Happy Happings around the world – by Gil Pennant

India to set up a Happiness Department

Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government in India is planning to set up a ‘Happiness Department’ under its Relief and Rehabilitation department. The state government has decided to set up a seven-member expert committee; in response to the United Nation’ World Happiness Report 2017 in which India was ranked 122 among 155 nations.

The UN, every year, comes out with a World Happiness Report which rates countries on six parameters to decide how happy the residents of that country are . report, these parameters include GDP per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity as measured by recent donations in society.

Apart from the aforementioned parameters, there are two other factors – social support (as measured by having someone to count on in times of trouble) and trust (measured by a perceived absence of corruption in government and business). Maharashtra government believes that it needs to focus on the last two factors. Source: Indian Express.

Happiness Café – a safe space for women in Yemen

Salma has defied the odds. She is just 24 years old and runs a successful business in Yemen – a nation dominated by men where independence is a goal far too few women are able to attain. Salma shares how her progressive upbringing and a little training from CARE have helped her break cultural boundaries.

“In my country, women are traditionally expected to be guided by a male figure – either their father, brother or husband… We were the exception.

“My father encouraged my sister and me to always pursue our goals and challenge existing biases in our society.

“As a schoolgirl, I was interested in being a part of social and youth activities and I received my father’s full support. I joined university and successfully graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer sciences.”

Salma quickly found work in her field, but by 2015, Yemen’s economy had destabilised to the point where many companies, including the one employing Salma, were forced to close.

“I started seeking new options. It is very difficult to get employment in Yemen these days and I felt that it would be better to start my own business. I also wanted to do something that would not only provide me with a stable income but would also define me and be in line with my beliefs.

“I thought of opening a coffee shop for women in the local market. I had observed that when women go shopping they would have a hard time finding a decent place to rest, get refreshed or even use a clean rest room. An affordable coffee shop in the middle of the market would solve this problem. I applied for a training opportunity with CARE’s economic empowerment project as a first step in learning how to start my business. I was very fortunate to be accepted and to receive the start-up loan for my business.”

Salma’s coffee shop, which she named Happiness Café, is now thriving, and she has a daily income to help support her family. It has also fulfilled her hopes of creating a safe, supportive environment for women to meet. Many women visit to socialise there, and she even hosts meetings for women entrepreneurs where they can share ideas and learn from other inspiring women.

“I am so happy that I have gotten this opportunity, and that I am now able to contribute to my community.” Source: CARE Australia

For more information on Happiness go to: www.feelingvg.com