Featured Projects

Happy Ho – Our Happiness Circles for elderly women

The Charter for Compassion India Is proud to share its success story of *Happy Ho! – Happiness Circle for Senior Women.*
We started in October 2018 at Mumbai- India, to mark the day of the elderly. Our circle has been meeting every week for an array of engaging activities aimed at sharing, learning and gaining new experiences. Members eagerly look forward to each session and in a short span of 3 months, have formed strong bonds amongst themselves. Through word of mouth, the circle has grown from 10 to 18 members and members have now started taking responsibilities like collecting a small kitty of funds on a monthly basis.
The format of our gatherings is driven by circle principles and consists of sharing in turn, using a talking stick and ending with a positive thought and a loving kindness prayer-Mangal Maitri, wishing well for all of God’s creations. Sessions are conducted in a way that they are fun, while external experts are invited from various fields. Past sessions included games, dance movement therapy, vision board using art, playback theatre, heartfulness meditation, yoga and naturopathy sessions interspersed with potlucks and a lot of laughter!
*Glimpses of some interesting activities conducted are shared below-*
* *Playback Theatre Show-* Impromptu acts based on feelings of the audience; acting out the emotions of participants. This was a unique and creative way to help women connect with themselves.
• *Naturopathy Session*
The focus was pain management for which some simple techniques that were shared were:
1) For sleeping difficulties, do naadi shuddhi (breathing exercise)
2) For pain in the foot area- soak feet upto below knee level in warm water with salt before bedtime for about 15 mins.
3) Walking in the pool is also beneficial for leg pain, varicose pain and for healing purposes.
4) Icing for any kind of body pain is best done with ice cubes in a cotton towel bag
5) For Knee Pain and avoidance of knee pain-Sitting on a chair, lift the leg up straight as high as comfortable and hold upto 5/10/15 counts. If you are holding it for 10 counts, repeat it 10 times; is 15 counts, repeat 15 times. This exercise should be done with the mind on the exercise so that it becomes a mind/body connect; not while watching TV or chit-chatting.
6) For back pain-Bhujangasana is the best or Sarvangasana for those with vertigo
7) For Hair- A home made mix of 3 different types of oil was suggested.
The takeaway was taking care of our self above everything else. Prioritize our health and remember the mantra- “Health is Wealth”.
• *Potluck Session*
This was a nice change of pace session which gave everyone a chance to interact with one another.
A big spread on the table was a delight and everyone enjoyed the home cooked food. A green smoothie demonstration was made and a sampling was served. To eat mindfully in silence for a few minutes after serving your plate was suggested for developing an attitude of gratitude. A pomegranate/apple juice was served with the food and the benefits of the drink were shared.
• *Tech Session*
The need to have someone show them how to use different features on their phones was a strong sentiment among some the members. From how to create whatsapp to sending messages to sending pictures and videos to booking a cab –it was all covered and much appreciated.
* *Yoga Session*
Pranayama was the focus for the session and she told us about different pranayama techniques Firstly, how to know your lung capacity and the way to measure it was shown. Then with regular pranayama techniques, building up the capacity was suggested. Two techniques were demonstrated-one sitting down and one lying down.Kapaalbhati and Bhastrika kriyas were also demonstrated and benefits explained. The session was closed with a beautiful prayer.
More sessions are planned in the coming months including kitchen gardening, writing of a will, etc. It is wonderful to work with a diverse group of senior yet enthusiastic women from various walks of life. The circle provides them with the perfect opportunity to share their experiences and learn many more! These sessions are motivating, promotes healing, wellness, and Improves self confidence. Some kids have shared that their mothers and mothers in law discuss for days the recipe for the item they need to take for potlucks 😊 A sub group of women have started meeting on an additional day to practice heartfulness meditation on an ongoing basis. We, the organisers, feel blessed to be able to introduce practices like daily gratitude which are helping our members lead happier and more fulfilling lives.
We look forward to our members realising their dreams be it learning how to swim or starting a bridge card game play group 😊
Would you like to start a Happiness Circle in your community? We are here to help! Feel free to reach out to us via our FB group for Charter for Compassion India or fill out the contact form on our website.
EcoLiteracy – Educating children on Climate Change
Stars of Compassion – Workshops for school children on compassion
Food Sharing – Bengaluru

In a world where we produce enough food to feed everyone, 821 million people – one in nine – still go to bed on an empty stomach each night. Even more – one in three – suffer from some form of malnutrition.

Inspired by a SEE talks video of Sarabjeet Singh* of Shimla, I thought of started something similar on a very small scale in our residential society. I sent out the video to our whats app group and asked for volunteers. Around 6-7 people came forward to volunteer but I was clueless on what to do next. I started talking to a few NGOs and fortunately within a day or two was able to connect with founder of NGO named Samriddhi – Mom Banerjee. Samriddhi is a network of no-fee bridge schools to give basic education to out-of-school children of migrant labourers in a multilevel and multilingual atmosphere. They were at that time struggling with the funding for breakfast for their kids.

I shared the plan with her and she was all in. As if destiny had planned our meeting, because she had been looking for someone to sponsor breakfast for kids and we were looking for a place where we could start our food sharing effort. And the irony is that we stay in same residential complex, same building and same floor right next to each other and hadn’t talked to each other earlier.

We had initially planned to support 2-3 kids each, however Mom came with a larger requirement. People were skeptical as with full time jobs, kids and other daily chores, it looked difficult. Mom and I then came up with an easy to cook and healthy menu.

Monday: Boiled Black Chana

Tuesday: Whole wheat Bread Butter and Jam

Wednesday: Moong Dal Sprouts

Thursday: Oats Porridge

Friday: Milk and Bananas

Saturday: Boiled eggs and Whole wheat biscuits

The menu is easy and doesn’t require extra effort with increase in number of kids. We circulated the menu amongst volunteers and it was accepted by one and all. Post the menu was circulated, another 5 members joined the group and each one as of today is sending food for 6-8 kids without any issues. As of today, 13 volunteers together are sending breakfast for 90 kids. People drop the tiffin boxes at the society main gate by 8 am and NGO van comes to collect the food at around 8:30 am. Washed Tiffinboxes are dropped back by NGO at 4 pm at the society gate.

The initiative is named “Akme Ahaar” – Akme being name of our residential society and Ahaar meaning food.

The volunteers today own this project and are ready to help each other all the time. We have some amazing people as volunteers who do not hesitate to go above and beyond their set responsibility.

It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to do something for someone. We often procrastinate our efforts looking at the massive scale of problems as we think that our efforts alone will not eradicate the problem. What we forget is that we may not be able to change everything for everyone, but we can surely change something for someone. This reminds me of a story which motivates me each time I get disappointed with the scale of problems, and minimal impact I am able to create.

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”

We all can make a difference in at least one person’s life. If we all are able to do that, I am sure that sustainable development goals defined by UN can be achieved and we will be able to create a better world for generations to come.

Name of Volunteers:

                Akme Encore Bangalore residents:

Neha, Atreyee, Seeta, Mom, Deepika, Deepa, Manasi, Aaskiran, Mani, Reema, Shruti and Swati

 *Sarabjeet Singh started an NGO called Almighty Blessings and established free canteens for patients and their attendants under its banner. These canteens serve tea, biscuits, soups, porridge, and dal-rice to patients free of cost.Singh also runs 22 Roti banks across the state to collect chapatti and distribute them to poor patients.