Christabelle Noronha

That women have it tough in India is a truth universally acknowledged. This is a subject commented upon routinely — with the pieties piling up when politics wades into the picture — and sought to be addressed through policies and programmes that have to do battle with the ogre that won’t go away: prejudice. Be that as it may, what we don’t hear enough of are the efforts being made to create better lives and a fairer world for women, much of these by women themselves.  

Our cover story, I must happily confess, is biased in favour of a certain gender. It details a clutch of initiatives powered by women in the spheres of health, energy and livelihoods; the challenges they have overcome along the way; and the rewards, realised and in the pipeline, of their commitment and hard work. From watermelon cultivation in Ladakh to dairy farming in Maharashtra, from livelihood pursuits in Rajasthan to an assortment of innovative startup ideas, women show what is possible when they are in charge of their destiny.

 In our centre stage segment, we track a livelihoods project that has brought together the Tata Trusts and Axis Bank Foundation in Odisha to support farmer families desperately seeking an income boost. This is a fine example of philanthropies pooling resources and expertise to help underserved communities help themselves. It also illustrates how the Trusts have made collaboration an important motif of their social development endeavours.

 This edition of Horizons also features a mix of articles on programmes designed and implemented for maximum impact: the Karta Initiative’s work to secure a college education of the highest quality, in India and abroad, for rural youth from underprivileged backgrounds; an endeavour in Assam to bring school dropouts back into the formal education setup; and a cancer care project in Jharkhand that has screening and awareness-building at the top of its agenda.

 We have two personalities from very different fields speaking to us this time: meteorology maven Jatin Singh of Skymet Weather Services and acclaimed photographer Sudharak Olwe. Social documentary photography is a passion with Mr Olwe, who is no stranger to the Tata Trusts, as is clearly evident in our showcase section, which features a variety of images from programmes supported by the institution. 

 To round it off, there’s Shloka Nath with a piece on the criticality of CSR funding for climate change action in India, and Ratna Krishnakumar on lending a hand to artisans looking for avenues to capitalise on their exquisite skills.

Christabelle Noronha

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