Thursday, February 25, 2010

For Chennai runners

Hi All,

Interested runners may take note.

Join the Christ School run in aid of children living with HIV/AIDS. Sunday 28th February 2010. At Marina from 6.30am Exciting Prizes. Pre register by SMS . 9176096494. Visit for information.

Via SMS from Acharya Puru.

Shankar Lal M Patel
Fire in the Belly, Run Run Run.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Update on the pavement schools

This in from Priyanka:
Pavement schools-  a quick update
Zee education (Kids Zee) came across to the school and donated some new educational toys for the schools. It includes hindi flash cards and some other fun learning games which the kids in the schools are enjoying immensely.
Mr.Kumar who has a warehouse close to the school has agreed to allow us to keep toys and books in the warehouse. So I thought maybe we could collect new toys and books for the school and on Saturday we can let the kids learn through Play Way method. It could be clay, jigsaw, wooden puzzles, flash cards,books anything as long as they are in good condition it would help these kids.
(Please email us at if you have any such materials you would like to donate to the school or you could have them dropped at G-92, Shagun Mall, Near Dindoshi Bus Depot, Malad (E), Mumbai 400 097.)
Secondly there is a 6 year old girl Laadli who comes in the evening batch.She has a severe squint in her left eye. A  Vibgyor mom had organized a free check up for her with an eye surgeon in Santacruz and the doctor has advised surgery. The surgery could cost upto 20k. My sister spoke to an eye surgeon in Goregaon who has agreed to do it free of cost. There is a group of eye docs who periodically put up eye camps for under privileged kids hence they have taken her case. They have also agreed to organize these eye camps in the school every alternate month. These camps would check vision, provide specs to those kids who have a number free of cost and also provide free surgery for kids who need it.
That's the happy news from the school!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

BRM V-Day special : Fun with street kids - Sunday 14th Feb @ 4 pm Mira Road

A forward from Chandni:

 Hello All!

This weekend is St Valentines - a day to say you love and care.

We plan a fun evening with kids from Vision Foundation which is a 24 hour shelter for street kids aged from 8 to 18. We'll spend some time in games and activities followed by interaction.

We meet @ Mira Road Station (E) at 4 pm and head to the location together. We should get done by 6. The logic behind the time is that right after this you can go on your V-Day date :)

Please bring in any gifts, food and books that you'd want to share.

As always, please confirm your participation with an SMS to 9920279683.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A website to help cope with grief

If anyone you know needs help to cope with the loss of a loved one, you could direct them here:
This website aims at providing a healing space for the grief-stricken who may be finding it difficult to come to terms with the loss of a loved one . Support4grief offers a host of information by way of articles, share your experiences online, links, FAQ's, inspirational quotes, coping mechanisms and also includes ideas on how to create a fitting memorial to loved ones that may give solace to the grief-stricken.

Heart surgery for children

I received this as an sms:

Heart surgery FREE of COST for children aged 0 to 10 years at Sri Sathya Sai Institute, Bangalore. Ph:08028411500

While I have not verified this, it might be worth the while to investigate it if any child needs such surgery.

Volunteers needed by an NGO

Chandni forwarded me this:

Once again there is a great opportunity to volunteer with my favorite NGO: Down to Earth in Mumbai. Like every year we are organizing an Interactive Sports day on the 21st Feb 2010. It is different than most other sports day because instead of encouraging kids to compete with each other it will bring them together through sports!
Guys on a personal note ! I love them and what they do has a lot of thought put in it.. Also, volunteering with them is great fun and i can guarantee that that sunday will be the most satisfying and fin sunday of your life !
So please come forward and register to volunteer with us. The details are given below.
Sachi (9920877443)

Dear Team,
Hope the 2010 has got off to a great start for you.
We are less than a month away from DTE’s annual sports event the Interactive Games Day slated for 21st Feb 2010. Hope each one of you given your extended association with us and faith in the change we are attempting to catalyze will be there partaking in the fun. We seek volunteers for the event and hope you can commit the time. We promise you will have a lot of fun, probably more than the children participating J

This year is the third edition of the Interactive Games Day and we aim to host approximately 500 children from several schools and organizations. The children will be in the age group of 10 to 16 years.
The event would involve games that focus on physical and mental ability and would require for individuals to work in teams. The idea is to foster a spirit of team work and inclusiveness amongst children from participating organizations. Please note we will mix and merge children from multiple organizations and schools to form teams. As a volunteer you can sign up for one/two (depending upon the nature of the role) of the following

Manage a team of children.
Facilitate a game.
Tabulate scores.
Keep time.
Serve food.
Coordinate travel logistics.
Attend medical emergencies. (hopefully this person will not be needed and can double up as the close out packing volunteer)
Outreach for the event. Please note this is a pre-event assignment that can be kick started NOW from the cozy confines of your office/home.

The key to ensure that the event is both fun and smooth sailing lies in our ability to prepare thoroughly. For this we recommend that you attend a volunteer orientation session at 6:00pm Saturday 20th Feb 2010 at the St Mary’s SSC School, Mazgaon. We recognize that you will have to stretch your day a little to be able to attend the volunteer orientation but promise that it will pay dividends on 21st Feb 2010. If you know someone that would love to volunteer for the event please let both them and us. We request you to confirm participation by the 9th February 2010. We look forward to hear from you.

Please call Ashishwang Godha at 9870250560 or Sachi Maniar at 9820877443 and/or write to us at for any further assistance.

With love in service,

Team DTE.

Friday, February 5, 2010

All you need is a social conscience

How often have we seen a mentally challenged person on the streets and walked away without trying to see if they could be helped? Here is what Pramila Payal of Pune did in a similar circumstance:

Dear Kiran,
Here is the report that you had asked for.

Just the day before yesterday, I was waiting at a bus stop near my house. I saw a woman screaming at three to four men who were making fun of her. She was in her mid-thirties and was dressed in a clean saree, but looked mentally disoriented. After I shot the men a dirty look, they quit fidgeting with her. 

I thought about getting into the matter and inquiring about her. The men told me that the woman had been there for the past twenty days, staying there day and night, with only two belongings that were two small plastic bags. In response to my asking the men about whether they had informed the police about the matter, they said that they had informed the police twice, but no action had been taken by them. Across the road, there was a man who is well-known in this area, Avi Gaikwad and so I discussed the matter with him, saying that I would think of some means to help the woman. 

I tried speaking to some of my contacts who would be able to help, and incidentally, I realised that I myself was a part of an NGO called Maher a few years back. Maher is an ashram which takes care of destitute and mentally retarded women. I contacted them, asking them about how they could help the woman. Since they would not be able to arrange for a vehicle that day, they suggested that I should take her to the ashram in Wagholi. As she was mentally retarded, I was skeptical about taking her to the ashram myself. So they said that they would come the next day.

The next morning, I contacted the Maher office, but they were not very enthusiastic about it. So I got hold of the contact number of Sister Lucy from a friend. Sister Lucy runs the ashram. You can go the their website and read about her. She took very prompt action and told me to make an application to the police chowki that I would take the responsibility of handing over the lady to the ashram, so that in case of any  further requirement, they would be able to contact me. This was also a legal procedure that needed to be taken. She also said that she would send a van along with a counseller and helper to take the lady.

After an hour or so, I received a call from the volunteers that they had reached the pick-up point I had suggested. When I reached there, I saw their van there, and they told me that they had found the lady. But when I looked at her, I was astonished to see another lady. I told them that they had got the wrong person  They replied that they found her in the same area and she seemed to be mentally retarded, so they took her. 

She was sitting in the corner of the van, huddled safely in the corner. She felt secure there, and seemed as if she didn't want to get out of the van. She was dumb, and was drooling, dressed in tattered clothes. We finally found the lady aforementioned, and then we told her that some people had come from the ashram, and they would take her there to look after her. She was unwilling to go at first, and she started saying that she was wounded and could not walk. After assuring her that she would be given medical assistance, she agreed to go with them and sat in the van.

I went to the police chowki with Avi, who would be a witness along with me. After giving the police the details, we told them to accept the application. They were very cooperative and also praised our efforts, as people were usually shy in taking up such social causes. Within half an hour, all legal formalities were completed.

When I got back home, all the people who knew about it complimented me and said that I had done a good job. I told them that inspite of knowing about the lady and how she had been there for twenty days, they didn't bother to do anything about it. If anything had to be done for the society, an ordinary citizen could do the task with a little effort and desire to help the person concerned.

(written by Shinu:)

Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Update on Ankit...

This in from Baisali yesterday:

I also wanted to let you all know that Phulinder called. He wanted to inform me about Ankit's progress. Ankit is doing well...he's running about, playing and doing everything a three-year old child should be doing. The joy in his voice was unmistakeable.

Congratulations team! A super success story, in my book! Thank you especially to Sangeeta and Panchtatwa.

And from Team India Helps: Thank you Baisali for being on the case and Ahana's case even though you were going through such a difficult time. Thank you Santanu Ghose for bringing Ankit to our attention and following through on this case despite your own personal stress. And a big big thank you to Sangeeta and Panchtatva for their prompt help to Ankit, thanks to them a boy has now got a shot at a normal life.

Republic Day Celebrations at our street school

This report in from Priyanka:
On 26th January, our street school children along with the assistance of our volunteer teachers put together a brilliant song and dance show.
The emcee for the event was one of our school kids, Sebastian. The flag hoisting was followed by the national anthem. The younger kids sang 'nanha munha raahi hoon main' followed by dance performances on marathi folk songs by the older kids. A short speech on the importance of Republic Day and Jawaharlal Nehru was delivered by two kids of the school.
As it happened during the 15th Aug celebrations last year, this time too lots of passers-by joined in to motivate the kids and watch their performances. Many building residents also came to see the kids perform.
It is good to see that the kids are growing in confidence when performing/singing/talking in front of a crowd.
All in all it was a wonderful way to celebrate Republic Day and an auspicious start to the year!