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.

BRIDGEing the Covid Divide

My dear friends,

It is with some happiness and satisfaction that I write this mail to you. Happiness is primarily on account of the kind of service BRIDGE has been able to render to Covid-hit families and individuals during the past few months. It had been really tough during the second wave of Covid that tested our resilience and hope. But today we all can be contented that we have been able to do whatever we could and touch several lives in this short span. 

Let me briefly update you about our Covid service. We have been able to partially meet the hospitalisation expenses of 11 persons in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. But unfortunately, three of them lost the battle leaving their families in dire straits. You will struggle to hold back your tears if you know the conditions of some of these families. 
We spent over Rs 1 lakh on distributing food kits to the Covid-hit families, street dwellers and daily wage earners whose earnings had dried during the pandemic. We part-funded the purchase of laptops and mobile phones for around 15 children to help them attend online classes. (Please remember, in most cases, BRIDGE, as a policy, only part-funds such help because we want the affected persons too to pitch in with their own money or from other sources. Otherwise, we could run the risk of the beneficiaries solely depending on us being unable to stand on their feet).

I would like to place on record the services of our Covid warriors Prem (Chennai) Nadirshah (Kerala), Biju, Ayub and friends (Karnataka) who were literally on their feet and in ambulances to reach the patients to hospitals and distribute food and educational kits. Thanks to their dedication, I didn’t have to enter the field too often. A big salute to them. 

I will not do justice if I do not mention the work of our dear friend and Associate Feroze Jamal who kept alerting me about the possible sources of aid for Covid victims. Thanks to his involvement, a family that had lost its breadwinner leaving three girl children and his wife (mentioned in my last mail) received financial help directly. Thanks a tonne Feroze!

Friends, all these would not have been possible if it were not for the generous contribution of you BRIDGE benefactors who loosened your purse strings immediately after I made a request in my last mail in May. Soon after that mail, I was overwhelmed by the contributions that poured in small and big. Leading from the front was our ever-dependable SV Rao sir from Megha Engineering who transferred Rs 4.90 lakh, my friend and former colleague Rajesh Ramachandran from New Delhi (Rs 50,000), our family friends and Associates Shaji and Suja Thomas (Rs 25,000 in addition to their monthly contribution of Rs 15,000), our Mumbai Associate and diehard fan of BRIDGE Prakash Pillai, my former colleague Sowmya Aji who is currently in the US, Juliana Lazarus and my colleague Biju Menon. This is of course in addition to our regular and dependable donors Geetanjali, Feroze Jamal, Anitha Francis, James CC… Let’s be happy we have been able to BRIDGE the Covid divide with our contributions and efforts.
Now, I had planned to include in this mail some of the new cases that BRIDGE had attended in the past months. But I am afraid this mail has already become very long and therefore, I shall be sending you another mail soon mentioning these cases. But here I want to quickly share some happy moments with you.

I do not know if you remember, one of the first families that BRIDGE had adopted was of three orphans (eldest a girl and two younger brothers). They had lost their mother long ago and their father some six years ago. The eldest girl was one of the persons who received the first BRIDGE Resilience Award in 2018. I am so happy and proud to inform you that she got married two weeks ago to a wonderful boy from a similar financial background working in Kuwait. It was a proud moment for BRIDGE and I felt like a proud father when I saw her joined by her husband.

Next good news is from another girl in her early twenties whom BRIDGE had helped start a little cake business in Changanassery, Kerala. Today she is a very busy lady attending to her ever-rising daily orders. Not only has she turned out to be a good baker, she has also expanded her work and employed a couple of boys to deliver cakes. During this Covid season, she had a number of orders from abroad from persons who are stuck there due to Covid and who asked her to bake and deliver cakes and delicacies to their loved ones in Kerala on their birthdays and anniversaries. The girl has reasons to be thrilled about her future.

Another good news comes from Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh. BRIDGE had been funding the nursing education of a girl there for the past three years. I am happy to inform you that early this year she cleared her exams and has bagged a job in Hyderabad. She is another happy face BRIDGE has been able to create.

One more girl whose nursing education BRIDGE part-funded has completed her general nursing course topping the institute in Kannur. She is the eldest of 4 children (3 girls and a boy) whose drunkard father had immolated their mother alive and committed suicide. The 4 orphans have been under the care of a religious institute in Ernakulam and are being helped by a number of Good Samaritans, including a colonel from Bangalore on our recommendation. The children have recovered from their ‘parental shock’ and by God’s grace are very good in their studies.

Friends, as I have always said, BRIDGE would not have been able to make such a positive difference in the lives of many people if it were not for your perseverance. Although family members do not need to be thanked, I must tell you we can be contented that there are some people in this world whose reasons for happiness, at least to some extent, are we the BRIDGE family members. God bless each of you abundantly.

Please do everything to stay safe, the third Covid wave is something we can avoid if all of us take precautions. My major disappointment these days is my inability to meet our BRIDGE beneficiaries in their homes due to Covid restrictions. But if we all can be on our guard, the good old days will be back soon.

I will see you in my next mail. Have a wonderful weekend!

Your friend