8 February 2012 Popular South African actress Leleti Khumalo has joined forces with the KwaZulu-Natal government to help communities, especially young people, to take action to improve their own standards of living. Khumalo is the ambassador for the Leleti School Grounds project, which forms part of Operation Sukuma Sakhe, a provincial government initiative aimed at assisting communities to rise beyond their current circumstances. The Durban-born actress, who is known for her outstanding performances in Sarafina and Yesterday, will co-ordinate and host Uzogcwala La!, a magazine television show which will be filmed in townships around Durban and rural areas across the province. On Monday, Khumalo joined MEC for Finance Ina Cronje at Eastwood Secondary School in Pietermaritzburg to interact with the local community, informing them of the purpose of the programme.‘Stand up and do things for yourselves’ “We are here to listen to you,” Khumalo said. “We brought you all the government departments to give you answers. But by the same token, we would also like to encourage young people to stand up and do things for themselves and come up with solutions so that the government can meet us halfway.” Leleti School Grounds was officially launched at JL Dube in KwaMashu, north of Durban last week. Cronje, a champion of the uMgungundlovu District Municipality, said: “For too long, communities have been stuck in first gear. We are going to turn this skoro-skoro into a racing car. But we have to push together if we are to win the race against poverty, unemployment and all social ills of alcohol and drug abuse, teenage pregnancies and HIV/Aids. “The government is moving service delivery for young people in this area into top gear,” Cronje said. “I am happy to engage with learners, teachers and communities about the issues that lie close to their hearts. Our engagement does not end here, we will follow up on your issues.”‘Teach our parents about substance abuse’ Learners at Eastwood Secondary School used the opportunity to talk about teenage pregnancy, substance abuse and financial assistance towards further education. One learner, who did not want to be named, asked that government come up with a strategy to teach parents at home about substance abuse. The learner said that although schools have programmes in place to educate them, they still have to go back home to parents who have substance abuse problems. Cronje also officially launched the War Room in Eastwood to ensure government visibility at a household level. “Each household will be profiled and the various departments and the various role players will assist the household members with their respective needs,” said Cronje. Source: BuaNews
Seven coaches of the Jabalpur-bound Shaktipunj Express derailed on Thursday in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh, a railway official said.“The accident occurred at around 6:25 am and we have already cleared out the site,” railway ministry spokesperson Anil Saxena said.“All passengers were put on the remaining coaches and by 7:28 AM all of them had left the spot. All of them are safe and no one was injured in the accident,” he said.The train was running at a speed of about 40 km/hr which, officials say, prevented any injuries when the incident occurred.This is the third such derailment in the State in less than a month.On August 19, the Utkal Express had derailed in Muzaffarnagar district, killing 22 people and injuring 156.About 100 passengers were wounded when 10 coaches of Kaifiyat Express train derailed after crashing into a dumper which strayed on to the tracks in Auraiya district on August 23.
The women’s wings of the three major political parties in Odisha have become more active since the State Assembly passed a resolution unanimously for providing 33% reservation for women in the Legislative Assemblies and Parliament on November 20 last year. Ahead of the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the State, the number of meetings and demonstrations by the women’s wings of the ruling Biju Janata Dal and Opposition Congress and BJP has also started multiplying after Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik took up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 4. Mr. Patnaik had urged Mr. Modi to initiate necessary steps for passing the Women’s Reservation Bill for reservation of one-third seats in Parliament and State Legislatures for women. “I assure full support of my government in providing women their rightful place in the decision-making process,” Mr. Patnaik wrote to Mr. Modi.The Chief Minister, who has been focussing on women’s empowerment, has not stopped there. Senior party leaders have been meeting top leaders of different parties across the country seeking their support for passage of the Bill in Parliament.Positive signs In fact, the three major parties have also strengthened their women’s wings in the recent months. While the BJD and the Congress have appointed new presidents in their women’s wings, the BJP has inducted some prominent women to add strength to its women’s wing. Such has become the political atmosphere that women leaders of these parties from far-off districts have started frequenting Bhubaneswar hoping to get party tickets. They are of the view that more women will be given tickets to contest the coming elections even if the Bill is not passed in Parliament. “This is a positive sign that more and more women are coming forward to actively participate in politics. Odisha has produced many women leaders, including former Chief Minister Nandini Satpathy, in the past and the current trend should be encouraged by different parties,” said political analyst Rabi Das. Buoyant by the developments with regard to women’s political participation, transgender rights activists too have become active in their work with the hope that they may also be given tickets by different parties. “Time has come for all parties to give tickets to transgender people to ensure their participation in the decision-making process,” said Meera Parida, chairman of the All Odisha Transgender Welfare Trust.