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.

Building a Culture of Benevolence

My dear friends,

It is with much happiness and satisfaction that I write this. The
primary reason is the happy conclusion to a two-year ordeal we have
been facing along with a BRIDGE beneficiary, a widow from Kerala and
her little daughter. I had mentioned their case in my mails earlier,
about our struggle to get a death certificate of her husband who died
in mysterious circumstances in Amritsar where he had gone as a
contract carpenter for a new jewellery showroom. Even though he died
more than two years ago, and his body brought home, buried and the
papers of FIR were handed over to the widow, the family could not get
a death certificate. This helpless lady who is an asthmatic patient
and her little daughter who also suffers from the same illness ran
from pillar to post for the certificate. She needed the certificate to
get some of the loans waived and for various other reasons. BRIDGE
took up her case and used our contacts but soon we realised that we
were up against a very hostile system in Amritsar, the death of the
person having been in mysterious circumstances. We also tapped our
contacts through various government offices but in vain.

We then took an alternative route by contacting an activist lawyer in
Kerala who moved the Kerala state’s birth-death registration dept,
Municipal offices, village office, etc. They did everything short of
exhuming the body. The lady and her daughter kept at it along with the
lawyer like the lady in the Tamil film Jai Bhim. To cut a long story
short, a benevolent officer in the RDO office took pity on the family
and verified the death and issued the death certificate just last
week. I am so happy the ordeal has ended, and BRIDGE is really proud
that we stood by her side. She was in tears when she called me and
informed me that finally the paper reached her and thanked BRIDGE for,
to quote her, “being the strength that she needed in her hour of
need”. I also want to thank all our team members involved in this for
spending your valuable time on this task. We have been supporting this
family for the past two years financially too and we will continue to
support them until they can manage on their own.

Let me also share a few more good news with you. The bedridden family
of Anish (mentioned in my past mails), following a bike accident, is
limping back to normalcy (literally too) with his wife having got a
job in Ireland as a nurse. Anish can move about with the help of a
walker. The family is able to stand on its feet now.

* Sandhya from Tumkur, Karnataka, who had lost her father following a
cardiac arrest, is pursuing a physiotherapy course in Hebbal,
Bangalore, with BRIDGE help.
* Neha from Bangalore, whose dad has been undergoing dialysis with
help from BRIDGE, has begun her job and is now able to support her
family with the additional income.
* Vijay, who has been bedridden after an accident at work, is fast
improving thanks to regular physiotherapy. BRIDGE has been funding his
medical care.
* Shalu, one of the three orphans who lost their parents, is currently
in the UK pursuing a course that hopefully will land her a job there.

I am also happy to share a touching gesture that came from the son of
a friend who knew about BRIDGE and our activities. He asked his dad
not to buy him a gift or splurge on anything on his 18th birthday and
instead asked him to donate an amount to BRIDGE to pay the fees of a
student. I was overwhelmed when he handed me a cheque for Rs 25,000 a
month ago. Yet another young person whose father is a regular
supporter of BRIDGE donated Rs 5,000 from his first salary recently. A
young lady, who does not want her name to be disclosed, has been
sending us a portion of her income diligently every month for quite a
while now.

Friends, what can I say about such gestures! These are gestures that
convince us that we are on the right track. What is to be highlighted
is that not only that we are able to help our beneficiaries, but we
are also inculcating a culture of benevolence among the people who
hear about BRIDGE. I feel this is the best return for our commitment.
Thank you my dear friends and associates for spreading the word and
living the BRIDGE dream.

When I get such love and support from individuals, I am not at all
worried about not winning over big companies to support us with their
CSR funds. Whatever support we have received even from companies so
far have all come from individual contacts and thanks to their total
faith in our commitment. Mumbai-based Wonderbiz Technologies, who sent
us Rs 5 lakh recently, Bangalore-based ACT and Hyderabad-based MEIL
are cases in point.

For fear of making this a long mail, let me wind up with a promise to
write another mail soon where I wish to share news about the new
families we have added in the intervening period between my last mail
and this one. Until then, please take good care of yourself.

Thank you dear team

PS: Some of our new friends wrote to me asking if they could access my
past letters to the group. I have directed them to our website where I
have uploaded all my letters. Here is the link:
Also, those of you who do not wish to be on our mailing list may feel
free to inform me and I will be happy to oblige.