Dignity Foundation is one of India’s premier NGO’s working for the cause and care of the elderly. It is a one stop solution for senior members of society looking for help or support of various kinds. Their services are aimed at giving the elderly a second go at life – from enabling them to live productively, to fulfilling their dreams, to encouraging them to take up a hobby; essentially, reminding them that retirement is not the end of a chapter… but infact the beginning of a new one!
Their various services include:
– Dignity Helpline – a helpline dedicated to the help and rescue of the elderly.
– Dignity Ration Service – a service whose aim is to not let any elderly person go to bed hungry.
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How it all began
So what led Sheilu Srinivasan, a champion in both sports and academics during her school days, to venture down the non-profit path? Seems to be a combination of her upbringing as well as her exposure to the plight of the elderly. Sheilu was raised in an environment of selfless service and giving to others – thanks to her parents, both of whom are known for their dedication to social work. From an early age, she used to volunteer at orphanages as often as she could.
Much later, during her 10-year career with Macmillan India publishing house, as corporate manager in charge of policy, she felt handicapped by the excessive emphasis on money and commercial interest. So, in 1987, she joined Tata Institute of Social Sciences as the head of the publications department. The position enabled her to combine publishing with social work.
I spent the day at the Dignity Foundation from the 1st to the 5th of June, hoping to meet recipients of their rations programme. It is on the first five days of every month that recipients on this programme come down to collect the same. But it turned out that because of the pouring rains, most of them had sent someone to collect the rations on their behalf. So, I decided to visit them at their houses instead. So I took a list of about 15 recipients; to make my life easier, I picked as many as I could in the vicinity of the GiveIndia office/my home.
You could imagine my surprise when I noticed that two of the recipients lived in one of Bombay’s richest areas – Walkeshwar…