Sunday, 11 September 2005

Mousetrap - 18

Today, I’m in the mood to give you a different kind of site from the usual. All these sites seek to make a difference in some way. Three are home-grown. The fourth should be. And the fifth was created in that borderless place, the web.

Where good guys don’t finish last
Good News India
To go by the daily dose of disaster, scandal, crime, page three banality and political ludicrousness, it’s easy to forget that good things happen too. This site wants to remind you of that. “India is a million new initiatives now,” it says, and the site brings them to you. Stories of initiatives that strive to make a difference – and succeed! – of individuals for whom “a better India” isn’t a phrase they last used in school. They verify each story, and give you follow-up information. The site has also followed the example of the stories it features: it has given birth to a foundation of its own.

The buck starts here
Project Why “Rupee a day” festival
It’s less than you paid for this paper. And that’s what Project Why (a Delhi-based NGO that works with deprived children, mainly in education) would like you to consider donating to support their efforts. And now, with the start of our long festival season, they’re trying to reach more people. They’re looking for ideas, so head over if you have any. And yes, they could also use that rupee a day. (Project Why’s founder also runs a blog:

Start them young
CRY buddies
Run by the well-known NGO that works for deprived Indian children, CRY (Child Relief and You), CRY Buddies is targeted at more privileged kids. It features large doses of games and fun stuff, while gently educating its users on the situation with children less fortunate and giving them ways to participate in CRY’s mission. Point the kids this way, folks. You won’t be doing just them a good turn.

Don’t read this
Forbidden Library
Take a look at the date on top of this page. It’s 2005, yes? You wouldn’t think it from the way, even now, we have self-appointed custodians of culture that exists only in their narrow minds wanting to decide for us what we shouldn’t wear (hide those legs, girls), whether we can send roses on February 14th, and yes, what we shouldn’t read. This site has neatly sorted lists of books that have been banned or challenged over the years, telling you why they were considered bad for the innocent public. A fascinating and scary view of narrow minds through the ages.

Many hands
Katrina Help - and
[Disclosure: I’m involved with these sites.] Come visit, and see how a group of volunteers are collaborate across the globe, to run an inspiring online effort using multiple technologies to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. If you’re comfortable with wikis and blogs, you might even be able to join in.

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to for past columns, and to comment, or mail

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 11th September 2005.

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