POOR AND OLD IN INDIA

Old age comes with defects, we all know this. One of these defects can be poverty. That is bad, inacceptable. Here, in the Netherlands, poverty grows at a disturbing rate. Several political parties make the issue a top priority. Fortunately there are emergency measures like the food bank to keep poor people from starvation. But it is actually humiliating that we need to go this far.

In India it’s quite a different story. When you get older, and you are poor without any family to take care of you, you end up in the streets. You will have to stay alive through begging and if you don’t make enough, there is nothing else.
When our friend Albert Zwaan was confronted with this in his work in the Indian health care, he could not help but act. He has laid the foundation for a project in Pondicherry at the Bay of Bengal coast. Currently twenty elderly ladies are sheltered there, who would otherwise have lived on the streets. The women are so well cared for that anyone who visits the project is deeply impressed. A staff led by Royal, Albert’s foster son, provides the women with a humane life for the final years of their lives.
Albert died some time ago of the consequences of a traffic accident. It is obvious that the funding of the project suffers from his demise. Currently, the foundation Health Care Trust Nederland has been established to take over the aid. Its Board members are fully confident that Albert’s work can be continued, which of course, requires money. The current care of 20 women costs about € 1.200 per month. By our standards this is next to nothing. Elderly care for € 60 per month per person, this should be feasible. Until now, money was received sporadically. It would be fantastic if the continuity of the project could be guaranteed by a circle of 120 people, each giving a monthly contribution that averages ten euro’s. What is a hundred and twenty euro’s (per year) after all? And we don’t have to start from scratch: including the recently received pledges we are already at about five hundred euro’s.
Everyone who is sympathetic to this small-scale project is invited to visit the website www.regainingdignity.org. There you will find a way to contribute in the ‘Support us’ segment. Your contribution will be very welcome.

On behalf of the Foundation,
Thijs Witteman
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