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In this issue

You might ask why we chose to go to Dharamshala to cover a film festival as our cover story. It is our experience at this magazine that the interesting things we discover invariably happen to be far from the big cities. The film festival at Dharamshala is a small and intrepid effort which deserves a place on our cultural map. In fact this year it might just not have been held for want of sponsorships. Spirited local organisations and individuals didn’t let it die. There is much concern these days about the lack of jobs in the Indian economy and it is true that there isn’t enough employment for a growing number of young people. An economic slowdown brings long-term problems. If an example of successful action is needed one should turn to Youth4Jobs, an organisation Meera Shenoy founded seven years ago. Her team puts 10 disabled young people into jobs every day. Over seven years 18,500 have found employment. How has this been made possible? Meera has got many things right. The training given to disabled young people is intense and practical; for meaningful transformations. Someone learning to use computers and acquiring life skills begins to immediately feel empowered. Finally, skills are customised to suit jobs available. Employment programmes work when driven by demand. Meera has shown that it won’t do to duck challenges. She has chosen to work with disabled young people in villages. It doesn’t get tougher than that. A national report on India’s justice system is out and we interviewed Shireen Vakil and Valay Singh, who anchored the process in the Tata Trusts. Several organisations came together for the first time to make the report possible. We now have baseline information on the access to justice in all the states of the country. It is a sorry picture that emerges, which was already evident, but will the report lead to improvements and how soon, is the question.

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