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.
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.”
“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)
#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:
Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1