news Monday, June 01, 2015 - 05:30
  Image source: Senior Citizens Bangalore/Facebook   R Parthasarathy is 91 years old now, but age has not affected his spirit. He still travels to Hoskote village, in the outskirts of Bengaluru, once in a while to speak to school children. A retired Director of International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT), a satellite communication industry in Washington, he wishes to see government school children in Hoskote completing their higher education.   As a member of Senior Citizens Bangalore, an NGO comprised of elder members of society, Parthasarathy works in the organisation's school support programme.  “Primary schooling is always given more attention to in government schemes, but once students complete their schooling, many do not have access to resources to pursue further education. We want to help them to complete higher education, so they can get better jobs and are able to contribute to society,” says Parthasarathy, the oldest member of the group.   While most people look forward to their retirement to relax and spend time with their family, these senior citizens chose to make better use of the second innings of their life.    Bharat Sarronwala, the 85-year-old Chairman of the NGO says, “This is a good means for us to give back to the society. It also works for us as it keeps us occupied.”   The NGO has come a long way since 2001 when it began functioning with just four retirees. Today Senior Citizens Bangalore has 70 members in the age group of 50 to 91 years. They started out with an objective to provide good education to underprivileged children, but today they work on three broader areas: school support, humanitarian home and rural uplift.     Photograph by Benita Chacko   The school support programme aims to provide nutritious breakfast to children, improve their quality of education, provide them with necessary infrastructure and ensure their good health through regular medical check-ups.   The rural uplift programme is striving to eradicate malnutrition in three villages of Hoskote taluk. The NGO that began with providing nutrition to children has now extended their nourishment programme to not only pregnant and lactating mothers, but also babies and adolescents.   Shyam Aggarwal, who works for this programme says, “We have succeeded in eradicating Grade 3 malnourishment in the taluk and aim to eliminate Grade 2 by December this year.”   The senior citizens have also associated with RVM Foundation’s Philanthropic Home on Hennur Main Road to provide them with infrastructural needs like water heating facilities, nutritious food, toilets and even medical needs. The Humanitarian Home provides shelter to destitute and homeless people.   Col. Sundarmurthy, a retired Army officer who works with the home says, “Our association with the Home has benefitted them greatly. We have managed to get ration cards for the inmates of the house. Also earlier the food prepared here was just to help the inmates exist, but after our intervention we have managed to give them a balanced meal.”   To help the NGO in sustaining their programmes corporate companies like Cipla, Bosch and L&T have also pooled in. Cipla recently helped to build toilets in the Humanitarian Home.   The NGO has a general body meeting once every two months to take stock of the work they have done since the last meeting. At these meetings one gets to hear stories of a time gone by and if you happen to find yourself amongst men from the armed forces then you’ll be lucky to hear some war stories as well.   Apart from an annual fee of Rs 5,000, which goes towards the various programmes, the members pay Rs 1,000 as membership fee.    Their hair might be greying, but the spirits of the members are still coloured by their zeal to give back to society. The young guns of today can definitely derive inspiration from them to work for the world around them.   For further details, visit http://www.seniorcitizensblr.com/index.html   Also read: Real gruesome plots on which Cinderella and other popular fairy tales were originally based on     Image source: Tangled/Facebook    

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