Thursday, February 26, 2009

This note from Shyaam

Dear all,
This note should have come much earlier. Sorry for the delay. Spoke to Purnima a couple of days back. Aahana is better but she is physically weak and so the doctors' aim apparently is to ensure she is fit so that the treatment on her is effective. Due to her weak physical condition, the treatment on her seems to be of little help.
 Also, I have been trying to go and visit Aahana but I'v still not been able to do it. Will update after I go one of these days.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A big thank you... the Taj Public Welfare Trust.
They have taken on the onus of helping out the following cases recommended by us.
The following are the details of the help being proferred
Karuna Waghela: Reimbursement of education expenses of Rs 2500 per annum per child. And sustenance support of Rs 5,000 per month for six months.
Balaji Kharatmal: Sustenance of Rs 5000 per month for six months. Reimbursement of medical expenses. Counselling on finance management.
Momina Khatoon: Sustenance of Rs 5000 per month for six months, reimbursement of education expenses of Rs 2500 per child per annum.
Malape family: Sustenance support of Rs 5000 per month for six months.
Sunita Yadav: Sustenance support of Rs 5000 per month for six months and reimbursement of medical expenses.
Murtaja Ansari's mother: Sustenance of Rs 5000 to given to her for a period of one year.

Mr Sanker, Thank you so much from the entire India Helps team!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thank you...

Manjari, for the wheelchair money for Ahana. The cheque will be passed on to her grandmom.

Dr Punwani for the biscuits and pens and toys for the Street School children. You brightened up their day.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

From the Airtel Kolkata Marathon

Organised by Airtel in Kolkata on 22nd Feb. I ran in the Fun Run (4.2 km) around the Maidan. It was great fun. Dana Roy (a friend) and I ran, partly walked, and wore the IH logos. Next time I know what kind of publicity we can do. This time I hadn't a clue and it was a good thing we stuck to logos and didn't try pamphlets. Next time we'll do a banner.

Sunayana Roy

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Any left over and still valid medicines?

I received this as a forward today:
Have you ever realised that the leftover medicines in your house can actually give a new lease of life to those who die for want of medicines or because they can't afford to purchase medicines.

Patients do not take the medicines prescribed for them for a variety of different reasons. Sometimes people are discharged from hospital with a bag of medicines to take home just in case they suffer certain symptoms - for example they may be given some extra strong painkillers in case they suffer severe pain after an operation.

Sometimes a medicine doesnt suit the patient and they go back to their doctor to get something different. Sometimes the patient gets better and doesn't need the medicine after all, and sometimes sadly the patient dies.

These unused medicines are literally life-savers to people in desperately poor parts of India who would otherwise be unable to afford them , or even in some cases may be treated at a health care centre that simply cannot obtain them. is a web based platform which aims to bring individuals and organisations who wish to donate unused medicines and Organisations / NGO's who need medicines together.

In Service

Khushroo Poacha

Friday, February 20, 2009

Update on pavement school project

Good news. Priyanka and I had a final meeting with Mr Raut, Mr Nadar and Mr Dighe who run the pavement school opposite Vibgyor High (Link Rd, Goregaon)this morning. We are officially tying up with them to co-run this current school (staff strength 3, student strength currently 51 and growing) as well as set up a second school a signal away (Goregaon Bangur Nagar signal). The targetted date for setting up this school is March 15.

Where we come in:

Funds: Estimated cost of running the school is Rs 10 to 15000 per month. Inclusive of salaries of three teachers and books/stationery and supplies. Individuals who could chip in with essentials like chattais, blackboard (rollable for storage purpose) stationery and who would be willing to sponsor basic text books/pencils/notebooks/ slates/ chalks etc are welcome to contact us.

Snacks: We also need committed souls who will provide snacks to the children on a predetermined day per week to incentivise attendance once the new school is up and running.

Teachers: The current school needs one more teacher as the strength of the students is growing and no child is turned away. We need to recruit three more teachers for the second school. Retired Municipal school teachers, D.Ed holders who live in the vicinity would be preferred.

Volunteers: Kind souls who could drop in occasionally and help the children in higher classes with their studies or those who could come in once a week at their convenience to teach the kids some arts or crafts are welcome to contact us. The school runs Monday to Saturday, 8 am to 10am.

If you would like to be part of this effort do mail us at

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Update on Salma

Received this update on Salma from Sayantani today:

I met Salma today - gave her the phone. she's currently staying with a friend, Asha, in Ambernath, and wants to continue staying there for a while. so housing does not appear to be a priority at the moment.

She spoke about a lawyer who'd come to meet her after Mahmood Sheikh (her neighbour in Dombivili) spoke to the lawyer. The lawyer has apparently filed a case in the Motor Claims Tribunal, and the next date of hearing is 7th March. She had no papers of the case and wasn't sure what it was all about. because there's already this lawyer who she is dealing with, I thought it may be a better idea to take a look at the papers filed by him before speaking with an advocate...have asked her to get a copy of the papers. once she does, we'll take it from there...

Re employment - she said Asha is looking for a job as a construction labourer, and if she gets one, Salma will go with her too...or she would be happy to work as household help. Have told her that I'll look at possibilities of employment in and around Ambernath, as also possibility of a vocational training school.

That's it from me for now..

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ahana Mishra case -- conversation with Dr. Nabi

This report just in from OrangeJammies. Kind souls who would like to help this child, please do contact us urgently, we will give you details of how you could send your cheque directly to Poornima Goswami, Ahana's grandmother. Alternately you could also send in funds towards the Ahana Mishra case directly to the hospital:

Hi team,
I met with Dr. Fazal Nabi at his consultation room at Saifee Hospital on Monday. He is a pediatric neuro-emergency specialist and an intensivist on Ahana Mishra's case. He works in conjunction with Dr. Anahita Udwadia Hegde.
Ahana's is a case of Cerebral Palsy (CP) with mental retardation (MR) and, as per her IQ of 40-50 (70 being borderline retardation), she has a moderate retardation level. Her current ill health is a result of emotional deterioration post her mother's death as well as physical complications. Primary among these are: a high risk of infection, aspiration issues (lungs are weak and she needs a ventilator), low nutrition, no immunity and repeated urinary infections due to diaper use. All this forms a vicious cycle to further drag her down. She also has the complications that develop in a bedridden patient and has been experiencing seizures more frequently since her mother's death. She is currently on 4 different drugs to help control her epilepsy, as opposed to the one or two that used to be effective earlier. The doctors aim to bring her seizures under control, keep infection levels down and get her back to pre-illness levels.
At the time of our conversation, Ahana had a nose-stomach tube for feeding, which needed to be removed due to complications of sinusitis and replaced with a tube directly to her stomach. This procedure, called a gastrostomy, was delayed due to Ahana's high fever. There had been no fever in the past 24 hours and surgery was scheduled on either Tuesday or Wednesday. The procedure would be 'short anasthesia' with the insertion of an endoscopic tube through the mouth to the stomach to make a hole in the stomach wall. It is estimated to take 30 minutes.
It was conducted at Jaslok hospital today. I received a call from Poornima (her grandmother) this afternoon saying the surgery was complete and Ahana is currently in the ICU.
The next major surgery that needs to be conducted on Ahana is the extraction of 90% of her teeth, due to severe decay and a possibility of oral cavity infection. According to Poornima, that surgery will cost at least Rs. 35,000.
Dr. Nabi envisages a hospital stay of at least 2-3 more weeks for Ahana. He mentioned that the hospital bill as of Monday was a lakh of rupees. Poornima said today that Mrs. Hiranandani received a cheque of Rs. 5000 from a donor toward Ahana's expenses but more finances will be required. She was glad to learn about the wheelchair cost donor and said she would send me the details of the manufacturer so we could pay him directly.
Ways to help financially:
1. Sponsor the child's gastrostomy tube. Pediatric tubes are more expensive and cost anywhere between Rs. 7500 and 15000, depending on the manufacturer.
2. A night nurse charges Rs. 650/night and a day nurse charges Rs. 350/ day, so the cost of 24 hour help is Rs. 30,000 a month.
3. Dr. Nabi said medicines post discharge will easily total to Rs. 10,000 a month.
4. In addition, there will be PT and OT costs to bear.
He was rightly concerned about post-discharge costs for the child's health upkeep and asked IH to seek donors for the same.
Also, the hospital bills are mounting. Any amount towards this would be welcome.
That's it from my end for now.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

For Surjan Singh Bhandari's family

This came in from Sachin a while ago. I've been lagging behind on my posts, but here it is:

Finally managed to talk to him (Uttam Singh, Surjan Singh Bhandari's brother)...he confirmed that he has received the amount mentioned below plus an additional about Rs 10,000(sent initially as trial). 
He's been to Dehradun and Delhi recently and hence was unreachable. He wants us to keep the RTI on hold. I'll call him in another about month or so and check the status.

Multiple folks at Microsoft in the USA had raised around Rs.60918 which has been directly credited to the account of the late martyr's mother.

A big thank you to you all, who took the trouble of reaching out to a bereaved mother.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Thank You....

The dreaded Monday morning started off brilliantly, with this mail from Sangeeta:

Good morning and I have good news . We have Rs 30,000 cash donation from India Infoline Institutional Desk for 26/11 victims . I have informed them that we could use this for Momina Sheikh and other 26/11 victims.
A big heartfelt thank you to the Friends from India Infoline Institutional Desk from Team India Helps.
And while I am on our Thank Yous, which I have been slacking on, due to nothing but laziness and no other excuse, here goes:
Thank you Dipali, Cee Kay, Dottie, Sue, Vidya, Divya, Radha. All you wonderful women who have sent in funds. And more importantly, all you who have believed we can make a difference.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Would you like to help Pradnya More?

Pradnya More, 13, has a brain tumour and needs a critical surgery to relieve her of her pain. She has already lost eyesight in both eyes and cannot eat or talk. Her father, Baburao More, is a constable and cannot raise the Rs 75,000 required for this surgery which was to be done on Saturday but has now been pushed forward to Tuesday due to financial constraints.
Any kind of help would be welcome. Kind souls may please contact Bombay Hospital directly. Pradnya is under Dr Chandrashekhar Deopujari, neurosurgeon.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Update on Ahana Mishra

OrangeJammies visited Poornima Goswami yesterday at Jaslok Hospital. Here is her report:

I met with Poornima Goswami, Ahana's grandmother and Mrs. Ratna Hiranandani at Jaslok Hospital yesterday. The meeting lasted for an hour. Mrs. Hiranandani said it was best I speak with Poornima and proceeded to call her to her office.
I did tell Poornima I was part of Shyaam and Aparna's team (gave both my card) but she gave me all the case details of her own volition, many of which I was already aware of, but it was cathartic for her and I let her speak. She frequently broke down and provided information from her daughter's past but spoke lucidly enough about the present and future as well. Here are details from our conversation (some of which we may already know). Not all may be relevant at present time, but may give us a clearer larger picture:

So far:

1. Ahana's only caregiver in the city is Poornima. Her father abandoned the family when she was a year old and now lives in Delhi and has no contact with them.
2. Ahana was helped by Dr. Devashish Vishwas when she was born in Durgapur, West Bengal. Dr. Vishwas, from what I gathered, practices in Calcutta. When in Bombay with her mother, Ahana used to receive physiotherapy at the cerebral palsy centre in Vashi, but that had to stop due to the family's financial constraints. They even had to move homes because they could not afford the Rs.6000 rent they were paying. Money was tight, but Anindita was aiming to be promoted to a managerial position in order to draw a higher salary and would put in long hours at work. She was eventually promoted but shortly after, was murdered. Reliance, her employers, gave the family Rs 9 lakhs as life insurance. The amount was doubled as it was a case of accidental death (at least that's the phrase Poornima used). She will need to access Anindita's provident fund account in 6 months' time.

3. A lady called Nemat Jabbar has been helping Poornima and Ahana after reading about them in the news. She just showed up in their lives and has helped them by putting them in touch with Dr. Shilpa Aloskar and Dr. Nitin Kadam at MGM Hospital, Vashi. The hospital did not charge her for their services and Poornima voluntarily gave them Rs. 41,000 from the funds she has received. An unused apartment at Mahim was offered to them but Poornima has decided she will stay close to Nemat while she is in Bombay after all she has done for them.
4. In addition to the Rs 9 lakhs that have been received and invested in Ahana's name, Poornima mentioned that she received Rs. 5000 from numerologist Sanjay Jumani, which she used to pay rent. One nurse for Ahana is being provided by Sonu Nigam, who has promised that he will continue to pay for a nurse wherever in the world Ahana may be relocated. The 2nd nurse's fees are split by Vikas Nandlal and Nemat Jabbar, with Poornima contributing to the shortfall, if there is one. Ahana has received a nebulizer and body splints. No further cheques have come in at this time. Mithun Chakraborty has promised help once they arrive in Kolkata. Poornima repeatedly expressed gratitude for help given by complete strangers. Mrs. Hiranandani said that expenses are mounting, so they would be grateful for any aid they receive from donors or Poornima herself.
5. Financial aid received has been used to purchase the following equipment for Ahana: 1. suction machine 2. oxygen cylinder. Poornima has ordered a wheelchair from a certain Mr. Joshi (she said she couldn't remember details like his company's name at the moment) for Rs. 7000. It has special straps that will hold her in place, an attached pot, and a high back so she can use it even as she grows taller. This wheelchair is being paid for by Poornima herself.
6. Medically, her situation stands thus: She currently has high fever and the surgery she was to undergo has been pushed to next week to give her body time to recuperate. Her team of doctors at Jaslok comprises of Dr. Anahita Udwadia Hegde and Dr. Fazal Nabi. Mrs. Hiranandani contacted Dr. Nabi to have him attend our meeting but he was out of the hospital at the time. I spoke with him and he said he would be back 2 hours later and could meet with me then. I had to get his number and let him know I'd get back to him about a meeting since I was due to head back to work very shortly. We will need to call him very soon and set up a meeting.

In the future:
7. Poornima acknowledges that the facilities and aids she receives in Bombay may not be duplicated in Kolkata, but plans to move there eventually. She is the sole caregiver at this time and will fare better with family support.
8. Dr. Udwadia Hegde has a doctor friend in Kolkata and has informed Poornima that she will be referring the case to her. One of Ahana's nurses, Ranjana, has developed a good rapport with her and plans to assist the family's transition to Calcutta by travelling with them, settling them in and supervising the training of the new local nurse. Poornima mentioned taking a train to Cal, at which point I suggested flying, given Ahana's condition and the risk of medical emergencies on a 36-hour train ride. Perhaps if we could seek donors for 3 flight tickets to Calcutta and one back (for Ranjana, who Poornima refuses to send back alone by train) it would ease the burden on them.
9. If an IH member in Kol can pick up the case and coordinate when they arrive, it would further aid their transition. As of this time, Ahana's health has to stabilize and physiotherapy resumed when possible. I mentioned Dr. Nasreen's offer to Poornima and she was glad to hear about it.

Immediate tasks:
10. Set up a meeting with Dr. Nabi to assess medical situation and possibilities for assistance.
11.Get specific aid for medical expenses, post operative care and the wheelchair.

Pray. Poornima and Ahana need all the help they can get. It took all my social work training to reign in my emotions and not let them rule the moment. I would like to put in a request to remain on this case for at least as long as Ahana is at Jaslok, as I believe I have established a positive bond with Poornima and Mrs. Hiranandani in particular, who was very warm and responsive when I departed.

That's it from my end.

Edited to add: Kind souls who would like to help out please do email us at

We are seeking sponsors for three air tickets to Kolkatta and one return ticket to Mumbai.

As also funds to offset expenses incurred at Jaslok.

Anyone based in Kolkata who could offer any sort of assistance when they do relocate, please do write in too.

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Any Doctors/GPs in Vashi/Panvel

Sayantani, who has been trying hard to get in touch with Salma for a while now, just sent this in:
I have been trying to contact Salma for a while now, but she has not been in CST. I managed to contact her today finally...she is apparently in Panvel at a friend's house, this is close to where her children stay in the boarding school. Apparently she has hurt her foot earlier, and that is acting up now, so she's not been coming to CST.
I am meeting her tomorrow in Panvel to see what the matter is, and if need be, to take her to a doctor. We have also organised a cell phone for her to maintain contact with us, (Thank you Parul) so will had this phone over to her tomorrow, so hopefully, we should be able to maintain contact with her thereafter.
Would anyone know of a GP in Panvel/ Vashi whom we could go to, who would be eager to help? Please do mail us immediately at

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Meeting with Asha Kiran Trust

Sumita, in her groundwork for our pavement school project, filed this in:

I met up with the trustee of the Asha Kiran Trust, Mr. Nandlal Aggarwal, yesterday. He spoke with me at length about the NGO.

Asha Kiran Trust was founded by individuals who were keen to take basic education to the grassroots. They run pavement schools for 1000 children all around Mumbai. Age group-6 yrs onwards till they clear Std 10. Most of the kids who come to their school are also studying in government schools. It is basically a tutorial/tuition class for the kids whose parents can't teach them at home or afford proper education. They provide snacks, stationery, school uniforms, old & new clothes to kids who come in every morning & evening to study at their pavement school. The teachers who teach there regularly are on their payroll.

A bus has been donated to them to ferry kids to the school.The trust maintains it and pays for the driver & conductor.

They have a well equipped mobile hospital which provides medical help in diff areas of Andheri (W).

Recently they have bought land in Murbad which is 90 kms from Mumbai which is home to 150 cows. Later they plan to build a school and old age home too.

He was very happy with the kind of work we were doing and offered stationery, etc if we need to help the victim's kids and also medical help through their contacts, if possible.

Where could we come in?

He asked for volunteer teachers,
Money to help with running the entire setup of teachers, staff and student education funding - to the extent we can.

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Report from Priyanka

This on our fledgeling street school project:

I really enjoyed our experience at the street school yesterday.The kids were just so adorably sweet and well behaved.They were politely waiting for their turn when we were distributing snacks/stationery. The smiles on their faces and their big 'thank you' just made my entire day yesterday!
After returning from there I felt it would be a great idea if we could rope in some more people who could provide them a daily snack every week. I have now roped in the mums from the school who have taken responsibility for one day of the week to provide snack to these kids.
Renu -Will take charge on Mon, Me-Tue, Kiran-Wed, Shibani-Thu, Veronica-Fri and Madhavi-Sat. We start from 16th Feb.
I went to the street school again today to distribute snacks /notebooks to the 30 odd kids and also get more details about the school. Also things they need and we could chip in with. She has given me the following list:
Pens - 1 dozen
Workbooks-2 dozen,
Schoolbags, Water bottles, Tiffins, pencil boxes- all for 31 children.
She also gave me the number of Mr. Raut who is managing the school. He told me that there are four other schools that are run and managed by Asha Kiran Trust (Sumita is already following up with them) at 4 bungalows, 7 bungalows, Juhu Versova Link road and MHADA in Mumbai  but this school at Goregaon is not under Asha Kiran. He said that he finds the Goregaon school the most challenging as all these kids have not got any formal education, they are the kids who literally live on the streets they have no proper housing. Most of them are rag pickers.They are working hard with these kids to counsel them and teach them.
They can do with all the help that they get to encourage more of these kids to join the school. If anyone would like to contribute to this cause please do write in.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Bicycle Project

It is rare that you come across someone trying to help with a thought that is so simple and so basic and yet so meaningful that you wonder why it hadnt been thought of before.
So here's what I read in the newspapers sometime ago, and had filed away mentally, but didnt really get round to doing anything about.
But here is the link:
You might want to give them a call if you have some old bicycles lying around.

This is what we did this morning....

Priyanka, Renu and I decided we could do with some smiles today. We landed up at the street school which is right opposite the school our children go to. We pass these children sitting on chattais, rote learning their lessons, every single day, and we have been off and on, handing out stuff to them. We just decided to make it official. We've taken up the responsibility of a day of the week each where we give each child something for a snack. A packet of biscuits. A fruit. A cupcake. Anything that would make them want to come to school and learn. And we will get them books. And stationery. And whatever we can get to keep them motivated in attending the classes conducted in the open.
This is the germ of a proposed India Helps project, we are working on. We're still investigating how we can take it across Mumbai or across India. Serendipity, Sumita and Sayantani are working on that. But right now, I'd like to leave you with some happy faces. And, yes, that is me doing the handout stuff. I think they made me happier than I made them.....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An appeal

This came in from Renu:

Gaurav Tandon a 34 year old, who has been detected with AML (a type of Blood Cancer) in November 2008, needs a Matched Unrelated Donor bone marrow transplantation and also money for his treatment, check the details on this website

If you would like to help him, please do contact as per the details given on the website.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Update on Balaji

This from Wordjunkie:

I spoke with Balaji. Some good news - The Taj trust contacted him and representatives have visited him at home. They have said they will help one of his brothers find a job.. Balaji himself expects to get a job with the railways, though he is unclear when this will come through. He expects some response around April.

Also, Balaji mentioned that he had some pain and swelling in his knee awhile ago. This seems to have eased up, but he may need another visit to a doc.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

And we were mentioned...

In The Times of India's Mumbai edition today. Page 2 for those of you in Mumbai. Here's the link for those of you who don't have access to the edition.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Update on Aahana Mishra

This update from Shyaam:

I went to Jaslok Hospital yesterday and met Poornima (Aahana's maternal grandmother). Spoke to her and got many details. Firstly, the doctor in MGM (Dr. Shilpa) co-ordinated with a doctor in Jaslok (Dr. Anaitha Udwadia Hegde) and they had an understanding that Aahana may be shifted to Jaslok after her treatment in MGM. I will get the details of the treatment after I speak to Anaitha after I get the number from Poornima. There is also Dr. Fazal who is with Dr. Anaitha for Aahana's treatment in Jaslok.

Secondly, she was not charged a penny in MGM hospital. They were very kind enough to waive a bill of Rs 3.4 lakhs. Poornima told me that on her insistence they accepted a cheque of Rs 42k from her. MGM insisted that Poornima should not pay them from Aahana's account. She got this from a person who wrote the cheque in favour of MGM directly for Aahana's treatment.

In Jaslok she thought she would have to pay for hospital expenses but there is a social worker who is stationed in the hospital itself (Mrs. Mulchandani, couldn't get her first name) who helped them out and ensured that she gets free treatment in Jaslok also. But Poornima requested that if anyone is ready to help, they can draw a cheque in the name of Jaslok Hospital and write on account of Aahana's treatment. Will get the details for that.

I asked her about the help she got from Sonu Nigam and Mithun Chakravarthy. Sonu Nigam has sponsored a nurse for Aahana who takes care of Aahana in the morning. Aahana also has an evening nurse. Poornima said Mithun also spoke to her and had promised that she would get help from some corporates with whom he has had a word about Aahana but it didn't materialize because that happened just before the 26/11 attacks and after that it might have died down in that chaos and she has not also asked him. He has anyways promised that he will help her in every possible way after she comes to Calcutta with Aahana.

She was mentioning that she has received immense support and help from media and it is because of the media that people from all over the world have called her and have been helping her. She said there was a couple who called her from USA, who were ready to adopt Aahana. She readily agreed, but her condition was that she should also be adopted along with Aahana.

She also spoke about how indifferent Aahana's father has been all this while. He has not even bothered to call and find out how her condition is. I saw Aahana yesterday and she looked much better. She was sleeping when I saw her yesterday.

Now for the things we need to do on a priority basis according to me:

* I will speak to the doctor (Dr. Anaitha) and get more details about her condition.
* The medicines for Aahana are not provided by hospital and therefore they will require money for that also.
* Wheel chair (we can figure that out once I speak to the Doctor)

I will be getting in touch with Navin also since he told me that he has been collecting funds for Aahana from USA. He will be coming to India on Saturday. Poornima spoke very highly of Navin. He has always been in touch with her.

Does anyone have any contact in Jaslok? It will be easier for me to speak to the doctor if we have someone whom we know.

I was very touched to see the number of people who have been helping Poornima. One example is this guy whom I met yesterday. His name is Vivek, stays in Andheri and he is most of the time with them. He sends them the car and he was the one who helped them shift Aahana to Jaslok from MGM and also has offered Poornima the car whenever she wants.

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Update on Sunita Yadav

This update from M on Sunita Yadav:

We met the Yadavs yesterday.

They arrived in Bombay day before and are staying in Thane with Mr. Yadav's younger son-in-law. They have obtained the duplicate death certificates from the BMC which will enable them to claim pension from the late husband's employer.

The Yadavs were also to meet the District Collector at the Old Customs House to claim the Rs. 50,000 cheque that they had put a stop payment on it since the brother-in-law had absconded with it. He needs to confirm to me whether the collector has re-issued the cheque. Sunita's job with the railways has been confirmed and they have requested that she be posted in UP and the railway officers have said that they will try their best to accommodate their request. In total the Yadavs have received Rs. 5 lakhs from the government, 4.5 lakhs from us, 1 lakh from Shah Rukh Khan and are to receive nearly 9 lakhs from the railways. That in addition to the pension Sunita should receive is going to make for a fairly comfortable life for them. We have also told them that they should ideally set aside half the money in a fixed deposit for Sheetal to mature over 3-5 years to be used for her continuing education.

The last thing that they requested was that Sunita's brother Santosh, who was also injured in the CST attacks, has applied for a job with District Collector's office in both Gazipur and Jaunpur districts in UP. They would appreciate any help in expediting this application.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Update on Ahana Mishra

This update from Shyaam on Ahana:

I just spoke with Poornima. Ahana is being discharged from MGM today, and she is being admitted to Jaslok Hospital. I couldn't speak with her for long since she said she was in midst of that. She told me that she will require funds for this and she also mentioned that it will go to the Jaslok Trust or something. Couldn't exactly get as what to she was saying and she said she will speak later in detail.

Will speak to Poornima in detail by afternoon/evening and will get all the details.

Also if anyone has any contact in Jaslok Hospital, can we find out the procedure from there too?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

From JJ Hospital

This report from Sangeeta:

I went to JJ Hospital . The last three cases related to 26/11 are on their way out. Only one lady needed help - Poonam Singh, who is paralysed waist down and is a house wife with two children. She needed a walker . I went to Princess Street, bought and gave her a walker today itself. They did not mention any need for money, she was only worried about her daughter missing school to look after the younger child as she was not home. Her daughter may end up losing a year at school as she has been home since 26/11 - a 12 year old daughter looking after a 1.5 year old brother. Her husband is a supervisor of watchmen.

There are no further cases at JJ hospital relating to 26/11 that need our help.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

This report on Shabira Khan

Serendipity visited this blast victim on Saturday and has filed this report:

Shabira Khan - Age 37. She was injured in Wadi Bunder Blast on 26th November 2008, during the terrorist attack. She has been admitted in hospital ever since the 26th. (First J.J. and now Wadala Hospital). Her Medical expenses are taken care of since her his an employee of B.P.T. However, awith her, her earning son Abdul Hamid Khan was also injured ( and has lost vision in his right eye).

Shabira has lost movement and sensation in a leg, with a surgery scheduled for the same, apart from shrapnel injuries in her back. She was an earning member of the family, being a tuition teacher before being hospitalized. Apart from Hamid, she has five other children, all students, in school and junior college. She has received the Government compensation or Rs. 50, 000 so far. I also gave her a sum of Rs. 4,000 when I met her. However she could use a little more help as two earning members are currently not contributing to the household income.

For those desirous of helping Shabira out, here are her bank account details:

Bank: Dena Bank.

Branch: Dongri

Type of account: Savings

Account number: SB/GEN/24846

Name on Bank Passbook: Samira Abdul Majid Khan (this is the original name on the passbook of which I have a xerox, so the difference in the spelling of the names could be a typo)

Anyone wanting to send in cheques to Shabira Khan (Samira as on the passbook) do send in an email to We will give you an address to mail your cheques to and our team members will deliver them to her.

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Would you like to help Ahana?

A report on Ahana Mishra from Shyaam:

Firstly a brief note on Ahana
Ahana Mishra, a 5 year old girl is a 'special child', and is presently hospitalised in MGM Hospital, Vashi. She lost her mother in 2008 in tragic circumstances. Anindita Misra (34), her mother, was brutally murdered, by a colleague of hers. She was working in Anil Ambani Reliance Group. Ahana is under the care of her grandmother, Poornima Goswami (Anandita's mother). Ahana's parents were separated and they have no contact with the father, nor has he got in touch after Anindita's demise.

Our visit to MGM hospital
Before I start, let me tell you this was one of the most disturbing and emotional days in my life. We (Aparna and I) had gone to visit Ahana in MGM Hospital, Vashi on Sunday (1 February) morning. We met her grandmother Poornima Goswami and we handed over the money (Rs 10,000, thanks Nomad) for her expenses. She was very happy when we gave her the amount.
We spoke to Poornima and she told us after Anandita's (Ahana's mother) death it has been really difficult. Ahana who is a special child went into a shock after her mother's death and her condition has worsened over the last couple of months.
Thankfully, the hospital has been very kind to them and they have not charged a penny for her treatment in the hospital. However, I think the expenses incurred for her medicines after discharge will have to be borne by Poornima only. Since Ahana is in a common ward, Poornima is staying with another person close to the hospital who has been helping Poornima since they do not have a permanent house in Mumbai.
She wants to shift out of Mumbai and go to West Bengal (native place) and settle there and she said she is just waiting for the doctors' green signal so that she can take Ahana with her.
We also saw Ahana who is sharing the ward 2-3 other people. Since she has not been eating properly she is being fed through a tube. She has her eyes closed all the time and was breathing heavily when we saw her. She had high fever a couple of days back apparently.
She loves music it seems and Poornima turned on the radio and kept it beside her so that she could listen to the songs.
Hats off to Poornima for being so brave. I guess anyone who goes through this becomes that much mentally tough to handle such situations. In that entire conversation she shed a tear only in the end when she spoke to us about her daughter and how her daughter's priority in life was only Ahana and her treatment.
The issues I see are:
1. Poornima said she will have to buy a wheel chair and other related stuff for Ahana once she is discharged from the hospital
2. She also said she will have to keep a full time nurse for Ahana.

And I would add, long term therapy and treatment for Ahana.

If anyone would like to help Ahana please do mail us at

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Update on Momina

This report on Momina from Aparna:

Visited Momina this Saturday. I had gone along with a journalist who wanted to do an article on Momina.

Momina looked better and happier today. She was more then willing to talk and share stuff. It felt nice that our efforts are paying off. I handed her the cheque for Rs 9000/- for six months rent which had come in from one of our readers, Divya. Thanks Divya!!!

I asked her if she is receiving money from any other source to which she said no. But she did mention a lady who has bought her a sewing machine and a mobile.

We were there for a about an hour and she spoke about everything from her kids to her husband to her in-laws to her family. Right now her parents are staying with her but they will leave in week after which her sister will come to down to be with her.

She also gave me the details of the doctor she visits. I spoke to the doctor. Her name is Manju and she works at a hospital in Govandi called Vikas Nursing Home. The doctor said she was willing to treat Momina free of charge. But she had an issue that Momina doesn't visit her regularly or take the medicines regularly. She said all her complaints are because she is not eating healthily. We could take Momina for a second opinion but I wouldn't suggest changing the doctor, as she seems comfortable with her. The doctor mentioned that we could perhaps pay for the delivery at a later stage.

While we were leaving, Momina asked us to come back to meet her.

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Update on Salma

After being incommunicado for a week or so, Sayantani finally managed to touch base with Salma today. Here's what she writes in:

Just met Salma...she'd called me yesterday after Mahmood Sheikh conveyed my message to her.
She is in a bit of tight situation now. some policemen on duty around VT at night have taken it upon themselves to clear the area of pavement dwellers and have started burning the belongings of the pavement dwellers including Salma, in order to acheive their goal. her Maska Pav cart has also been taken away for similar reasons. so her temporary source of income is also gone.
On the positive side, she's found a room in Vashi, for which the rent is Rs. 1000 and the deposit is Rs. 3000. So we would need to give her the money asap in order to ensure that she can move in there.
Also spoke to her about the mobile phone for ease of communication. She seemed okay with the idea..told her I'd arrange it in a couple of days - I'll coordinate with Parul on this - really kind of her to offer to help out with this.
Also suggested that we get a bank account in place so she can deposit her savings there...she agreed immediately. Told her that we'd need proof to open a bank a/c, such as a ration card. She said there's a political party office close by where they issue (or help to apply for?) ration cards. Asked her to find out what all papers are required, so we can get working on that.
To sum up, immediate priorities -
(i) Money for deposit and room rent for room in Vashi
(ii) Mobile phone for ease of communication
(iii) Help in getting a more stable source of income for Salma;
(iv) meetings with legal counsel and media.
Later on, as and when it happens -
(i) Application for a ration card;
(ii)Opening a bank account in her name and basic education re how to operate a bank a/c.
Guess that's it for now.
Thoughts: Aparna and Shyaam, since she is looking at a room in Vashi, can we go check it out and pay rent directly to landlord and take copies of receipts for our files.
Vocational training. Sewing skills?
Any other suggestions, offers of help?