Kolkata: Twenty-five women who running puja committees have come under one umbrella to appeal to PrimeMinister Narendra Modi for giving national status to the Red Road Carnival in Kolkata where community puja organisers parade with the Durga idols and their entourage while a sea of people, including foreigners turn up to witness the event. “We have already been able to bring in 25 puja committees managed by women under one umbrella. The main purpose is to provide a platform for the women to showcase their skills in various activities. One of our primary duty will be to urge the Prime Minister to give national status to the Red Road Carnival. The committee will work not only during Puja but through out the year,” said Minister of state for Health Chandrima Bhattacharjee, who is the president of Hindustan Club Durga Puja Committee in Gariahat. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaBhattacharjee on Monday held a meeting with 25 puja committees run by women in the city and announced that the organisation named ‘Banglar Dugga’ will work to ensure that women associated with Durga puja like women priests, artisans or dhakis get their due recognition. “We will organize different fairs across the state so that the women get a platform to showcase their skill and creativity in various fields. They will also be felicitated for their excellence in these fields. This is just the beginning and we will bring in more and more women run puja committees across the state under this apolitical forum,” Bhattacharjee said. The committee for Banglar Dugga is expected to be constituted in the next meeting where more puja committees will join. Bhattacharjee also lashed out at the BJP (without naming the party). “The lotus which is the symbol of a particular party is an integral part of Durga Puja. The party is politicising the use of the flower. We believe that puja should be observed following rituals and there should be no politics,” she said.
A broadcaster in his first year as a play-by-play announcer for the Humboldt Broncos will be the first of 16 victims of last Friday’s bus crash to be laid to rest.The funeral for Tyler Bieber, 29, will be held Thursday at the Elgar Petersen Arena where the Broncos played their home games.Bieber worked for radio station CHBO and was with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team as it headed to playoff game in Nipawin when bus collided with a semi-trailer at a rural intersection north of Tisdale.Of the 29 people on board 16 have died, including Bieber, who also coached high school football and basketball.Thirteen were injured and the truck driver wasn’t hurt.Team president Kevin Garinger said this is a time when everyone needs to pull together.“You can’t undo anything. We need to immediately work toward supporting each other,” he said.“People are hurting and that’s what we need to direct our energy toward.”Two other funerals are scheduled for Friday.Jacob Leicht, a left-winger, will have his service in Humboldt. Adam Herold, who would have turned 17 on Thursday, will have his funeral in his hometown of Montmartre.Funeral details for the rest of the victims will be posted here as they become available.Players on the Broncos were from communities across Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba.Related contentTrainer for Humboldt Broncos dies after crash; death toll now at 16Cherry pays further tribute to Humboldt Broncos, calls for fundraising supportTTC employees to participate in Jersey Day for Humboldt
WINNIPEG – When Kevin Chief finished his university degree, he wasn’t sure how to land his first real job.The vice-president of the Business Council of Manitoba and former NDP cabinet minister, who grew up in Winnipeg’s North End neighbourhood, saw the barriers many of his Indigenous friends faced.Chief’s basketball skills got him through university, but he didn’t have connections that could get him hired. When he walked through the doors of the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resources Development, everything changed.The centre connected Chief to an employment counsellor, prepared him for interviews and helped him build a resume.“I wasn’t going to do very good in a job interview because I hadn’t done any,” Chief said.Most importantly, Chief said he finally had the confidence to pursue his dreams.A new report looking at employment and skills outcomes in Canada by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development shows Indigenous people still face numerous barriers. But that changes when there are Indigenous-led programs like the one that opened doors for Chief.The report found Indigenous people are more likely to be in lower paying jobs such as teaching, retail or social work. While more than 25 per cent of the Indigenous labour force work in sales and service occupations, they are significantly under-represented in management, business and finance.Across Canada, the unemployment rate of Indigenous people is well above non-Indigenous people. The report said gaps in labour market participation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people is particularly high in Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.Contributing factors include lower graduation rates, less access to skills training, as well as insecure childcare and housing. But even when Indigenous and non-Indigenous people have the same level of education, the report said they do not experience the same success.Marileen Bartlett, executive director of the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resources Development, said investing in Indigenous people is investing in the future.An estimated 350,000 Indigenous youth will turn 15 between 2016 and 2026 — something the OECD called an unprecedented opportunity to fill crucial labour shortages in Canada.The Manitoba employment centre has grown and changed a lot since it began in 1974 depending on what the job market and their clients need, Bartlett said. Sometimes a client needs a bit more education and training. Other times, they may have a good job opportunity but can’t get childcare. Many clients need both.“We are always looking out at the workforce to see where we can get our people decent jobs and a living wage,” she said.“If we want to have that Indigenous middle class, we have to help people to continue to move up the ladder in their education and training so they continue to have better opportunities for themselves.”The report highlighted the Manitoba centre and three other Indigenous-run centres across Canada, stressing the importance of having staff who are Indigenous.“This is critical in building trust with potential Indigenous job seekers, who often seek life skills coaching and counselling as well as other pre-employment supports to ensure that they can remain in employment once they have successfully found a job,” the report said.The OECD made eight recommendations for the federal government including providing more autonomy to Indigenous communities to manage their labour market and supporting targeted work-experience programs.Ottawa is currently developing a new Indigenous skills and employment training program for next April which it has promised will get more than $400 million per year to close employment gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.Josh Bueckert, a federal government spokesman, said it is consistent with the OECD recommendations and was developed with Indigenous partners.Bartlett said she is optimistic about the government’s new program, especially since it will allow the Manitoba centre to work with younger children. It also appears to remove some red tape.She also hopes it will expand the centre’s flexibility to build partnerships with the local business community.It’s been a long time since Chief first walked through the centre’s doors, but now he connects some of Manitoba’s top employers with the organization that helped him start his career.“If you have the youngest and fastest growing demographic, there is no question we should have the fastest growing middle class here,” he said.“You need good public policy. You need good programs and services and you need really good partnerships with the private sector.”