Top Social Stories of this week

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There are many things in the world that we take for granted, and nature is one of them. Taking us to northeast India, Rushikesh Chavan from The Habitats Trust talks about the degradation of rainforests in the region and the extinction of hoolock gibbons.

Meanwhile, a survivor of human trafficking from Jharkhand shares her journey and how she supports other victims like her.

Concern India and Verizon are empowering women farmers in Tamil Nadu, one village at a time

Chengalpattu district, which was once part of Kancheepuram district in Tamil Nadu, depends entirely on agriculture as a source of income. Nearly 21% of Chengalpattu residents are economically disadvantaged, comprising mostly landless agricultural workers and marginal farmers and lack basic amenities including adequate housing, access to water and healthcare.

In the 1950s, the government of Tamil Nadu, under the Bhoodan Movement (land donation movement), donation of land to landless families in Chengalpattu to integrate them into mainstream society. However, most of these plots of land were either barren, wasteland, rocky or had no water source. And, except for a small area near the bed of the Palar River, the majority of agricultural activities in the district are supported by the monsoon.

Concern India Foundation based in Mumbai realized that these women farmers would need help with farming, if not hired as day laborers on other farms.

This company helps companies reinvent social change

The FSG team in India

There is a lot of philanthropic work going on around the world, but little thought is given to how the money is used and whether it is creating an impact.

Professors Michael Porter and Mark Kramer, co-founders of FSG, a mission-driven global consulting firm, believes that rather than separating good from business, you need to strategize for good business. Founded in 2000, Boston-based FSG partners with foundations and corporations to create equitable systems of change.

FSG arrived in India in 2010 with four employees, and currently, the Mumbai-based company has a team of 45 including senior consulting professionals.

After escaping human trafficking, I started working with survivors to support them

My name is Sanjita Kumari and I am from Gumla in Jharkhand. Since childhood, I have seen my family struggle due to poor financial conditions. Whether it is work or study, we have been taught to do it on our own.

In 2016, when I was in class 9 and about to take my matriculation exam, my cousin came to my house. She promised to find me a good job out of town if I went with her.

My mother’s health was not good and she could not go to work by herself. However, I didn’t want to leave my home and my job at that time. I passed the same on to my family and my cousin.

Read on to know his story.

The last hope for rainforest degradation and the disappearance of northeast India’s gibbons

A snapping gibbon hoolock

On a lazy morning in 2012, I was reading a short article published by Narayan Sharma in a newspaper about diurnal primate population trends and local extinction in the Upper Brahmaputra lowland rainforests. It really shook me up.

When you think of northeast India, you imagine endless expanses of lush evergreen forests, but here is an article reporting that the last remaining rainforests are degrading and fragmenting at an alarming rate. From a population decline to potential local extinction, the results have been horrific.

The forests of Bherjan, Borajan and Podumoni in Assam have the highest primate biomass compared to anywhere else in the Indian subcontinent, and it is evident that deforestation of this tropical plain has been going on for two centuries now.

However, in recent decades it has been degrading at a rapid rate. What was once a contiguous forest is now just small patches of land separated by tea plantations and farms.

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