I am really happy to inform you that on 1st March our CA has applied for tax exemption under Sec 80G for donations. Once we are able to obtain this, all our donors will be able to avail tax exemption.
Another good news I have to share is that Bangalore School of English, a leading language skills training institution, has informed me that in appreciation of BRIDGE’s social initiatives, the institution will accept students from BRIDGE families absolutely free of cost. A course with this institution will go a long way in enhancing one’s English language skills and help one secure jobs more easily. We are really grateful to the promoter and MD of this institution Mr Joshy Eapen for this wonderful gesture of his. We already have a tie-up with Kris’ School of Dzine which will take students recommended by BRIDGE and train them in web designing absolutely free of cost. Thank you so much Joshy and Kris.
I would also like to inform you that ever since our successful Resilience Awards function on 3rd February 2018, we have been inundated with requests for assistance from families that have lost their breadwinners. Since we are not in a position to help all of them, our team had to visit and choose the most deserving among them. So I am happy to inform you that we have accepted eight new families into the BRIDGE family fold during the past one month. All of them are so happy and relieved with the help we are offering them. Some of them were literally shedding tears of joy after our visits and financial help.
I shall tell you about these families as briefly as possible. (Already some of you have chided me in a friendly way that my mails are too long). Just to clarify, I want to tell you about these families because I would like all of you to know the kind of difference we are making in the lives of the persons we are working with.
The story of Sumathi (from Bommanahalli, Bangalore South) is a heart-breaking one. These days many BRIDGE volunteers are running around to assist her and rallying behind the family. This 34-year-old lady is a single mother whose husband deserted her. She has three small kids who are living in a temporary shelter at a construction site with no electricity, no gas, no protection from rain, etc. She has been working as a sweeper at a PG earning just Rs 4,000 a month, until tragedy struck her last month in the form of a throat cancer which is in an advanced stage. When BRIDGE found her she was literally struggling to consume food. We try talking to her, but she has a forlorn look. She is obviously worried about the future of her three children (aged between 10 and 3. We are arranging to get her ‘low-income certificate’ from govt agencies so that she can get free treatment from Kidwai cancer hospitals. Some 5-6 of us are constantly working for her, taking her to hospital, doing the tests, taking care of her children. We are not sure of the outcome, but we are doing our best for her family. Her two school-going children are doing quite well academically.
The family of Muhammad Ijaz (Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore) lost its breadwinner in September last year. A loving father to three of his children and wife, he succumbed to stroke while at work. He was small-time employee in a private firm earning Rs 17,500 a month. His son Muhammad Ijaz has just completed his Plus II and wants to do aeronautical engineering. His two small younger sisters are studying in Class 9 and 8. We visited the family and saw for ourselves the struggle the family has been going through since the father’s death. BRIDGE is paying the school fees of the children. Their mother has now started working as a contract labourer in a garment unit in JP Nagar and earns about Rs 7,000 a month.
Jyothi Bai is a very young mother from Dasarahalli (North Bengaluru) who had to face twin tragedies recently. She lost her husband some eight months ago in an accident leaving her and her two small daughters. She had started to work in a garment unit and was trying to somehow cope when tragedy struck the family again in the form of blood cancer for her elder daughter of 9 years. During the past four months she has been literally living on the corridors of Kidwai Cancer Hospital near Dairy Circle with her daughter. Finally the girl succumbed to her illness in the last week of March. BRIDGE is now paying the school fees of the second daughter.
Wilson (from Kannur) was diagnosed with cancer 10 months ago. He was a worker in a catering firm and was just about managing his household that consists of his wife and three children – one son and two daughters. He has had 30 radiations and 3 rounds of chemo. He has already ran up a huge bill. He is worried about the future of his children as they are all still in schools and college. BRIDGE has agreed to part-fund him and monitoring the situation.
5. This lady from SG Palaya, Bangalore, lost her husband a few years ago and since then she has been struggling to make a living and to take care of her daughter who is in Class 9. She is a cook at Aswas, a centre that feeds 400-500 cancer patients and their attendants free at Kidwai hospital. BRIDGE has agreed to pay the fees of her daughter.
6. Rajita from Aluva (Kerala) has been in comma for the past three months. She had a hole in her heart which she could not attend to as she focused on finding food for her two children (aged three and one) as her husband had deserted her. The eldest child also is detected with a hole in the heart. The children are now under the care of their grandmother who works as maid. BRIDGE has given a small amount as subsistence support and is monitoring the situation closely.
7. This lady from Bommasandra (Bangalore South) lost her husband two years ago and has been struggling to eke out a living with her three school-going children. While the family is able to just about manage with the lady working in 3-4 households, she was unable to pay the school fees. BRIDGE’s assurance of taking care of the children’s fees has taken a huge burden off her head.
8. Unni from Vaikom (Kerala) was paralysed from waist below when a cement/concrete mixer machine accidentally fell on him 20 years ago. Coming from a very poor family, his mother struggled to get him treated. He needs monthly medical assistance as tubes have to be changed and infections checked regularly. After initial helps from various quarters, people started to desert the family. We met him last month and spent quite a while with him. He had no will to live. He is being taken care of by his 80-year-old mother. “I want to die as soon as my mother dies as I do not want to be a burden,” he told us. The week before we met him he was being treated for mouse attack on his leg. At nights sometimes, mice and cockroaches nibble portions of his legs and he discovers this only in the morning as there is no sensitivity on his legs. BRIDGE has promised to send him some regular income and we are now in touch with him regularly on phone and Whatsapp. Today he tells me, he is so happy he has BRIDGE members to talk and share his happiness and sorrows with. He is a beautiful flute player and we have asked him to focus on it so that he can make better use of time, and maybe someday perform on stage. We are also trying to find some small-scale job which he can perform even as he lies on the bed.
I would exhort all of you to pray for these families as prayers can work wonders. These families are also praying for all the BRIDGE benefactors as they now feel wanted and taken care of by our volunteers.
I also take this opportunity to once again thank the entire BRIDGE brigade for your enthusiasm, support and assistance, emotionally and financially. I am happy to inform you that after attending our 3 Feb function, the Hyderabad-based Megha Infrastructure has agreed to step up its donation to BRIDGE and has already sent a cheque for Rs 2 lakh which they said will be increased every year. I am also happy to inform you that ACT Fibernet, our valuable benefactor, has borne the entire expense of our BRIDGE function on 3 Feb by giving us a cheque for Rs 1,81,314.
May God bless all the efforts of these companies and the people behind them.
God bless the BRIDGE family!