One of our most enthusiastic donors shares his thoughts about charity and his vision for SIFI.
Mr Tangabalu Thirugnanasambandan
10th May 2012
I am a person who got frustrated by seeing people spending so much of money in bars, eating in swanky restaurants, seeing movies in hi-fi multiplexes and etc. I have written a lot on my Facebook wall, urging people to spend that money for those who are in need. But I have not seen any change in the people. So, I stopped using Facebook and started spending time in meditation to find peace instead of worrying about people who are wasting their money.
I am not a millionaire or billionaire. But still, I can donate huge amount of money to the people who are in need. People can ask me about how is that possible.
It is possible for everyone if they spend money only for the basic food, shelter and dress. And of course a computer and a mobile. Apart from this, remaining money needs to be distributed. There is no point in having dreams like buying an apartment, buying a rolls-royce etc. One can understand that these things won’t give any happiness at the later point of life.
I live in a 9 m² rental house. I don’t have car. I go to work in bus. I don’t eat outside. But, I am peaceful and I feel that I am happier than most other people. Please don’t think that I am praising myself. I am writing to tell that it is possible to live a happy life with little money. If everyone distributes the money after taking for their basic needs, there won’t be any poor people in this world.
I would like to thank everyone who is working in SIFI to create a change in the society. I wish SIFI would grow big and help more people who are in need. Last but not least – I would like everyone to try meditation. Just try. It is very much needed for the people who are working for the society because they have more contacts with the society and can spread to more people. The reason to do meditation is one should feel that happiness is not something which exists outside us.
Recalling a personal experience from childhood as the reason behind funding, here is a testimonial by one of our donors.
April 14th 2012
When I got to know about vision ventilator through Dhivya Janardhanan a very good friend of mine from team SIFI, I felt a surge of emotions in my heart. The both of us met for a cup of coffee to discuss about the project and SIFI. We ended up spending close to 3 hours. As I was narrating my story I was taken back to a time, many years ago, when I was battling for my life. I was 5 years old when I was diagnosed with dengue. I was admitted in the Child Trust hospital at Chennai and over the next few hours, my condition worsened leaving me in desperate need for a ventilator to survive. It seemed like a season of a dengue epidemic as at least another eight children had been identified on the same day. And all of them needed a ventilator to survive. However, by twist of fate, I was privileged to have got a ventilator. I survived. And I was the lone survivor.
It is a memory I recall with mixed emotions. Although Dhivya knew about my past medical history, this was the first time she was hearing it in detail from me and was evidently shocked and amazed at the same time. She said “Maybe you survived to make a difference in someone else’s life.” And she was right. Having been fortunate in surviving, I feel sad that the absence of a ventilator is the reason for the death of many others. I know what it is like to be so close to death, but escape it because there was a ventilator that day. And I want that miracle to happen to others by making sure a ventilator exists today and in the years to come. SIFI’s vision ventilator was the perfect opportunity for me. More so because it is going to save the lives of many in need, who will live to save lives of others, just like I did.
The successful completion of the vision ventilator project makes me happy and proud of the efforts of the team members. I applaud their commitment to the noble cause and wish the best for their future projects.
Adding a new meaning to SIFI – a testimonial by one of our regular donors.
April 10th 2012
Firstly, let me congratulate you for successfully accomplishing VISION VENTILATOR !! A remarkable achievement, considering the time since SIFI’s inception.
As a donor, I regularly receive your newsletters and also the information about my investments in SIFI. I will say that all the correspondences are highly professional and worded very well. I am really impressed with the way your team communicates with donors. Keep up the excellent job. Especially Ms.Swetha Viswanathan.
I am very happy to be able to help SIFI in a small way and would once again congratulate your team for the efforts that you take.
I feel very happy to see so many youngsters coming forward to serve the society, at a time when many of them prefer enjoying life in other ways…It shows your commitment and responsibility in helping the people born on the less lucky side of this world, as Ms. Viji Ravindran had quoted. Your enthusiasm and energy are contagious and I am sure it would inspire many more :) Wishing team SIFI good luck !!!
For me SIFI stands for :
Spirited Individuals (re)Forming India
This is what one of our donors had to say about SIFI and three of our team members when we approached her to raise funds for hospitalization of the baby of Ms. Saraswati.
Ms. Viji Ravindran
September 15, 2011
Today is special because I met with two remarkable youngsters – a boy and a girl.
What made the difference was, the drive of the two that I see is lacking in this generation. Aparajith Raman, the boy, is studying for a degree in Economics from Loyola college (a PSBB product), while the girl Swetha Viswanathan also is studying Economics at Stella Maris (having done her schooling from DAV Girls). I was all the more impressed because, it comes as a breather, these two have chosen the off-beaten path of Social sciences (Economics) over the drudgery called Engineering/Medicine. I was often wondering, what would be the fate of arts and sciences in this nation of ours. After seeing these promising young man and woman electing Economics as their chosen subjects of study, I am somewhat pacified that perhaps my apprehensions are misplaced.
A graduate in Mathematics, I have done my Masters in Econometrics, that endears Economics to me. After a long time, those things like Keynes Micro Economics flashed through my mind’s eye. It’s a subject I have always loved with all my heart. Was transported to a world 20 years back when all human subjects of study received equal attention and appreciation in our society.
Kudos to these youngsters first of all, for not succumbing to popular but boring notions. They have held their own – and this is a good sign I was waiting for all along to spot somewhere – which was eluding me all these years. Seeing bright and young men and women evince interest in human studies and social sciences is in itself a feat, if you are aware of the direction our society is progressing in (what I would term as lopsided and short-sighted ambitions and drive).
What is more, the youngsters are associated with SIFI, a charitable organization involved in the process of garnering funds for NGOs. This, they are doing in their spare time, after their college hours. I have to thank Aarthi Kumar, my school junior, who introduced me to this novel and noble mission by spirited young people, which she is a part of. Aarthi had shared a link on SIFI in our school Facebook page to which I had responded, which led to this development.
On this day, I could give the young guys a cheque for 2000 bucks – something small, a token of my appreciation and willingness to chip in.
I have a college-going son too but he is a jolly-good fellow whose mind is still not on such mattes. Said Aparajith so thoughtfully, ‘everyone has to get his or her own calling Auntie, Shriraam will get his own.’ The wisdom at this age is remarkable.
I understand SIFI is founded by a couple of service-minded young men, who want to help those under-privileged, as responsible citizens we are, and for those fortunate we are, only by virtue of our birth. It is very unfair that a section of our society has to suffer such a torment at every turn of their lives, only because they are born into this pre-ordained, desperate condition from which, there is no easy way out. It is very unjust – and I am ashamed I am one of the so-called better-offs who is faring well today only because I am born into this lucky other world.
So in whatever capacity we can, wherever we can, its our duty to do something to those who are having it so bad in their lives, repeatedly pushed into hopeless circles of crises, with no light of dawn in sight. We are not doing them any favour – this is something we owe the less-fortunate in our society. For, in every opportunity we gain by virtue of our birth like good schooling, good neighbours, good university, good society, etc, we are for our part depriving someone in this very same society we live in, their fair, even and just chances at better life – to get where we are today.
Through SIFI I want to do what I can for this society. For my part, I am already sponsoring the education of a little boy and a girl in a matric school. But keeping in mind the increased cost of health care, I have always wanted to do something in this area. If I could, I would like to pitch into something as basic as housing sector as well – but this is something which is beyond our reach or help. Just think of the cost of housing or lease in our city Chennai – and the rising cost of living to compound with – so where are we headed? So how do we expect those who are born into despair already to keep up? And how easy it is for us folks to procure a housing loan or a car loan? An autowallah told me, banks turned him away when he approached them for loans, so he had no option but to borrow from a money lender at a very high rate of interest. Its such a sad, sad, unjust world.
And aren’t we all part of this erroneous system? Again its not a favour we are doing to the lesser privileged, we owe whatever we can to them. Health is one sector where our humanitarian help can make a big difference.
I am told, SIFI is supporting NGOs who primarily finance for health care – like surgeries etc for the weaker sections of the society. They are open to the idea of financing something off-beat but very much necessary like funding for instance dialysis, ventilator support etc which also call for expensive and extensive medical care. Its precisely in this area I want to help. There are enough NGOs to garner funds for one-time surgeries, medical care etc. But there are recurrent, repeated medical procedures like dialysis which are life-threatening and that which can also drain families completely of their budget economies.. This kind of medical expense could be unsustainable even for middle-class families despite their health insurance in place. So just think of someone under-privileged who has to under dialysis on regular basis. There is a big yawning gap in funding in this area, that is often overlooked. Principally, because, dialysis for instance, is not viewed as a surgical procedure. It is rather, a continued treatment.
Many of us are bereft of ideas about NGOs who cater to such specific funding areas – which is where SIFI comes into picture. It’s a great favour they are doing us by identifying the right NGOs for us who we can trust when it comes to handling our donations.
I would really like to get more involved with this idea – and I am willing to make a modest personal commitment of monthly 500 or 1000 bucks (that I can raise with time) for funding someone’s continued medical assistance. SIFI is a useful tool here as I understand, we are also given a follow-up on the individual fundings/donations we may contribute toward.
I would like to tell my friends about SIFI and these motivated young men & women. Their mission is very noble and impressive, and let it grow and continue forever and ever.