Vividly I remember a project undertaken, as the President of Lion Club of Nagpur MIDC, Nagpur 2005-06. We visited a school in Wadi. It was shocking and distressing, to see the condition of the young children and the school. The basic needs enabling a child to study were amiss, no uniforms, shoes, or apt text books not even slate for students.
It was saddening but with internal discussion, help and support of fellow members. The concept of CAFÉ kits was incepted. We were able to adopt 75 Children with basic needs under the program CAFÉ – Child Adoption For Education. A CAFÉ kit consisting of 2 uniforms, shoes, socks, slate, note books and stationary items costing Rs. 500/- each was distributed.
CAFE Kit consists of 12 basic items for needy children, enabling them to continue their primary education.
A few years later, 2008. When I was about to be free from my family responsibilities (Wedding of both my children). It was a ticking thought of starting an NGO, for a just cause and permanent project. It crossed my mind, why not to re-launch CAFÉ again, just a little bigger and as a permanent project. The initial idea if we could help around 100 children per year. It will give us great satisfaction.
I discussed the same with my friends and we organised our first fund raising program ‘Yeh Tare Hai Humare’, a cultural evening in January 2008 at Deshpande Hall, with the performance by physically and mentally challenged children. Thanks to your support it was a great success and to our surprise, so many well wishers joined hand that we were able to collect funds for 2,500 kids @ Rs. 500/- per kit.
Since then we never stopped and so till date, more than 30,000 children have benefitted under the CAFÉ program. The CAFÉ Kit become better and better every year, today it consists of 12 items and cost have increased marginally by Rs. 200 in 11 years. Today each CAFÉ kit costs Rs. 700/-
In the 2002, it came to my knowledge that there is no home in Vidharbha for orphans who are HIV+. Sadly no orphanage will give them admission, leaving them no other option but to beg on the streets.
We identified around 5 children, took a house on rent in Wadi and facilitated with lodging, boarding, education and medication. The program was named then as CARE – Child Adoption for Rehabilitation and Education. Presently there are around 16 children sheltered at CARE.
Role of Helplink Charitable Trust
I am obliged and thankful to Shri Ajay Sancheti ji, for giving assurance to provide financial support for the project. This support still continues from CSR funding of SMS group and few friends.
I am thankful to all patrons, mentors and associates for continued support. I would like to specially acknowledge support of SMS Group, Calderys, Raisoni Group, ICAI members, Lions and Rotary clubs, WCL, BMA, Plasto, Maharashtra Metal, Childline, Mahavir International, Bhaktivrind, Samrupan, Go Gas, Inventys, Ranikothi, Navaidhyam...
Hemant Lodha, Founder Trustee
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