A really fine evening of live music for the inmates of the old age home.

 

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#LetsMakePeopleLessLonely

Thank you @whistling_woods School of Music for a really fine evening of live music for the inmates of the old age home.

Thank you @meghnaghaipuri , D Wood, #VijayThomasKurien, #VaishnaviShriram, #RakshitVijayMalhotra, #AbhishekBonthu. Love. – #BicycleAngels  @meenuchugjuneja Thank you @Minnie.Mehra for joining us.

#OldAgeHomeVisit #OldAgeHomes

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The art of giving back with Music

Music and the Elderly.

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine, of many years, Meenu, told me…. “…. Rakesh, let’s do something that ….. I have ‘time’ on my hands. Let me know if you need me to help out in any way … ”

We talked about various things, very soon, and what eventually materialied was to do something ‘joyful’, something that brings us joy too, for some people who must be lonely.

Many people are lonely, but many of them have access to find their way out of that daily maze or pit they find themselves in. However, in our opinion, the people who are living in old age homes must be a little more lonelier, we think.

We visited an old age home to find out from their caretakers/caregivers, what can two people like us possibly do for them…?

“Music”

Thank you to School of Music, Whistling Woods International, and their students for agreeing to perform live a retro (English and HIndi songs) music event.

Thank you Meghna Puri, D Wood, Vijay Thomas Kurien, Vaishnavi Shriram, Rakshit Vijay Malhotra, Abhishek Bonthu. Love.

#BicycleAngels
https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/

 

215 – Menstrupedia comic book session

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215

Educators conducting a workshop in menstruation and hygiene, and breaking the myths about the same, at Pali Chimbai School, Bandra west. Thank you Archana Karode from Assema Trust for coordinating these workshops at schools under your jurisdiction and beyond our reach, with upper primary section girls and mothers with practical demonstrations and videos.

(These sessions have been a great help to sensitize the mothers and girl students on menstrual hygiene related issues. Few mothers too shared feedback during the sessions on this subject that was crucial for all of us participating. Thank you to your friend Priyanka too for this opportunity.- Archana)

Thank you Priyanka Chaturvedi​ and Advait for gifting these significant workshops to underprivileged schools in Bandra, Santacruz and Juhu.

Menstrupedia is a comic book about menstruation created by Aditi Gupta (Author) and Tuhin Paul (Author, Illustrator). http://menstrupedia.com/blog/

#BicycleAngels
#RakeshAnandBakshi

214 – A little stream can go a long way.

jha courier

214
 
Ajit Kumar Jha
 
Jha lives in Mumbai, he was once employed with a top courier company, which shut down due to labor-union issues.
 
Fear and anxiety of joblessness and a family to support, Jha decided to become an independent courier-delivery person, due to the change in his employment circumstances – it would secure him a livelihood and help him earn a better income if he worked for more than one employer.
 
He needed a little assistance in purchasing a second hand bicycle to begin on this new professional venture. Thank you Asha and Abhay Vakil for helping Jha buy a new bicycle; (Jha contributed half its cost as he was expecting a little ‘assistance’ in buying one, and not a ‘gift’.)
 
Even a little stream can go a long way.
 
And thank you to Kohinoor Cycles (http://kohinoorcyclestores.blogspot.com/) Siddharth Vora (https://www.facebook.com/siddharth.vora.58?fref=ts) for the good service.
 
#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶
 
#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:
 
#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople

213 “I would like to make a drawing for him”

Ashlima

213
 
Ashlima (Student)
 
“I would like to make a drawing for him”
 
Ashlima is an ex-student of a BMC school. Her father works as an autorickshaw driver. Her elder sister works as a house help. She has a younger sister too.
 
Ashlima dropped out of junior college after she failed in the 11th. But I think that failure has made her more determined to return to formal education. She plans to return to college post this summer when the next term begins. However, before that she wants to receive a valuable certification in computers, as she believes, ‘knowing computers is the present and future.’
 
Ashlima has realised the importance of learning English language and Computers. She lacked the finances to pay for the MSCIT’s computer literacy course (its a two month intensive course across Maharashtra) and was recommended to us by the principal of her ex-school who said to me “… I am recommending Ashlima because while in school she was a hard working and intelligent student. I dont know what has transpired in her life post school for her to have failed class 11th and not want to continue her education. However, she is now determined to return to college and wants to begin her formal education by doing the MSCIT Computer Literacy course, recognused by corporates and government companies.”
 
I asked Ashlima, can her father pay for her complete course fees…? … she said, “I could have asked my faher to pay for my computer course, however, I do not want to ask him for anymore money. I am now earning my own and I want to now educate myself further with my own income.”
 
Ashlima was embarassed to tell me she washes and cooks at peoples homes. It was only after she left that I found out from her ex-principal that is how she is supporting herself to pay for her further education. I decided to not expose her face in the photo I took of hers to post, with her and her ex-principal’s permission.
 
We assisted her, in our tiny ways, in her computer course fees – she willingly contributed about one third of the same.
 
I asked Ashlima, “What would you like to say to the person, (my friend Deepak), who wants to contribute for your course fees….?”
 
Ashlima replied, “I think I can paint quite well. I would like to say my thanks to him by gifting him a hand-painted ‘Thank You’.”
 
Ashlima gave me one more reason to smile that entire day. And I think my smile that day must have matched the one she had when she mentioned her way of saying thanks to her humble benefactor. When she messaged me the receipt of the fees paid, I noticed her DP had a Dairy Milk chocolate. A treat as sweet as her smile.
 
Thank you Deepak.
 
 
#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶
 
#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:
 
#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople

Sr. No. 210 Outstanding humans. ‭Sangita Mandal.

210

Outstanding humans.

‭Sangita Mandal.

Sangita has shared her two houses in Kolkata to care for the abandoned elderly people and the homeless. She has dedicated both properties to house those who don’t have anyone to house them.

Friends Of Kolkata’s Elderly www.foke.in

Thank you Picto Writ for contributing to her social cause.

#BicycleAngels 🚴😇

Respect. At Least Ten Times More.

Respect. At Least Ten Times More.

I visited an education institution last week for a talk about the non-profit work we attempt to achieve now and then (reference Bicycle Angels) with the help of some friends and acquaintances (I also spoke of the social services work done in rural Maharastra by a NGO based in Pune, #MukulMadhavFoundation I have been a small part of on a few ocassions) ….

When the session opened up for questions from students, the very first one I was asked was, “… so, with all this experience behind you of personally interacting with quite a many benefeciaries, and seeing other NGOs work, what have you learnt most about them, the beneficiaries of assistance?”

My reply, “The so called street people, destitutes, or lower middle class, or under privileaged beneficiaries we have reached out to, with the help of many people, has naturally taught me many lessons.
One which comes to mind instantly is that when we assisted these people, in our own tiny ways, most of them treated our assistance as ‘respect’, and not as charity; and their respect for us may have been at least ten times more than my respect for them.”

#BicycleAngels

209 “My happiest day in life will be on April 1st 2018, …..” – Aarti. Aarti (24) and Akshada (18) Visually impaired students.

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“My happiest day in life will be on April 1st 2018, …..” – Aarti.

 

Aarti (24) and Akshada (18)
Visually impaired students.

 

Aarti (partially blind since childhood) lives at Vakola and is studying Computer Literacy at Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Tardeo. She is a graduate from Ruia college. Her father passed away in 2013. Her younger brother is a graduate too and her mother is a homemaker. They are surviving on their father’s pension. She has two older sisters, both are married and one of them lives with Aarti and family at Vakola. Aarti has given banking exams and is awaiting the results, they will arrive in April.

 

When Aarti arrived at Victoria Memorial School to meet me, she was late by about 20-25 minutes. She was sweating profusely and looked anxious and troubled that she had made me, her benefactor, wait. Because the first words she said on meeting me was “‘sorry’, main late ho gayi. Aap ko intezaar karna padha.”

 

Even her classmate Akshada (19) (completely blind since childhood) who had arrived from Thane to meet me got late by about 25-30 mins and apologised immediately on meeting me.

 

I told them I enjoyed a hot-hot coffee in an AC room with four fans running at full speed in a 100 years old beautiful heritage structure school building and I even had their tutor Sonal chatting with me about life in general, so I did not mind their delay. Aarti laughed, she was now at ease and after that she was her normal self – cheerful. She maintained her cheerful frame of mind through our brief conversation.

 

Akshada (19) lives at Thane with her family. (I think, if I am not mistaken, even her younger brother is visually impaired.) She is 12th standard pass. Her father is currently not employed because of a medical condition. They are being supported financially by her grandmother.

 

Akshada was very nervous speaking to me, and for some reason I feel I failed to make her feel at ease during our conversation. Akshada’s family is being supported by her maternal grandmother’s pension.

 

I asked Aarti, what about our city would she like to improve, considering she has to negotiate her way in partial darkness since birth. She said, “The BMC should ensure there are no ditches, uneven surfaces on the footpaths. I once tripped and fell because my foot landed in a ditch. And she gave me pearls of smiles. No self-pity, no anger at anyone.

 

I asked Aarti, when has life been the hardest and most challenging for her. She replied, “Jab papa guzar gaye. When papa passed away. In 2013.”

 

Aarti seemed so goal-centred and content and cheerful through our conversation, I asked her, in her short life of 24 years when has she been the happiest? She said, “I will be happiest ever on April 1st. The Banking exams results will be announced on that day.” And then she gave me yet another pearl of smiles from her.

 

I believe Aarti will score the best marks of her life on April 1st. It will not be a fool’s day for her at least.

 

I was so glad that we got a chance to assist Aarti and Akshada for their computer literacy goals. Because when I asked Akshada, which has been her happiest day in life, she said “It was when I got good marks in the 11th standard.” For both these girls, students, scoring good marks is the epitome of happiness so far. Lots of love and success to both. Beti Padhao, yes.

 

Thank you dear Suman, Ritu, Priyanka, Amit/Priyanka, Laila, Akshita, Ankita, Niraj, Minnie, Brijesh, Sabira, Siddharth, me 😊 for assisting yet another visually impaired person receive a government (and corporate world) recognized certification in computer literacy.

 

(The government recognised MS-CIT ‘computer training’ course for visually impaired is conducted at The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Tardeo. (MS-CIT http://www.mkcl.org/msciti / http://mscit.mkcl.org/index.php/course-syllabus)

 

Photos:

Left-Aarti Right-Akshada

 

#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶

 

#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:

FB https://www.facebook.com/groups/309043432570135/

WordPress https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/

Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1

 

#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople

 

 

 

Sr No. 208 The Friendly Guide to Periods for Girls, Menstrupedia, the comic book.

 

Sr No. 208

 

The Friendly Guide to Periods for Girls, Menstrupedia, the comic book.

 

I happened to come across this comic book, Menstrupdia, thanks to a radio host friend Anita. She knew I am writing a book on inspiring women and sent me, and my co-author, Laila, an invite to a book launch in which I discovered this gem, a wonderfully fun and informative book created by Aditi Gupta http://menstrupedia.com/blog/

 

This, posted below, was our first rural workshop to educate girls about menstruation, with the help of a ‘comic’ book, Menstrupedia, through storytelling.

 

When we began to buy and distribute these comic books for schools in Mumbai, underprivileged schools, and reached out to people to help us reach such schools, it was Dhwani Doshi who was the first one to reach out to us. She volunteered to take these workshops to some schools within her reach. She has a nose for ‘education’ and on reading about the nature of this informative and myth bursting book she immediately saw the potential in educating girls not as fortunate as herself in knowing what girls and women need to be told/know about menstruation.

 

I had meant to reach out to urban schools in Mumbai, however, Dhwani took it far beyond my own limitations. Thanks to Dhwani, the book has opened up a path forward…not just for her but many girls and schools she reached out to. She briefed the teachers and the girls on how to hold the interactive session with their students with the aid of this book in print and digital form. After which they will list down the gynecological issues the girls face.

 

The English copy of the book handed over by Dhwani to Ms. Reyna Rupani of The School Of Life, a NGO in Juhu Versova Link Road. And through the Rotary Club of Mumbai Coastline Dhwani reached out to a school at Raigad, rural Maharashtra. The photos below are from the Zilla Parishad School at Raigad. Thank you Dhwani.

This was also possible because of the books being donated by Picto Writ. Thank you very much, Picto.

 

And thank you to Priyanka and Advait too, donors of these books that we have distributed to a school and NGO in Pune, run ny Mukul Madhav Foundation, http://www.mmpc.in/

who has gone on to purchase 50-60 copies to distribute to 50-60 rural schools that they cater to in Maharashtra, the initiative being led by Rita Chhabria. Rita has taken a GIANT step forward in this initiative and has told her medical team and professional educators to include boys during these workshops, because it’s not just a ‘men’s’ issue. The first person I know who has thought of including boys in these workshops. Great! Women have always been an integral part of our souls, and boys must be sensitized to this subject at an early age, it will make us men more sensitive beings, I too believe. We will share the feedback we receive from Mukul Madhav’s rural workshops with you in a few weeks, so that we all can get more sensitized to an ‘issue’ that should concern us MEN too.

 

Some people may think, that giving their money for any worthy cause is charity. So is the giving of your time. Money has a immense value, however, time is invaluable. Thanks to people like Dhwani who offer/volunteer their emotions and time to any worthy cause.

#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶

 

#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:

FB https://www.facebook.com/groups/309043432570135/

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Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1
#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople

 

Sr No 207; A little joy goes a long way.

 

Sr no 207
 
“A little joy goes a long way.”
 
Sai (9) has Cerebral Palsy; he is studying in the 3rd standard at ADAPT school, Bandra. He lives at Mahim with his parents.
 
Sai has a speech impairment, but, the people who live with him, and his teachers, can understand every word he speaks. His legs are too weak to carry him ably, so he crawls to get around. He receives regular physiotherapy at ADAPT school to strengthen his limbs.
 
As Sai is growing older and a little bigger, a little heavier, it is becoming difficult to carry him around. His parents reached out for assistance in buying a wheelchair for him. His mother is a graduate and was once a working woman, however, because Sai needed full-time care, she left her job and is a homemaker and full-time caregiver. She is amongst the many strongest women I’ve met.
 
Sai is just like us. If you snatch the TV remote from his hands, he gets very upset. And when he is happy, he crawls all over the house in excitement! A little joy goes a long way. His favorite sweet is KINDER JOY Chocolate Candy.
 
Sai is just like us. He has a dream. He wants to work in an office with a laptop. However, for Sai’s parents, their ambition, dream and goal for Sai is – TO MAKE HIM WALK ON HIS OWN LEGS!, without any instrument or human support.
 
At the moment, his siblings are big supports too, they pitch in to take care of him and to play with him. His biggest asset is, his paternal grandmother.
 
I asked Sai’s mother about some of the challenges parents and family of a differently abled child face… so that we ‘abled’ people may learn from those not as fortunate as us…… she said ….. “…. we have so much support from my husband’s parents, to bring up this child, that I have realised emotional and spiritual strength from our family and friends, and our own emotional strength, is far more important than our financial strength.
Thank you for helping us buy this wheelchair, however, I will make it redundant one day, because, it is my ambition, our family’s collective ambition, that I will make Sai walk on his own two feet someday, one day! For sure!”
 
Yes, we can manage with a little less money but we all need a lot of love. Lots.
I know of a relatve who needs such care, it made me realise the importance of family and friends who you feel you will need someday to pitch in, with just their emotional support. When you feel pulled down, beieve me – even a phone call to hear your friend or relative makes you feel you will see this through.
It also makes you realise there are only a handful of people you can really count on, call randomly just to hear their voice, and that makes you stronger emotionally and more independent. It also makes you more astute in choosing who you choose to spend most of your time and emotions on.
 
Such support from family and a few friends is also a kind of ‘immense-wealth’ we need to nurture, and we could achieve that if we will be there for some others before expecting them to be there for us. It’s often about giving before receiving.
 
Thank you Picto Writ and NS for buying this wheel chair for Sai. His parents contributed nearly one third towards it. Thank you Health Care Equipments, Vile Parle, for giving them a good discount and service on their purchase of this wheelchair.
 
And we bought him Kinder Joy too,because a little joy goes a very long way.
 
#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶
 
#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:
 
#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople