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.

BRIDGE on the Covid frontline

My dear friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I write this mail. The past few months, especially last month, have been painful as many of our BRIDGE family members have been struggling against the coronavirus. We have had to intervene with financial as well as oxygen aid to help some families recoup. Around 25 of our BRIDGE family members had contracted the virus and fortunately, most of them have recovered while a few of them are still in various stages of recovery. 

I want to place on record the selfless services of some of our volunteers during these trying times. Some of them have been on the field and some worked the phones to arrange beds in hospitals, take patients to various hospitals, organise medical aid and oxygen, and reach food and medicines to patients staying home. On behalf of the entire BRIDGE family, I want to thank and appreciate persons like Baloo sir, Sanal, Biju, Ayub, and some of their friends who have risked their lives and helped the needy.

We have added a number of new families to the BRIDGE community during the past three months. One such family lost its breadwinner to Covid recently. We had spent some money on this person’s treatment hoping that he would recover, but fate has willed otherwise. He is a 47-year-old man, the breadwinner of the family, with three daughters aged 20, 15 and 11. All of them had been Covid positive but their father succumbed to the virus.

There is another case of a Class 9 boy who lost his mother to Covid. He had lost his father a few years ago. The case was brought to our attention by one of our Partners Suja Thomas. After he was orphaned, his landlord asked the boy to vacate the room in which he and his mother were staying. With an adamant landlord offering him just two weeks to vacate, the case was brought to our attention. I am happy to tell you that one of our dedicated volunteers Biju has offered to look after the boy. We are yet to close the case as the coordinator is yet to get back to us with the finer details. The entire BRIDGE family is proud of you dear Biju for this rare and remarkable gesture of yours. May God reward you abundantly.

Friends, actually I have several more stories to share, of the BRIDGE’s involvement and the lives we have touched in just the past three months alone, but I am afraid, this mail will get too long. But I promise to share them in my next mail.

However, considering the current crisis that we are all struggling to cope with, I want to just focus on the Covid issue and the efforts BRIDGE is taking. We have been able to provide relief to financially weak families that have had to struggle due to hospitalisation, loss of income, etc., by part-paying their medical bills, ambulance charges, and offering short-term relief funds to see through the tough days. But I am afraid, the need is huge, and we are struggling to meet the demand. We can do a lot more. I know many of you are regularly contributing to the BRIDGE cause. But if you know people who are looking for genuine organisations to donate to help the Covid-hit families, please recommend BRIDGE and share our donation link. https://www.thebridgetrust.org/support-us/ They need to specifically mention FOR COVID RELIEF. Because the full money will be used only for Covid relief. After donating, please ask them to send a mail to mailbridgeotw@gmail.com informing us of the contribution. If you guys also would like to make a contribution specifically for Covid relief, please follow the same protocol.

I am really happy to tell you that some of our own children have volunteered to donate their pocket money towards alleviating the pain of the Covid-affected through BRIDGE. They have promised to request their friends to join their efforts through their instagram/FB channels. Proud of you our nextgen… every penny counts.

One of my friends sent me Rs 2 lakh for our Covid efforts with the following line from the poet John Donne: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main… Any man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” He added: “It’s criminal to keep money in my vaults or banks when I see deaths and pain all around me. The next siren could be from an ambulance that I would be in.” I was stunned to read it, but I couldn’t agree more. Thank you dear friend. May God protect all of us. 

I just want to conclude with a thank you note to some of our benefactors. If we did not have to struggle in the past six months, it’s because of some extra-ordinary support from a few generous persons. Of course, we have our regular donors big and small who are our backbone. Let me quickly mention the support we have received from one of the greatest well-wishers of BRIDGE, Mr SV Rao sir whose company Megha Engineering Ltd sent us a second instalment of Rs 4,90,000 (after TDS). I want to introduce to you one of our new well-wishers, the Mumbai-based WonderBiz Technologies spearheaded by Kaustubh Mhatre and Anirudha Choudhari who sent us Rs 4,00,100 which helped us pay the school/college fees of many of our students. I want to raise a toast to our ever active Associate Prakash Pillai who introduced the BRIDGE story to WonderBiz. 

I am really happy to inform you that we received around Rs 1 lakh from Michelle Mendonca from Mumbai who heard about the commitment of BRIDGE and was happy to open her purse strings. Another significant contribution came from the uncle of one of our partners Geetanjali Kapoor. How can I not mention the contribution of one of our founding Associates Rakesh Bedi who sent money from his Covid bed. 

Friends, the kind of support BRIDGE has been receiving is overwhelming. As you know, we do not have any publicity programme to raise funds or propagate ourselves. It is simply the word of mouth from people who have seen our commitment and the difference we make in the lives of people that gets us support. Your support makes us stay committed to the cause. A big thank you to all our new and existing supporters. Let us hope that together we can touch several more lives and bring smiles on their faces.

I earnestly request all of you to keep yourself well protected in these trying times. 

Invoking God’s blessings on each of you,

Your friend
Shibu Joseph