Thursday, January 28, 2010

Swanthana - Haven of Little Angels

If you have a heart, it will bleed once you read the first few lines.

The Just born ammu was thrown in the waste bin behind a hotel one night. By next morning, she was almost eaten up by stray dogs and crows. Fortunately for her she was rescued. But due to that ordeal, she is paralyzed waist down.

There is one girl who was dumped in the waste bin in a railway station. She was rescued but acute malnutrition had left her mentally and physically disabled.

Another girl was hit by an iron rod by her dad as he was trying to hit her mom. The kid who was healthy is now mentally and physically disabled and has been abandoned by her parents.

These were the sights we saw at Swanthana, an orphanage for Mentally and physically challenged girl children.

Words cannot describe the agony we, the members of Feed the Nation went through watching these kids, holding them and trying to make them smile.

A lot of new members had joined us for the visit. Our Project Coordinator, Vineeth had done a pilot visit to ascertain the requirements. They needed Clothes, Diapers as all kids attend the natures call as is, and food. Mails were circulated to members to arrange for these needs. Apart from this our new member Rubina had arranged lunch for all the inmates and FTN members.

Being the Republic day, the Nuns had arranged for flag hoisting. We had nothing much to do to entertain the kids than carrying them around, and moving them around in their wheel chairs. The kids’ happiness was over whelming. They wanted to move around, and the moment anyone was taken back to the building, we could hear the screams to go out again.

It was an appealing sight. The privilege each of us enjoy to be able to do what we want, in knowing what we are doing. And here is a bunch of kids, at the mercy of others for no fault of theirs. Their only fault is probably that they survived their birth, and sadly were born to selfish and heartless parents, who left them to the mercy of the world, so that they may live a peaceful life. I'm very sure they wouldn’t have slept a single night peacefully, after the day they decided to dump their bundle of joy into a waste bin, for the stray dogs to feast on her.

The home is run amazingly well. The Nuns led by Sis Regina , takes extremely good care of the kids. They hardly have any external support, and hence are not able to accommodate more kids. The facility now has 29 kids and they are willing to take more needy kids, but are short of space. They are looking forward for a big time sponsor to build some extra rooms for them. On a day to day basis, they need clothes, diapers, food, toys etc for the kids. We want to associate with them long time on these needs.

As we parted, most of us had very heavy hearts. As I shared this with my friends, many came forward to provide more help. Most of us cannot take away our minds of that little ammu who captured our thoughts.

My Daughter, Anandita summed it up later that evening, when she told me “ Lets go there again daddy, ammu was so happy when she was with us” .

We would be going there soon, may be for Ammu's 1st birthday which is in february.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Yaadon Ki Baaraat - A Charity event by Feed The Nation

Yaadon Ki Baaraat as it was rightly named took us through a nostalgic ride of retro music, the golden era of Indian Music. It was a fund raiser organised for Feed the Nation. Appreciations that have come from all quarters including print media has given us the courage and momentum to chase our dreams and live up to our vision "

“To instill a sense of charity and selfless social service among youngsters for the progressive growth of our nation”.

Feed the Nation, the charity trust we founded 2 years back has grown from a small community of 11 members to around 330 members and is ever increasing. The need of a fund raiser came as the projects we were supporting have increased and the outlay every month has gone beyond the monthly contributions being provided from the members. We decided to do a series of such events to have a fixed fund that would support all our causes in the coming months and years.

We work on 3 causes :
1) Old Age Homes

“Raising a kid is a relatively easier job than nurturing the kid within a grown up”. Many who feel so end up sending their parents to places like these. A lot of people from very affluent families spend the remaining of their lives in these places, not knowing where they lost the plot! Going to these places we have been trying to give a few moments during which they treat like us their own. The satisfaction and conviction in doing this is immense. Expressing this is something that words can easily come short of."

The first visit to an old aged home was an eye opener for all of us. We had plans of generating some funds and then donating it to them. As we spoke to the inmates, we realized how far away from truth we were. They had some basic needs like new clothes and medicines, but it was not the money they wanted us to bring. All they wanted from us was our time. As my 5 year daughter gave them new clothes, we could notice the tears in their eyes. An evening spend there, changed our mindsets of what we wanted to do. We realized that more than the money we could generate, its the time that we can spend with them that would matter.

2) Orphanages

We go there as to be one among them, have some fun – even if it is short lived. We have visited them and do so repeatedly and support them in various ways, be it school kits, uniforms etc.

We have seen these kids in orphanages waiting for us, when we inform our plan of visit. We organize painting, singing, dance competitions for them, we play musical chair with them, we organize lunch for them on that day and all of us eat with them. The day ends with the price distribution for the winners of the contests. The sad part is to leave them and go, but an assurance of coming back soon keeps the kids happy.

3) Rescue Shelters for Mentally Challenged

A visit to the kid’s orphanages or old age homes where our gestures are understood is a satisfying one. But what if these gestures aren’t understood? What if we aren’t even sure if the person we are talking to knows we are talking to him/her?! Institutes like these just need our presence. May be a childish laughter coupled with one more warms many a heart.

We work with mental destitute homes like Aakashaparavakal in Thannisandra. They rescue mentally ill people from the streets and rehabilitate them. We realized that most of them have some memory left in them of their homes, and are able to communicate the details .Unfortunately many of them are from north or east India and speak only their mother tongue. This makes identification process difficult. FTN is currently working on creating language pool with our friends who are from various corners of India working in Bangalore. So when an inmate is brought in who looks to be from say, north east, we would take someone who can speak his language. We hope this would help the caretakers to trace his home and return him to his relatives.

Being mentally ill, they attend natures calls as it is.They tear off clothes in a virtual exhibition of primate instincts. They need t-shirts and shorts, may be a pair a week.

They have 70 inmates as of now.

Chaitanya Day Care Centre:

Its very recent venture has been funding the Day Care Centre for the kids of contractual construction workers at NIMHANS, Bangalore.These kids are deprived primarly education, as their parents are migrant labourers and do not stay at one place. A full time teacher is also present in the day care centre, who takes them through basic education 6 days a week. We also support their needs of study materials and nutritious food in school.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Criminal Justice or Justice for Criminals ???

Sadly our Criminal Justice system is to ensure Justice to Criminals.

Paki terrorists caught with 17 kgs RDX and 50 Kg Heroin, gets few yrs behind bars and were to be deported back to pak, when they escaped..

What are we showing to the world??

If you are successful in bringing your weapons and manage to kill our people, then we will give you a fair trail . We will listen to your grossly idiotic stories that, you came to watch a movie and was caught on wrong charges. Thus we would let the world applaud our justice system ??

But if we catch you before blasting, you will get few years in jail , and then you go back home and come back again well trained and equipped ?

Is it not time, that we start behaving like a nation serious about national security ? If you dare touch my land, ill ensure you touch nothing again for life ..Should that not be our policy..

Why are we so soft as a nation? When do we say that , if you dare attack my country and Ill finish you for ever. ??