generously towards this gargantuan exercise to alleviate human suffering.
However, much more needs to be done and funds continue to be required. We request Zoroastrians from all parts of the world to join us in our efforts to provide verified and trusted help to Kerala.
Donations by way of cheques made out in the name of The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust may be sent to our office at:
Hermes House, 3rd floor,
Mama Parmanand Marg,
Mumbai 400 004.
Direct remittances can also be made into our bank account:
As you know, the Kerala floods have been the worst floods experienced by humankind in the last 100 years. The floods have left 250,000 people homeless, 900 dead, and the state reeling under damages to the tune of USD 2.7 billion. It will take 5 years of consolidated effort and investment to rebuild this once-bountiful state of India. As one who has benefited amply from the loyalty and hospitality of Malayalees (the people of Kerala), who has chuckled at their ingenuity and marvelled at their intellect, I have pledged to donate the full sum of my earnings from my novel WAITING FOR JONATHAN KOSHY retailing worldwide on www.amazon.com, from today till the end of this year. Coincidentally, the novel is about a high IQ Malayali, Jonathan Koshy, who can make a difference to everyone else’s life save his own. Anyone who purchases a copy of KOSHY from an Amazon site has my assurance that my part of the royalty will, in entirety, go toward this noble cause. Do buy a copy from any of the links below and then help spread the word through your network of friends and contacts. After all, there can be no greater joy than when the power of words translate into humanitarian actions – Murzban F. Shroff, AuthorBreathless in Bombay (stories) and Waiting for Jonathan Koshy (novel).
Waiting for Jonathan Koshy is available at the following Amazon sites:
Kerala, God’s own country, has borne the brunt of Nature’s Fury, floods of epic proportions, leaving in their wake destruction and suffering, hundreds of human lives have been lost, hundreds of thousand of individuals have been displaced, their homes and livelihoods lost, fields ravaged, crops destroyed. Humanity has rarely witnessed tragedy such as this in present times.
Understanding it’s social responsibility towards humanity, WZO Trust has undertaken to play a small but determined part, along with many other NGO’ in alleviating the suffering of those affected.
As a first step, WZO Trust has arranged to assist the flood victims of Kerala by organizing food packages and utility items through Kinder Trust, Bangalore headed by the redoubtable Mrs. Diana Bharucha. Kinder Trust have already embarked on this humanitarian mission, by tying up with Indian Air Force to make available relief packages to those affected.
Kinder Trust, Bangalore are a well known Trust that looks after children with special needs in South India. (WZO Trust had supported them recently to purchase a vehicle to ferry children with special needs).
WZO Trust has as an initial measure, pledged Rs.500,000 from their own funds and request community members to add to the amount by contributing generously towards alleviating those affected by this calamity.
Cheques may be sent in the name of “The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust” to:
C-1, Hermes House, 3rd floor,
Mama Parmanand Marg,
Mumbai 400 004.
Those wishing to donate online may send their contributions directly into our bank account, details of which are as below:
For donors from within India:
(Donations are eligible for exemptions u/s 80G of the Income Tax Act; please do send an e-mail to facilitate mailing the receipt, and do mention your PAN Detail).