Starting 2017 with a Bang by Bringing Joy to HIV Positive Kids!

in charity •  2 years ago

We've ushered into the new year with many hopes and new dreams. Many of us leading seemingly normal lives with health and time by our side are likely to accomplish our goals! But, for those suffering from incurable diseases, time is a priceless, precious commodity and sadly there aren't many clouds with a silver lining for them.

Just want to thank you all for the support & donations! (Click for Update)

We're in 2017 and yet there are several societal barriers that are extremely hard to break requiring serious efforts on our part. HIV/AIDS is a major issue everywhere and it is considered a taboo in my country where it affects over 2 million people. As per the 2015 data from 'Avert', India is the 3rd largest HIV epidemic in the world with 86,000 new infections and 68,000 deaths AIDS related deaths. Fortunately, over the past decade HIV epidemic in India has been declining at a reasonably moderate pace!

Until the morning of 1st January, 2017 I've never visited any centre or residential program that cares for those with HIV/AIDS. It was when I sat down to write this post I became aware of many statistics related to HIV/AIDS in my country and I'm glad I could play a small role in brightening up somebody's day by taking out some of my time!


Source: Snehadeep

A brief account of history!

Around 13 years ago my friend, 'Shawn Fernandez' and I started a local chapter of a pan-India motorcycle club in our city of Mangalore. Together, we used it as platform to organise occasional motorcycle rides and events to increase public awareness towards prevalent issues. It was unique in those days and in the early days we mostly dealt with creating awareness related to road safety and related issues. We often tied up with the local administration including the police in executing these events.


With Shawn and his son Kian and another friend Dr. Brijesh in the center. My prescription sunglasses are funky I know! ;)

Over the past decade our affiliations to motoring clubs have changed and things have evolved. However, over 5 years ago when I left home in search of better opportunities, Shawn continued the work, reinvented the club and took it up a notch to include other social causes and brought many people together.

What's the point of living if you are unwilling to make a difference in your society?

When I moved back home a year ago, I began supporting the work that Shawn and our group-United Bikers of Mangalore (UBM) have been doing in anyway I could! In the past few weeks when I was travelling, Shawn along with another mutual friend John D'Silva managed to organise a visit to 'Snehadeep.'


It sure weighed a lot when I had to transfer it to/from my car!

Ergo, on New Years Eve I decided to stay at home and use the money set aside for the NYE party to buy essentials required by 'Snehadeep' instead! I was given a list which made it easy to buy the items and I donated approx $80 worth of essential supplies. The grocery store I made purchases from was kind enough to give me a 2.5% discount towards this purchase upon request.


I was going to distribute some chocolates as well and couldn't help get one for myself when shopping!


It's great to see my car's boot filled up with something other than my travel luggage!

A Ray of Hope for HIV Positive Girls in Mangalore!

Snehadeep is small HIV positive child care centre and orphanage near my home for little girls abandoned by their parents or families. It is run by a local Muslim woman, 'Tabassum' who takes care of 16 Hindu girls currently aged between 7 and 22. I'm mentioning the religion because, 'There is absolutely no place for religion once these children fall sick with the disease that they have and no religion comes forth to assist these kids despite their deep coffers.'

You are welcome to read her interview here if you are interested to know more about her story.

It was great waking up yesterday knowing that we would put smiles on the faces of these kids!

Everyone is being educated in a Government run school and college in our city. Some of the children have won medals in different competitions. The eldest one has a Graduate degree and is currently working in the accounts department of a local firm in the city. All of them are trying their best to lead a normal life as anyone of us!


A Muslim woman run orphanage with Hindu kids celebrating a notably Christian festival! This is simply unity in diversity of India for you!


For lack of a real Xmas tree, they used a Mango tree for Xmas decorations! How cool is that?

We spent a couple of hours and played a game of 'Antakshari' with them. Later, the youngest of the lot put up a small dance performance as the other girls and some of the biker-boys from our group sang with their melodious best!

We were requested not to share any clearly identifiable pictures of the children online and ergo I'm not sharing their pictures here. But, my experience I will share! At Snehadeep, I saw more life, love and laughter in these kids than I've seen in many adults who have everything including good health, lots of money and a long life!


All the supplies donated by UBM

Few important lessons:

If you walked in randomly to this organization you would only see a bunch of kids—happy and doing the best they can with whatever they've got despite the uncertainty in their unnaturally shortened lives!

Remember, It's a tough world for sure but you can always make the most of what you have with the time you've got left!

Over the past 2-3 years I've had this personal policy to make small donations (usually one day's income in the month) on a regular basis to charitable organisations of my choice in my country. I've hand picked a few over the years that I know are accountable for the donations they receive and put them to use. In the process I've learnt that:

I've always received more from life whenever I've shared more of what I have, and I've always had all that I needed in life—Except enough motorcycles and cars!

On serious note, I had unexpected surprises in my wallet from my friends/well wishers on Steemit few months ago when I was going through a difficult phase. Thank you guys!

Ergo, I believe that it's important to pay it forward it life whenever you are capable and have the opportunity to do so! You don't always have to be wealthy financially to be able to do it, there are also other ways!


Cheque handed over to Genevieve, part of the management of the place as Tabassum was away.

Just before we decided to wind up the event, Shawn presented them cheque for INR 20,500 ($305) to the organization to help with operating costs.

I thank my friend Shawn Fernandez for continuing the efforts that we started years ago and organizing this event as well as my friends and bikers from UBM (United Bikers of Mangalore) for wholeheartedly supporting this in kind!

United Bikers of Mangalore is a collective group of motorcycle riders from Mangalore representing various motorcycle and automotive clubs pan-India!

If you'd like to help:

Snehadeep has a monthly expense of roughly $780 (check the following pictures for cost breakup) and they usually fall short by about 20%. If anyone wants to pitch in with any Steem/SBD/BTCs feel free to send it to my wallet! I'll update this post when I present them with a cheque with my contribution for January!

Will continue updating the list of Steemit users sending donations.

Thank you:

@kevinwong
@hanshotfirst
@donkeypong
@thecryptofiend
@voronoi
@smooth
@djdmc
@jamtaylor
@ericvancewalton


On a side note, I spent the month of November travelling around Europe thanks to my earnings from all the things I was doing on Steemit. The last few weeks of December was also spent travelling a little in India as well as reconnecting with many of my friends. It's important to meet and spend time with people who matter in your life. I took a break from writing on Steemit but it was also nice to just hang around on Steemit and Steemit.Chat after @steemfest assisting and handling my tasks and observing everything that's been taking place here.

Thanks to my Steemit buddy @liberosist for persistently trying to get me off my arse and start writing again! I'm certainly motivated and happy with the way I've started my year. I'm glad to be part of change, such as Steemit.com and looking forward to writing and sharing more around here! It feels good to sit down and jot some thoughts on Steemit after a while!

I want take this opportunity to wish everyone on Steemit a very Happy New Year! May each and everyone of you have a fantastic year ahead filled with joy, peace and happiness!


I've authored other posts which you might find interesting:

  1. Steemit Veni, Vidi, Vici! SteemFest 2016—Together, WE made it happen! Thank you Steemians!

  2. Brown-headed Gulls in action at the frozen Pangong Tso, 14000+ ft


If you like my work, please follow my blogs to support me.


@firepower

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So are you! Thanks for hosting me in Vienna again! :)

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It was my pleasure ! Meanwhile I worked on the interior , fixed it all up and bang fully booked since 3 weeks on airbnb :) I met so many nice people from all around the world

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I have to admit that I did not read your full story yet but it's for sure an amazing initiative and as usual , you are an inspiration full of passion , for many !

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Oh wow! I bet the place is looking great now! It's such a beautiful home that you have! Thank you @mammasitta for always encouraging and supporting. Means a lot to me! :)

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damn I really need to blog again :) you inspired me ....just so busy

What a great article and project, thanks for sharing such hope inhumanity. All for one and one for all!!! Namaste :)

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Thank you Eric for your support and words of encouragement! :) Namaste! :)

This is an awesome post. This is why I joined steemit. So many ways to make a positive difference. So much of this post is absolutely wonderful... but this really touched my heart:
"A Muslim woman run orphanage with Hindu kids celebrating a notably Christian festival! This is simply unity in diversity of India for you!"
That is amazing and is exactly what I wish the whole world would be. Thank you for posting this.

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Thank you so much for your comment, for reading through as well as helping by way of donation. I appreciate your gesture a lot! I am humbled by your comments!

India despite all its craziness, simply works! I'm happy to be able to share some of the positive things that goes on here with people that I now know all over the world thanks to Steemit! :)

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Well not you've got me going again. LOL. I just reread it. Now this jumped out at me.

"If you walked in randomly to this organization you would only see a bunch of kids—happy and doing the best they can with whatever they've got despite the uncertainty in their unnaturally shortened lives!"

I told my own children about this. They need to hear these kinds of stories of strength and compassion as much as possible. Then I hope they grow up and live it!

You inspired a lot of people with this post... including my family. So thank you!

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Thank you so much! I reread this a few times myself to remind myself that I ought to do this often as possible in the future. I look forward to visiting the place and presenting with the cheque soon! They are going to be thrilled!

I think it's important to learn to give back to the world when you're young. The important things you learn when you are young stays with your all your life. So Kudos to you for telling your kids these things. I'm sure they'll appreciate it when they are older! :)

I congratulate you for the initiative to donate and help. I believe every small token we can offer will make a huge collective effort!
PS. I'm also restarting my active blogging mode so I know how you feel. Welcome back from your travels!


this is @anduweb, recently moved to this new handler. I'll keep this signature for a while in all my comments and posts
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Thank you so much bro! I look forward to seeing your posts as well. It's nice to take a break sometimes and come back refreshed and eager to go at it again! :)

You've got such an amazing life man... Even when you took a break from writing. Your frequent Fb posts always left a smile on my face...

And when I saw a FB notification about you sharing a steemit post, I knew it was going to be a nice read.

Nice to have you writing again. And congrats on gracing the trending page again..

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Thank you so much buddy! It's great to stay connected with you. Thanks for all the support as always. It's nice to get back to writing as well! I will do it more often moving forward!

Wow .... this really was an inspiring read @firepower! Hiv/Aids is a huge challenge here in SA , with SA being currently the largest population in the world of people affected by the disease and it's what 98% of what I see in the hospitals. It is largely an awareness issue and educating the public to preventative health is still the key factor. Thank you for your efforts and keep up the great work! Everyone can learn from this! Upped, resteemed and you've definitely got another follower:)

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Whoa! Thanks for reading and taking the time to respond. That's quite a statistic for South Africa! I hope the government will step up efforts to curb the rapid epidemic. Awareness and education is key to reducing fatalies from this disease as well as provide medical care at affordable costs. We can do our part and hope that the future will be better for us all. :)

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Definitely second the mention of cost of care. Perhaps cryptocurrency can play a role

That is heartwarming man , till now it is the best blog in term of purpose i saw in 2017 , i like your spirit @firepower , keep it up
upvoted , resteemed and followed bro

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Thank you so much! :) Appreciate your kind words and support! :)

Im big supporter of helping others, not only HIV positive people. But sadly, my financial situation dont allows me to help financialy

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Don't worry. I was in the same position some years ago! With time we can make a difference as long as we continue to want to. :)

You rock my man! I wish @steemvoter guilds were active already so we could have given you 1000 votes on this, loving the vibe and post value, reminds me of billboard days.

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Whoa! Thank you! Well I will be writing more posts in the future for sure haha! It's good to do good things for others and let the universe do the rest for you! :)

Thank you so much @smooth for the donation! What you've done is going to go a long way in easing their their financial burden! Cheers! :)

Beautiful post @firepower
I would like to donate for the girls, but don't have any Steem Dollars. I can send Bitcoin. Do you have a wallet I can send to?

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@djdmc Thank you. Yes I have a BTC wallet. If you can come on Steemit.Chat and dm me there I can share it with you. Appreciate your gesture! :)

Happy New Year @firepower :-) Good to see that you are full in a charity mission :-)

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Thank you so much! It's nice to help others when possible. Besides we should always treat others with the way we'd like to be treated ourselves. Do nice things, and some good things might happen to you as well is my belief! :)

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You are absolut right with that :-)

Incredible @firepower. Thanks for what you're doing. We need many more people in this world like you. Resteemed and I'll be making a donation as well.

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Thank you so much for your kind words and your gesture Eric! Appreciate it a lot! :)

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Thank you for the donation. Received it. :)

You are truly a great guy. Thank you for all your hard work on Steemit and to help others. Happy New Year!

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Thank you so much Tom! Appreciate your kind words and support! Happy New Year to you too! :)

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Thank you for the donation!

It's a wonderful initiative, and kudos for a great coverage of it. Well worth the wait :)

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Thanks dude! It was great to be there and be witness to the smiles! Good to be back and writing. I have more ideas on the top of my mind to jot down. Should be an interesting month I hope!

This is beautiful! People like you make the world a better place. I hope your post collects a huge payout for this great initiative.

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Thank you so much @tarekadam! Appreciate your kind words and support! :)

Happy new year @firepower

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Thank you so much! Happy New Year to you too Rajiv! :)

Heartwarming story!

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Thanks! :)

good work! a true philanthropist!

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Thank you for the kind words and support! :)

Amazing, I am so glad you were able to help. Resteemed

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Thank you so much! :)

I hate to be that guy, but you're not technically hiding anything with these half transparent red squares.

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Hahaha! Actually I was up through the night curating and working in general and the sun wasn't very helpful with just 2 hrs of sleep! :P

Just perfect thx for all the work on this firepower!

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Thanks buddy! :)

What a wonderful work you have done :) congratulations, :)

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Thank you so much Aishwarya! :D

Great post my friend, upvoted. @firepower

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Thank you! :)

Amazing. Really powerful work you're doing here. Thank for so much for sharing the story of the Snehadeep Programme. Here's to hoping for more charitable and innovative community action in 2017. Keep an eye out for a donation!

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Thank you so much for the kind words, support and the donation! We do similar things a few times in the year and I will surely update things as and when it happens! Cheers. :)

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Absolutely. Please do keep us updated! Great work! :)

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Ofcourse I will. Thanks again. :)

very helpful

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Thanks :)

I love what you did there. Let's have a chat about this!

Happy new year!

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Thanks much! Happy New Year to you too!

Thank you for your great post ! You are doing a very good job ! Not is other people's children and someone else's misfortune ! Thank you for helping them ! I will follow you !

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Thank you for your words of encouragement and support! :)

Great initiative man! Keep up the good work :)

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Thank you Saurav! :)

That's some great work that you did here.

It's a very beautiful initiative ! We need more like this. All good for the future.

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Thank you so much! :)

Now that's a Sporting initiative!!! :) upvoted!

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Thank you :D

The best of humanity right there!

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Whoa! Thank you so much!

Individual charity is the best charity. Find a need, and address it directly! Well done!

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Thank you so much! :)

Thank you @jamtaylor for your donation and support! :)

Wow, I love what you are doing. That is so nice. Your sunglasses are pretty neat!

fantastic work!

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Thank you :)