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Aliya Bashir, GPJ India
Ever since a brutal rape and murder galvanized public outrage in 2012, women of New Delhi have been learning to defend themselves. Most girls and women have long felt vulnerable to sexual assault in the city, according to a survey conducted before the notorious assault. Government agencies and women’s organizations encourage women to learn to defend themselves – and they call upon men to take a stand against sexual aggression.
Nakinti Nofuru, GPJ Cameroon
Felicitas Ntang, one of the rare Cameroonian women who took up arms against the French, would like the government to honor her for the four years she battled for independence. Once feared for her association with a militia portrayed as brutal, Ntang wants a medal for her sacrifices. Still active in politics, Ntang urges Francophone and Anglophone Cameroonians to live in peace.
Esther Nsapu, GPJ Democratic Republic of Congo
In North Kivu, a conflict zone with limited infrastructure, most households have no access to electricity. Because many residents need cellphones to stay in touch with family and work, they rely on generator-powered shops that charge cellphones and other digital devices. While the nation’s power company plans to improve service to the region, entrepreneurs say the need for their powering services is far more consistent than today’s electrical supply.
Ivonne Jeannot Laens, GPJ Argentina
Unable to house their pets, and often unaware of the suffering they cause, Argentine households strained by runaway inflation have abandoned thousands of dogs to roam the streets and reproduce. To reduce the stray population and alleviate the animals’ suffering, more than 40 (CQ) neighborhood organizations in Buenos Aires raise funds to feed and care for the animals. While many citizens call for a systematic spaying and neutering program, professionals and activists say only wholesale cultural change will get to the root of the problem.
Kumala Wijeratne, GPJ Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan Muslims are having difficulty finding women to prepare the bodies of girls and women for burial. Fearful of touching bodies and wary of being perceived as mercenary, Muslim women have increasingly avoided the task. Offsetting that trend, a few devout women provide the service to their community and teach the practice to students and the families they serve.
Temitayo Olofinlua, GPJ Nigeria
Citizens are having trouble getting newly introduced permanent voter cards in time to vote in the general election set for March and April 2015. With polling delayed by armed conflict in northeastern Nigeria, the country’s independent electoral commission is working overtime to distribute the cards to as many registered voters as possible. Nonetheless, as the new election dates approach, many residents in Nigeria’s third-largest city have yet to receive their cards, which are designed to prevent voter fraud.
Aliya Bashir, GPJ India
Online entrepreneurs are introducing e-commerce to traditional artisans of the Kashmir region. By marketing handmade products, websites help artisans enter the global market and obtain name recognition and fair compensation. At the same time, young Kashmiri entrepreneurs are establishing online commerce as a viable model for local startups.
Brenda Leticia Saloj, GPJ Guatemala
Spiritual guides, the clergy of Mayan culture, have been persecuted in Guatemala since the Spanish conquest, and most especially during the internal conflict that raged in the country in the late 20th century. Intercessors of Ajaw, the Mayan creator-god, they perform rituals, give astrological readings and offer guidance in making life decisions. Despite opposition, they are determined to hand their cultural legacy to the next generation.
Kalpana Khanal, GPJ Nepal
Nepalese wage earners formed cooperative societies to earn interest on their savings and obtain loans for homes, education and small enterprises. In recent years, officials of some of these cooperatives have committed investment blunders and crimes that cost some depositors their life savings. More than 150 cooperatives are verging on bankruptcy, putting at risk more than 10 billion rupees ($100 million) belonging to some 13,000 members.
Nakinti Nofuru, GPJ Cameroon
Locked out of bank loans by stringent conditions, small-scale traders in Cameroon are growing their businesses with loans funneled by their unions from nongovernmental organizations. These loan programs free traders from having to buy produce on credit and repay their wholesalers the same day. One traders union has acquired 8 million francs ($14,000) in loans since 2012.