Letters from the Founder

BRIDGE being a close-knit family, its founder Shibu Joseph makes it a point to regularly communicate with all its members updating them on every development — progress of each beneficiary family, new additions to the family, funds raised, their utilisation and future plans of the organisation. These letters are very personal and touching even as they provide its readers a glimpse into the depth of the involvement of its members. We present you some of these letters.

A Big Leap on Our Happiness Index

My dear friends,
We are in the midst of the much-feared third wave of Covid-19 sweeping across the nation. While the severity of the attack may not appear to be as strong as it was in the past two waves, the ground report that BRIDGE gets is not a happy one. There are instances of loss of livelihood for many daily wage earners in this round. As usual, the BRIDGE volunteers have been on the forefront in attending to many such cases by buying provisions and other essential requirements. 

One such case was that of Bhaskar, a mason, and his family consisting of his wife Shruti and two children aged 9 and 6. The younger boy is a kidney patient who needs medicines worth over Rs 2,000 a month. If the boy is not given this medicine, his body begins to swell. Even with his occasional work, Bhaskar was unable to buy him medicines on a regular basis given that he also has to pay the house rent and provide for his family. Covid made things difficult and when I visited the family on being alerted by a friend, I found them in a very sorry state of situation with this little boy all bloated up and his father recuperating after the Covid attack. You can only imagine the happiness of the family when I assured them of complete medical support for the child.

Sowmya and her husband Rajan were a happy couple with their little children aged 4 and 2 until last month when Rajan, a building construction worker, fell from a three-storey building and broke his backbone and several other bones. Although out of danger now, he needed surgeries and several months of rest. Being the only breadwinner of the family, his fall has put the survival of the entire family in question. With contributions from many Good Samaritans, Sowmya did the surgery but has a struggle ahead when it comes to bringing up the children and surviving. With BRIDGE on their side, we hope the struggle won’t be too painful.

Sumalatha is a young widow from Dakshina Kannada who lost her husband when he committed suicide due to heavy debt leaving her in a quandary with a two-year-old child. Although she started to work in a small clinic for a small pay, on advice from our BRIDGE volunteer, she has now joined a course in General Nursing & Midwifery. We have part-funded her course fee and we hope she will be able to stand on her feet after she completes her 3-year course. 

When this lady from Poonjar, Kerala, met me some time ago, she was in real distress. Her husband, who has been a rubber tapper, was unable to work now following kidney failure. Having used up all their savings for his treatment, she struggled to keep the home fires burning. She has a son who is pursuing a hotel management course and a daughter who is in the second year of nursing course. With fees to be paid and medicines to be bought for her husband, she went through a real struggle with her only income being what she earns through the occasional MGNREGA work. BRIDGE part-funded her daughter’s fee and eased her pain to a great extent. She is now counting on her son to complete his course and secure a job. 

If you recall, one of the families BRIDGE helped in our early years is that of Malini who is a victim of a series of tragedies. She lost her son, the only earning member of the family, following a head-on collision with a govt bus while riding his bike. This son has a wife and two children. Malini also has another son of 32 years who is mentally challenged. I have written about this family on our website: https://www.thebridgetrust.org/the-bridge-impact/faith-accompli/  Now around 5 years after the death of her son, her daughter in law who was with Malini, married again and is living with her husband and her younger child. Her elder daughter who is now in Class 8 chose to stay with her grandmother (Malini) and her mentally challenged uncle helping her grandmother attend to him. With no income to survive other than what she earns while working as a maid (thrice a week), BRIDGE has enrolled Malini and her family in our Livelihood scheme. So three more happy faces in the BRIDGE happiness list!

While I have a few more stories of happiness to share with you, I shall wind up for want of time. I want to thank all our regular supporters without whose help, BRIDGE would not have been able to make such positive impact. I also want to place on record the enthusiasm of Michelle Mendonca who joined our happiness creators club’ a year ago, and continues to make donations, including the latest (Rs 32,300) in the new year, to support our cause. Once again a big salute to all of you BRIDGE pillars, and I pray that God continues to shower His blessings on each of us and our beneficiaries in the new year.
Thank you and please take good care