Jan 30, 2012

For the price of two lattes

It brings tears to my eyes to know that people abandon their kids because of poverty.  It saddens me that I indulge my picky eater with foods of his choice when there are orphan girls grateful for two meals a day.  I am thankful every day to be there for my kid when he is sad, angry, hurt or just wants a hug.  As I hug my child at night and put him to sleep in his comfy bed, I remember that there are girls sleeping on thin mattresses laid out on the bare floor of a large hall with no one but each other’s company to comfort them.  

As I watch kids in my son’s cafeteria throw away uneaten apples, unopened juice and milk cartons and even sandwiches they brought from home, I think of the 108 girls sitting in orderly rows in the big hall of Vaidehi Ashram in Hyderabad, India.  They are waiting to be served a simple meal of rice and sambhar (a thin lentil soup with some vegetables thrown in) which they will finish without wasting a single grain of rice.  But not before they sing a hymn of thanks for the food they partake. 
 Lunch time

It is not very often that I am at a loss for words but this post turned out to be one of those that took the longest time to pen.  It is easy for me to complain about the sordid state of affairs, be it on blogger ethics or Facebook superficialities.  But there are times when I am thankful to have befriended some wonderful people on fb who, unlike me, decide to do something about a problem rather than complain.  Siri, of CookingwithSiri, is one such generous soul who always manages to amaze me with her positive, upbeat attitude.
Recently, she moved back to India and instead of complaining about the cultural shock that comes with moving from US to India, she got involved with Vaidehi Ashram, a refuge for orphaned and destitute girls.  She was so moved by what she saw and experienced there, she decided to help raise funds for these deserving girls and make their life a little bit better. 
Vaidehi Ashram

A week into the drive, she has already made significant progress with the fundraising.  But more is needed.  Besides, Siri has managed to score some awesome raffle prizes for you to go with each $10 raffle tickets.  Among the things you can win through the raffle, there is a Kindle, some awesome cookbooks from authors like David Lebovitz and Ammini Ramachandran, professional photo prints and kitchen gadgets to make your life easier.  For a complete list of raffle prizes offered, click on this link to Siri’s blog.  If the prizes don’t inspire you to donate, here is a little information on the Ashram to convince you to participate in a good cause.
The girls
Vaidehi Ashram for destitute girls houses some 108 girls (3 to 22 years) who are either orphans or who have been abandoned by their parents.  The ashram is managed by Mrs Suvathsala, who is fondly called Mataji (mother).  Along with some eager volunteers, she takes care of the girl’s upbringing, their education and vocational skills.  The girls are housed in the three big halls of the ashram where they all sleep communally with open cupboards on the walls reserved for their personal belongings.  
The stories of how these girls end up in the ashram are heart wrenching like the story of the youngest girl Samatha who was found wandering near a railway station with her baby sister.  She could have suffered a worst fate if some policemen hadn’t brought her to the ashram where she is in now in the company of girls who understand her plight and are able to give her emotional support and some semblance of normal life.  For more information, read the following two posts by Siri:

Sitting thousands of miles away in a quiet American suburb there is not much I or you can do except donate a few dollars and help spread the word.  Make that $10 you would otherwise spend on a lunch date or two cups of latte go to a worthy cause.  

Love their smiles
Here is how the fund drive works.
1. Buy a Raffle Ticket (or 2 or more)

Each raffle ticket is worth $10 (or Rs.500). You can increase your chances of winning the giveaway by buying more than 1 raffle ticket.

For Example, a donation of $20 will fetch you 2 raffle tickets which can be used to choose on any of the raffle prizes. You can use all your raffle tickets on one prize (in turn increasing the chances in the lucky draw) or on different prizes.

2. How to Buy the Raffle Ticket

Use the link below for making your payment. Once you click it, you will be directed to the fund drive and raffle page. Use the widget to make a payment via Paypal or credit.

Once the donation process is completed, please forward your payment confirmation message to info(dot)siri(at)gmail.com, clearly specifying the raffle prize you are interested in.

Within 24 hours, your name and contributed amount will be added to the ‘Fund Drive Supporters List’. If you want to stay anonymous, please let Siri know in advance. For any correspondence/questions/queries, use the comment section or the email address mentioned.

Fund Drive Supporter's List and the List of Raffle Prizes

Go on, make a difference in someone's life.


  1. Such a beautiful post Jaya. You managed to bring tears in my eyes, though I knew what the post is all about. :-)

    Hugs to you and thank you in helping the Fund Drive whose main aim is to bring some positivity into their lives and contribute in our own way to their bright future.

    I linked your post to the main Fund Drive post.


  2. Siri, you are welcome. It is the least I can do. Hugs back. :-)

  3. A beautiful post Jaya, for a beautiful cause. Truly hit home. I tell my girls the same thing when they complain about 'too much' food on their plates (I have an extremely picky eater). I support a similar organization in New Delhi, and it is a similar situation there. Wish there was a way to get rid of this whole situation....

    1. Thanks Deepika. Only if more people would get involved we could get rid of this whole situation. Meanwhile, we all try to do the best we can. :-) hugs to your girls.


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