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.
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.
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 NorthSouthSouthmodel 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
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.
Carlin Ridpath, MD
Rad-Aid Country manager for Nepal, email@example.com
Behram Pastakia, MD, FACR, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chair, Zarathushti Youth Without Borders, FEZANA
Metropolitan Washington DC,
Dated : 28 July 2019
[Message from the FEZANA Zarathushti Youth Without Borders (ZYWIB) Committee]
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.
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.