Helping Hand Volunteers' Day at Banjara

Helping Hands was started by Ms. Alice Saldanha in Bangalore as she thought that Bangalore was ideal and was also called the Pensioners' Paradise.

Date: 18 Dec 2010
Time: 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
Place: Manthan
People gathered: 100-150 Helping Hand volunteers

The Helping Hand anniversary programme started by 10 a.m. at Manthan. The Invocation was recited by Ms. Prabha. Ms. Shashi and Ms. Nisha anchored the programme.

baptist_hospitalDr. Ali spoke about Helping Hand and said that this was the 27th anniversary. Helping Hand was started by Ms. Alice Saldanha in Bangalore as she thought that Bangalore was ideal and was also called the Pensioners' Paradise. She had converted her garage into a counseling centre at Museum Road. The initially stages were very difficult as they did not find any person to give counseling. But Ms. Alice was very determined and punctual and she would be seated at the centre from morning 9 a.m to evening. Dr. Ali mentioned that he was very confident that the Helping Hand would continue serving society for a very long time. He also mentioned that though Ms. Alice was physically not present due to her illness, her good wishes were always with Helping Hand. Ms. Alice's slim book was circulated among the volunteers for them to write their wishes and comments.

'My Tryst with Voluntarism'- a book written by Ms. Bhoopathy was released. And a copy was distributed to one volunteer from every hospital.

BowringA booklet about Mr. Ramaswamy's voluntary work was also distributed to all the Hospital voluntary groups. Various details such as who is a volunteer? What a volunteer does? How the voluntary work helps him at home and work? Are mentioned in the booklet.

Mr. Ramaswamy spoke and mentioned about a list of facilities especially to volunteers of Bowring Hospital. Various details which is also helpful to the Hospital staff such as ambulance services, heartlines, blood banks, HIV Aids helpline, eye hospitals, helpline for harassed wives etc are given.

The following Volunteers who had completed 5 years of service were felicitated

Mr. Satish Kalyanpur
Mr. Yuvaraj Ms. Bhoopathy
Mr. Ramamoorthy Mr. Partha Mr. Venkataram
Ms. Anasuya Mr. Azeem Mr. Subba Rao
Ms. Shobha Mr. Kothandaram Ms. Nalini
Ms. Sudha Kumar Ms. Suma Mr. Srinivas Murthy
Mr. Balu Ms. Meera Mr. Srinivas
Mr. T.P.Srinivas Mr. Pai Mr. Gopal
Mr. Natarajan Mr. S.R.Krishnamurthy Mr. Sathyanarayan
Mr. Rahu Mr. Manuel Mr. Kini
Mr. Jayaram

danceMs. Renuka from Karunashraya explained about the various facilities given by Karunashraya. She said that medicines and care was provided to patients until they get discharged, this service was especially provided for patients of Palliate care. They also provide counselling service to the family members of the patient to give them strength and support for taking care of the patient. Health assistance training is given to girls (SSLC passed or failed) for 6 months with a stipend of Rs. 200/- per month with all materials. Boarding and lodging is also given to them. After the training period they are expected to work for Karunashreya for a 1 year period.

DCS_studentsAnother service given by Karunashraya is field awareness. Many volunteers from Karunashraya go to various villages giving them awareness about cleanliness and also making them aware of the deadly diseases and how to prevent them. Many myths about diseases and patients that prevail in the minds of people are also rectified through this. Awareness is also given about the facilities provided at Karunashraya.

Ms. Meera and Mr. Ramaswamy were felicitated by Mr.Raja as they has represented Helping Hand for a major event.

Dr.Linge_GowdaDr. Ali then gave the details of Manthan. Manthan came to existence four years ago. It covers about 6 acres of land and consists of 4 dormitories which can accommodate about 50-55 people. There is a classroom which can accommodate about 40-50 people. There is also a kitchen and dining area. Manthan also has a rain water harvesting and all the basic facilities.

Volunteers from various hospitals were called upon the stage to talk about their services rendered by them.

IMG_1213Baptist Hospital: The Baptist Hospital volunteers were Mr Satish Kalyanpur Mr. Balu, Ms. Susan, Mr. Gopal, Ms. Irene, Mr. Natarajan, Mr. Sathyanarayana and others

Mr. Balu introduced all the volunteers and also mentioned that Baptist Hospital was service oriented and that service was provided to all who deserved it. He also said that there were various specialization departments and they were always welcoming the suggestions given by the volunteers.

M.S.Ramiah Hospital: The volunteers present from M.S.Ramaiah Hospital were Mr. Manual, Mr. Ramaswamy, Mr. Kini, Ms. Anasuya, Mr. Balu, Mr. Naidu, Mr. Subba Rao, Ms. Supra Rai, Mr. Ramprasad, Mr. Madhur, Ms. Radha.

IMG_1226Mr. Manual introduced all the volunteers and said that the management of M.S.Ramaiah Hospital was always prepared to take the advice and suggestions given by the volunteers and it was well implemented. Mr. Ramaswamy mentioned about the M.S.Ramaiah teaching Hospital and appreciated the services rendered by them as they admitted even the patients who were rejected by the other Hospitals.

Bowring Hospital: The Bowring Hospital volunteers were Mr. Appa Rao, Ms. Jamaima, Mr. Ramlingam, Ms. Susan, Ms. Malathi, Ms. Raj Gopal, Mr. Srinivas Murthy.

KarunashrayaMr. Appa Rao introduced all the volunteers and also mentioned that the Bowring Hospital staff were always unwilling to help the patients. They are very unwelcoming to take advices or suggestions. Hence breaking of the ice is a huge task for the volunteers. It is very difficult to speak to the hospital staff and convince them to help the patient and the family members.

St.John's Hospital: The volunteers at St. John's Hospital were Mr. Srinivas, Mr. Jayaram, Ms. Sharmila and others.

Mr. Jayaram spoke about the voluntary work conducted at the hospital.

NIMHANS: The volunteers present from NIMHANS hospital were Ms. Meera, Mr. Jayaram, Mr. Ramswamy, and Ms. Chandralekha

KBC-2Mr. Jayaram and Mr. Ramaswamy spoke and told about the hospital. They also mentioned about how the common people are easily misled by various theories that they hear. The co-operation of the the NIMHANS staff for the betterment of the patients was also mentioned by them.

Kidwai Hospital: The Kidwai Hospital volunteers were Dr. Linge Gowda, Ms. Meera, Mr. Ramaswamy, Ms. Chandralekha, Ms. Anasuya, Ms. Renuka, Ms. Chitra, Ms. Uma, Mr. Murthy, Mr. Jayaram, and other. Three staff members from Kidwai Hospital were also present with Dr. Linge Gowda.

kidaw_hospDr. Linge Gowda addressed the volunteers present and said that when he got a invitation from Banjara Academy, about the Helping Hands Anniversary meeting, he immediately said that he need not be sent a formal invitation as he felt that he was a part of Helping Hands. He also said that he was very happy to be in the meetings and that he was very glad to see many young people present here.

Dr. Linge Gowda also mentioned about the patients who were present at the palliate care in the Kidwai Hospital and how the Helping Hands volunteers had helped these patients. He also told about the various myths that was existing about these patients and mentioned about a book on Palliative care. The Indian Association of Palliative Care and the services rendered by them was also highlighted by Dr. Linge Gowda.

Dr. Linge Gowda was then felicitated by Mr. Raja

MeeraVictoria Hospital: The Victoria Hospital volunteers were present and they talked about the voluntary work carried on by the Helping Hands volunteers at the hospital.

A vegetarian lunch was then served. The volunteers were divided into two batches, when the first batch dispersed for lunch the second batch played Thambola. Mr. Subba Rao won the first prize and Ms. Renuka won the second prize.

NIMHANSAfter lunch Dr. Ali asked Ms. Irene to say a few words and share her experiences. Ms. Irene is from Italy and is a High School student. When given a choice by AFS from Italy to select a place for an educational tour Irene selected India. When her parents heard this they were worried as they had a misconception that India was a place full of illegal activities and was very harmful. Ms. Irene then said how she had enjoyed in India the learning experience of various cultures and traditions. She also said that the misconception of hers parents also had disappeared. She then said about how she involved herself into voluntary work and is now serving at Baptist Hospital.

ramaiah_hospMs. Asha then introduced the staff of Banjara Academy: Kathirappa his wife Thirumallmma son Mahadeva are the care takers of Manthan. They have been with Banjara Academy for the last 20 years and are very responsible. They stay at Manthan and are very helpful when the regular camps are held at Manthan.

Ms. Malini is a counselor at Banjara Academy and also helps in the co-ordination work of Banjara

Ms. Indu also handles the co-ordination work for Banjara Academy

Ms. Anees handles the front office at Banjara Academy, R.T.Nagar Branch. People who come for counseling, before meeting the counselors would have shared with her many of their issues.

RamaswamyMs. Nisha is in-charge of the administrative work at Banjara Academy, R.T.Nagar branch. She handles the day-to-day work of the office. Ms. Asha also hilariously add that Nisha types with one finger in such speed that she can easily beat anybody.

  • Mr. Raja & Ms. Nalini: They are in-charge of the Banjara Academy,R.V.Road Branch. They are with Banjara Academy for a very long time .

  • Mr. Vengopal also is in-charge of the administration of Banjara Academy, R.T.Nagar Branch. He is at the branch from the time opens until it closes in the evening. Ms. Asha also added that Mr. Venu is an eligible bachelor.

  • Ms. Sapna: Ms. Asha said Ms. Sapna was one of the main pillars of Banjara Academy. She very quietly completes all the work efficiently and without any tensions.

  • Ms. Kanmani: Ms. Kanmani also like Ms. Sapna is one of the most important people at Banjara Academy. She is also involved in the co-ordination of various activities at the Academy.

  • Mr. Arun: Mr. Arun is at Banjara Academy for the last 25 years and incharge of accounting and administration of Banjara Academy, R.T.Nagar Branch

  • Mr. Raghu: Mr. Raghu works as a office help at Banjara Academy, R.T.Nagar branch.

  • Ms. Asra: Ms. Asra also is a part of the Banjara Academy.

  • Ms. Asha: Ms. Asha finally introduced herself as on of the counselors at Banjara Academy.

The cultural activities was started by a solo Bharathanatyam performance by Ms. Yogita. And Ms. Prabha recited the Bhajans.

shashi_nishaThe next programme was performed by Mr. Ram. Mr. Ram mentioned that he worked as a volunteer at NIMHANS and also shared a few hilarious incidences that happened at his residence. He said that whenever anyone asked his wife where Mr. Ram worked and what he worked as, his wife would reply "He is a volunteer, I really don't know what work he does, but yes he keeps going to NIMHANS". Another incident that Mr. Ram narrated was about the laughing club. One morning he came home after attending the laughing club to find that his wife had not prepared coffee for him. The main theory of laughing club is not to allow irritation or anger over come you and whenever you feel angry, you have to laugh out loudly. Now Mr. Ram was really angry and started showing various gestures and at the same time was also laughing. A neighbor saw this and was confused if Mr. Ram was happy or angry, if he was happy why was he showing all those gestures and if he was angry why was he laughing. Then the neighbor thought that this could be the influence of NIMHANS.

srkMr. Ram also mentioned another hilarious incident that took place in a Ram leela drama. The person who played the part of Ravan was not paid the balance of 500/- by the manager of the play. He decided to take his revenge on the stage and refused to die even after he was shot many arrows by Ram. The people who were gathered to watch the drama wondered what was wrong with the play and why was Ravan not dying even after Ram had shot him with the most powerful arrows. The manager finally understood why this was happening and came out with a plan. When Ram was ready to shot the next arrow the manager rolled a 500/- rupee note and then asked him to shoot. This time Ravan caught hold of the arrow and noticed the currency note in it and finally died.

St.Johns_hospA play of 'Kaun Banega Corepati' was next enacted by Mr. Ram and Mr. Ramaswamy. Mr. Ram played the part of Amitabh Bachchan and Mr. Ramaswamy played the part of a participant.

The counselors at Banjara Academy, R.T.Nagar Branch were then introduced. They were

Ms. Padma, Ms. Asha, Ms. Anuradha, Mr. Raj, Mr.S.R.Krishna Murthy, Mr. Ramaswamy, Ms. Padmasini, Ms. Rajalakshmi, Ms. Veena, Mr. Azeem

The counselors at Banjara Academy, R.V.Road branch were introduced. They are

Ms. Nalini, Mr. Srinivas Kumble, Mr. Srinivas Murthy, Ms. Kavitha

The Mann Milan experiences were then shared

volunteers-2Mr. Ramaswamy: Mr. Ramaswamy shared his experience at Mann Milan and said that he had attended the Meetings for a long time. He said that Mann Milan was started on 29 August 2003 and was named as ADFC. It was known as meeting of the minds and there were various topics that was discussed here. Mr. Ramamswamy also mentioned how Dr. Ali would give the Home works and the ones who do not do the Home work were punished and were asked to bring samosas for the next Mann Milan meeting. He also mentioned about another incident, where only two people attended the meeting Mr. Partha and himself. It was a rainy day and non of the other counselors could attend the meeting. He said that Dr. Ali was very prompt in holding the meetings and he called the two who were present into his office and the meeting was held there. He also mentioned about a discussion which was held for one meeting with the topic of 'Obituary about yourself'. He said that this kind of topics were making him think deeper.

Ms. Reema: Ms. Reema had mentioned about a story of young boy who was taught cycling by his father. First, the father explained to the boy about the cycle and how it functions. Then he said to his son to peddle and maintain the balance. The son immediately asked the father 'Where is the balancing part?'

The balancing part is present in life also and one should know how and where to balance. Ms. Reema had also mentioned that Mann Milan was a good platform to discuss various thoughts and also understand the views of other people.

Mr. Partha: Mr. Partha had mentioned how Mann Milan had helped him understand more and more thoughts from different people. He also felt that by expressing your thoughts one can easily become a free human being.

Ms.Sapna: Ms.Sapna mentioned that at Mann milan you have the opportunity to express your thoughts and feeling on the given topics. Through this one can know about others and also learn a lot about themselves in the same process.

Ms. Kanmani: Ms. Kanmani had mentioned that Mann Milan had a lot of insight and the discussions were always filled with the element of fun.

Ms. Asha: Ms. Asha mentioned that she was associated and participated in Mann Milan from the beginning and the assignments given by Dr. Ali was about the basic issues. Through this one could understand and learn about the issues and also know how to handle them in the right manner. Ms. Asha also told that through Mann Milan one could easily have deeper thoughts.

Mr. Partha then shared about his experiences about Mann Milan and Banjara Academy. He said that before his mind was so conditioned that he did not allow any other thoughts to disturb him and he also felt that his mind was completely frozen. Later he discovered his own medicine. He used meditation as a tool to de-condition himself and through this he was able to understand the other persons thoughts and ideas. He also said that he had learnt to see where he stands and also to test himself from time to time. He also added that Mann Milan was a wonderful place where the thoughts of various people could be shared.

A unity in diversity song was enacted by a few students DCS students. A medley was also recited by them.

The next programme was tongue twisters.

The last programme was dance performance by Mr. Ramswamy and a DCS student.

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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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