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Help the Aged launches 'Spirit of Seva' appeal to help poor older people in India

Howard Lake | 19 April 2004 | News

Leading charity Help the Aged has launched its ‘Spirit of Seva’ Appeal which aims to help impoverished older people in India by providing 250,000 free medical treatments for the poorest people isolated in India’s rural communities and urban slums.
The Appeal launched at this year’s Asian Business Awards ceremony held in London last Tuesday hopes to raise over £100k through a ‘Charity of the Year’ partnership with Eastern Eye, Britain’s biggest selling Asian newspaper.
If you can imagine that the journey to the nearest doctor is a 10-mile walk over rough roads, that you have no money to pay for medicine and are in constant pain – you will understand the reason why this Appeal is so important. This would be unthinkable in the UK where the NHS is open to all, regardless of age. But for many thousands of older people in India this is the reality. And with 75 million people aged over 60 living in India funds are desperately needed:
* 90% of people in India live without adequate medical or financial support
* 40% live below the poverty line
During the Asian Business Awards, Help the Aged’s unique SEVA* Award was presented to a couple from Glasgow for their outstanding contribution in helping older people through community and charitable work. Balraj Marwaha MBE and his wife Santosh, have actively campaigned for the older generation of Indians in Glasgow by establishing a day-care centre for older people, run by the social work department, with a trained staff of Asian employees. Mrs Marwaha has been involved in all aspects of this work and is currently providing care and support at the centre for the multi-cultural older community in Glasgow, as well as organising numerous fundraising events.
Balraj is a founder member of organisations such as Indian Cultural and Festival Committee (ICFC), the Association of Indian Organisations (AIO) and Scottish Indian Relief Forum (SIRF) – an organisation that raises funds for charities and causes throughout India. His active fundraising on behalf of Help the Aged has helped to establish a mobile medicare unit in Moga, Punjab.
*SEVA is the Sanskrit word for ‘service before self’. In selecting the recipient for this Award, Help the Aged used the qualities associated with seva.
Commenting on the couple’s achievements Jill Nadolski, Head of Charitable Partnerships for Help the Aged says: “The Help the Aged SEVA Award is a wonderful acknowledgement of those special individuals in the British Asian business community who have endeavoured to make a difference to the lives of older people. It is thanks to people like Balraj and Santosh that free medical treatments are reaching those who are unreachable by conventional services.”
She adds: “We are delighted to be associated with Eastern Eye and the Asian Business Awards for a second year. The close relationship we have forged over the last year will be even stronger with their commitment to raise vital funds to help those in need in India through the ‘Spirit of Seva’ Appeal.”
Wayne Bower, Managing Director of the Ethnic Media Group, is putting the papers’ full support behind the ‘Spirit of Seva’ Appeal: “We are enthusiastic about achieving the £100K target in our continued partnership with Help the Aged.”
Support for the ‘Spirit of Seva’ Appeal launch also came from Cartier Ltd, Cobra Beer,. Dhamecha Warehouse Wembley, Rubicon Exotic Juice Drinks, Shere Khan Food Group, Madhu’s, Vama, and the Regency Hotel.
If you would like to donate to the ‘Spirit of Seva’ Appeal please telephone 020 7239 1996, email se**@ht*.uk or visit www.helptheaged.org.uk to make an online donation.
Notes to Editor
· “The Spirit of Seva” Appeal is Help the Aged’s latest campaign to raise vital funds for free medical treatments for the poorest older people in India. This work is supported by Eastern Eye through the adoption of Help the Aged as its Charity for 2004. For further information contact se**@he*********.uk.
· Help the Aged celebrated its ‘Charity of the Year’ status for the second year running at the 2004 Eastern Eye Asian Business Awards held in London on 13th April. The glitzy event was hosted by Martin Bashir and celebrities in attendance on the night included ex-Hearsay star Myleene Klass, Jimmy Choo and Bollywood diva Usha Uthap. For press inquiries on the Asian Business Awards, contact Sterling Media on Tel: 020 7801 0077.
· The Ethnic Media Group publishes Eastern Eye, Asian Times, India Weekly, Occasions Magazine, Caribbean Times, and New Nation newspapers which reach over 300,000 Black and Asian readers every week.
· Help the Aged is the UK’s leading Charity working on and behalf of older people everywhere. Through research, campaigning and fundraising it identifies the needs and champions the issues that help better their lives. The Charity’s key areas of work are combating poverty, reducing isolation and encouraging inclusion, defeating ageism and challenging poor standards of care.
· SEVA is the Sanskrit word for ‘service before self’. In selecting the recipient for the Help the Aged SEVA Award, Help the Aged used the quality associated with seva.
Sam Heggie
Public Relations
Help the Aged
207- 221 Pentonville Road
London N1 9UZ
Tel: 020 7239 1488