Thursday, September 24, 2009

An appeal for help

This is an appeal by a cancer stricken widow who is at the last stage of her illness, and will leave behind two young children. This story is truly heartbreaking. If you would like to help please either mail us at or Or you could contact the Bhaktivedanta Hospital Share Your Care programme directly (details included below):

I need your helping hand….

Name of patient: Ms. Rachana Ghag, Age-38 yrs

Diagnosis: Cancer of the Breast, diagnosed in 2006

Family Background:

Rachana is the lone child to her parents. She got married to Rajendra Ghag, a police constable and had two children from him. However, misfortune struck early and she lost her husband in 2004 due to heart attack. She is survived by two children – Sailee aged 11 and son Gaurav aged 6. She was struck by breast cancer in 2006. She had to give up her job in a Diamond factory due to her failing health.

Health Aspects:

Ms. Ghag came in contact with Bhaktivedanta Hospital due to the efforts of Mr. Deven Chopra and Mr. Rajesh Talreja. She is ably supported by Dr Vinita/Dr Avnish of the palliative Care Team at Bhaktivedanta hospital. Although, she is in her last days/weeks, she is surviving by her will power and positive approach to life.

Foreseen requirements:

Loan Details of Rachana Ghag.
Loan 1Housing LoanState Bank of MysoreRs.2.80 lacsCovered under insurance
Loan 2Mortgage loanState Bank of MysoreRs.1.50 lacsNot covered

Children education needs to be supported

  • Basic graduation Education for Son Gaurav appx Rs 10.67 lacs
  • Basic graduation education for Daughter Sailee Rs 6.88 lacs

Funds collected will be deposited with:-


Branch: Mira Road (E), Thane Pin- 401 107.

A/c. No.; 540010113940.

Title of A/c. : CWCT A/C. RACHANA GHAG.

IFSC Code: VYSA0005400.

Two signatories jointly will be operating the account. The account will be monitored by a CA and will be open for scrutiny.

Please note all donations are exempted under section 80-G of I.T.act

For any further clarification or information you may contact the undersigned or

Mr.K. Venkataramanan,


Bhaktivedanta Hospital

Srishti Complex, Sector-1, Mira Road (E), THANE - 401107

Mobile - 9324236661, Email -

You are also most welcome to meet the patient with prior appointment.

Suresh S Chari

Manager - Projects and Program

Share Your Care, Bhaktivedanta Hospital,

Mira Road (E) Thane dist. Mobile: 09320356200.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

India Helps participates in the Joy of Giving Week

India Helps will be participating in the Joy of Giving Week being organised by Give India from Sept 27 to Oct 3. We are inviting volunteers to come teach our Street School children anytime during the week. The schools are open from 8 am to 10 am, Monday to Saturday.
School 1 is opposite Vibgyor High School, Link Rd, Goregaon West.
School 2 is outside ICICI Bank, near Bangur Nagar Signal, Link Road, Goregaon West.
We welcome volunteers who can bring skills like art and craft, conversational English, and regular rhymes, songs, or even basic alphabets and numerals. We want you to come interact with our children, see their desire to learn and encourage them in their efforts.
Hoping to see you there!
Team India Helps.

Update from Kolkata

Update from Kolkata, from Mamma Mia! Me a Mamma?:

No updates on the dhobi's son. I plan on calling the father after the Durga Pujo gets over. I'd like to meet him. In the meanwhile, I've spoken to a close friend of mine whose brother happens to be an orthopaedic surgeon. I plan on visiting him with the reports and X-rays once I get my hands on them.

As for Aahana...sigh, bad news I'm afraid. Aahana's stomach tube has developed two holes. The doctors have done a temporary patch-up job, but it will need to be replaced within the next six months. The cost of the operation including three-four days at the hospital can amount to anything between Rs. 30 - 40,000/-. Purnima also said that we need to take into consideration, Aahana's frail health. Her last operation, as you all know, had her staying back at the hospital for six weeks. That may be a huge possibility here as well.

I spoke to Purnima's son. It was a much-needed conversation, because now I know exactly where they stand on the PF issues, the monetary needs and the guardianship issues. He is a huge help to the mother and he is leaving no stone unturned to try and get every last cent of his sister's money from wherever it may be stuck.

After the conversation with Mr. Goswami, it has become apparent that what is really the need of the hour, a lump sum of money that they can fall back on when situations as the above arise.

Fund-raising needs to start in earnest now. What with it being Durga Puja, maybe we can put up some posters in a few pandals all over the city.

Edited to add: If you would like to help Aahana or the dhobi's son with funds for both operations, do write in to us at or

Would you like to donate books?

Got this as a forward, thanks Chandni. I thought it was a noble cause anyone could support:

Sevadham requires books on values and spirituality in Hindi and Marathi. I would be extremely grateful if we could collect a dozen or two books not too voluminous on the subject mentioned above. We need these books to provide good reading material to the prisoners confined in prisons in the western region of Maharashtra. Do let us know when and where we can collect them.

Ms. B. Pimenta

The "Donate Books, Receive Books" initiative was started by Karmayog in June
this year. (

So far there are appeals for books from 58 cities in 19 States of India.
135 NGOs and organisations have appealed for books in all languages and for
all types of people who need them.

The Karmayog office in Fort, Mumbai, itself has collected and donated over 1000
books during this period.

If you would like to donate books, or need books for your organisation, do
join in the "Donate Books, Receive Books" initiative.

Corporates, schools, colleges and housing societies can also participate and
conduct collection drives in their premises.

Send an email to us stating how you would like to particpate and we
will take that further.


Vinay -- spreading knowledge

Monday, September 14, 2009

A 'Literacy Day' True Story

Received this as a forward, and found it touching. Thank you Chandni.

By Mala

September 8 is International Literacy Day. And I'm able to write this and you're able to read this because someone thought it was necessary to make you and me literate.

According to a UNESCO list of literacy rates, 146 countries have better adult literacy rates than India, with its score of 60%. Clearly, the way to improve adult literacy is to go about getting our children literate. And that is where the challenge is, for there seem to be so many factors that help deny basic education to our children---poverty, casteism, infrastructure. Add to this the fact that a huge mass of adults do not have the conviction that education and literacy are necessary tools for the development of our children.

On this International Literacy Day, I'd like to share a story. A true story.

Many years back, a woman died in a hospital leaving behind a three-year old child named Saraswathi. The hospital handed over the child to Anatha Shishu Sevashram, an orphanage in Wilson Garden, Bangalore. Ms. Parvathamma Hirematt, who founded the institution in 1942, sent Saraswathi to school. When she was in Class 4, Saraswathi lost her eyesight following a smallpox attack.

Saraswathi, providentially named after the Hindu Goddess of Knowledge, continued her schooling at Jayanagar Blind School, finished her degree at B.E.S College, and earned an MA in Political Science from Mysore University. She was a lecturer in B.E.S. College for 11 years. But what inspires me is not that a blind girl attained these heights of literacy.

When Parvathamma passed away, Saraswathi took up the running of the orphanage. Since 1992, Sarawathi and her husband have been maintaining it. They do all the cooking, with the help of a few senior students. Today, she tends to 60 children, aged between 4 and 18. Several of her 'children' have finished their studies and have been married into good families.

I'm privy to this story because of something that started as a little idea. My husband's colleagues decided that their company should donate whatever they could to charity each year. My humble contribution was a set of books from Pratham Books. (I had just signed up for the 7-day challenge organized by Joy of Giving. Friends and family think I must be the stingiest 'donor', for our books cost just Rs.25 or less). Some days back, Saraswathi Bhat---blind, extremely busy, unacquainted to me---called me up. "Thanks for the books! Some people from your husband's office just came in and donated many things in cash and kind to our ashram, but I was so happy to get books for our children! They are going to be delighted."

Literacy is not just about learning to read, write, comprehend and speak, it is also about spreading the worth of these skills, the joy of using these skills. If you believe in this, do spend five minutes today and every other day possible to spread the joy of reading. Talk to a street child. Help her 'read' a traffic sign. Show her a newspaper and read out the cartoon strip. Point out a school that she could go to. And do let us know what you did to inspire a child to become literate.Let's spread the joy of doing our bit....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An initiative worth pitching in, for Mumbaikars

I received this as a forward and having contributed to Goonj earlier, for the Bihar floods, I think this is an initiative every citizen could chip in and help with in an easy manner

Dear Friends,

I'm writing to you on the behalf of GOONJ.. (, a voluntary organization working nationwide, channelising vast resources lying in excess in the cities to the far flung villages of India.

Winner of the 'Indian NGO of the Year' Award, GOONJ.. is dispatching over 40000 kgs of material in 21 states of India with a network of over 150 grassroots implementation partners like Ashoka Fellows, Panchayats, NGO's, Social Activists and the Indian Army.

Once again, we are holding DHL 'Deliver Help Drive', where DHL will pick-up the material from your place and deliver it to GOONJ.. processing center. The drive is for Mumbai, Navi-Mumbai & Thane, and will take place from Sept 3rd to Sept 13th 2009. For scheduling a pick-up, you can call 022-6741 2737 or send email on

You can contribute: Old/new school uniform, shoes, stationery, notebooks, geometry boxes, school bags, lunch boxes, water bottles, raincoats, old storybooks and toys for our initiative SCHOOL to SCHOOL (S2S) and also general clothes (all sizes), woollens, bed sheets, utensils, footwear, newspapers/ magazines & monetary contributions (for a detailed list log on to

Do motivate your friends & colleagues to come forward & contribute for this noble cause.

Please refer the link of POSTER to spread the word across in your offices, colleges, schools & residential societies. For any further information/ assistance, kindly contact the undersigned.

About GOONJ: Initiated in 1998, GOONJ.. is now a strong force of over 300 volunteers & over 150 implementation partners in 21 states. GOONJ.. has won the prestigious Changemakers' Innovation Award twice for its initiatives 'SCHOOL to SCHOOL' and its disaster relief work 'Rahat'. "Not just a piece of cloth'' is our campaign to find solutions for the most neglected need of sanitary napkin for village women by providing a clean piece of cloth. It has won the World Bank's Development MarketPlace Award in 2007.

With best regards,



Rohit Singh
Coordinator - GOONJ.., Mumbai.
Email -
Add. - Shop # 4, M/s Well Wishes,
East India Tannery Compound,
Sethwadi, Dharavi, Mumbai - 17.
Tel.- 9322381600 or 9833237678.

"Join VASTRA-SAMMAN, a nationwide campaign by GOONJ during Joy of Giving Week".

Job required for Abdul, Shabira Khan's son

This update in from Serendipity on Abdul:

Abdul was looking for a job the last I spoke with him, so if anyone knows of a job where a strappy young chap can pitch in, let me know. He's not very educated, but he said he's ok picking up things, delivering, or an office boy type of job too. If anyone does know of any leads that can help him get a job, do write in to us at or

Monday, September 7, 2009

Help this boy

Sometime ago, a gentleman from Kolkata, Santanu Ghose, had written in to us about a young boy, his dhobi's son who had a spinal problem, for which an immediate operation was required.
An India Helps team member from the Kolkata chapter spoke with Mr Ghose, who further investigated the case and referred the child to Dr Tirthankar Guha Thakurta (His note is attached below). The child needs surgery for which the expenses are working out to approximately Rs 22,000 only for the prosthetic, the surgery, the hospital stay, the medicines etc, would be separate.

We appeal to kind donors to please write in to us at, if they would like to help this child lead a normal, painfree life. Also, if any orthopaedic surgeon in Kolkata could help this child pro bono, we would be grateful.

Letter from Dr Guha Thakurta:

I got an opportunity to meet the young child on Saturday. He has a congenital Scoliosis, which is kind of an abnormal bending of the vertebral column. In future this can compress upon the spinal cord and produce painful and paralytic neurological symptoms.

He has been advised orthopedic re-constructive surgery by consultants at RKM Seva Sadan and I have reviewed all the reports done so far.

He is definitely in need of a surgical reconstruction to prevent a disabled adulthood.

The surgery is expensive and if any financial help can be offered to them, it will be great.


Dr Tirthankar Guha Thakurta

Dept of Pathology,
KPC Medical College & Hospital, Jadavpur

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Appeal for rare blood group in Mumbai

This forward came in from Gunjan today:

Hi all,

There is an urgent requirement for A –ve blood. If any of you are willing to donate, please help! The patient is suffering from blood cancer. She will be needing platelets (colorless bodies that are present in blood). Once these are donated, these get reformed within 3/4 days and at Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Parel, Mumbai.

Step 1: Donor Confirmation
There will be a blood test for the donor at Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Parel, Mumbai.
A donor can go to TMH as per his/her convenient day. (any possible day from tomorrow)
Next day, it will be clear from the reports, if the donor's blood is suitable for the patient..

Step 2: Actual Blood Platelets Donation
After that as per the requirement, the donor will be contacted for the platelets.
For that also, donor need to go to TMH.
It will be 1:30 to 2:00 hour process; the platelets will be collected from the donors blood.

Following are the contact details:
Shashank Joshi (Patient's husband): 09029281150 - He is with patient at TMH, he will guide the donor
Shital Joshi (Patient's mobile, mostly attended by Shashank): 09702198780
Umesh Joshi : 9822681654 – the person who has made the request through an Infoscion-in Pune.

Sparsh team

Find purpose. The means will follow.
Mahatma Gandhi

Update on Aahana

This came in from Mamma Mia! Me a Mamma? from our Kolkata chapter:

The latest regarding Aahana:
Purnima had gone to the IICP on the 31st where they did a full-scale investigation on Aahana. They will be writing out a disability report which Purnima hopes will help her recover some of her daughter's pending funds.
She collected the cheque (from Panchtatwa, thank you Sangeeta!) and we spent some time talking.
I reminded her to call me when her son is in town and she says that she has not forgotten.
Aahana hasn't been keeping too well and she's lost more weight. I felt like crying when I saw her this time...

If anyone would like to help Aahana, please do write in at or

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Our August 2009 Newsletter is here....

And this is where you can read it...

download link