Stories written by Stella Paul

Living with Leprosy on the Climate-Vulnerable Kiribati Island Atolls

Kurarenga Kaitire lives in Kiribati—one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable nations. Already vulnerable to nature, the 29-year-old mother of five has faced a series of vulnerabilities over the past decade, including facing social stigma and domestic abuse.

Building Successful Social Enterprises

Marie Lisa Dacanay is the president of Manila–based Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia. With 20 years of experience in development management, social entrepreneurship and enterprise development, Dacanay is also a university professor and an acclaimed author with several books on social entrepreneurship in Asia.

Q& A: We Need a Holistic Approach to Eradicate Leprosy

Dr. Maria Francia Laxamana is the Assistant Secretary in the Philippines ministry of health. With nearly two decades of  work both as a senior government official and also as an expert in several non-government organisations, Laxamana has deep insight into the issue of leprosy in this Southeast Asian nation and the challenges faced by those who are affected by the disease.

A Leprosy-free Philippines by 2020?

Dr Maria Francia Laxamana, assistant secretary of health in the Department of Health, Philippines outlines her recommendations for a leprosy country by 2020.

First Asian Leprosy Assembly Calls for Greater Social Inclusion for the Affected

Growing up in Kathmandu, Nepal, Amar Bahadur Timalsina wasn’t allowed to attend school as a young boy because he was affected by leprosy. But decades later, after treatment and being able to re-integrate into his community, the boy who was once denied an education is now inspiringly the principal of a school of 400 students.

Turning Mangrove Trees into Sustainable Assets for Myanmar

In 2015, Worldview International Foundation began a mangrove restoration project, planting saplings of the trees on about 121 hectares of land in Myanmar’s Ayyerwady region.

Sprouting Mangroves Restore Hopes in Coastal Myanmar

Htay Aung is having a moment. The 63-year-old retired professor of Marine Science sits at the foot of a Buddha statue atop a hill on Shwe Thaung Yan sub township, in Myanmar's Ayyerwady region, almost in meditation. Below him, a vast thicket of mangrove glistens in the gold of a setting sun. For Aung, this stretch of mangroves—known as the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park—is a symbol of joy, hope and all things good.

Amidst Rising Hunger, BCFN Forum to Promote Food Sustainability

As 2018 nears its end, the world faces a new wave of food insecurity with the level of hunger being on the rise globally. A record 821 million people are facing chronic food deprivation – a sharp rise from 804 million figure in 2016 - said a report published by the UNFAO earlier this year. Along with rising hunger, food security has declined across Africa and South America while undernourishment is on the rise again in Asia, said the report which attributed the changing scenario to climate-related changes, adverse economic conditions and conflict. With this alarming picture as the backdrop, the 9th Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) International Forum on Food and Nutrition in Milan is all set to take off on November 27.

Q&A: Ready to Help India Access Climate Finance for a Greener Economy

Even in remote and faraway places such as Andamans and Nicobar and Lakshadweep, islands off the coast of India, the government is keen to provide electricity across the entire country.

Impunity and Harsh Laws Trouble Journalists in South Asia as Protesters March on the U.N. For Release of Bangladeshi Journalist

It has been six and half years since the killing of Bangladeshi journalists Meherun Runi and Sagar Sarwar in Dhaka. Runi, a senior reporter from the private TV channel ATN Bangla, and her husband Sarwar, news editor from Maasranga TV, were hacked to death at their home on Feb. 11, 2012.

India Uses Tech to Power its New Battle Against Malnutrition

Kanaklata Raula from Kaptipada village in India’s Mayurbhanj District is on duty 24x7. The 52-year-old community health worker from Odisha state rides a bicycle for hours each day, visiting community members who need nutrition and reproductive healthcare.

How the Yanadi, an Oppressed Indigenous People in India, are Reclaiming Their Rights One Village At a Time

Under the blazing midday sun, a tractor moves slowly along a dirt trail in Nacharwari Pallem, a village of the Yanadi indigenous people located some three hours from Chennai city in South India. Atop the tractor, women of the village – 36 in all – sit expectantly, ignoring the heat. Squeals of excitement fill the air as the tractor slowly halts near a stretch of rice fields.  

Fear and Uncertainty Grip Rohingya Women in India

In the semi-lit makeshift tent covered with strips of cardboard, five women sit in a huddle. As their young children, covered in specks of mud and soot, move around noisily, the women try to hush them down. Hollow-eyed and visibly malnourished, all the women also appear afraid.

Education, Not Condemnation, Say Women Leaders Who Survived Violence

Sally Mboumien remembers the day she pressed a steaming hot stone against her chest. In Bawock, the rural community of western Cameroon where she grew up, young girls often had their young, sprouting breasts flattened with a hot iron or a hammer or spatulas that had been heated over burning coals.

Combating Climate Change? Combat Land Degradation, Says UNCCD Chief

Land restoration is not a “glamorous subject even when you give all the numbers,” admits Monique Barbut, the Executive Secretary of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification UNCCD). But she also stresses that by 2050, the world population will reach 10 billion. To feed that extra 2.4 billion, current food production would need to be increased by 75 percent.

At Climate Summit, Two Global Energy Alliances Emerge

As the summit of governments known as COP23 reached its conclusion in Bonn, Germany this week, two clear alliances have emerged in the global energy landscape.

On Gender Day at Climate Meet, Some Progress, Many Hurdles

“Five years ago, when we first started talking about including gender in the negotiations, the parties asked us, ‘Why gender?’ Today, they are asking, ‘How do we include gender?’ That’s the progress we have seen since Doha,” said Kalyani Raj.

Adolescent Health Congress Skirts Issue of Abuse, Trafficking

Twenty-year-old Gogontlejang Phaladi of Mahalapye, Botswana is grateful she was never sent to a so-called “hyena” like scores of girls in neighboring Malawi were.

At Key Finance Meet, Mongolia Seeks Path to a Greener Economy

Rapid growth of a coal-fired economy often leads to environmental degradation, and Mongolia is a case in point.

Digitizing Family Planning: The Way of the Future

Online shopping may have its pros and cons, but when it comes to buying products that have an invisible morality tag, it’s the safest possible option, believes Franklin Paul.

For India’s Urban Marginalized, Reproductive Healthcare Still a Distant Dream

In a semi-lit room of a southern Chennai neighborhood, a group of women sit in a circle around a table surrounded by large cardboard boxes of "Nirodh" – India’s most popular condom.

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