Sunday, March 28, 2010

Can anyone help this girl?

Received this as a forward from Chandni:
Thu Mar 25, 2010
There is a girl, age 4 years, in need of shelter and basic education. Her father left her mother after birth of the child and due to very poor economic status, mother is not able to raise the child. Mother is working as domestic help in nearby homes (in Marol-Andheri area) and feeding both of them.  However its impossible for her to buy a home and provide shelter-education to the child.
Request your help to provide necessary help to this child in terms of shelter and some basic education. Looking forward for positive response from your end....or at least guide us to appropriate channel from where she can get some help..
Thanks & Regards
Edited to add: If anyone would like to help, kindly contact Mansi directly at the above email id.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Encourage Use of Cloth bags; Pave the way for a Green Tomorrow

Human Chain Campaign at Pal Hill Market on March 29th

March, 2010, Mumbai: In a joint initiative to spread awareness
regarding the use of environmentally friendly cloth bags, Vishwa and
RUR have come together to launch the Green Marketplace Initiative and
will form a Human Chain at Pali Hill Market, Bandra (W) on March 29,
2010 between 10 am to 12 noon. The campaign aims at educating,
encouraging and creating awareness among the public to cultivate the
habit of carrying a cloth bag while going to the market.

This is the first initiative being undertaken by Vishwa, after the
success of Vishwa 2009 conference and exhibition.

The initiator of Green Marketplace initiative, Monisha Narke of RUR,
says, "With the government push to ban the use of plastic bags, the
time is opportune to make available economical, eco-friendly
alternatives. Cotton bags seem to be the best solution in our times as
they are earth friendly, bio degradable and re-usable many times

Mr. Yogendra Vora, Founder, Vishwa believes, "There are a number of
platforms to discuss environmental issues and look for macro level
answers; Vishwa aims to add to these efforts by focusing on simple
steps and everyday solutions, things that you and I can do towards
building a greener tomorrow."

The two organizations seek support and encouragement in the Go Green
initiative and invite citizens to join the human chain, and drive home
the message of developing a GOOD GREEN PRACTICE of carrying cloth bags
for shopping.


At a global level, the consumption of plastic bags is staggering - 500
billion per annum, an average of 1 million per minute. Only 1% of it
recycled. Plastic bags being non-degradable suffocate our planet, and
when dumped in landfills, like Deonar, lead to perdition. Plastic bags
are indeed a drain on our planet which affects global warming. Making
eco friendly reusable cloth bags a norm is the green way.

Today our world is at an environmental crossroads largely due to man's
irresponsible consumption and production practices. You need not look
too far to see and feel the effects - climate change, global warming,
mounting non-biodegradable waste piles, irregular monsoons,
proliferation of infectious diseases and many such environment related
issues are a daily reality.


Vishwa and RUR have adopted three marketplaces with fruit and
vegetable vendors' -- Citilight market in Matunga West, Mahim Bazaar
near Mahim west Station and Pali Hill Market, Bandra, where they have
conducted surveys on the use of plastic bags. Despite the government
ban on plastic bags less than 50 microns, it was observed that most
vendors and buyers continue to use plastic bags indiscriminately.

On an average, these vendors spend between Rs.200 and Rs.1000 per
month on plastics bags. Even though these vendors may support the
plastic bag ban or have been fined by the authorities however they
continue to dispense plastic bags due to the complete apathy shown by
the customers. Vendors do understand that the direct impact of the
reducing of plastic bags is towards their profits; however they feel
helpless as consumers continue to demand plastic bags.

The real need of the hour is to educate, remind and convince the
consumers to carry their own cloth bags to the market in order to
develop a good, green habit in the general public.

About Vishwa:

Vishwa is a unique first-of-its-kind platform in India to develop
sustainable solutions to the environmental problems facing the world.
Originating from the Sanskrit word meaning 'the whole world', Vishwa
is a non-profit platform for strengthening the development of a
greener tomorrow. It is an initiative of citizens who utilize
resources from our Mother Earth and feel the need of nurturing and
protecting it for the future by finding sustainable lifestyle
solutions TODAY!!

We understand that erratic human consumption behavior over the years
has led to issues like Global Warming, Climate Change, Deforestation,
Energy Crisis, Intense Pollution and Species Eradication, and we seek
to redefine our individual consumption patterns as well as business
practices, products and services to function in harmony with the

As part of our vision to create a platform for bringing together,
world class eco-friendly solutions… to create a cleaner & greener
future for our world, Vishwa organizes an annual event, The Vishwa
Show as well as year round activities that look for micro-solutions to
macro problems, and provide information about what every individual
can do to make a difference.

About RUR:

RUR: Are you reducing, reusing, recycling is an environment forum of
young mothers dedicated towards greening our planet. Our vision is to
create eco friendly citizens who make their waste worthwhile for the
MOTHER EARTH by adopting good green practices. We practice zero waste
management at home and wish that more start green living at their
homes/offices. Through workshops, practical demos, campaigns, we
spread the green message.

Thank you, from the street school kids....

To our dear team member who doesnt want her name up here...

I would like to thank you for donating funds towards our book library for the street school kids.
She has contributed around 180 books in all three languages English,Hindi and Marathi through Pratham books.
Many of the kids will learn to enjoy reading thanks to your contribution.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Would you like to start a collection drive?

This is what you can do to help the thousands of children who do not have the resources to buy books, bags, stationery, tiffin boxes, water bottles, etc for school. At the end of the scholastic year, many of us just throw out our children's old schoolbags, waterbottles, tiffin boxes, etc, and give away their school text books to the raddi shop. Read on, maybe the things you throw away could help a child:
This from Rohit Singh, Mumbai coordinator for Goonj:
I am writing to you on behalf of GOONJ (, a unique resource mobilization initiative, channelising urban wastage as a huge resource for rural India.
As a part of our nationwide movement, SCHOOL to SCHOOL (S2S) (Winner of Changemakers' Innovation Award), GOONJ.. organizes Collection Camps in societies, corporates, schools and colleges, and collect educational material that urban students discard every year. This includes old/ new school books and notebooks, water bottles, lunch boxes, pencil boxes, uniforms, stationery etc, in addition to general clothes, utensils, footwear, medicines, school uniforms & stationery, toys, story books, old magazines and newspapers. The good quality material is then distributed among students who cannot afford it.
It is a critical time to do so, as most of the schools will soon close for summer vacations, and much of this resource would have already been discarded by the schools re-open in June. Many prestigious schools have already become a part of it, but looking at the magnitude of the problem in Mumbai slums and the rest of rural Maharashtra, a lot more needs to be done.
We are seeking your support to help us organize a collection camp, to collect the above mentioned material. We request all of you to forward this information to all your contacts in other schools also and help us in making this initiative a success…
In case of queries, do feel free to contact the undersigned.
 Thanks & 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.
Website -

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Unrelated to disaster relief...

..but something I feel strongly about:
Our government is churning out one hazardous bill after another. This time it is a bill called the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, and it's coming up for a vote in a couple of days.
The bill lets U.S. corporations off the hook for any nuclear accidents they cause on Indian soil. They'd only have to pay a meagre amount, and Indian taxpayers would be stuck paying crores for the nuclear clean up and to compensate the victims.
Without any public debate, the Prime Minister is appeasing American interests and ignoring our safety.
Greenpeace is launching a petition asking the PM to hold a public consultation before introducing the bill.
I have already signed this petition. Can you join me?

Thank you time...

A big shout out to all you folk out there who sent in bags and bags of clothes and bed linen for the families affected by the Reay Road fire. A big thank you to each and every one of you. The bags have been dutifully dropped off at the Magic Bus office at Tulsi Pipe Road by IH volunteers. (Thank you Sangeeta, Suma). We have been informed by Magic Bus that they have enough clothes now, and will not be requiring more clothes, so please hold onto to your old clothes and bed linen till the next appeal folks.

A huge Thank You to Goonj which sent in utensils for over 20 families affected by the Reay Road fire.

Greishma has sent in a carton full of lovely, brand new clothes for Karuna's and Momina's children. Thanks a ton Greishma, they have been handed over to Suma who will ensure they reach the recepients.

A big Thank You to Arti Appachu who has paid the school fees for Meghna Heliya (a sweeper's daughter, who would have had to discontinue her education).

Please help Sandeep hear

I received this mail from Amit, who had volunteered with our street schools during the Joy of Giving Week, regarding Sandeep Malik:

We are helping a child Sandeep, who is suffering from 90 per cent hearing loss since the age of 2. According to Dr. Milind Kirtane (Consultant ENG Surgeon – Hinduja Hospital), Sandeep is suffering from Bilateral Profound Sensorineural Hearing Loss. The treatment Dr. Milind Kirtane has recommended is Cochlear Implant surgery which is suppose to imporve his speech perception, educational and social opportunities and quality of life.
Do visit This is my sincere request to you if you can help him hear again. Hoping for your reply.


Further to this mail, Dilnavaz from the India Helps team verified the case with Dr Kirtane, who would be operating pro bono for this patient.
Here is her report back:
The case is genuine. Dr. Kirtane doesn't charge for operating on children born deaf. Even in this case, he's waived his fees, but the costs to be incurred are OT costs, the cost of the implant itself and allied charges. Also, post surgery, the child will need some years of speech therapy and post-surgical care and that costs quite a bit too.

If you would like to help Sandeep, please visit the website:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Storytelling programme for kids in Delhi Hospital

This forward from Chandni:
Storytelling Program for Kids in Hospital
We are looking for some one to lend a sympathetic ear, compassionate advice, and a spirit of hope to our sick children .
This Saturday, 20th March 12 pm onwards at Children Ward, Escorts Hospital, New Delhi.

Please visit following link to learn more
Pls. Call 9650518703 for details

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A little late...

...but very welcome...
the link to the article in the Mumbai Mirror featuring us.
Thanks Dilnavaz!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Reay Road/Sewri Fire

An update: Thank you all ye kind souls who have sent in clothes and bed linen and other necessities. According to the onground volunteer we are coordinating with, they have received plenty of clothes and do not need more. Items still required are stoves, utensils and stationery.
If anyone would like to donate these, you could mail us at or

An appeal

I received this appeal as a forward from Chandni:
I am writing on behalf of Priyanj Special School in Goregaon(W). We are a school of 57 students that caters to students with Autism and Down's Syndrome.

We have to move to min. 3000 sq. feet of space before April end. Is it possible for you to spread the word on social networking sites? We are willing to pay the rent and are looking for a space or a floor between Andheri to Malad.

If there is anybody who can rent us a place could you let us know? We are also looking for corporate orders for the school. We get our kids to make cards, candles and hopefully let their creativity empower them. You can check our website for more details.

Thanks for your time.

Twitter :

Website :

Phone :  +91-22-28753880

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Update on Aahana

This in from Baisali this morning:
Last night, Aahana had to be admitted to hospital (CMRI). Money is really needed now.
I will try and visit her this evening.

Edited to add: If anyone would like to help, please do mail us at, or 

Monday, March 8, 2010

An appeal

This just in from Sangeeta:
I just received a call from the dean at JJ Hospital. A patient with paralysis, Jyoti Rane, diagnosed with Guillan Barre syndrome, aged 55, in ward no 10 urgently needs two injections costing Rs 36,000 each.
If anyone would like to help her please contact JJ Hospital directly.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Reay Road Fire victims

This report in from Dilnavaz and Sayantani:
Hi team,
Sayantani and I visited Kawla Bunder in Reay Road this morning and here's what we have to report:
We met some of the victims of last Sunday's blaze, who claim that 250 homes have been razed to the ground, with everything in them lost. No human casualties, though. They are living in semi-covered dwellings and pooling in money to feed themselves. A nearby temple (known in the area as Madrasi Mandir) is supplying some food daily. Living conditions are abysmal, and the area is very polluted. When asked, the residents said they'd appreciate utensils and primus stoves, and anything else we give is also very welcome, given that they've lost everything they had. Only the older children in the area go to school, the younger ones don't.
I also spoke with Khushboo from the Magic Bus before we visited and she informed us that help is coming in from political agencies and we shouldn't get carried away by what we see. The residents, however, said they hadn't received much from the Congress government and the local MLA Milind Deora hadn't arrived yet, but is likely to visit tomorrow. Some women even requested that I call him and tell him about their situation.
I suggest we work through the Magic Bus after meeting with them since they already have staff on the ground and have an established network in the area. Khushboo said her team would be happy to pass any collections on.
Edited to add: India Helps requests anyone who would like to contribute old clothes/utensils/primus stoves/Bed linen, etc, to kindly mail us at or along with your location in Mumbai to enable us send you a convenient drop point. The children affected would also appreciate stationery and books, school bags, water bottles etc. We will forward everything collected to Magic Bus.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Calling folks to volunteer

India Helps is looking for team members in cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and other important cities. Would you like to give of your time and efforts to help disaster victims? Please mail us at

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Urgent appeal for blood

Urgently need replacement blood today for a baby girl who is being operated at Harkisondas Hospital, Grant road.. please call Vikas Dhoot at 9811290990

Monday, March 1, 2010

Survival tips

Received this as a forward from Sayantani. The tips seem simple and practical:

My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world's most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake.
I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries.
I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years. I have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for
simultaneous disasters.
The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City
during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene, unnecessary and I wondered why the children were not in the aisles. I didn't at the time know that the children were told to hide under something. I am amazed that even today schools are still using the Duck and Cover instructions- telling the children to squat under their desks with their heads bowed and covered with their hands. This was the technique used in the Mexico City school.
Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling
upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space
or void next to them. This space is what I call the 'triangle of life'. The
larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the
object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the
person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time
you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the 'triangles' you see
formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.
1) Almost everyone who simply 'ducks and covers' when buildings collapse ARE CRUSHED TO DEATH. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed.
2) Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You
should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. That
position helps you survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to
a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a
void next to it.
3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an
earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs. Concrete slab buildings are the most dangerous during an earthquake.
4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on the back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.
5) If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.
6) Almost everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is
killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!
7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different 'moment of frequency (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged Even if the stairs are not
collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by
fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.
8) Get Near the Outer Walls Of Buildings Or Outside Of Them If Possible - It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the
interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the
building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.
9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in
an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and lying in the fetal position next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them.
All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.
10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.
In 1996 we made a film, which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul , University of Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did 'duck and cover,' and ten mannequins I used in my 'triangle of life' survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results.
The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions, relevant to building collapse, showed
there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.
There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the 'triangle of life.' This film has been seen by millions of
viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe , and it was seen in the USA , Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV.
Spread the word and save someone's life.. The entire world is experiencing natural calamities so be prepared!