Thursday, May 13, 2010


Mseeds bookmarks
Originally uploaded by dalbhat
Some time ago, I met a woman from the States who has co-founded the organization Destiny Reflection here in Kolkata. This organization seeks to empower young women who have been trafficked in the sex trade or who are at risk of becoming so.

Seeing this as an important issue, especially in the porous border regions where Nepal, Bangladesh and West Bengal borders meet, Mustard Seeds is happy to give support to this group in the form of product development and marketing. Whenever Mustard Seeds comes across a vocational skills unit with goals and projects that echo our own, we try to identify and develop at least one product that we can produce and sell for them. Through this product, we can tell the story of the women who make these and create a network of people who want to learn more.  Placing orders with the organization is one of the best ways of showing our support and creating meaningful work.

I am delighted to announce that Destiny Reflection now has an official website so please take some time out to learn more about this small, but quickly expanding organization that is working hard to address the issues of exploitation and poverty, especially amongst women.

If you wish to show your support with the purchase of bookmarks, please be in touch by email. Thank you to Susie McNaughton and Neil Haran for offering to host a small coffee morning fundraiser with Mustard Seeds in Ennis, Ireland this summer.  These and other products by the groups we network with in Kolkata will be on display!  Also, please let us know if there is a cooperative or bookshop that might be interested in selling these.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Earth Day Design Contest: 2010 Winner

Mustard Seeds would like to thank ALL of those who participated in this year's eco-design contest. The task this year was to design a flag for Mother Earth. Our participants were from various schools both in and out of Kolkata!

The design shown here is one of the winners for design and artwork, by Akash M-B, age 11. We also acknowledge others whose designs really wowed us: Rahul C., age 9, for his original design which incorporated real leaves; Elizabeth R, age 9 for her friendly reminder to HELP Mother Earth; and Aman, age 8 who created a dramatic and colorful image of a peace sign protecting the planet. We have some nice eco-prizes for those who won and certificates for everyone who entered. These will be distributed next week.

We chose this flag because the artist was careful to describe each element in the design:
"In the flag, the blue represents water, the green represents trees and forests, and the white represents snow. I've drawn some endangered species in the places where they live. I hope you like it" His work has a bold design, a heartfelt message about an issue that concerns him, endangered species, and a well planned, succinct explanation of his work. We do like it – and would be proud to fly this flag high!

The winner for the written part of our contest is Anuja B, age 9, who took out some time to gather her thoughts on an issue she cares about, water. She shows how she tries to protect the planet:

Water is a very important natural resource. If we do not conserve it, we WILL run out of this precious resource sooner or later. Whenever I brush my teeth, I think about the Earth – and turn the tap off. You may think that we have a lot of water left but you are wrong. You might not see it, but when you do a simple thing like turning a tap off you are saving a lot of water. I hope this essay inspired you and now you will also join the quest to save Mother Earth!
- Anuja B, age 9


All the work that came in is beautiful and is now adorning the walls of Mustard Seeds Library so please come have a look if you are in the area. Here are some more of the nice writings that our Earthinkers sent in. We thank them for taking the time to spend a moment thinking about this planet home we all share:

Plant Trees
I am worried that the trees are finishin on the Earth. I am worried about the Earth getting drowned in water. If global warming happens fast all the world will melt and become water covering the land. Where will we live? We should plant more trees to cool the Earth. Stop cutting trees.
-Viraj, age10

The environment around us is changing a lot. There are many things we should be concerned about, but I am mostly concerned about the pollution. This is not an issue in many other countries or places but I can see that it is in Calcutta. Everywhere I go, I see some trash around me. If this keeps on going, soon Calcutta will have trash covering the full roads! Then what will we do? There are many ways to stop this from happening. One is that more trash cans can be put in places. That way people will throw their trash in the bins and not litter the roads. The government could also make a law stating that anyone who is caught littering will have to pay a fine. The first way will probably be more effective since there are so many people in Calcutta! These were just two of the many ways we could stop having trash everywhere we go. Just keep in mind that this is just one problem and that there are many more!
-Avantika, age 12