What is India Helps?
India Helps is a grassroots organisation of like-minded citizens, formed in the aftermath of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.
Who Are We?
Kiran Manral, (Media consultant, blogger and entrepreneur) conceived the idea of a direct-help effort that would put donors in touch with victims and their families. Several bloggers and non-bloggers from Mumbai joined into pledge their support and resources.
Our Mumbai-based core team consists of professionals (lawyers, architects, educators, entrepreneurs, market researchers, corporate communicators) and homemakers. Today, we have chapters in Pune, Kolkata, New Delhi and Chennai and coordinators on the US East and West Coast and London.
The events of November 26, 2008 served as a catalyst to assemble us as a grassroots, hands-on citizens' action force of volunteers. What binds us as a team is our desire to directly help fellow Indians in need.
What Do We Do?
Our priority: to help the families of the victims of the 26/11 terror attacks get functional again.
Along with passing on cheques from concerned donors directly to the families, we hand-hold the families, where possible, providing resources (rehabilitative care, education, employment opportunities/contacts, medical aid) and immediate funding (rent and groceries, in cases of loss of breadwinner's life) till they find their bearings again. We forward high priority cases to the Taj Public Welfare Trust for additional aid.
How do we do it? >
We approach families directly as we learn about them from police contact lists, the media and or even information passed on by well-wishers.
The response to our efforts has been heartening. Victims' families have mostly welcomed us graciously and many people from around the world contacted us wishing to specifically contribute to the families of those who have been affected by the current or earlier man-made tragedies.
As the first point of contact for families affected by the tragedy we set up an initial meeting and post a Needs Assessment Report on the India Helps blog.
Donors (individuals, families, philanthropists and corporates) can then choose a case they wish to assist and contact us or the family directly.
Every member of India Helps has alternate sources of income and our work is entirely voluntary and free of charge. All monies and material goods received are channeled directly to the intended recipients and administrative costs are borne by the team members themselves. In the event that a particular family's need is urgent in nature, we pitch in to contribute toward expenses such as monthly groceries, doctor's fees and educational aid.
How can you help? >
* You can join India Helps as a volunteer, being part of our hands-on effort at helping affected families. Your time and energy are always welcome.
* You can provide financial aid, employment opportunities, sponsorship of children's education, monthly groceries and rent until alternative means of income are worked out, assistance with compensation paperwork or the commitment to adopt a destitute family until it can function independently.
* You can provide voluntary professional expertise, such as therapy for post-trauma counselling, legal and medical aid, occupational training, contacts with non-profit and governmental organisations etc.
* You can spread the word about India Helps and be a "connector" who puts interested donors in touch with our team.
Remember, the only qualification you need is the desire to help.