WE BELONG is a group of friends, mainly software engineers who are dedicated in bringing a sense of belonging to two of the most neglected communities- orphans and elders.
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It is a shame that people who have lived their entire life for the sake of their children have been abandoned in old age, and children abandoned are devoid of love and security at an young age. They miss out on an environment of love and care, and thus have no idea of the value of relationships, and do not cherish their being.
Old age homes tell another grim story. Once they lived life the way we do, and they are now stuck because of no fault of theirs- old age. I remember a really graceful aunt near my home in Kerala. Her sons and daughters are in the US and she lives alone, bored and in loneliness. She used to wait for us to reach home so that she could share a dish that she had cooked during the day or spend some time with us. She had even learned cricket and took a liking for Dhoni; just to be with me. Then my family moved to Calicut and I heard she was considering joining an old age home. I really feel sad when I see elders fearing their tomorrows and wishing for a quiet exit. We all are going to be old and if this is what my probable future is, frankly I am scared of it.
A Help Age India estimate says the number of elderly people in India, pegged at 70 million now, is likely to go up to 117 million by 2025. It’s only natural that most of the existing old age homes will prove inadequate by then. Our society has already accepted the concept of old age homes and an idea which would have been shot down in my dad’s younger years is now a financial market to be exploited.
That’s the reality and the probable future.
I used to live in denial until recently, feeling that I could not make a difference, and was an active participant of the blame game. Then I came across a group of people who inspired me into action. They made me realize that I need not wait for someone else to make a difference… the power to make a difference and impact the lives of others is in me and in every person.
The project WE BELONG aims to accomplish is to bring these two communities- orphans and the elderly- together. We hope that the elders will get a chance to come out of their monotonous life and provide the much needed sense of care and love to the orphans. Wisdom tells me that both communities need attention and something to belong to; and both can fulfill each others need to a large extent.
Our idea is to bring the elders and children together through a series of classes intended to teach the children a talent. The direct impact on the elders will be a break from boredom. The indirect impact on them would be peace, sense of purpose and vitality. The direct impact on the orphans would be moments of care, love and belonging. The indirect impact would be sense of belonging, security and developing respect for elders and life. Teaching and learning is just a mechanism to bring them together and the subjects can be anything that is inspiring and comfortable for the elders.
All we need is the presence of elders and orphans and we are sure that magic of love will take care of the rest.
|Core members of WE BELONG:
Karl Marx, Praveen Kumar Karnam, Harish Ramachandran, Deepa Udhayakumar, Manogna Ramakrishna, Anupama Nithyanand and Kamal Nath(all from Infosys), Anu Shree Kailash (Sasken Communications), Sree Lakshmi (Mindtree)
Activities conducted till now:
We have tied up with Dignity Foundation – Bengaluru Chapter which works for bringing dignity back in lives of elders and are looking for volunteers from elders who can teach/visit orphanages regularly.
We are also working on creating a system where medicine supplies and check ups are done for the elders in a systematic way. We need doctors who can take time out from their schedule and work with us to achieve this.
What we need:
Elders, who want to spend time with children, teach them (art forms or curriculum material) basically share time and joy with the orphans.
Volunteers: Anyone who has a commitment to do something about the current state of affairs in the nation can join us. Someone who want to spend time with elders/kids, listen them out, talk to them, treat them with compassion is welcome.
Other contributions: People can contribute in other ways, like providing funds, medicines, conducting a medical check-up, sponsoring a child/elder, celebrating a birthday ,lending books for a library etc.
We can be contacted at: webelong [at] googlegroups [dot] com