EDITORS: Following is a series of special features that seek to bring unique and extraordinary stories of ordinary people, groups and communities from across a diverse, plural and inclusive India made possible by a collaboration between IANS and the Frank Islam Foundation based in Washington.
How their jewellery-making skill is empowering women of the forest (IANS Special Series) (12:10)
By Kushagra Dixit
Bandha Tola (Kanha Tiger Reserve), Dec 2 (IANS) Dependent on the forest for their day-to-day needs, women of Bandha Tola faced an uncertain future when their whole village, along with hundreds of other such Baiga tribal villages, was moved out of their traditional habitat in the jungles of this famous tiger reserve in central India's Madhya Pradesh state. But today they feel empowered and foresee a bright future for their forest-dependent tribe and cherish the fact that, despite being relocated, their culture and traditions are alive and flourishing.
A philanthropist's mission: Giving dignity to the homeless and abandoned (IANS Special Series) (13:00)
By Mudita Girotra
Gurugram, Nov 25 (IANS) When his single mother could not take care of the mentally-challenged boy Rinku, she brought him to a homeless shelter in Bhandwari village on the outskirts of bustling Gurugram (formerly Gurgaon), one of India's fastest-growing cities and home to scores of multinational companies in glittering glass and steel towers. When the six-month pregnant Sarita Devi was abandoned by her husband, she was also sent to this open-to-all shelter by a court.
Phool Waalon Ki Sair: An offering of communal unity at altar of secular India (IANS Special Series) (12:24)
By Siddhi Jain
New Delhi, Nov 18 (IANS) When Syed Fariddudin Qutbi, the "khadim" (attendant) of the shrine of 13th century sufi saint Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki in Meharauli, stepped out after offering a floral "chhatra" (a flower-embellished umberella) at the ancient Yogmaya temple located at a stone's throw from the dargah, all he had to say was that in the small temple sanctum sanctorum suffused with a strong incense and jasmine fragrance, he felt the same tranquility and a "magnificent, invisible power" he feels at the dargah.
How a Muslim trust is redefining charity, making it meaningful (IANS Special Series) (11:46)
By Mohammed Shafeeq
Hyderabad, Nov 11 (IANS) There is no dearth of generous people in society who want to do something for the less fortunate, but their help often doesn't reach the needy or gets misappropriated. To make charity a satisfying experience that brings the intended results to both benefactor and beneficiary, a Hyderabad-based group, Safa Baitul Maal, is showing the way by creating and using data to link the rich with the poor and needy.
Empowering children to be future civic leaders (IANS Special Series) (12:06)
By Nivedita Singh
New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS) While kids of their age were busy playing, 12-year-olds Jatin, Vikas and Ritesh joined hands to resolve the problem of garbage disposal and the unhealthy living conditions in their working-class neighbourhood in Shiv Vihar in north Delhi. At the same time, Aatrey, another pre-teen from Nilothi Nangloi, took the initiative to solve the problem of an unsafe road after his aunt met with an accident.
Unique Mumbai cafe helps staffers overcome disabilities (IANS Special Series) (12:06)
By Quaid Najmi
Mumbai, Oct 28 (IANS) It was barely three months ago that a US-returned medico started a small cafe in upscale Juhu as a unique venture -- employing mostly those who suffer from various developmental disabilities. Now, Cafe Arpan has gained huge popularity -- among patrons, many of whom have become regulars, and among the 19 specially-abled staffers who love to slog 30 hours over six days a week to make this trendsetter eatery a super success.
A library run by industrial workers means world of change for children (IANS Special Series) (11:58)
By Jaideep Sarin
Ludhiana (Punjab), Oct 21 (IANS) At first look, it is just another small room with one wall almost crumbling. But this 25-square yard space means the world for children of factory workers and labourers in Punjab's industrial hub Ludhiana.
From pain and penury to pinnacle of success: The winning tale of gritty Swapna Barman (IANS Special Series) (12:32)
By Debayan Mukherjee
Kolkata, Oct 14 (IANS) Until that evening in Jakarta when the country celebrated her success with much fanfare, everything about heptathlete Swapna Barman spelt hardship. From extreme poverty to physical deformity of the kind that threatened to time and again derail her ambition, Swapna pushed every odd to its limits on course to become the first Indian heptathlete to win an Asian Games gold.