This winter break, several USC students will travel to Africa with a team of 40 people to take part in “Steps over Swaziland.”SOS is a campaign intended to bring relief and awareness to Swaziland, a small country in Africa that has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS.According to Abhirukt Sapru, a sophomore majoring in business administration who will be taking part in the trip, statistics predict that by the year 2020, the AIDS epidemic could be responsible for the death of Swaziland’s adult population.“A lot of the funds and resources are going to much bigger countries with problems of less magnitude,” Sapru said. “What we hope that SOS will do is draw people’s attention to Swaziland and actually help people understand the real dire problems that are going on there.”One World Futbol Project collaborated with FUNDaFIELD, a non-profit organization co-founded by USC students Garrett Weiss and his brother, Kyle, to organize SOS.The organization fundraises to build soccer fields in impoverished communities. The One World Futbol Project joined FUNDaFIELD to provide highly durable — if not entirely indestructible — soccer balls to complement the fields, Garrett Weiss said.“We’ll be going to about five [community centers] and holding soccer tournaments there, doing clothing exchanges — that kind of thing for the orphanages — as well as giving out AIDS awareness information the entire time and lots of AIDS prevention resources,” said Garrett Weiss, a sophomore majoring in business administration.The USC students on the FUNDaFIELD team will be dribbling one of One World’s soccer balls across Swaziland — a journey that is approximately 130 miles.They will run about 10 to 15 miles each day and deliver the One World soccer balls, jerseys and HIV/AIDS resources at community centers for orphans along the way, Weiss said.FUNDaFIELD plans to construct a field at El Shaddai orphanage, the last stop on their trip.To some, the idea of devoting funds to developing soccer fields and distributing balls might seem to detract resources from solving the severe problems at hand, such as HIV/AIDS, said Tim Jahnigen, inventor of the One World Futbol.However, both FUNDaFIELD and the One World Futbol project acknowledge the significance soccer has on children in poverty, Jahnigen said.“Play and sports reinforce community and conflict resolution and all kinds of things,” Jahnigen said.Jahnigen said he was inspired to create a lasting soccer ball for the One World Futbol Project after watching a documentary about the children in Darfur refugee camps who resorted to playing soccer with balls made of trash. Although many relief efforts have been put in place to help these children, the soccer balls provided don’t last long before they are punctured or otherwise destroyed, he said.“Our vision is to support the work of organizations like FUNDaFIELD,” Jahnigen said. “If you can provide a ball that doesn’t go flat into an environment that is incredibly poor but full of children, it allows the children to play to their hearts’ content instead of until the ball is destroyed.”One World hopes to distribute one million balls to poor communities across the globe within three years, Jahnigen said. So far, around 15,000 balls have been provided through donations and their “buy one, give one” commercial program.“When I had the idea for the ball, it was only meant for children in harsh environments and the idea of making money off of it or making a business out of it was the last thing on my mind. It was just really thinking about children, their needs,” Jahnigen said. “That part of the story has always been the major driving force behind the project.”For SOS, Jahnigen said he hopes to be able to provide between 500 to 1,000 balls for the FUNDaFIELD team to deliver to Swaziland.“We’re all ecstatic, we’re all really looking forward to it,” Sapru said. “We all just can’t wait.”Weiss said he is also enthusiastic for the upcoming SOS trip.“Once you go to Africa, you are able to realize the effects of your work and you’re able to see what else needs to be done,” Weiss said. “When you go, you just get so excited to do more and I’m hoping that’s what comes out of this for everyone else on the trip.”
Kolkata: Nearly a month after Sajal Kanjilal, a passenger, was dragged to his death by a Kolkata Metro train with his hand stuck between its sliding doors, a girl commuter on Tuesday complained that the Metro train she was travelling in, started moving with her shoulder stuck outside the doors.According to a social media post by the victim, Aatreyee Bhattacharya, the incident took place at the Park Street Metro station on Tuesday morning, the very station where the previous accident had occurred. However, the Kolkata Metro Railway authority refuted the charges. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”@RailMinIndia I was going to die today, thanks to you. My shoulders were stuck on the doors, and I felt the metro starting to run. Again? @metrorailwaykol how many more before you take a step,” tweeted Bhattacharya. Minutes after her tweet, the Kolkata Metro Railway authority came into action and started scrutinising the CCTV footage of the Metro station. According to sources, the incident took place at the Park Street Metro station when the rush of passengers was less. The Kolkata Metro Authority claimed that no such incident took place. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway”We have thoroughly scrutinised the CCTV footage of the station. But there was no such incident,” said Kolkata Metro Railway Chief Public Relation Officer Indrani Banerjee. She reiterated that the Metro police personnel have been asked to keep a close eye on passengers trying to force their way into the rakes at the last moment to avoid any untoward incident. This apart, a penalty is also there for passengers who are caught getting into the train forcefully. Hours after complaining on social media, the girl deleted her tweet. The incident reminded of 66-year-old Kanjilal who eventually died after being dragged through the tunnel between Park Street and Maidan Metro stations last month. The passenger count of Kolkata Metro Railway has increased during the first four months of this financial year (2019-20) in comparison to the same period of 2018-19. During this period, from April 1, 2019 to July 31, 2019, the Metro Railway carried 698.49 lakh passengers in comparison to 690.60 lakh passengers carried in the same period of the previous financial year (2018-19), registering an increase of 7.89 lakh commuters.
Long-standing UNICEF UK Ambassador Jemima Khan joined guests Suki Waterhouse, Tinie Tempah, Hugh Grant, Guy Ritchie, Naughty Boy and Emeli Sande at Unicef UK’s star–studded Halloween Ball on Thursday, raising vital funds to help protect Syria’s children from danger.The event raised an incredible £750,000, made possible by generous donations from guests and the UK Government matching all public donations on the night pound for pound.High-profile personalities from the worlds of entertainment, fashion and business turned out at London’s iconic venue, One Mayfair, to support Unicef’s work to help the millions of children in Syria and the surrounding regions that are in danger from disease, malnutrition and violence.Canadian rock legend Bryan Adams opened the evening’s entertainment with his classic hit Run to You, followed by a surprise duet of When You’re Gone with British model and actress Suki Waterhouse. Tinie Tempah closed the show with an electrifying set including Pass Out and Written in the Stars. Guests made their way down The Rabbit Hole to an after party in the venue’s Crypt and a set by DJ Seth Troxler until the early hours of the morning.Unicef UK Ambassador and host of the Halloween Ball, Jemima Khan said, “The number of Syrian children in danger is spiralling out of control. For more than three years, children have borne the brunt of indiscriminate violence. I recently visited Jordan with Unicef to meet Syrian children and families who have fled the conflict. Unicef is working day and night to reach these children with life-saving food, water, medicine, education and support to help them deal with the trauma they have faced. Their work is desperately underfunded. Tonight at the Halloween Ball we hope to raise a huge amount to help give Syrian children their childhood back.”The money raised at the Halloween Ball will help Unicef, the world’s leading children’s organisation, provide children in Syria and refugee children in five neighbouring countries – Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt – with vital aid and support, as part of the largest humanitarian operation in history. The £750,000 raised will be added to the £4.4 million already raised for Syrian children by Unicef UK in 2014 and the emergency appeal will continue until the end of January.Over the next three months the UK Government will match pound for pound all public donations made to Unicef’s work for the children of Syria.International Development Secretary, Justine Greening said, “Nearly four years of fighting have taken a grim toll on the people of Syria and its neighbours. Inevitably, vulnerable children pay the highest price. That is why, for the second year in a row, we will match pound for pound all public donations to Unicef UK’s valuable winter appeal for the children of Syria, helping the generosity of the British public go twice as far. This means children caught up in this conflict receive urgent lifesaving help along with the education and support they need to build a better future for themselves and their country.”Unicef UK Executive Director, David Bull said: “Millions of children in Syria and the surrounding region are in danger. They face losing their homes, their families, even their lives. Unicef is one of the few organisations working inside Syria as well as delivering humanitarian aid across the region. We are so grateful for the overwhelming support and generosity that our guests have shown this evening and to the UK Government for matching pound for pound all donations made tonight and for the next three months. We rely entirely on voluntary donations so the money raised is vital to enable Unicef to continue our life-saving work for Syrian children.”You can help keep Syria’s children safe too. To find out more about Unicef’s work to protect children in danger or to donate, please visit unicef.org.uk/Syria.