LETTER TO THE EDITOR FOR ISSUE DATED JUNE 08 2024

CELEBRATING WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY ON JUNE 5

  Taluka Legal Services, Mormugoa taluka, observed World Environment Day at Vasco Court on June 5, 2024. There was an awareness talk Shahir Issani (chairperson, Taluka Legal Services Authority), facilitated by Nutan Vasu Nirawdekar (para legal volunteer), all organized by Arz. Arz’ Juliana Lohar  discussed the model of Public-Private Partnership, explaining how the Goa Waste Management Cooperation (Mormugao taluka) and Arz (NGO) through the initiative POTI (Protection of Ocean Trees and Inhabitants), are working towards reducing single-use plastic, recycling fabric, and reusing fabric in the taluka. She detailed how victims of violence, through WISH (Women Initiative for Self-Help) are recycling and upcycling fabric into cloth bags that can be used for daily purposes such as marketing and other needs. The program concluded with members receiving cloth bags and pledging to use cloth bags. It is no to plastic bags. 

2024-THE ELECTION YEAR

CAROUND the world this year, perhaps we are seeing more voters than ever in the general elections. At least 64 nations besides the European Union are witnessing elections. In fact almost half the world’s population are voting nationally this year.
With many countries having concluded the election process, all eyes now shift to the Parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom to be held on July 4, which ironically is also the American Day of Independence.
Political fever is rising in the United Kingdom and it is expected to get hotter in just under four weeks, which will decide who the nation’s next prime minister will be. It is interesting to hear these political debates and witness the election campaign.
In the UK polling day is not a public holiday as polling is from 7am to 10 pm giving every voter time to vote at their convenience. Eve of polling day and counting day too is not a dry day. The counting of votes starts immediately after the polls end and the 650 Members of UK Parliament will be known.
On the conclusion of these elections, the world’s focus will shift to the United States of America that goes to the polls on November 5 this year to elect its next president. 2024 has been a leap year and will decide the political future of so many countries, their leaders and their people.
—Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES LEARN TO FLOAT!

Children with disabilities being taught to float by Drishti Marine lifesavers with the help of floating aids, under strict supervision, at Sethu Centre for Child Development & Family Guidance, Saligao.


Drishti Marine’s Ongoing Survival Skill Program saw eight Goan children with disabilities trained in water-based survival skills courtesy Drishti Marine’s ongoing “Learn to Float” initiative, a life-saving program with the aim to teach children essential skill of floating and enhancing their water safety; at the same time providing a foundation building up confidence and independence in aquatic environments. The Goa state-appointed lifesaver agency, Drishti Marine, tailored its free-of-cost learn to float program under the aegis of the Marine Drishti Coastal Foundation and Goa-based Special Rescue Training Academy (SRTA), to cater to the needs of children with disabilities, imparting to them vital survival skills in water. It is a part of the lifesaving agency’s ongoing commitment to enhancing water safety and inclusivity at Goa’s beaches and water bodies, including community swimming pools. This leg of the initiative took place at the Sethu Centre for Child Development & Family Guidance, Saligao, founded by developmental and behavioural paediatrician Dr Nandita de Souza. “Playing in water is a fundamental element of enjoyment for children, who often head directly to water bodies as they are unaware of the dangers they pose without appropriate swimming or floating skills,” says Dr de Souza who is the centre’s director.
Adding, “Drowning is one of the most common causes of death among children with disabilities, especially those with autism. The ‘Learn to Float’ program is a wonderful opportunity for our children and their families to get into the water and be trained by professional coaches in a very competent, respectful manner.” Parents, too, are extremely grateful for such a program.
“At first, I was unsure that my child would be able to connect with the trainer and follow instructions. However, after four sessions, I was amazed that a great connection was forged between my child and the trainer, and he can now float correctly,” said Deepa Verekar, a proud parent. Another parent, Zurica D’Souza, stated that while she was initially hesitant about sending her child as they were not comfortable with the thought of deep water, she was reassured by the lifesavers’ guidance and care.
“Very rarely do we get such initiatives like ‘Learn to Float’ where people offer to teach children with disabilities essential survival skills, that too, free of cost. My child is now so much more confident at floating and swimming,” said D’Souza.
Drishti Marine’s Debanshu Das (chief training officer) explained that the lifesavers ensured that each child was given one-on-one training sessions over six sessions, ensuring their comfort and safety.
The key to drowning prevention lies in education and preparedness. They were happy that Dr Nandita from Sethu reached out to them to conduct the program for children with disabilities, said Navin Awasthi (CEO, Drishti Marine). The decision to extend the program to private locations across Goa comes in the wake of recent drowning incidents, especially involving children, reported in the swimming pools of housing societies and residential enclaves in Goa.

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