Helping Hand


Helping Hand And Loving Hearts

Alice Saldanha, Founder of Helping Hand with Sapna, Counsellor and Helping Hand Volunteer

Helping Hand, a non-profit NGO, was started in 1983 by Alice Saldanha  (she is on the right in the photo on the right;) in her garage with a handful of volunteers to help people in distress on the lines of the Good Samaritan concept of the West. It was taken over by Dr. Ali Khwaja, Chairman of the Banjara Academy, and has grown into a strong dedicated team of more than 250 volunteers, comprising persons from all walks of life - students, home-makers and retired professionals.

Numbers and statistics can never really convey true emotions and the depth of human feelings. Helping Hand is 28 years old. The journey from 1983 to 2011 has been very eventful. We are more than 250 of us who volunteer in 10 hospitals and 4 counselling centres. We have sincerely and unconditionally reached out to lakhs of human beings of all variety and backgrounds.

But finally what is important is that each individual volunteer, young or old, very regular or periodic, new or veteran, who is part of this wonderful family, is willing to give without expecting anything in return. The journey started with one compassionate individual, the team grew to a dozen and stayed thus for a dozen years. In 1995 we started expanding out to hospitals.

Banjara helping hand office - A non-profit society In all these years we have stoutly resisted the temptation for empire-building. There is no hierarchy in Helping Hand. People join out of genuine concern for unknown human beings – and continue only because their heart says so. There are no tangible rewards. There is no publicity or public recognition. But there is, in each volunteer, a conscience to give back to society more than receiving from it, to touch a grieving or lonely person with a Helping Hand and a Loving Heart.

That is what Helping Hand has stood for, still stands for, and will continue to stand for, far beyond the lifetime of all of us. We would like the flame to be handed over to younger and younger volunteers, who will ensure that in the rat-race of the competitive world, the human touch is never forgotten. For being this torchbearer, dear Volunteer, I salute you! - Ali

Similar-minded men and women are most welcome to join the Helping Hand group. Those desirous of joining this social service can contact:

Dr. Ali Khwaja
Director & Secretary, Helping Hand & Banjara Academy
418, 1st Main road, 1st Block, R.T. Nagar
Bangalore 560 032
Phone: 23535787, 23535766

Helping Hand
84, RV Road, Basavangudi
Bangalore 560 004
Phone: 26575202



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Leading Banjara Academy's online email counselling team of volunteer-counsellors, I realize it is not an easy task reaching out to a person one has never met, never seen, without the added advantage of gestures, eye contact, a gentle reassuring touch, tone of voice and yet providing empathy, positive strokes, making the person feel heard and understood.

With the aid of only written words, it is quite a task building trust, making people open up and share and helping them cope and feel better. So when in many instances they write back saying thank you and that they feel so much better, the feeling one gets is priceless and incomparable - knowing one has done something right, something good!

Hats off to all the volunteeer-counsellors of Banjara Academy who have been carrying on this work silently, anonymously for the last couple of years. Truly commendable! - Ali Khwaja


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Except where otherwise noted, the Content of the Website of Banjara Academy - the text, the audios, the videos, the images - contributed by Dr Ali Khwaja and his team of volunteers at Banjara Academy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.