Stories written by Stella Paul

Lack of Toilets Keeps Women Out of Politics

Nine months after she was elected head of her village council, 36-year-old Krupa Shanti has overseen some significant changes in this rural outpost of Mallampeta, 570 km away from Hyderabad, capital of the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

India’s ‘Temple Slaves’ Struggle to Break Free

At 32, Nalluri Poshani looks like an old woman. Squatting on the floor amidst piles of tobacco and tree leaves that she expertly transforms into ‘beedis’, a local cigarette, she tells IPS, “I feel dizzy. The tobacco gives me headaches and nausea.”

Indian Girls Break Taboos on Menstrual Hygiene

Fifteen-year-old Nasreen Jehan, a student in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, proudly flaunts a yellow and red beaded bracelet encircling her wrist. This humble accessory, she tells IPS, is her most treasured possession.

And Not a Drop to Waste

As the mercury soars above 40 degrees Celsius, ground water level across India is dropping, making it difficult for farmers to cultivate their fields. This is the season when farmers make a special effort to save their crops from wilting. Failure would see them migrate to the city to search alternative livelihood.

No Choice But To Work Without Pay

The southern Indian city Hyderabad is witnessing a construction boom as it prepares to become the joint capital of two states - Andhra Pradesh and the soon to be formed Telangana. Buildings are coming up in almost every neighbourhood.

India Finds Fishy Ways to Fight Malaria

Thirteen-year-old Sampreeth Monteiro’s neighbours are suddenly taking his advice seriously. “Buy a Guppy fish, it will eat all the mosquito eggs in your house. You will not get malaria again.”

Conflict Fuels Child Labour in India

Early in the morning, 14-year-old Sumari Varda puts on her blue school uniform but heads for the village pond to fetch water. “I miss school. I wish I could go back,” she whispers, scared of being heard by her employer.

Sun Shines on Forest Women

Chintapakka Jambulamma, 34, looks admiringly at a solar dryer. It’s the prized possession of the Advitalli Tribal Women’s Co-operative Society- a collective of women entrepreneurs that she leads.

Women On The Move, And In Danger

It was 8.45 pm, and a 22-year-old woman was looking for a cab to go home after a trip to a city mall in India’s Hyderabad city. A cab arrived, and the unsuspecting computer engineer got in, little knowing she was stepping into a trap.

India’s Gay Voices Crackle to Life

It is Wednesday afternoon in Bangalore, known as India’s tech city for being the hub of information technology companies. In her small four by four-foot studio, Vaishalli Chandra, channel manager of QRadio which is dedicated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, is in conversation with Ankit Bhuptani, a 21-year-old gay youth from Mumbai.

Citizen Journalists Take the Lead on Gender Issues

Twenty-five-year-old Ragae Hammidi of Casa Blanca, Morocco wears two hats. Five days a week, she attends a business school. But on weekends, she is a journalist who goes out on the street with a small camera, shooting videos of people and issues that go untold by professional media outlets.

A Catch for Stressed Ecosystems

The key to sustainable economic growth with an eye on fragile ecosystems is integrated management, FAO experts said here on Wednesday.

Budget Is the Missing Link: FAO Director General

World food production in developing regions soared by up to 40 percent over the past decade, yet nearly a billion people continued to live with chronic hunger. 

Award Spotlights Indian Women Helping Women

Jassiben, a self-employed potter from Nana Shahpur village in western India, loves summer despite the heat waves and frequent power cuts, because summer days always mean great business.

Indian Farmers Flex Collective Muscles

Chelmet Padmamma, 42, of Babanagar village in southern India’s drought-prone Medak district, is a happy woman: the rain has come earlier this year, thrice soaking the three-acre farm that she co-owns with four other women from her village.

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