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Tuesday, May 07, 2002

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Metro Plus    Chennai   

Bridge of hope

THREE WOMEN with a mission to serve the underprivileged. That is what Helping Hands or HH, formed by Nita Mishra, Kalpana Sundar and Cheryll Pereira, is all about.

HH serves as a link between potential funding groups and NGOs to provide financial support or otherwise to the latter. It catalogues the needs of NGOs, which may range from clothes, old books and food, to computers and cash.

Then HH approaches the donors for assistance. It carefully selects the groups it wishes to support, depending on the urgency and specificity of the need.

The threesome found that many NGOs were hamstrung for funds to sustain their activities on a long-term basis.

Many, therefore, were surviving on a month-to-month basis. Besides, they wasted precious time writing project proposals or tapping at the doors of various funding agencies. It is this gap that HH tries to bridge.

About the three women who have taken on the challenge — Nita Mishra has vast experience working with NGOs, especially on gender and environment issues. She is co-founder of Ecofem Crafts, Chennai, which is involved in making bags out of recycled paper as an alternative to plastic. It provides income to women from the low-income sections and to other underprivileged groups as well.

Cheryll Pereira, with a wealth of managerial expertise garnered from working in the corporate world, has worked for seven years as fundraising director of the HOPE Foundation.

Kalpana Sundar had been involved with various voluntary efforts in the U.S. and has recently moved to Chennai. She is a qualified chartered accountant, and this is indeed an asset to HH.

One of HH's projects is "Newspapers for a Cause." Various organisations and individuals donate their old newspapers on a weekly basis. These are picked up from their residences/offices after which they are sold. The proceeds go towards supporting the organisations that are part of the HH family.

Those wishing to donate old newspapers or would like to know more about the activities of HH, can call 8202472/8223241/8229369.

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Metro Plus    Chennai   

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