24 Jul

At the beginning of this month, I announced an unusual ‘giveaway’, where we were jointly involved in contributing and none of you knew who the recipient(s) would be. To my base pledge of $50, I would add $1 for every comment received on this post.

67 unique visitors to that post left their comment (one squeaking past the midnight deadline by 5 minutes 😉 ) and together, we raised $117. Sadly, 80% (yes, you read that right) of the unique visitors to that page chose not to share our enthusiasm, and I can only hope it was a logistical issue vs. one of attitude.

Why did I open this up to everyone when I could have quietly slipped my check in the mail, you ask? Why did I invite people from the blogosphere to share, knowing there would be some cynics, naysayers and indifferent folk? Put it down to a case of chronic optimism. Of knowing that it may be my money, but I need it to be OUR attitude. As much as I dislike being preachy and usually save my rather strong views on citizenship for other spaces, I know that alone, I am merely one person contributing to another’s life. Together, that effect multiplies manifold. You may not dash out with your checkbook or sign up to build stacks of sandwiches for the homeless just because of this small effort. You may already be doing things far greater than I will ever dream of. The money you may have raised for worthwhile causes will very likely have exceeded this humble amount we have gathered. But if I got you to think–for even a minute–about sharing yourself with the world, planted a seed about doing something similar or paying it forward in other ways, I’m going to bring out my giant feathered boa and do the chicken dance in circles. (No, I’m not ridiculous in the least, why do you ask?)

Our $117 will be pledged to Ummeed Child Development Center in Bombay, India. The stellar multidisciplinary team at Ummeed (consisting of physicians, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, mental health counselors, special educators, caseworkers, etc.) works to serve the needs of children with disabilities across all economic strata. Not only do they work with existing disabilities, they work toward early identification and remedial measures, since disability is a gradient. Nobody is turned away for their inability to pay, and a sliding scale based on income helps families give what they’re comfortable paying. Autism, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, mental retardation, emotional/behavioral concerns, attention deficit disorder, and occupational and speech disorders are among a wide range of disabilities they assess and assist. Inclusion is a goal, as they aim to integrate children of all abilities into the social mainstream. Ummeed serves the needs of thousands of families in my home city that have nowhere else to turn. Try this statistic for size: One therapist can comfortably manage a caseload of 35 clients. In the city of Bombay, a megapolis where levels of healthcare far exceed the rest of the country, there are 500 children with disabilities per available therapist. The need exists acutely, yet funding is hard to come by.

I have worked for Ummeed in the past. Some of my closest friends continue to serve there. Which is why I have an insider’s view of a truly wonderful organization that has, for the past 12 years, been the ‘ummeed’ (hope) of so many families.

Thank you for visiting my blog, for joining in, for inspiring me with your comments, and for being the vocal 20% that acted to make a difference.

Together is better. Together, we’re better. Give yourselves a round of applause. And now jump in for a group hug! 😀

19 Responses to “Together”

  1. sukanyabora July 24, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    Good for you OJ! You inspire me. The 80% missed out on a fantastic opportunity to partner with you.

  2. Aathira July 24, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    500 children waiting for each available therapist.. and all that they can manage is 35 … There really needs to be Ummed! I am myself very motivated to do the same for my birthday 🙂

  3. alice July 24, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    You are a star, OJ! truly bighearted.

    And happy birthday girl. Hugs.

  4. Aunty G July 25, 2013 at 3:09 am #

    God bless you, my darling
    My hope-soaring starling
    Ignore that eighty-twenty ratio
    It needs no braggadocio
    That you’re GRAND, there’s no parlaying!


  5. Revathi July 25, 2013 at 5:57 am #

    Yay yay

  6. Revathi July 25, 2013 at 6:02 am #

    Oh oh, happy birthday OJ!!! I just saw the date. Here’s wishing you many many more. 🙂

  7. Null Pointer July 25, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    Much love, OJ, much love and sprinkles.

  8. aninsightfulnut July 26, 2013 at 12:23 am #

    Wow !! Thanks for making me feel so good about my teeny weeny contribution .

  9. Mukta July 26, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    Wish I’d seen this post earlier. …would have commented and asked my readers to comment as well…great work 🙂

  10. tmukta July 26, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    And just saw your birth date..belated birthday wishes 🙂

  11. labellevee July 27, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    Many cheers and a happy birthday to you OJ 🙂
    I’ve loved this blog for ages now,and it here I come by for my cupful of inspiration,when life seems mundane and mechanical.

    Hey,i couldn’t help but notice-where’s that quote you had put up earlier?An Anais Nin one I think- about capturing the world in swifter faster strokes? Was that it?Was that you? I can’t remember for the life of me..but I loved that quote. Could you please share it with me if you do remember what it was?

    A fan.

  12. Meera July 30, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    “The journey of a thousand mile starts but with the first step” or some such thing that Confucius says. You got people to think, to examine and they may not have contributed in the here and now but they will do so in the future. Together, we definitely are better and will do better as socially responsible citizens.

  13. Orange Jammies July 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    sukanyabora: Thanks, Sukanya. 🙂 I was informed by a couple of Twitter followers that their Gmail accounts experienced login trouble, so let’s hope that was a substantial reason.

    Aathira: Yay! Do it! 😀

    alice: Thank you for the wishes. 🙂

    Aunty G: It is what it is
    Life’s hit-and-miss
    But oh to find
    Your love so kind
    Is my definition of bliss. 🙂

    Revathi: Thank you. 😀

    Null Pointer: Is there a cupcake under those sprinkles??? That’s what I’d like to know.

    aninsightfulnut: Remember drops and oceans, my friend. 🙂

    tmukta: Thanks! There will be other occasions, hopefully.

    labellevee: Thank you. 🙂 I pulled it down a while ago and can’t for the life of me find it again. I’ve been using a different laptop for a while, but I’ll check my back-up hard drive to see if it’s there.

    Meera: I’m glad you think so. By the way, meant to tell you this: The Boy was in Portland a while ago and he said it’s gorgeous. Made me think of you. 🙂

  14. Anamika/ThinkingCramps July 31, 2013 at 1:56 am #

    That’s fantastic, OJ – I am proud to know someone who thought of others on a day which I often treat as “all about me”! Thank you for giving us a chance to be part of something so wonderful.

  15. Meera August 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    OJ, make sure to accompany him the next time and then spend the day with us while he does his thing 🙂

  16. Orange Jammies August 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    Anamika: I’m no saint, Anna. 😆 My birthday is absolutely about me. The better half ensures it. 😉

    Meera: I would love that. 😀

  17. canvas print August 6, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    Such an inspiring post. great work.

  18. dipali55 August 15, 2013 at 7:38 am #

    This sounds so wonderful!!!!! I’m glad to be a teensy part of your birthday fundraiser!

  19. Orange Jammies August 16, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    dipali55: Nothing could be simpler–and anybody can do it. 🙂

Here's a bar of chocolate. Now talk to me. :)

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