Category Archives: Collective Giving

A partner for nation-building

India’s voluntary sector does much more than fill gaps in the government’s service delivery system, and deserves to be recognised and treated with respect – says Noshir Dadrawalla

 

India’s voluntary sector, noted for its vibrancy, innovation and research-based advocacy, is an important nation-building partner for our government. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the social impact work of our NGOs has become even more visibly vital — not just in providing relief, food, clothing and shelter to those affected by the coronavirus and lockdown, but also creating a sustainable ecosystem for long-term rehabilitation of vulnerable communities.

It is rather unfortunate, therefore, that the government seems to perceive the corporate sector as enhancing the country’s economic growth and the voluntary sector as fomenting dissent and thwarting development. This erroneous perspective does not reflect the facts — voluntary organisations (VOs) contribute enormously to India’s GDP and provide livelihood to millions. Yet, as described by two new research studies from Ashoka University’s Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy in partnership with NITI Aayog, the rigours of legal compliance that VOs must currently go through in comparison to businesses create unnecessary hurdles to progress.

These reports — “A Study on the Legal, Regulatory, and Grants-in-Aid Systems for India’s Voluntary Sector” and “Regulatory Frameworks for India’s Voluntary Sector” — provide valuable insights based on the months leading up to our current time of crisis. Now, COVID-19 has provided an opportunity for VOs to further demonstrate the scope of their work and worth. Will India’s government take notice?

Instead of treating the voluntary sector with mistrust, the government should seek to empower it to promote public welfare by establishing mechanisms to consult, fund and collaborate with VOs — starting with a more enabling legal environment to enhance effectiveness.

While corporate laws have seen significant reform aimed at simplification, improving transparency and governance in sync with global trends in recent years, the voluntary sector has not seen any similar movement. India’s business startups get a number of benefits; VO startups face numerous obstacles under FCRA and CSR regulations. While the national mantra is “ease of doing business”, the government does not seem to recognise the importance of “ease of doing good”.

Instead, VOs are overregulated, facing compliance requirements so complex and multi-layered as to confound do-gooders entirely. At the state level, the regulator is the Charity Commissioner (for trusts) or Registrar of Societies (for societies) or Registrar of Companies (for Section 8 companies). At the Central level, the Income Tax Authority determines if an organisation exists for charitable purpose or not, and accordingly grants registration under section 12AA (for tax exemption) and section 80G for tax deduction (enabling a donor to enjoy 50 percent tax deduction). Additionally, the Ministry of Home Affairs is the central regulator granting registration or prior permission to any VO wanting to receive funds from any “foreign source” for a “definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme”. Depending on the size, nature of work and scope of activities of the VO (e.g., the Shops and Establishments Act, GST, POSH), additional regulators have additional requirements.

All the registration and processing time to obtain tax exemptions and deductions can take up to a year. Moving processes online has helped simplify some of this work while dramatically reducing opportunities for corruption, but procedural delays remain rampant.

At the state level, India’s lack of uniformity and standardisation becomes even more confusing. Some states have excessive regulations; others have virtually none at all. For example, in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat the charity commissioner requires regular “change reports” to be filed and prior permission for buying and selling of immovable property. In contrast, the National Capital Region (Delhi) does not have a charity commissioner, nor do several other states. Therefore, it is no surprise that many new nonprofits attempt to seek registration in New Delhi or such territories, as an effort to bypass at least one regulatory authority on the list.

A trust can be registered within a matter of a few days in Delhi or Karnataka. However, in Maharashtra or Gujarat, the process could take months. Trusts registered in states other than Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan can legally bypass at least one regulating authority because most other states including the National Capital Region does not have a Public Trusts Act (a state legislation) nor the office of the charity commissioner. And societies, registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860 in Maharashtra and Gujarat, are by default required to also register as trusts under the Trusts Act.

Companies seeking registration under the Indian Companies Act are required to go through a name approval process. This process ensures that there is no other company registered in India under a similar name. However, there is no such process or procedure laid down at the state level for trusts or societies. As a result, there are instances of several trusts and societies registered under the same or similar name.

Financial Year 2020-21 and beyond will be very challenging for VOs. Most public and private funding will go towards COVID-19 relief and rehabilitation; most CSR funding has been committed to the newly established PM-CARES fund. Companies or individuals opting for lower tax rates will not be able to enjoy tax deductions offered by VOs under section 80G.

Under such circumstances, should VOs consider strategies for generating income through fees for services, rather than depending solely on grants and donations? Current tax regulations, however, discourage any such efforts to pursue more sustainable funding mechanisms.

Two suggestions for the government to consider:

One, Finance Act 2020 will require every organisation registered u/s 12AA (tax exemption) and u/s 80G (tax deduction) to apply to income tax between October 1 and December 31, 2020 to revalidate existing registrations; such revalidation shall be valid for a period of five years. Considering current pressures on all sectors — government, corporate and voluntary — it would be best if the government would drop this idea, saving both voluntary organisations and the income tax authorities this unnecessary exercise.

Two, under the draft Companies (CSR Policy) Rules 2020, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has proposed that companies may carry out CSR activities through their own foundation or implementing agencies. In either case, however, the entity should be a company registered u/s 8 of the Indian Companies Act 2013. If this proposal is notified and comes into force, it will effectively eliminate the role of public charitable trusts and societies registered under the Act of 1860 in implementing CSR projects, programmes and activities on behalf of companies. Some of the oldest and the most well-known corporate foundations are registered as trusts, not as nonprofit companies. In fact, the bulk of voluntary organisations in India are registered as trusts and societies. Considering the stellar role being played by hundreds of trusts and societies across India even right now towards COVID-19 relief and rehabilitation, the government should not consider implementing this proposal.

India’s voluntary sector does much more than just fill gaps in the government’s service delivery system, and deserves to be recognised and treated with respect. By all means, the government has the right to regulate voluntary organisations. However, the regulatory laws should be uniform and enabling. A stronger voluntary sector strengthens India.

(The writer is CEO, Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy)

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/a-partner-for-nation-building-6450822/

WZO Trusts – Covid Relief & Rehabilitation Programme – Update 02

June 01, 2020

 

Our last update was shared on May 10, 2020 with donors, well wishers and community members to apprise them of efforts undertaken by WZO Trusts to extend support poor Zoroastrians affected financially due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

 

Our initial focus was on providing food grains to Zoroastrian families in cities, towns and villages predominantly in Gujarat, supporting Masina Hospital to set up a Porta Cabin that would be helpful in treating patients affected by the Pandemic and distributing food grains and essential items to migrants and slum dwellers at Mumbai through Pehchaan Programme of KurNiv Foundation.

 

On a Pan India basis we had requested Zoroastrians, employed in commercial institutions and elsewhere or those who are self-employed and affected financially by the Covid-19 Pandemic to send before May 24, 2020, details of losses suffered by them, backed up by documentary evidence to enable us to consider their requests for support.

 

Donations Received:

The response to our request, has as always, been met with generous support. We have till May 31, 2020 received by way of donations Rs.14,134,565 and have received some commitments for donations that will be sent to us during June / July 2020.

 

Whilst we thank all who have donated we express our very sincere gratitude Mrs. Pervin & Mr. Jal Shroff of Hong Kong, Trustees of Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao, FEZANA and Trustees of Bai Maneckbai P. B. Jeejeebhoy Deed of Settlement Funds, Mumbai who have been the principal donors.

 

Food Grains:

Food grains have been distributed so far to 715 families for which Rs. 3,767,390/= have been expended.

 

Applications Received:

We have received as on May 24, 2020, 703 applications on a Pan India basis from families affected by the Pandemic.

 

These are being scrutinized and financial disbursements will begin to be made from this week onwards to those whose requests are found to be within the laid down parameters (loss of income vis-a-vis total income, number of family members in each applicant’s household, and any other relevant factors).

 

I am very grateful to my colleagues Trustees, the Trust Administration & Staff, Resource Personnel located at various centres in India who have all worked extremely hard and very willing in this epic humanitarian exercise even during the lockdown when offices were closed, and transportation was extremely difficult. They have all walked the extra mile without demur for which all credit to all of them

 

Though much has been done, we recognise that much more is still required to be done for which we request donors and community members to extend support.

 

Those wishing to extend support towards this humanitarian effort may send cheques to:

The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust

C-1, Hermes House,

Mama Parmanand Marg,

Opera House,

Mumbai 400 004

 

Donations can also be made directly into our bank accounts, details of which are:

 

For remittances from within India For remittances from overseas converted into INR
Name of Bank: Deutsche Bank Name of Bank: Deutsche Bank
Branch: Hazarimal Somani Marg, Fort, Mumbai. Branch: Hazarimal Somani Marg, Fort, Mumbai.
Branch Address:

D B House,

Hazarimal Somani Marg, Fort,

Mumbai 400 001

Branch Address:

D B House,

Hazarimal Somani Marg, Fort,

Mumbai 400 001

Account title:

The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust.

Account title:

The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust – FCRA.

Account No: 400004259620019 Account No: 400004284180028
Account type: Savings Account type: Savings
IFSC Code: DEUT0784PBC IFSC Code: DEUT0784PBC
  Swift Code: BKTRUS33
Note

Donors should provide the address where their receipts should be mailed and also inform their PAN details.

Note

  1. Donors may please note that our bankers do not accept cheques from overseas banks made in foreign currencies.
  2. Donors should provide the address where their receipts should be mailed.

 

We look forward to continued support from community members in the days and months to come.

 

Dinshaw K. Tamboly;

Chairman – The WZO Trusts.

 

Dinshaw K. Tamboly;

Chairman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

C – 1 Hermes House, 3rd Floor,

Mama Parmanand Marg,

Opera House,

Mumbai 400 004

Tel. Nos: 91 – 22 – 23684451 / 52 / 53

Navsari Samast Parsi Zoroastrian General Fund needs help

ESTD : 1870

Navsari Samast Parsi Zoroastrian General Fund

નવસારી સમસ્ત પારસી જરથોતી જેનરલ ફંડ 

5/1649, Dasturwad, Navsari – 396 445. Phone : (02637) 241007

વહાલા પારસી જરથોતી હમદીનોને નમ અરજ કરવાની કે જુના સદરા, સફેદ લેંઘા, જામા તથા જુની કસ્તીઓ જો હોય તો ડુંગ૨વાડી રૂવાનના કામ માટે જરૂરીયાત હોવાથી નવસારી સમસ્ત અંજુમનની ઓફિસ, દસ્તુરવાડમાં આપી જવા કે મોકલી આપવા મહેરબાની કરશોજી.

લિ. (યઝદી જહાંગીરજી કાસદ)

ઓન. સેક્રેટરી અને ટ્રસ્ટી.

નોંધ :- જુની કસ્તીઓની ખાસ જરૂરીયાત છે.

Relief & Rehabilitation of Zoroastrians who have been severely affected financially due to the Covid Pandemic

Dear Donors, Friends, Well Wishers,

We, World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust & WZO Trust Funds have begun to plan for relief and rehabilitation that will need to be undertaken for Zoroastrians who have been affected through loss of livelihood due to the Covid Pandemic.

A Write-up cum appeal as below is being sent to donors all over the world with a request to extend support for the many Zoroastrians, who have all been severely affected in different ways.

It is requested that generous support be considered towards this humanitarian of epic proportions.

 

We expect to commence once the lock down has been lifted and travel restrictions have been eased; sometime hopefully my mid-May or perhaps a bit later. We envisage it will take us around 5 months at the very minimum to complete this humongous task and look forward to receiving support.

Best wishes,

Dinshaw

 

COVID PANDEMIC AND IT’S AFTERMATH;

THE LONG ROAD TOWARDS REHABILITATION.

 

The world over, people are presently wrestling with the unprecedented implications of the COVID-19 corona virus pandemic. It is a human crisis unlike any experienced earlier.

 

By way of providing immediate relief during the pandemic, We, The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust and The WZO Trust Funds have played a reasonably proactive role by supporting from our own funds, Masina Hospital at Mumbai to create isolation facilities, as also recommended to and facilitated overseas donors to support this initiative, and supported the distribution of food packets through volunteers of ‘Pehchaan’ to migrant workers and slum dwellers of Mumbai suffering from hardships.

 

With the lockdown scheduled to be progressively lifted from mid May onwards, the time is now on hand to planning and focus on providing relief and rehabilitation to Zoroastrians who have been adversely affected economically due to the pandemic.

 

Given the severity of the pandemic one can foresee that once the lockdown and travel restrictions have been lifted or eased, the focus will have to be on continuing to provide relief, as well as to organize rehabilitation of Zoroastrians who have been severely affected – in cities, towns and villages. The tasks are undoubtedly extremely daunting and will require long term effort and commitment.

 

When the lockdown has been lifted and travel restrictions eased, it will be necessary to not only continue relief but also to plan rehabilitation strategies, as may be necessary, for Zoroastrians who are facing immense hardships as a result of the pandemic.

 

Providing relief is a temporary measure, whereas organizing rehabilitation is a distinctly and extremely long process that entails first counselling distressed minds to be optimistic, followed by assessing what would be the most practical and quickest manner of rehabilitating entire families who would have lost their jobs or means of livelihoods and / or suffered from illnesses during the troubled times and finally raising resources from donors that would be used to bring affected families back into the mainstream of society.

 

To successfully rehabilitate Zoroastrians affected by the pandemic, it will be essential that all hands (volunteers and donors) will need to be on deck, doing what they can do best to alleviate the suffering.

 

The main impacts of the lock down that will need to be addressed are:

 

1 Arranging food grains packages for Zoroastrians in cities, towns and villages who have suffered economic hardships
2 Financial difficulties being faced by families of white collar workers having received only half their regular salaries and in many cases no salaries
3 Financial difficulties being faced by families of blue collar workers not having received salaries as the factories, workshops have all had to shut down.
4 Financial difficulties being faced by individuals involved in modest Self Employment initiatives such as driving autorickshaws, commercial taxi’s, auto mechanics, stationery shops etc who have been unable to go about their professions.
5 Full time Mobeds who are not employed by Agiyaries but are daily wage earners many of who presently have no income.

 

6 a)    Supporting agriculturists who have been unable to harvest their standing crops that have decayed on account of non availability of labour force.

b)    Dairy Farmers having suffered financial setbacks as milk collected from their livestock’s being unable to reach the processing dairies; difficulty in obtaining feed for their cattle.

c)    Poultry farming having come to a standstill as it has not been possible to transport the fully grown fowls to processing units.

d)    Brick kilns are an industry having a short 7 month window (December to June); Zoroastrian beneficiaries who have established kilns in their villages have suffered severe financial setback as the migrant labourers have left for their native places leaving half baked and unbaked bricks causing immense hardships.

 

Total amount of funds required for the entire rehabilitation package as above are estimated to be in the region of Rs.13,200,000 (Rupees thirteen million two hundred thousand or Rupees one crore thirty two lakhs). The time frame for completing the work is estimated to take between four to five months.

 

Service to our people is the need of the times. We can at best play a proactive role by using all the means available to us in terms of manpower and by raising resources from donors.

 

We request individuals and institutions from all over the world, having the means and resources, to dig deep into their pockets and donate generously to enable us to undertake rehabilitation of the many Zoroastrians who have suffered untold misery during the pandemic:

 

Donations may please be sent by cheques to:

The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust

C-1, Hermes House,

Mama Parmanand Marg,

Opera House,

Mumbai 400 004

 

Donations can also be made directly into our bank accounts, details of which are:

 

For remittances from within India For remittances from overseas converted into INR
Name of Bank: Deutsche Bank Name of Bank: Deutsche Bank
Branch: Hazarimal Somani Marg, Fort, Mumbai. Branch: Hazarimal Somani Marg, Fort, Mumbai.
Branch Address:

D B House,

Hazarimal Somani Marg, Fort,

Mumbai 400 001

Branch Address:

D B House,

Hazarimal Somani Marg, Fort,

Mumbai 400 001

Account title:

The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust.

Account title:

The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust – FCRA.

Account No: 400004259620019 Account No: 400004284180028
Account type: Savings Account type: Savings
IFSC Code: DEUT0784PBC IFSC Code: DEUT0784PBC
  Swift Code: BKTRUS33
Note

Donors should provide the address where their receipts should be mailed and also inform their PAN details.

 

Note

Donors should provide the address where their receipts should be mailed.

 

We look forward to receiving support from community members from all over the world that will facilitate our undertaking and completing this gigantic humanitarian exercise.

 

Very Sincerely,

Dinshaw K Tamboly;

Chairman.

 

Dinshaw K. Tamboly;

Chairman.

C – 1 Hermes House, 3rd Floor,

Mama Parmanand Marg,

Opera House,

Mumbai 400 004

Tel. Nos: 91 – 22 – 23684451 / 52 / 53

This is TATA

“To ensure that the health of those taking care of us is never compromised, @TajHotels and @SANJEEVKAPOOR are working together to provide meals to the medical staff on duty at the hospitals. You too can support this cause by contributing here: http://bit.ly/2USzHOy
TATA GROUP
“Led by our founder’s ideals, we strongly believe in the power of community. These are difficult times, especially for the thousands of migrant workers in Mumbai. We’re doing our bit by distributing meals to those who have been stranded due to this 21-day lockdown. #ThisIsTata


TATA GROUP

 
“Staying safe and protecting oneself is of utmost priority. To aid that our Tata Steel team delivered the first consignment of Personal Protective Equipment kits to the Uttarakhand government. #ThisIsTata


TATA GROUP

“In these difficult times of the #COVID19

 outbreak, our employees have distributed over 500 food packets every day to stranded, contractual workers and drivers in Lucknow city. We have also started two helpline numbers for food-related requests. #Coronavirus

 #ConnectingAspirations


TATA MOTORS

Aid to Iran – Rejoinder From Parzor

This is to bring to your notice that the Article that has been published in the Jame-e- Jamshed of 22 March 2020, under the heading “Parzor Appeal for Iran  Zoroastrians Afflicted by the Dreaded Coronavirus” was not intended to be brought into the public domain.

Neither WZOT nor Parzor Foundation, as Indian NGOs  is permitted to collect any Donation for any Organization or Individual outside India. Therefore Parzor Foundation cannot receive any Donation- Indian or Foreign for this purpose in the Vijaya Bank Account whose details have unfortunately been given in the Article. Hence any money transferred to this account cannot be used for this purpose.

The appeal made several days ago was for private circulation and was not meant for Individuals to sent money directly to the Parzor Account. Dr Shernaz Cama has been to facilitating individuals who would like to help for this worthwhile cause and is extremely grateful for the community response in support of this cause. However given the nature of the Parzor Organization it is NOT possible to accept money in Parzor accounts.

All individuals who would like to support the cause may please first contact Dr Shernaz Cama at shernazcama@hotmail.com and she will explain to you how you could help.

CORONA VIRUS AND YAZD, IRAN – URGENT help needed

 Dear All,

You must have seen Homi Gandhi’s email appeal, if not it is below my letter for your reference. I am working closely with him to help all Iranians. Since this last week the situation at Yazd, Iran is critical and many are affected by the Coronavirus.

We at Parzor have been in touch with Mr. Sepanta Niknam, President Yazd Zarthusti Association and Council Member of Yazd. They are in desperate need of help and medicines. Due to Sanctions, people are dying and we need to come together and work to help the Iranians as much as we can. Since you may be able to help I am giving details below.

If you can contribute money by wire transfer in Indian rupees to Parzor for medicines of which we need 10,000 Tamiflu, 12,000 Kaletra and Injection of Actimera for 100 people, protective gear etc., please send your donation as per the details given below.

Vijaya Bank Details for Indian Rupee donations

(This is superseded now, please read below)

Bank Name:-                   Vijaya Bank

Account Name:                Parzor Foundation

Account No:-                   xxxxxxxxxx

IFSC Code:-                     xxxxxxxxxx

Address:-                          NO D 65, Hauz Khas Market,

Hauz Khas, New Delhi, 110016

Type of Account :-           Saving Account

Phone No. :-                     011-26963242/ 26969614/ 9312941107

Customer ID No.:-            xxxxxxxx

MICR No:                         xxxxxxxx

INR cheques to “Parzor Foundation” should be sent to the following address:-

Dr. Shernaz Cama/ Dr. Niloufer Shroff

Parzor Foundation,

F-17, Hauz Khas Enclave,

New Delhi-110016

India

T: 011 26513560/ 41626248

However if you are only sending in foreign exchange eg: Australian/ US dollars/ GBP, please send it to WZO as per the instructions to be given by Dinshaw Tamboly. WZO should get the foreign donation from you with a specific note that it is for humanitarian assistance to Yazd Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences Hospital.

This is because while Parzor has a FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) we are a research organization and not a Registered Charity. Hence all donations to the FCRA account are meant only for projects in India.

It has been very difficult and stressful to work at this speed but even this morning one more Zarthusthi has died in the hospital. We are all under lockdown in Delhi and cannot move out. Our own country needs the drugs, as does all of Europe; hence I have had to reach out to very special people for help. It is very good of Homi Gandhi and Dinshaw Tamboly to offer help but our greatest thanks should go to Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla for his donation and Dr. Yusuf Hamied, Chairman Cipla, London, who without knowing me personally has put his Indian staff at our disposal through Karan Bilimoria.

These medicines are NOT available for sale and I am only getting them because of Dr. Yusuf Hamied’s understanding of the crisis in Iran.

Our community must realize that they are very expensive eg: for 200 tablets  of Tamiflu we have already paid Rs. 98,000/- + tax. We need 10,000 tablets for Yazd and 12,000 of Kaletra (which are so far not available and will cost around the same amount if not more). This will itself come to around Rs. 20 lakhs. The injections Actimera 200, which are saving lives, are not available in India – we are trying to source them in Switzerland for 100 critical patients at Yazd.

Dr. Poonawalla’s kind donation of Rs. 10 lakhs has gone to purchase the urgent requirement of 2 ventilators which are being shipped out to me in Delhi for dispatch to Iran tomorrow. We are hoping to get 50 Covid 19 testing sets directly from Canada to Iran from his second kind donation of Rs. 10 lakhs. The Iranians and all humanitarians are extremely indebted to him.

We have also put together Rs. 3 lakhs from our own funds, for some of the protective gear, which only Dr. Poonawalla’s people have been able to source for us. Much more gear is required but we just do not have the funds.

All this needs coordination across the world and difficult Customs clearance in Delhi and Tehran. I have been doing this nonstop and it is emotionally and physically draining. If anyone else can help, I will be grateful.

Thanks and warm regards,

Shernaz Cama

Dear all,
We are grateful for the community response received for support to Iran. While Parzor has been able to mobilize some funds in our account and sent the first consignment of medicines, given the nature of our organisation we cannot accept any more money into the Parzor Foundation account. 
We request everyone to not transfer any money to the Parzor Foundation account. Should you like to donate funds towards the purchase of medicines/ medical equipment for Iran please we will request you to send the money directly to the medical supplier. KINDLY NOTE THAT YOU MUST SEND US AN EMAIL WITH THE DETAILS OF THE DONATION MADE FOR US TO BE ABLE TO REGULATE THE FUNDS AND CORRESPONDING MEDICINE BOUGHT. 
The details for the bank transfer are as below:
Lucknow Medical Agencies Lajpat Nagar 
Bank name Union Bank Of India Lajpat nagar    
A/c no 349401010928578 
Ifsc code UBIN0534943
Mobile: +91 98110 09573
Mail Id: lucknowmedicalln@gmail.com (Rajiv Kumar)
Thanks and warm regards,
Shernaz Cama

Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America

View this email in your browser
Fellow Zarathushtis,

Iranians have been widely affected by the current Pandemic Coronavirus.

The Coronavirus has also affected our small community in Yazd and Tehran. More than 40 Zoroastrians are affected by this pandemic. Available information is incomplete because there are no collective data for Zoroastrians from all over the country. Information available from Sepanta Niknam, Chairman-Yazd Zoroastrian Association and Member-Yazd City council, and Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary are below

— 4 deaths in Yazd (3 men & 1 woman) & 1 in Tehran.
— 8 are in ICU in Yazd,
— 11 in infectious ward in Yazd

There is a long list of medicines and medical supplies needed by Iranians; list sent to and published by United Nations agencies (sent by Iranian Foreign Minister), and which is forwarded to me by Dr. Ekhtiyari, Zoroastrian member of Majlis, via Mobed Firouzgary.

Sepanta Niknam has requested the following medicines and supplies.
“Our urgent needs for hospitals and preventive care teams are:
1. Drugs for treatment of Covid-19: Oseltamivir (tamiflu) and kaletra (lopinavir)
2. Laboratory kits for detection of Covid 19
3. Adult ventilator for intensive care
4. Protection personal kits and Masks”

And Sepanta has also requested whether Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla or any medical charity can help in securing and transporting the above supplies to Yazd and Tehran.

We call upon all Zoroastrians of the world to help our community members and people of Iran to come through this pandemic.

HAMA ZOR! HAMA ASHO BADE!
MAY WE ALL BE UNITED IN STRENGTH IN RIGHTEOUSNESS!

Homi D Gandhi
President, FEZANA

Tanya Computer Centre

Speaking at the 13th Convocation ceremony of Tanya Computer Centre, Founder Tanya Balsara, herself blind and who has personally taught 250 blind students and made them computer literate, most of whom have got jobs in Public Sector said, “I seek your help in spreading the word to all 8.8 million blind people in India that nothing can be more enabling, empowering and liberating as computer literacy can be, for the blind”.

Speaking on the occasion of the 13th Convocation of Tanya Computer Centre, she requested everybody present to atleast introduce one blind person to computer education. She said, she has personally experienced the difference computer literacy has made to her life and therefore her Vision is to see  all 8.8 million blind Indians computer literate. She also said, this would tremendously add to our GDP and help achieve our Prime Minister’s dream of making India a 5 trillion dollar economy.

 

Elaborating on her vision, Tanya mentioned that if the government could help set up only 880 Computer Centres, with a capacity of 20 seats each, then 50% of the 8.8 million would be covered in 12 ½  years. Estimating that each center would cost Rs. 20,00,000/- to set up and Rs. 7,00,000/- per year to run, the total cost would work out to Rs. 124 crore per year. She said, “In other words with just Rs. 1,550 crore spent over 12 ½  years, half the blind population would be covered and would be able to enter India’s work force. I hope to make a proposal to the HRD Ministry and I am sure with your good wishes, the government should take a serious interest in executing it.”

Tanya Computer Centre, which until recently operated from only one Centre, now has 5 Centres with 4 Centres opening last year in Gujarat; one each in Ahmedabad; Sayla village, Saurashtra; Kapadwanj, Khera and Dessa, Banaskantha, thanks to Tanya Computer Centre’s association with Blind Peoples Association, Ahmedabad. Three additional Centres are expected to come up in Jodhpur, Valsad and one additional Centre in South Bombay, the latter 2,  thanks to the courtesy of Sir Jamshetji Jeejibhoy Trust.

 

Dr. Sam Taraporevala, himself blind, Executive Director, Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC) was the Guest of Honour at the Convocation and said, “I do not believe that in today’s India, with the benefit of computer literacy, any blind person should consider himself at a disadvantage, compared to the sighted. He also had an important message for the Blind. “Do not consider yourself to be VIP- Visually Impaired Person.” He asked students which is the best nation in the world and answered,_ Determination!

 

Said Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison World, “We are delighted to have adopted the cause of computer literacy for the blind in India. Seeing the change that Tanya went through after becoming computer literate and the change in her students, I am convinced that this is the most liberating and beneficial act that anyone and the government can do for the blind.”

Tanya Computer Centre is supported by Madison Resource Foundation the CSR unit of Madison World, India’s largest homegrown Communications Company. Tanya Computer Centre offers free Computer Education to all blind persons. Access to corporate funding through Madison Resource Foundation has enabled Tanya Computer Centre to expand and thereby make computer education accessible to more persons.

 

For more information, please contact Enid D’Souza, 08879556946

 

Mumbai, February 23, 2020:

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