COVID-19 widens digital divide, but cuts e-waste

By Neena Bhandari

Sydney, 15.06.2021 (SciDev.Net): Consumption of electronic and electrical equipment at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic fell in low- and middle-income countries by almost a third, according to a UN report, despite a growing need to be connected with the world in lockdown.

While the reduction means that millions of tonnes of potential e-waste has been saved, it also highlights a deepening of the north-south digital divide, said the report, published 9 June by the UN University’s (UNU) Sustainable Cycles Programme (SCYCLE) and UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

The report analysed Electric and Electronic Equipment consumption during the first three quarters of 2020 as compared to the “business as usual” scenario before the pandemic and used it to estimate future e-waste. Consumption of electronic and electrical equipment at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic fell in low- and middle-income countries by almost a third, according to a UN report, despite a growing need to be connected with the world in lockdown.

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Why are those on the NDIS charged more?

By Neena Bhandari

Sydney, 27.05.21 (Hireup): When Monique Power approached a local private paediatric physiotherapy practice and told them that her daughter, who was born with a rare and sporadic disability, was a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant, they increased their standard consultation fee by $100. When she queried the price gap, the provider couldn’t give any reasonable justification apart from saying, “We thought that is what we were meant to be charging”.

“Their lack of knowledge, moral compass and sheer ignorance of the nuances of the NDIS is unfortunately not an isolated occurrence”, says Power, Founder of RippleAbility, which helps parents and carers to access and optimise their NDIS Plans.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) provides funding to NDIS participants to purchase a range of reasonable and necessary supports to increase independence, and social and economic participation. This funding is provided through individual participant budgets and the amount NDIA pays for these supports is set in the NDIS Price Guide, which is updated annually on 1st July.

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© Copyright Neena Bhandari. All rights reserved. Republication, copying or using information from neenabhandari.com content is expressly prohibited without the permission of the writer and the media outlet syndicating or publishing the article.

Why rehabilitation is as vital as rescue for child trafficking survivors

By Neena Bhandari

Sydney, 29.03.2021 (IPS): Twelve-year-old Babloo’s (Name changed) parents, who worked as daily wage agricultural labourers in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, were finding it difficult to feed their family of six. They had recently lost their eldest son to sudden illness, when a distant relative convinced them to send Babloo with him to work in a city. He promised to pay Rs 5000 (US$70) a month, a significant amount for the impoverished family.

The relative took Babloo and his 14-year-old cousin from the village and handed them to a trafficker, who took them by rail to Jaipur, capital of the western Indian state of Rajasthan, nearly 1200 kilometre away from their home.

“We were locked in a small room. The windows were sealed and there was no natural light. There were 10 other children already there. We were made to grind glass stones and then stick the stone embellishments and beads on lac bangles from 6am till midnight everyday”, Babloo tells IPS via Zoom from his village in Nawada district in southern Bihar.

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