Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Update on Ahana

This from Orangejammies:

Hi all,

Met Purnima and Ahana one last time on Sunday at Jaslok Hospital. Spent a better part of the 45-minute visit tying up loose ends. 2 things are left: 1. The setting up on the bank account where the Niigaams will transfer funds (Purnima was in talks with the bank when we last spoke) and 2. Some signatures on paperwork Shyaam was to bring over.

I noticed that Ahana was grinding her teeth almost non-stop and asked Purnima to look at getting grind-guards for her. She said she'd ask the dentist. Ahana was restless on Sunday, I hope she takes the train journey well.

I have told Purnima that the Kolkata team will be in touch with her once she lands. I will also be calling her a couple times while she is on the train to check on the both of them.

Mrs. Ratna Hiranandani wasn't in at the time I went over, so I could not close the case with her and say goodbye.

That's it from my end.

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Update on Karuna Waghela

This report in from Serendipity:

Karuna Waghela (widow of Thakur Budhabhai Waghela, sweeper at GT Hospital killed in the 26/11 attack) has one daughter and two sons - Roshni (11 yrs), Dhaval (8) and Neeraj (5 yrs). She currently has only her meager salary to support her 3 kids. She is currently working as a sweeper in GT Hospital, a job which she got on compassionate grounds.

The kids are being educated - the Taj Trust will be paying fees till 10th standard as per their last communication. They are also attending English tuitions paid by Sunita from Lest We Forget group.

Although she is currently living with her in laws, she obviously wants to move out into her own room at Sion, which has been allotted to her.

In light of her decision to set up an independent household with her three kids, we at Indiahelps have reconsidered this case since we feel Karuna could use a little more help in finding her footing, especially considering she's bringing up three kids, on a small salary.

If you wish to send in money to Karuna, the bank account details are available with us. Do let us know if you wish to send in games/toys/clothes/schoolbags/shoes/uniforms for the kids or for Karuna, sarees (all either new or in good condition, from Mumbai please) do let us know at indiahelps@gmail.com.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Karuna Waghela

We had, at India Helps are re-looking at the case of Karuna Waghela, the widow of Thakur Budhabhai Waghela (Sweeper at GT Hospital, who was shot dead while having his dinner, when the terrorists knocked on his door asking for water). We had thought she was taken care of, and had been going slow on her case for a while. More details on the reasons for our change of mind from Serendipity shortly. But, an appeal for folks to send in funds, clothes (saris for Karuna and clothes for three children aged, 11, 8 and 5) and any help they can provide. We are trying to get Karuna empowered and independent. Anyone who would like to help out, please do write in at indiahelps@gmail.com.

An urgent appeal for help

I received this email for help and am reproducing it here. A disclaimer, kindly make your enquiries and verifications since I am reproducing it in good faith:

Dear Sir/Madam,
I am Mr. Prakash Patil.
I urgently require help for this poor lady named Mrs. Sushila K Kumbhar from Ashta village in Sangli district of
Maharashtra, aged 50. She is suffering from Breast Cancer. Her income is below poverty line
Sushila works at our farms as a labourer earning Rs. 50 a day. Her husband is old and remains ill most of the time. Her own daughter has been abandoned by her inlaws hence lives with Sushila. Sushila is the sole bread winner of her family. Unfortunately she is suffering from Breast Cancer which is in her 2nd stage. She is undergoing treatment at Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Charitable Trust, Miraj-416410.
It is a private hospital which is where the main problem of financial aid is arising because no one is ready to sponsor her or provide help as the main condition/require of all NGO'S and charitable trusts is that the patient has to undergo all the treatment at a government hospital.
The main reason for her to undergo treatment at a private hospital is because most of the Government hospitals in Sangli are almost in a non operative and a deteriorated state and are open just for name sake. Poor patients are given poor quality and very bad medical treatment.
Hence on our recommendation, Sushila was advised to undergo treatment at a private hospital.
The cost of her treatment has summed up to Rs 1,50,000.
We have supported preliminary expenses of her treatment but our help is proving to be limited. Her expenses consist of Chemotherapy/radiations and injections above Rs. 3,000-+medicines worth Rs. 600/-.+Travelling expenses which is beyond her capacity. She needs a very urgent financial help. We have also appealed for funds but the paper work and responses from the trusts/ngo's is taking too much time She has very limited time left. PLEASE PLEASE HELP HER IMMEDIATELY !!!
The necessary hospital papers are there with me for your ready reference.
Kindly send your financial assistance to her bankA/C. NO.14529 of THE ASHTA PEOPLE'S CO-OPERATIVE BANK LTD,ASHTA.;Taluka-Walwa;District-Sangli-416301
You can also contact at this correspondence address:

1) Prakash Patil


2) S.M.T. Vijaymala .B. Vagyani
3282,Darojbuva Road;

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Delhi Chapter

Sscribbles has taken on the onus of building up the India Helps Delhi Chapter. Kolkata is already built up and waiting to swing into action with Ahana moving to Kolkata. Pune is in its infancy, Gunjan who has offered to be Pune coordinator is tied up currently (getting married, yaay!).

In Delhi we have Abhilasha and Valentine who have offered to be on the team. We plan to have a meet up of Delhi volunteers soon to discuss what causes can be taken up soon. If anymore Delhiites would like to join in, do write in to indiahelps@gmail.com.

Any folks from Chennai, Bengaluru?

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Appeal for help

Priyanka has forwarded this appeal:
Would you like to help a lady who needs an immediate open heart surgery done? Laxmi Tapal, age 35 years with a very poor background, is an undergraduate and worked in the Vasant Galaxy Club House (Goregaon West, Mumbai) for several months up to October 09 and had to leave on health grounds. She was a known to many club members because of her sober nature.She is known to me for for many years as she regularly visited me for advice or counselling. She couldn't go to work in offices for 9 to 5 job plus the 3 hours traveling. However with my encouragement she did the diploma course in para professional social work from Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work, Mumbai and  got a first class and the Principal and Professors highly applauded her.
But her health is so bad that after going in for a lot of tests of the heart, we finally got the test done at the KEM hospital, Mumbai and the doctors clearly advised to get an OPEN HEART SURGERY done immediately. Rs. 90,000/- is quoted as cost by the hospital and several addresses were given which were duly attested by the Cardio Surgeon and the Social Worker.
The appeal for funds has been out since December 2008 but the paper work and running about for the funds is taking too much time and the funds are trickling at a very slow pace and we are not able to finalise the date of operation. Several people gave cheques in the hospitals name. I request you to appeal your members to help by cheque in favor Dean, PBCF, K.E.M.HOSPITAL, Mumbai or help with groceries as the main income of her younger brother is only Rs.3,000/- and 7 mouths to feed. She was earning around Rs.4,000/- by tuitions, cooking, receptionist job etc and adding to her widowed mothers income which has stopped since October 2008.
Whatever help may be forwarded to me, at the following address:
Jupiter A -203, Vasant Galaxy, Goregaon Link Road, Mumbai. My mob no.9821157574, MTNL 022 28793689. The necessary hospital papers are there with me for your ready reference.
Thanking you,
Yours faithfully,
Mrs. Malti Chakraborty, (MSW)

Update on Ahana

This report from Orangejammies:

Hi all,

Spoke with Purnima this evening. Ahana gets discharged from Jaslok this Friday, March 27th. They leave for Kolkata next Thursday, April 2nd at 8.25 pm, by the Tilak Nagar-- Howrah Samarsatta Express. Ahana, Purnima and the nurse Ranjana will be travelling by 1st class AC. She is not keen on flying since she fears health complications (she mentioned a heart attack occuring in mid air). So I suppose the best we can do is come up with 3 one-way train fares and one return (for the nurse, whom she will send back after Poila Boishakh/ Bengali New Year.) By the way, she strongly recommends the nurse and has requested that we keep her in mind in case we know of anyone with the need for one.

About the wheelchair: Purnima has kept the rejected wheelchair with her since it wouldn't be appropriate for anyone else anyway, made as it was to Ahana's specifications. She has also given Rs. 20,000 to Rochelle Lobo of Otto bock to get hold of the kind of wheelchair Dr. Udwadia-Hegde recommends. She is now worried about coming up with the rest of the money, which is a lakh of rupees.

Ahana is doing well. Purnima's older daughter has rented a home close to hers and will be staying with them. She said her son-in-law would not join them there but would be available close at hand if problems arose.

I will be going to see Purnima and Ahana one last time on Thursday. She has said she will keep in touch with me from Kolkata. I gently encouraged her to maintain contact with our Kolkata team once there, since they will be better equipped to help her but have also said I am available for moral support.

Anyone wanting to help Purnimaji in Kolkata with moral support, medicines or funds is welcome to mail us at indiahelps@gmail.com.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Update on Ahana

This from Orangejammies:

Hello people,

Here's a condensed update on the Ahana situation, as of this Saturday. I have not had an opportunity to speak with Purnima after that. She is likely to be discharged from Jaslok by the 25th or 26th. Dr. Udwadia Hegde has rejected the wheelchair that Purnima had ordered for her, so she's lost 7000 rupees. I asked her to either keep it or then ensure Mr. Joshi sells it and gives her the proceeds. According to Purnima, the doc has recommended an Otto bock wheelchair for Ahana, which will cost in the vicinity of a lakh and twenty five thousand rupees. Purnima is keen on getting a second hand one, if at all.

Sue, I asked where they'd be living in Kolkata, and she said her daughter currently lives in Tollygunge but they are looking for a rental apartment at present time and that could be anywhere in the city.

Purnima is keen that she, Ahana, the nurse and a doctor travel to Kolkata by train, since Ahana developed complications the last time she travelled by air. I will speak with Dr. Nabi about this tomorrow.

That's it from my end, folks. Good night.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Update on Karuna Waghela

This report from Serendipity:

Hi all, I was to visit Karuna and give her tuition money as she had

called me asking for it few days ago.

Before doing so I checked with Sunita of Lest We Forget who told me

she gave her Rs 3000 for the tuition fee last evening so I should hold on to my money.

After which I called Karuna back and asked her if she's got the money

she said she had and has already gone and paid the teacher for two


Shes also spoken to someone at the hospital who said she will be paid

for a month and half this 1st. Have asked her to let me know if the

Taj cheque comes in, in the next few days else I will follow up on both,

salary as well as cheques with her.

The good news is she seems fine, said she goes in to work everyday and

is glad the kids have tuition. So I was happy.

That's it from me.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Update on Momina

This came in from Parul today:

Hello All,

Aparna and I went to meet Momina. The three kids were there and her sister has arrived from her village to help her out for a few months. I must say Momina was looking quite well and Aparna too mentioned that she is looking better with every visit. The older kids were getting ready to go to school.

Aparna handed her the cheque.

I tried talking to her several times about her future and how she should try to take care of her children. It cannot be easy. It's a tiny room that she stays in and with three kids running all over the place and the fourth one on the way, the sewing machine cannot be a sustainable source of livelihood. However, and this is the important thing, she does not seem willing to give it a shot either. There seems to be no urge to seek any sort of indepedence. It is a deep-set mindset and I don't think it can or will change. She kept circumventing the topic every time I brought it up.

Aparna has given her her mobile number and we have told Momina that she should call us in case she needs any help at all.

That's it, folks. Have a nice weekend.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Hypercity takes up IH pavement schools as CSR

This report from Priyanka should have been up last week:


On Saturday Hypercity volunteers came to the pavement school as part of CSR.This is a culmination of IH talks with them to come and participate in the pavement school.They have kindly agreed to come every Saturday from 8am to 10am to spend time in the school.I have attached a few pics from that day.

Hoping we manage to get more corporates who take CSR seriously to come and be a part of this endeavor!



And this from today:

Five of Hypercity volunteers were there today.They distributed notebooks and pencils in school 1.

From Team IH: A big Thank You to Hypercity for supporting this initiative!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

On Ahana's birthday celebrations

Anand Holla of the Mumbai Mirror wrote a lovely article on Ahana's
birthday celebrations in today's issue of the paper.

Here's the link:

Thank you Anand, for the help in raising awareness about Ahana's
plight. I do hope Poornimaji gets some calls from folks who would like
to help this child.

If anyone reading this blog would like to help, do write in at

Happy Birthday, Ahana!

From team India Helps.

OrangeJammies went in to meet Ahana today, as did Shyaam. Here is OJ's report:

Hi Team,
Firstly, you guys are totally fabulous for sending in all those gorgeous presents for Ahana! I felt like Santa and my arms now have muscles from lugging all that loot. I went to Jaslok at 4.10 pm and stayed until 5. We gently introduced Ahana to all the beautifully wrapped packages and the card and bouquet of roses and then opened each one. She was dressed in a new tee-shirt and shorts set and her grandmother said they had a separate outfit for the evening. I was pleasantly surprised to see that some colorful streamers had been put up on the walls and the windows. She was a bit cranky on-and-off today but did reach out to brush her fingers against the pink teddy and didn't seem to mind when Poornima made the little beige one nuzzle her cheek and "kiss" her. We put up her card on the wall (it's baby blue and has teddies on it--and says "from the bunch of us on your birthday") and arranged her gifts on the bed for her to see them. We had a doll, 2 teddies, a puzzle, a portable mini-radio with headphones (that made me wish it were my birthday), a puzzle/mould toy, a skirt and blouse outfit, the cheque from Smitha that I handed over (many thank yous, Smitha!), the huge birthday card, roses and chocolate cake. Am I missing anything? We sang happy birthday and lit candles and cut the cake. Joining us in the celebration from the adjacent cubicle were 5 year old Nidhi, a cancer patient, and her family. Little Nidhi, who is as bald as the Mahatma, has been very curious about "the aunty who comes to see Ahana" and wanted me to get Akshay Kumar to meet her! Oh lordee, help! I know more about Mars than Bollywood!
I took some pictures and will send them in two or three installments because the file is too big to send in one go. What was touching was that all the ward boys and cleaning ladies on the floor asked me how the birthday celebration was as I left. As a preschool owner, I get my share of warm fuzzies daily, but the dose today made me bounce down 9 flights of stairs without bothering to wait for the elevator.
Thank you, Team. I was so proud to represent all of you today.
The good news is that Ahana is likely to be in hospital until the 21st, after which she and Poornima will move to Nemat Jabbar's house for a week to 10 days and then onward to Calcutta. It may be a good idea to get the transition plan in place, as well as the flight tickets, once they are discharged. We also need to complete bank account formalities with the Niigaams before Ahana leaves the city.
Thanks and good night.

Edited to add: A big Thank You to Prachi (Rs 10,000 cash), Smitha (Rs 5000 cheque) and Manjari (Rs 7000 for the wheelchair)for the money given to Poornima. Thank you Madhavi for the birthday outfit, Priyanka for the radio, Parul for the Teddy bear and OJ for being Cake and card bearing Santa!

We need to organise three flight tickets to Kolkata and one return ticket for Ahanas nurse who will be going with them to help Ahana settle. If any CSR division of any airlines could help us, we would be grateful! Or any kind soul who would like to sponsor the fares, could write in to us at indiahelps@gmail.com.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pavement School Two launched today!!!!

Today we flagged off Pavement School Two. With the help of Mr Jagdeep Dighe and his wife, Mr Raut, Mr Nadar, Ramnikbhai, Charu Sir (a resident music teacher who has kindly helped us with locating teachers for the school, and offered us his premises to store the school material after class everyday) and his wife, and the local Shiv Sena Shakha Pramukh Raju Padhye were present along with the teachers. From the India Helps team, Priyanka (who is truly the driving force in the pavement school initiative), Renu and Sumita, apart from yours truly were present. We had around 15 new students at last count, which was most heartening, apart from that we had people stop by and offer their help in any way. A resident balwadi teacher stopped by and began teaching the children, a gentleman got off from his car and offered sponsorship, the response on the first day was most encouraging and heartening. Most touching to me, personally, was the uncontained excitement on the faces of the children who had come in from the slums opposite. Ramnikbhai had brought along some uniform tshirts which we distributed, apart from notebooks, and everyone involved had brought along some snacks which we distributed to the kids. Jalebis, pedas, some farsan, chanas, bananas, they had a hearty breakfast.
This school is outside the ICICI bank, on the pavement, located right after the Bangur Nagar signal on Goregaon Link Road. The school will be open Mondays to Saturdays 8 am to 10 am. Anyone who would like to teach the kids, offer them snacks or just drop in is welcome.
On Saturday, Priyanka and I met with Smitha Verma of The Telegraph at the Pavement School opposite Vibgyor, and she accompanied us into the slums nearby where we went in for a short round of canvassing to inform people living there about this school and to request them to send their children there on Monday.
Pictures will be up shortly.
Anyone wanting to help out in anyway for either of our pavement schools, please do write in at indiahelps@gmail.com or info@indiahelps.org.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Delhi chapter

India Helps has a core team in place in Mumbai, a chapter in Kolkata and volunteers in Pune and Bangalore. We now are looking at putting a Delhi chapter in place. If any Delhi readers would like to join up, do write in to us at indiahelps@gmail.com.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

This is how the Pavement School celebrated Holi

Report from Priyanka:

I went to the school do distribute the pichkaris,colours and gujiya that Parul had sent.You can't imagine the happiness on the children's faces!!
We started off with getting one of the kids to share the story of Holi.We spoke to the kids about playing safe Holi.And when it came to distribute all the kids excitedly awaited their turn and were VERY HAPPY with the things they received..Every kid had a big smile on their faces and thank you on their lips..It was really very touching!All the kids clapped in happiness...the moment was absolutely beautiful..When I was leaving after spending some time with them all the kids shook hands and wished me a very happy Holi!

Parul a very big thank you from the bottom of my heart..You not just made their holi but mine as well..As this is one Holi which I shall remember forever!

Ahana's sixth birthday....

...is on Monday, March 16th. The child will be in Jaslok Hospital. She has been in hospital for months now.
She really does need some celebrations. We would like to make this day special for her. If you would like to drop in, with some balloons, a card, a cuddly toy or anything that could bring a smile to her face, please do so. Visiting hours at Jaslok are from 4 pm to 7 pm.
Alternately write in to us at indiahelps@gmail.com , if you would like to send in something, we could try to get it picked up if logistically possible.

Update on Ahana Mishra case

This update from Orangejammies:

Hi all,

I spoke with Poornima Goswami earlier today and conveyed to her information regarding opening a joint account with Ahana and being. able to withdraw from any networked bank once the account has been set up. I took Smitha Verma, the journalist from The Telegraph to see Poornima this afternoon. I briefed her on the IH role in the case, gave her a background on IH and told her about what we're currently upto. The peg of her story was how bloggers converged to form India Helps. She also spoke with Poornima regarding Ahana and our role in helping the family. About the LIC policy that wasn't paid out to the family, it appears they were late in paying the premium, which is why they've lost Rs. 2 lakhs post Anindita's death and the company refuses to consider the case. I have asked for the relevant paperwork so our legal folks on board can look through it and Poornima said she will try to retrieve it from their Vashi home.

We also went upstairs to Ahana's room to meet the child. She is better now, given her poor condition earlier. Was a little restless and not too happy about being changed, but Poornima appeared positive about her improvement. She also had more cleaning done to her teeth today (her dentist is Dr. Mala Jagtiani) and has had fillings drilled into several teeth. Poornima showed us some picture albums of Ahana as a baby and also pictures of her own daughter Anindita.

Poornima mentioned again that Mr. Mithun Chakraborty has pledged help after the family moves to Calcutta and he has asked to be messaged when they land. No departure plans are being made just yet.

Ahana's 6th birthday is coming up on Monday, March 16th, and I will be going to celebrate Ahana and her life in some small way. Do join me if you can.

If you would like to join OrangeJammies and IH in celebrating Ahana's birthday in some way, write in to us at indiahelps@gmail.com or info@indiahelps.org.

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Force 24x7 launches on Saturday, 14th March!

Force 24x7, an initiative of the Indian Ex-Services League in collaboration with youth, citizens' groups, the BMC's Disaster Response Unit and other bodies is being launched on Saturday, 14th March, 2009 at 6pm.

The venue is St.Stanislaus High School Hall, Opp. St. Joseph's Convent, Hill Road, Bandra, Mumbai - 400 050.

Force 24x7 is an endeavour to set up well-trained citizens' squads for crisis-management in all parts of Mumbai and outside that would swing into action in case of any eventuality. Training would be imparted by ex-servicemen as well as other resource people.

The orientation training programme (open to recruits) will be kicked off on Saturday, 14th March, from 4 pm to 6 pm while the formal launch will be held from 6 pm to 7.30 pm.

The orientation programme would include sessions by Brig. Sudhir Sawant (Terrorism & the Threat to Civilization), Brig. Mahesh Karnick Retd. (The Training Syllabus), Naresh Karmalker (Role of NGOs & the Threat of Global Warming), Asst. Mun. Commissioner - Mr. Shinde (Role of the Disaster Response Unit of the BMC) and others. This session is open to recruits and those who wish to join the force.

The formal launch programme, open to the general public, will begin with a symbolic inauguration and the unveiling of the uniform of the squad. The main speakers for this session would be Brig. Sudhir Sawant (Terrorism & the Threat to Civilization), Shyama Kulkarni -Citizen Activist (Role of Citizens post 26th November 2009), Brig. Mahesh Karnick Retd. (The Training Syllabus of Force 24x7), Asst. Mun. Commissioner - Mr. Shinde (Role of the Disaster Response Unit of the BMC & Collaboration with Force24x7) and Vijay Chauhan - Activist & Maharashtra Coordinator-Force 24x7.

The programme will end with a pledge taken by the members of Force 24x7 and the audience followed by the singing of the National Anthem.

There will be an opportunity for interested people to join the Force on that day besides enrolling for volunteering in many ways.

For details on the event, log onto: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=61456641757

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cheetah Camp girls

Shabnam visited my office today to pick up the clothes and utensils we had collected (thank you Sangeeta and Priyanka) and the six month rent (Rs 12,000 from Panchtatwa) plus Rs 1000 cash from Sangeeta for incidental expenses. I, unfortunately, couldn't meet her but hope to do so next week.

If anyone can help this brave girl find a job around the Central line, please do write in to us at indiahelps@gmail.com.

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Update on Ahana Mishra

This from OrangeJammies:

I spoke with Poornima Goswami last Thursday and she said Ahana's physical condition is now stable. She has had the. gastrostomy and did not have any fever or seizures for the past 2 days. Plans for the dental surgery (removal of 90% of her teeth, as mentioned to me by Dr. Nabi) are on hold right now, due to the arrival of a dental expert on board, one Dr. Maya (last name unclear) who does not recommend removal due to consequent trauma. Ahana has had two dental cleanings as of Thursday. No decision has been arrived at about her discharge.

Poornima is keen I meet Ahana, and I hope to do so this week.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Poonam Singh: Home visit. March 6, 09

This report from Sangeeta:

Indiahelps shows me Mumbai like no else did. I visited the Mahim slum and now this. I come back full of gratitude for all I have and just humbled by how calmly people carry on in the face of despair.

I took Shai Venkatraman of NDTV and we left with a cameraman, Rajendra in NDTV's vehicle . It took us 2.5 hrs to reach the home from Worli. We stopped the car for the car could not go up any more on that narrow road. After a little while, we started walking, a half km trek uphill through the slum. Poonam and Santosh Singh with their 4 kids stay in a small home uphill.

One of her sons was with her and was hit. He has undergone 4 surgeries and has one more scheduled. He is fine physically, a burnt patch on the thigh and a bump the size of a strawberry on his hand. More important, he has changed - his father said. He has become very difficult to handle.

Poonam needs a walker. But we cannot help her. The climb down to just get to an auto rickshaw is a challenge. We need to help the family to rent one year at the bottom of the slum. Help with the deposit and the rent - difference.

Then and only then this lady can even go anywhere and do any physiotherapy. Only then does she have a chance .

She is only 34 , with 4 kids. Her husband is a decent man. He told me, "I used to just give her the salary and she took care of everything. The kids, dropping them to school, washing clothes, buying provisions. Today between my eldest daughter and I we manage." The eldest daughter has lost two months of school. Her mother came home on 6th Feb 2009 from JJ.

She has to get water, and wash clothes and look after a lot of the work the mother did. She looks hardened.

I asked another old lady that lived nearby how did Poonam go to the toilet - for such places the toilet will be a trek to. - she said she cant go anywhere ...she has to do everything at home.

Yet in the face of such aadversity that family was stoic. Not happy but not crying and saying "Why did this happen to us?"

They have got some money for two people were injured at CST.

I have asked the husband to find a place lower and that we will help with difference in deposit and rent for a year only. Then I can work on her rehab.

I reached back home Mahim at 8.30 p.m. Shai will go again on this Thursday as the light was just not enough to shoot and there was no source to hook up for more electricity.

Action Point - Keep in touch with the husband. Get them to move down and then start helping her.

If anyone would like to help this family please do contact us at indiahelps@gmail.com.

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Update from Sangeeta

Cheetah Camp: Shabnam and her sisters 
Panchtatwa -  a charitable trust has  stepped in with Rs 12,000 for the rent for the Cheetah Camp family of girls for six months.
I will manage some  vessels and some clothes too.

Poonam Singh - 26/11
She walks with a walker  after being hit by bullets at CST. At JJ hospital someone gave her a wheel chair and I gave just one walker for support for walking. She has four kids and husband.
Taking her  on monday to JJ . Post that we need to figure a good doctor close to Vikhroli for her exercises and figure out who can go from her family with her. Her husband works till 6 p.m

Added: Thank you Panchtatwa from the India Helps team.

And if any kind soul knows of a good physiotherapist in or around Vikhroli do let us know.

And yes, a job in the vicinity for Shabnam too!

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Report on Cheetah Camp Fire victims

This report came in from Nomad. These girls were rendered homeless by the blaze that engulfed Cheetah Camp in Jan 09.

I spoke to Shabnam and this is what she had to say:

Members in the family: 6 (mother, Shabnam + 4 sisters). Father has been missing.


* A doctor had kindly allowed them to stay in the dispensary but now his agreement has expired, they have till tomorrow to move out of there.

* An anonymous helper has offered to pay for the deposit of Rs. 15,000-20,000 for a rented house in Cheetah Camp itself.

* The monthly rent will still be an issue. This would amount to an approx. 2,000 p.m. (1500 rent + 500 electricity, water)
* Immediate need: Rent money

Daily needs

* At the time of the fire, the family escaped with nothing more than the clothes on their back. They have no money and no belongings at all. She mentioned that they cook one thing in the only utensil they have, empty it and cook in it again.

* They had received a few thousand as help for groceries from Govt. but this has been long over, as part of that was taken away by the landlord of the house that burnt down against the deposit.
* She also mentioned that since the story came in the newspaper, most people are assuming that they would have received ample help but the rent deposit is the only aid they have been promised so far.

* Immediate needs : Clothes, bedding, groceries, utensils, some money for needs like milk, vegetables. Looking at even the basic meals for 6 of them, approx. Rs. 3,000 p.m. (including ration and some money for milk etc.)


* The four younger girls have not been able to go to school because there's no money to take a rickshaw and the pedestrian route is via a railway crossing which the girls cannot manage without risking their lives.
* Immediate need: Rs. 1000 a month is sufficient to get them to school every day.


* It was very heartening to hear Shabnam say that the thing they need most is a job for herself so that the family can become independent. She said that no one can look after them forever and that is not what they want anyway.

* She is 21 and has passed her BA final year. She is conversant with Hindi and spoke decent English over the phone.

* Immediate help: A job for the girl is their key need and the long-term help they are looking at.

Monthly help (in Rs.) : 3000 + 2000 + 1000.


Utensils, clothes, shoes, bedding etc.

I gave her my mobile number and told her briefly about Indiahelps. I also told her that once I talk to the group I will call her by tomorrow or one of us will visit her. I think groceries, utensils and some cash for rent+daily needs are the urgent needs; job for her will be the next.

Anyone who can help in any way do contact us at indiahelps@gmail.com.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Awareness drive for 1298 ambulance service

Received this as a forward:

We wanted to take a moment to tell you about our latest awareness initiative. Our team will be reaching out to Residential / Community Associations to inform them of 1298's Ambulance Service.

We are hoping that you will be able to put us in touch with the Chairperson or a Member of your Residential Association or others you may know of or have contact with.
If you are not from Mumbai, instead of ignoring this email, you can forward it to your friends in Mumbai and they can write in with info on their Housing Socities / Associations.
We look forward to hearing from you with the contact details of your society so we that not only you but your neighbours will know which number to dial in case of any medical emergency..

Much appreciate,

'Dial 1298 for Ambulance' Team

Please send us these 4 details

Housing Society Name
Contact Person
Contact Number


Dial 1298 for Ambulance
CSSC, M.N. Roy Human Development Campus,
2nd Floor, C Wing, Plot No 6, F Block,
Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East,
Mumbai 400 051, India

Monday, March 2, 2009

Update on Momina

Hello everybody,

Shyaam and I visited Momina's place yesterday. From our first meeting to date, she has started looking so much better. She has accepted life and is at least making an effort to move on. She was glad to see us. Shyaam bought chocolates for the kids and it was a delight to see them. They ran around the entire house expressing their happiness.

We gave her the cheques of Rs 9000 (thanks Divya) and Rs 2000 (thanks Sunayana) each.

She also told us that now her doctor is not taking any consultation fee from her. And the doctor had asked her to tell this to anyone who comes and asks about her medical expenses.

Right now she has her sister staying with her to help her with work and the kids. One thing we have noticed every time we go to her place is that even though the house is small, it is spick and span.

While leaving we also met her eldest son. He has done well in his exams and is regular to school tuitions and his Arabic classes. She expressed her desire to teach him so that he does well in life.


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Sunday, March 1, 2009

A forward on the Disability Rights Fund

Disability Rights Fund Releases 2009 Request for Proposals: 3 New Countries Targeted in First Round

Contact: Diana Samarasan, Director
Telephone: 617-261-4593
Email: dsamarasan@disabilityrightsfund.org <mailto:dsamarasan@disabilityrightsfund.org>

The Disability Rights Fund (DRF)—a groundbreaking grantmaking collaborative supporting the human rights of people with disabilities—today announced its first 2009 grants round, "Raising Our Voice," targeted at disabled persons' organizations (DPOs) in three countries: India, Mexico and Ukraine.

The broad objective of the Fund—which was officially launched in March 2008—is to empower DPOs in the developing world and Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union to participate in ratification, implementation and monitoring of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD).

In 2008, the Fund made one-year grants to 33 organizations in 7 countries (Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru; Ghana, Namibia, Uganda; Bangladesh), totaling USD 800,000. Grants ranged from USD 5000 - 50,000 and supported CRPD awareness-raising, strengthening coalitions and networks, and rights advocacy.

In the first round of 2009 grantmaking, applicant organizations may apply within one of two categories: a) single organizations or partnerships and b) national DPO coalitions. Grants to single organizations will range from USD 5,000 to 30,000 and support efforts to build voice and visibility and to develop rights-based advocacy and monitoring on the CRPD. Grants to national DPO coalitions will range from USD 30,000 to 70,000 and will support advocacy toward ratification of the CRPD, passage of specific legislation to accord with the CRPD, or the production of shadow reports.

Interested organizations are urged to review the full eligibility criteria and application details posted at the Fund's website, http://www.disabilityrightsfund.org/grant.html <http://www.disabilityrightsfund.org/grant.html> . Any questions on the proposal process should be directed to info@disabilityrightsfund.org <mailto:info@disabilityrightsfund.org> by March 16. The deadline for applications is April 16, 2009.

As a donor representative on the DRF Steering Committee stated, "The launch of DRF's 2009 grantmaking process marks an exciting expansion of our grantmaking to DPOs in three new countries and an effort to support both more marginalized sectors of the disability community and national coalitions advancing the rights of persons with disabilities."

DRF's donors include the American Jewish World Service, an anonymous founding donor, the Open Society Institute, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, and the United Kingdom Department for International Development.

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