Category Archives: Good Samaritans

Selfless people, selfless acts

Swayamkrushi…. Guiding the challenged towards independence

By Malathi Mohan

Sometime in the nineties, I visited an ordinary house in Secunderabad. I was received with a lovely smile and made to feel welcome by a little boy who said “Hello aunty, Namaste. Please sit down, Manjula madam will come soon.” I sat at the entrance lounge and noticed that the reception desk was managed by a young girl who was also answering the phone in a businesslike manner but was very friendly and polite. Both the ‘lobby managers’ answered all my queries pleasantly and offered me a glass of water, properly served. There were a few other youngsters of different ages around who went about their jobs with a cheery greeting to me. Helping the cook with vegetables; the invariable cleaning of rice and dhal; sweeping and mopping; dusting and bed making were some of the duties they handled by rotation. This was no ordinary house. It was Swayamkrushi, a community based project for the mentally challenged, started by Manjula Kalyan, a dynamic, motherly woman who had always been interested in helping the developmentally disabled. Her goal is to give them an equal seat at the table and a chance to face life’s challenges from a position of strength. Continue reading

Vibha – volunteering for hope

By Rohini Mohan
There is an image from back home that is really hard to get rid of. A little girl, scraggly, matted hair, bloated but empty belly, tear stained dirty face, knocking doggedly on my car window, begging for a few paisa to buy her next meal. I sit in air conditioned comfort, my thoughts miles away, while my driver shoos her off with a few harsh words. For me, she exists in a parallel universe, this little creature. I see her, but not really- having chosen subliminally to blot out the acute discomfort caused by her presence.

The compassion of the long-distance runner – Team Asha

By Vidya Pradhan

At 39, the mid-life clock was ticking for Anu Singh. She wanted to do something challenging and significant in her life and also benefit others in some way. When a friend suggested joining the Team Asha marathon program, Anu was intrigued but doubtful. She had never run for more than two minutes without huffing and puffing. 26.2 miles seemed like a daunting, if not impossible, goal.

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Helping the environment – the Social Way

By Vidya Pradhan
socialwaylogo.jpgNita Goyal of Tavant Technologies imagines the following Socratic dialogue between the Average John, Jaani or Janardhan and an environmentalist.

•    AJ: You keep on asking us to do more and more – first it was recycling and cutting up the plastic holding the 6-pack, then turning off the water while brushing teeth. I am even thinking of buying a HYBRID SUV. But you guys are still not satisfied. Why can’t I just live my life in peace? When will it end?

Narika – live violence free

By Vidya Pradhan

narika2Kiranjit Ahluwalia (see our ‘Provoked’ review) had had access to the people at Narika, perhaps the movie could have stayed in the realm of fiction. Unfortunately stories like hers are far too common and all we can do is be grateful that Narika and other such organizations are around to offer a helping hand to victims of domestic violence. Continue reading