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.

Four Years of Happiness and Amazing Grace

Dear friends,
It gives me immense joy to inform you that our beloved BRIDGE has entered its fifth year on 1 August. As all of you who are closely involved with this initiative will know, it has been a magical journey for us since it was founded on 1 August 2016, exactly a year after our car accident. When I look back at the four years that we have covered, I cannot but thank God for the special care with which He has nurtured this initiative. The story of BRIDGE is also a story of a series of miracles scripted by none other than the great power we call God in various names. On behalf of all of you my well-wishers and supporters, I bow down before Him with a grateful heart.
Friends, I am really happy and thrilled to tell you that we have been able to touch the lives of more than 100 families in this short span. Today our BRIDGE family is spread across five states.  

As you know, BRIDGE is not another NGO. We are not here to collect some money to send to the beneficiaries. I know most NGOs have their offices where people go to apply for aid, discuss their case and get some money and be done with it. We do not want BRIDGE to be like one of these. When BRIDGE was conceived, our intent was to bring families that have lost their breadwinners back on their feet, understanding their difficulties, sharing their joys and sorrows and be a part of their families and in the process fill the vacuum created by the death of the breadwinner. The guiding principles in our activities are LOVE, EMPATHY and COMPASSION.  I am happy and proud to tell you that we have been able to live up to this goal very beautifully.

To mark our foundation day, BRIDGE organised a Zoom meeting of all its volunteers and some individual donors on 1 August which we called SAMARPAN 2020. We called it ‘Samarpan’, which means ‘commitment’, because this is a day of recommitment for us to the cause of BRIDGE. I am happy to inform you that our first Zoom meeting was organised beautifully where we shared the highlights of the BRIDGE journey so far and discussed the Road Ahead.

In this mail, I wish to sum up these highlights.

  • Total number of BRIDGE families under our care: 116
  • States covered: Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Telangana and Tamil Nadu
  • Number of students availing BRIDGE Scholarships: 57(Of these 24 of them are in schools, 8 are doing Pre-Univ studies, 9 pursuing Undergraduate courses, 12 doing PG courses and 4 of them are doing professional courses like CA and Nursing).
  • Number of families receiving BRIDGE Livelihood support:  27
  • Families we have stopped supporting as they can now manage on their own: 8
  • Families that have received Emergency Aid from BRIDGE: 32

Nature of Emergency Aid: 

  • House construction (4 families)
  • Wedding aid (5 families)
  • Business commencement (3 families)
  • Medical aid (several)

Our annual funds outgo in 2019-20 was around Rs 21,75,000.00
Our total funds inflow in 2019-20 was Rs 22,41,000.00

The breakup is as follows: 

Megha EngineeringRs 8,84,000.00
ACTRs 5,00,000.00
Anithottathil FamilyRs 4,65,000.00
Individuals (once)Rs 1,10,000.00
Individuals (monthly)Rs 2,82,000.00
Total Rs 22,41,000.00

Just as I mentioned to the core team members during SAMARPAN 2020, we expect a significant jump in fund requests this year on account of covid-19 as many of our people are struggling as they are hit by job losses, payment crises and medical emergencies arising from covid. The monthly outgo for our Livelihood Support scheme alone works out to over Rs 1,30,000.00. Against this, our monthly inflow now from individual donors is just Rs 32,500.00. Our target is to have a higher number of monthly donors to take this tally to at least Rs 75,000.00 a month. Our corporate donors can take care of the rest.

I am happy to share with you the news that within days of this meeting where we decided to reach out to more like-minded people, some of our volunteers went the extra mile and spread the word. I want to take the names of some of them as they deserve a big salute. Our enthusiastic volunteer in Mumbai Prakash Pillai spoke to many of his friends with a missionary zeal about BRIDGE sharing our website/FB link and made sure a number of new people joined the BRIDGE family and made contributions. A big salute to you Prakash. Other significant contributions came from Austin Scaria, Shaji Thomas and Anitha Francis who have become significant regular donors now. 

I am also happy to inform you that our Associate from the start Krishne Gowda redesigned the BRIDGE website and made navigation smooth. He has also added a direct donation link on the website paving an easy way for fresh donors. He has spent several months on the website and I am happy to request you to check out our website www.thebridgetrust.org. Kris deserves a big clap from all of us as he toiled for months without taking a single pie. Not just that, he himself made a financial contribution even as he was going through tough times. The BRIDGE family is indebted to you Kris.

Before I end this mail, (I am scared it’s getting too long), I want to share another happy news with you. When BRIDGE was conceived, I had received a major backing from a person who wanted to remain on the sidelines. I was overwhelmed when a person of his stature did a lot of research and guided me on this road. Only very few of us knew about his contribution to BRIDGE — financial as well as psychological. Impressed by BRIDGE’s track record, he has now made a contribution of Rs 5 lakh. I know he does not want to be known, but sir, since this is a private mail to only our well-wishers, please excuse me for revealing your name. Friends, he is none other than the legendary journalist, who has always given shady politicians sleepless nights, Padmashree TJS George. When I wrote to him to thank him, he replied saying: “Your dedication and the genuineness of the causes you support are the inspiration behind my involvement in these activities.  I know every rupee will be well spent.  Best wishes and may all your programmes continue to produce good results.” Is there a better compliment…!

You will be surprised when you know that the night before I received this contribution, I was on bed a little disturbed over a question, ‘what if we cannot raise regular funds to ensure there is enough in the bank account every month to honour the requirement of around Rs 1,30,000.00 that goes out of our pool on the first day of every month by way of Livelihood Support, not to mention the education assistance?’ Next day, I received a notification from the bank about this contribution…!!! What an amazing way the Almighty arranges things for us! Another proof we are on the right track, my dear friends! 

A big thank you to each of you for your support, care, and concern during these past years.
Shibu Joseph