Source For Change: India’s 1st All Women Rural BPO

Women empowerment is a topic which is usually discussed, debated and then left suspended in thin air to ponder over another meeting. And in the majority of rural India , the condition is worse. This perception is particularly true for Jhunjhunu district in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan.

Bagar is a small village in jhunjhunu where the official sex ratio is 921 girls per 1000 (which is worse than the already dismal national average of 933). Here girls still eat the leftovers after the men have finished their meal. Many married women practice purdah covering their faces with veils and are not allowed to venture outdoors .

Recognizing the daunting challenges faced by women in the region, four young entrepreneurs decided to find a way to provide economic empowerment to the women by giving them employment opportunities. On October 2007, through a joint initiative of Indicorps  and Grassroots Development Laboratory ( a project of Piramal Foundation in Bagar), India’s 1st All women rural business process organization, Source For Change, came into being. The mission of SFC is to provide women with skills and employment  enabling them to be financially independent so that they can achieve their rightful status in the society.

Initially when SFC started operations, the local community was very skeptical – how can village women work on computers? Some husbands did not allow their wives to appear for the interview. But SFC’s persistence paid off and 27 women turned up for the interview process. After two months of training, ten of the most talented women were selected as business process associates .

SFC’s all women team, now 45 in number, has proven time and again it is more than capable to execute complete spectrum of outsourcing services, from data entry, invoice processing, archival, web research,  hindi in-bound and out-bound call services. SFC’s clients include JPAL(MIT) , scholars from Harvard and University of California, L.A. In 2008 , SFC was adjudged the best provider of data entry services among 21 vendors across the country. Apart from basic IT training , women also receive soft skills and leadership training after which they take up operational responsibilities within the centre.

And as the women started working and socializing with one another, their initial shyness and nervousness has been transformed into confidence. This has had an amazing impact on their personal lives as well. Source For Change Quality Assurance manager Saraj Yogi , who was initially afraid to step outside of her home now considers the Source for Change office her “home outside of home “

Source for Change has a vision to catalyze 10,000 jobs for women throughout rural India, providing leadership opportunities as well.

Website :

Source :

DDA Housing Scheme 2010 Allotment Draw Result

Check the draw result online :

17th April 2011 , The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is going to hold the draw of lots for its latest housing scheme on Monday. But applicants will get to know about the results of the draw only a day later. The draw will take place at the Noida-based office of the Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC.

DDA roped in the company as the number of flats involved—nearly 16,000—is three times its previous housing scheme. Moreover, the agency believes that C-DAC has the requisite equipment to carry out the computerised draw.

“The draw can take up to four hours and it might not be possible for us to put up the list of successful candidates on our website the same day,” said a senior DDA official. The list will be put on DDA’s website and will also be published in major newspapers.

Though no one would be allowed to enter the C-DAC office during the draw, a television would be installed outside for those who want to witness the exercise live.

Noida administration has made tight security arrangements for the draw at C-DAC’s sector-62 office. Keeping in mind a huge gathering, traffic police personnel, and women police officers have also been deployed. “The draw is likely to  continue till 4pm . Two companies of the provincial armed constabulary, four SHOs, 15 sub-inspectors, and 40 constables have been deployed,” said a senior police officer. If needed, traffic on some routes could be diverted, he said.

About 7.53 lakh people have applied for the 16,000 flats on offer. “This time, the exercise is more stringent than ever. Applicants have to make payments from their own accounts and details will be sent to the IT department for verification. This will rule out the involvement of speculators and property dealers,” the official said.

Source :

Where is Poonam Pandey?

Poonam Pandey

As India won the Cricket World Cup 2011, everyone had just one question – Where is Poonam Pandey?

With her offer to walk or pose in the buff for the victorious Indian team having grabbed enough eyeballs and attracting camp humour asides, tweets were doing the rounds on her whereabouts and punning on the items of  apparel that she was shedding as India marched to victory.

Now that Dhoni’s boys have done it in style, will she keep her promise? The nation awaits.

Shameless  !

‘Villager from Guwahati,India gave MIT tech ideas’

“The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA, is conducting further research on how to channelise the energy created in shock observers of vehicle into the acceleration, and surprisingly, this idea has been floated by a villager near Guwahati,” said Anil Gupta, professor at IIM-A.

He further added that Kanak Das, resident of a remote village near Guwahati has actually created a simple device which converts the shocks received by his bicycle into acceleration energy, so he doesn’t have to peddle for a few metres after negotiating a pothole.

“Kanak Das came up with this innovation to seek a solution to the bad roads of his village, and when I showcased his idea to the students of MIT, they immediately adopted it, as it can bring huge change in automobile technology across the world,” said Gupta, who was asking budding engineers to look for innovations beyond the traditional set-up.

Addressing a jam-packed audience of almost 500 students, professors and engineers, prof Anil K Gupta, executive vice-chair, National Innovation Foundation, shared some amazing stories of innovation and research done by people living in remote villages of India. He was speaking at theinauguration of NUiCONE 2010, First International Conference on ‘current trends in technology’ at Nirma University campus. He stressed on the need to look beyond the conventional boundaries of Research & Development, and asked budding engineers to reach out in search of new ideas, rather than just rely on organisations’ own research facilities.

To explain his point to the young minds he addressed, he gave some examples of newer ways of ‘people oriented’ research methods adopted by companies like LEGO Toys and Forbes magazine. These organisations have asked people to decide the kinds of toys design they want, and what they want to see on the cover of the magazine.

But some unbelievable and inspirational stories of small time villagers of India held the audience spellbound. In another example, he explained how an illiterate housewife living in a village near Vishakhapatnam came up with an idea to harness the wasted heat of the chulha. ” She realised that majority of the heat of the burning fire escapes from the surrounding gap of the earthen chulha, so she made a three-tier bamboo platform above it, on which she put paddy plants to get heated,” said the professor, who considers this innovation as a major breakthrough.

“Heat also escapes in gas stoves and this idea will change the future designs of kitchens in the world.” He added. ” No engineer, no company, not even ONGC people have ever thought of using such simple yet effective technology to harness heat and make it re-usable,” the professor stated.


Rags to Riches story of Lawrence Rajendran

It is the kind of stuff fairy tales are made of.

From being raised by a single mother who was a government teacher, studying in a government school in the suburbs of Chennai and graduating from a college in rural Tamil Nadu to winning the most prestigious Breuer award for research in Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 35,Lawrence Rajendran has indeed come a long way in life.

Lawrence, who did his schooling and college in Chennai and is currently working as a co-director and assistant professor at the University ofZurich has won the Hans and Ilse Breuer Award worth 100,000 euros for research in Alzheimer’s in Germany.

The clich?, rags to riches, fits aptly in the case of Lawrence. A rewind into his childhood reveals an alcoholic father who abandoned his wife and three children, one of them Lawrence, who was just five. “My mother single-handedly brought us up and ensured that we got quality education,” says Lawrence.

Lawrence‘s interest in molecular biology and biochemistry began in Class X when he was introduced to it by a professor at the Madras Christian College whom he had met by chance.

“I decided to do my graduation in biochemistry. But back in 1995, there wasn’t a single college for men in the city which offered the course and enrolled for it at the Sri Sankara College for Arts and Science in Kancheepuram,” he says.

Rajendran who received the award for successfully deciphering that specific part of the brain which is the source of the Alzheimer’s disease and designing a drug which addresses the problem says he had always been fascinated by the biological aspects of the disease and wanted to pursue his research in this field.

“It was in 2004 that I decided to pursue my research in Alzhemier’s after my guide found out the connection between high cholestrol and Alzheimer’s. The disease fascinated me and from then on I have been doing research in Alzheimer’s,” he says.

Lawrence, who was a gold medallist both at the under-graduation and post-graduation level has been funded by stipends and scholarships all through his student life.“Thanks to all the grants and stipends I received I have been able to achieve so much.”

And now, its Lawrence’s turn to stretch out a helping hand to bright students from economically weak backgrounds. Three years ago, Lawrence started the Research Awareness in Student Environment (RAISE) programme to assist undergraduate engineering students from Tamil Nadu’s rural areas who have a passion for research and also to create awareness on research.

Five students are selected each year who are then sent to study in Zurich and Max Planck Universities. These students are funded by the universities and Lawrence. “I got the German Neuro Science Society award for 25,000 euros which I have set aside to fund students who are selected through RAISE,” he says.

Looking back, Lawrence has a lot to be thankful for, especially his mother and sisters who are all praise for him. “He is a gifted and brilliant child. He is a great actor, singer, dancer, orator and writer. He has varied interests and is a voracious reader. You will never find him without a book,” says his sister Florence Rajendran who works as a clinical researcher.

Lily Rajendran, his mother, is extremely proud of her son’s achievements. “Being a teacher I know the importance of education and wanted to give all my children the best education. Lawrence showed great potential even as a child and was excellent in studies as well as extra-curricular activities,” she says.

Though Lawrence only visits his sisters and mothers twice a year, family has always been his first priority, says Lily. “It is because of his hard work, determination and God’s grace that he has achieved great heights,” she said.


US-based Indian creates first artificial kidney

US-based Indian origin researcher Shuvo Roy has created the world’s first implantable artificial kidney. What’s sensational about Roy’s creation is that the organ, no larger than a coffee cup, will be able to mimic the kidney’s most vital functions like filtering toxins out of the bloodstream, regulate blood pressure and produce the all- important vitamin D.

The artificial kidney has been tested successfully on a small number of animals. Large-scale trials on animals and humans are expected over the next five years. Once available, and if affordable, this creation by the Roy-led team at University of California will do away with the need for kidney dialysis.

This will be a boon for all patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). At present in India, of the 1.5 lakh new patients who suffer from end-stage renal failure annually, only 3,500 get kidney transplants and 6,000-10,000 undergo dialysis. The rest perish due to an acute shortage of dialysis centres and nephrologists to man them.

CKD is rising at a rapid pace in India and the majority of those who perish are either unable to find a suitable organ for transplantation or are unable to pay for the high dialysis costs.

According to Roy, the device has a filtration section to remove toxins from the blood, alongside a compartment with renal cells to conduct other functions of a kidney. He believes the artificial kidney could last for decades and require no pumps or batteries. Patients wouldn’t require anti-rejection drugs (as is required after transplants) either because there would be no exposed natural tissues for the immune system to attack.

The University of California team is awaiting approval to conduct larger scale animal and human trials. Already, it has successfully tested the implant in a few rats and pigs.

“The payoff to the patient community is tremendous,” said Roy. “It could have a transformative impact on their lives…With the right financial support, I think we could reach clinical trials in five years. But it’s hard to say how long after that it becomes commercially available due to the uncertainties of the FDA and commercialization prospects.”

So what would this artificial kidney mean for India? ”It will be a real boon,” said Dr S C Tiwari, director of nephrology and renal transplantation medicine at Fortis health care. He added: ”The biggest problem with CKD patients in India is that majority of them are diagnosed in the final stages where they would either require constant dialysis or a transplant. They would require dialysis three times week. However, of the two lakh CKD patients requiring dialysis, only 10,000 get it, mainly because they can’t afford it. Maybe only 1,000 such patients get it for free or at a subsidized rate in government hospitals. The artificial kidney, when available and if affordable, will be a miracle.” Dr Madan Bahadur, nephrologist with Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital added, ”Work on creating tubular cells (that perform the biochemical work of the kidney) began a decade back. But bio-chemical engineering has so far not managed to replicate the kidney.”

According to Dr Jitendra Kumar, head of nephrology at Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, the main reason why this artificial kidney will be a real breakthrough is because it will be able to mimic the vital functions of a kidney like regulate BP and produce vitamin D — things a dialysis can’t do.

Motel tycoon Jasani used to sleep on pavements

Four months ago he had been to sardar patel’s house in karamsad. the trip moved him, and albert jasani decided to put up the biggest-ever statue of the iron man of india in the us. for a man who was born on the street, slept on pavements at times without food, and used to sell peanuts in a small corner of anand, the journey from near starvation to taking sardar patel to us is an inspiring tale. albert jasani’s is a true saga of rags to riches.

He began as a dish-washer in US , and now is a motel tycoon who recently built a the royal albert’s palace – a place which hosts vvips from india, including prime minister vajpayee when he was there. “i did all odd jobs. i was a dishwasher, taxi driver, factory worker, security guard, storekeeper and everything that comes under the parlance of labour work. i had no formal education but only a dream to go to america and do something big,” said jasani. from a penniless indian immigrant, today jasani’s networth is over $50 million. he owns a string of motels, restaurants and sizeable holdings in the real estate business. but riches came to him after hard struggle. “summer, winter or rain, i was always on the footpath. in the rainy season, a kind neighbour use to give me a plastic sheet to cover myself.

I  slept under that plastic sheet for many rainy days,” jasani recalls his days of struggle. one morning in early 1970s, jasani decided to turn his passion for america into reality. “i somehow managed to get into america. don’t ask me how? that’s a big story, but once in uncle sam’s land, i began my task of doing something worthwhile,” he says. absolutely penniless, jasani started with odd jobs and finally after stints in many places managed to land a job in a motel. “i learnt all the tricks of the trade. observed how business was conducted, and finally invested my savings of about four years into a new motel that was coming up in atlantic city. the gamble paid off and since then i have never looked back,” jasani said. few know that jasani, who has helped build many temples in anand and abroad and has great respect for religious heads of the swaminarayan sect, was born into the ‘khoja’ community. his real name is hyder jasani. “i don’t know much about religion. but i feel happy spending my money for noble causes,” he said. besides temples he has also helped build a ‘jamatkhana’ and equipped his village with modern-day facilities.

Currently holding chair of sardar patel memorial foundation and vice-president’s post of the prestigious federation of indian associations in us, jasani has played a major role in influencing indo-us relations and help bring in nri funds for development-related projects in india. among his close friends in us are mayors, senators and policy-makers. he is also on the vvip nri invitee list of the prime minister. not forgetting his roots, jasani has kept two photographs in his office in the royal albert’s palace. he says the two pictures are very dear to him and important landmarks in his life.

In the first picture, little jasani and his father ismael are seen selling peanuts on a pavement in anand. in the second picture, jasani is shaking hands with bill clinton when he was us president. “i will never forget where i came from,” jasani says. his atitude in flie: ‘keep going, dreams do come true’.