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Indian Designer Sanjana Paramahans creates emergency shelter for refugees

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Sanjana Paramahans
Sanjana Paramahans

A full-scale prototype of Sanjana Paramahans refugee shelter.

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Indian designer Sanjana Paramhans has developed an emergency shelter for refugees that can be assembled in less than an hour, and provide housing to those using it for months at a time.

Paramhans, who graduated from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn with a degree in interior designing, created the prototype while working on her undergrad thesis last year.

The structure of the shelter is made from fiberglass-reinforced gypsum, which contributes greatly to it being ultra-lightweight, while at the same time not compromising its structural reliability. It can also be easily packaged and shipped. Paramhans, who was born in Lucknow, India, said her design offers “a sanctuary for those who are temporarily displaced.”

“It is an emergency shelter, for refugees to settle in before the legalities take place,” she said.“Although it is intended to last a few days, sometimes the refugee settlement processes can take months, leaving the refugees in extremely temporary dwellings. My idea was to design a shelter that will provide comfort to refugees while they wait for permanent resettlement.”

The shelter’s bed can also be converted into a chair, and it also has storage space, too. “To enforce permanency, I tried to pay attention to privacy, not only for the inhabitants, but also their goods,” she said.

Paramhans works at the UK-based Smallbone of Devizes, a firm that specializes in providing high-end interior decorating. She said she was inspired after being “deeply affected by the situation and conditions of the refugees” and “really wanted to do something in my power” to help them out.

“I first thought of donating money, but I felt like I wanted to do more than that,” she said. “I wanted to use my knowledge and skills to design a solution that would be more permanent than simply donating money.”

She said the structure can be constructed in less than an hour, and without the aid of power tools. Asked whether she intends to patent the invention, Paramahans said she hadn’t thought about it, “But I think it is the direction I want to head in, and seems like the next step.”

“I would love to collaborate with an NGO and push this design forward, and try to reach it out to as many people in need as possible,” she said.

Deborah Scheniderman, Paramahans’ thesis adviser, said her student’s emergency shelter is an example for how design can be used as “an enabler of social change.”

“I think what is so great about this initiative is that Sanjana has shown us that, Innovation and Design can be used to solve some of the most trivial as well as life and death problems of the world,” Scheniderman, a professor of Interior Design in the School of Design at Pratt Institute, said via email. “Design stimulates people to behave a function a certain way — it can condition and control their actions and reactions. Design is not just pretty lights and wallpapers, it is an enabler of social change.”

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Missing Hindu woman found mutilated in Pakistan

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The mutilated body of a Hindu woman was found in a field in southeastern Pakistan. Police say 40 year old Daya Bheel was murdered in the latest suspected attack against minorities in the Muslim-majority country. Authorities say they have arrested some suspects but have not determined a motive.

The Khosla family has donated nearly 2 million dollars to the Nudge Institute to help fight poverty. The philanthropists have donated millions of dollars for many other causes.

And disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-fried pleaded not guilty to eight different counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy before a U.S. federal court in the Southern District of New York. U.S. prosecutors allege that under Bankman-Fried’s direction, FTX, once considered one of the largest and most-trusted cryptocurrency exchanges, transferred billions in customer assets to his trading firm, Alameda Research. If convicted of these charges, Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Christmas crash kills Indian American toddler

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Tragic news out of Nevada. Authorities say an Indian American toddler has died in a devastating Christmas day car crash and his mother is in critical condition fighting for her life. Authorities say the accident happened on a busy Las Vegas boulevard and they were returning home from a trip in California.

Anil Beephan is now the first Indian American Republican ever to be elected to the New York State Assembly in Albany. So far only Indian American Democrats have been elected to the state legislature. Beephan will also become the first minority to represent Dutchess County and at 29 years old, he’s the youngest GOP rep in the state legislature. He’s currently in the tech industry and has also worked as a volunteer firefighter.

Vice President Kamala Harris has named Indian American Rajeev Badyal to a key national advisory group, responsible for strategy and recommendations to improve and maintain space policy. Badyal already works for Amazon, helping launch satellites into orbit. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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EXCLUSIVE: Warriors host first-ever Bhangra Night

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The Golden State Warriors first-ever Bhangra Night made its debut during the Warriors-Jazz game at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The Warriors say it’s a chance for the team to connect with the Bay Area’s rapidly growing South Asian community and fan base. Only Diya TV was on hand to capture the festivities. This change from the annual Bollywood night was supposed to take place in 2020 but was postponed because of the pandemic.

A federal jury in San Francisco has convicted Sivannarayana Barama of insider trading. Authorities say he used the quarterly financial performance of Palo Alto Networks before that information was released to the public and then traded in that company’s stock while that information was still confidential. Barama worked in IT for several Silicon Valley companies.

U.S. Border Patrol caught more than 4000 Indians illegally crossing the Mexico border in October and November. That’s more than double compared to the same time frame last year. An Indian man recently died climbing a border wall in Texas. The Biden administration is struggling to contain a surge of illegal immigration at the southern border.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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