A Tile for a Smile – How we did it at Savetime?

jagritiLast week the entire country celebrated the “Joy of Giving” week (02-October to 08-October) by sharing money, time, resources, skills with the less privileged. This is one festival that has gained a huge prominence over the years and though there should not be a fixed period of sharing but having one such week in a year helps focus energies.

At Savetime we celebrated the Joy of Giving week this year by doing our bit, a small contribution for “NFBM Jagriti School for Blind Girls” which is situated at Alandi, Pune.

Jagriti School for Blind Girls is a non-religious and non-political entity, they take care of 140 blind girls who come from across Maharashtra. They provide food, shelter, education, vocational training, help with employment, etc. and tries to make them self-reliant. The school is for the blind and managed and run by the blind. It strives for Equality of Opportunity for the Blind in their Education, Training and Employment.

They have an ambitious goal of expanding their campus by constructing a Hi- Tech Model school complex, which comprises of a school, a hostel and a vocational training center of excellence. Despite of 4 years of construction efforts, the work progress has been slow. The construction is entering a critical phase where flooring needs to be done. They require 10,000/- pieces of tile slabs costing Rs 350/- each.

In an effort to reach out to the community, they have recently launched “A tile for a smile” campaign. The idea is for an individual to at a minimum sponsor one tile that can help bring smile on the faces of the blind girls and can pave the way for their bright future.

We at savetime are proud to be associated with them and happy to help them out in our small way. You too can help them out by taking this campaign to your office, societies or at an individual level.

Many times we want to do something for the less privileged and help out the ones in need but we don’t know how?”.  So we thought of putting our experiences together with the intent that perhaps it will help some of you to plan it in your organizations. Here’s how we did it:

1. Communicate and explain verbally – Now a days there is so much literature that floats in our email box that sometimes we miss the important things. So we communicated verbally about this campaign in a short meeting. This helps as people who have questions can ask them upfront and confusions about the objective can be resolved. In the end tell everyone to expect an email with the details so that it doesn’t get lost in the melee.

2. The Logistics – We kept company envelopes (plain white/brown works too) in which people can put their contribution (Cash/Cheques/DD). Put a notebook along with a pen so that donors can write their name, address, contact number and place it along with their donations, this is very important because anonymous donations are not accepted by NGOs and also because the receipts for the same will be forwarded by the School in the name and address of the contributors. And a glue stick so that people can put their contribution amount, their details and seal the envelope, this is important to keep the secrecy of the donations made. The envelopes are later on opened by the Jagriti School only. Last item, we kept a cardboard box wrapped with a white paper (you can put your company’s logo or any small message for donors) that can hold envelopes (have a big enough box so that it can hold all the envelopes or be ready with multiple boxes if the size is small). You might be surprised with the response by your colleagues, we definitely were.

3. Send out that Email – Once you are ready with the logistics, send out the email giving a context of the earlier discussion. Giving a little detail about the Jagriti School. We used the following in our email:

As part of Joy of Giving week we are supporting the “NFBM Jagriti School For Blind Girls” initiative of “A Tile for a Smile.

We have kept a box in the cabin near reception, if you are interested in donating please put your donation (Cash/Cheque/DD) in the envelope kept alongside the box and drop it in the box. Also provide your details Name, Address, Contact# so that the school can provide you the receipt for the donation amount. Please ensure you stick the envelope before dropping it in the box which will ensure the secrecy of your donation.

Minimum amount for donation is INR 350 (the cost of 1 tile) and you can even donate more if you can and would like to.

If you are writing a cheque or DD, please make it in the name “NFBM Jagriti School For Blind Girls

The box will be kept till 08-October and after that we would forward the donations to Jagriti school.

Please note, this is not mandatory but we would encourage, if you can then please donate.

If you have any questions please revert back to this email.

4. Keep the box for a few days – Depending on the size of your organization keep the box for a few days, even if your organization is small keep it for a minimum of 2 days because sometimes people are just busy, sometimes they forget to carry donation amount, etc.

5. We did it! – At the end of the period call up Jagriti School and someone will be at your office to pickup the donations. Hand over the box infront of everyone to Jagriti School personnel.  Hurrah you did it!

6. Thank Everyone – In the end, don’t forget to thank everyone for their contributions without them it wouldn’t have been possible and give a pat on your back too.

A small initiative of yours can help brightening the lives of many blind girls and they can have a future they never imagined for. So please go ahead and Just Do it!

If there are any other queries regarding arranging the drive you can mail as at accounts@savetime.com. If can find more information about Jagriti School at www.nfbm.org or you can contact Mrs. Sakina Bedi from Jagriti School at 9823061133.

Building the Patient Community – Join us, Join the Revolution

A lot has been said and written over the years about the state of the patients in India and about the Medical Industry as a whole.

How patients suffer due to non-availability of doctors in remote areas, negligence of doctors, due to adulterated drugs/bad manufacturing practices, not being able to afford the medical costs, etc.

Every day when you open the newspaper or switch on the news channel there is some or the other story about the patient’s plight, government ignorance towards medical malpractices and such.

Near home or another scenario is a friend or family member falls sick and suddenly we need to find the doctor. And the word doesn’t stop at that, we don’t only need to find the doctor but there is a need to find the ‘right‘ doctor when it comes to our near and dear ones. How many times you think before taking your old parents to a doctor? How scary is it when you have to take your two year old kid to an unknown doctor for vaccination?

Will the doctor be good? Will he treat my parents with compassion? Will he put my kid at ease before the vaccination? Does the doctor specializes in treating the condition for which we are reaching out to him? How much will the doctor charge? Will there be unnecessary tests that the doctor will recommend? and hundreds of other such questions come to our mind. Probably the most important of them “Will the doctor be able to cure me soon?”

So faced with many questions before choosing a doctor to go to, the only solace we can find is if some of our friends, or family have been to the doctor before and if they can share their experience with us. How many times have we ask or have been asked this question or a similar one “Yaar kisi acche ENT ko jaante ho kya?” And if even one person knows a good ENT and suggests, that’s the best that you can expect as of today.

Though the patient community in India is huge it is also unorganized. The information flow except for the traditional word of mouth is absolutely nil. Even with the advent of social technologies and leaps in communication media in the country, there is a dearth of information and interaction within the patient community.

And due to the lack of information the patient community suffers. A person who is looking for the ‘right‘ pediatrician for his kids ailments finds himself alone with no information and tries out his luck similar to a gambler in a casino, with whichever doctor he finds. He has no clue if the doctor is well qualified, if he is affordable, compassionate or what are the experiences of other people with him.

The time has come when “We the Patient Community” should rise, should get together and start a revolution to end this era of information drought, fight against the malpractices, painful experiences with the existing medical system, help bring to justice the wrong doers because of whom we or our loved ones have to suffer sometime or the other and most importantly we help and collaborate with fellow patients to make their lives easy and arm them with information to take the right decision when it comes to doctors or any other medical service(s).

Savetime.com is trying to support this revolution by building the first ever platform for patient community where patients can interact, share their experiences, favorite doctors, help out fellow patients and contribute in many other ways to the community.

Your participation in this is requested. To start with you can go to Savetime.com, search for the doctor you have been to and share your experience in the ‘recommend‘ section for community to benefit from it and being able to take the right decision. And if you consider your doctor to be the ‘right‘ doctor for you, do mark that doctor as right as well.

As this age-old video brilliantly displays the concept of ‘ekta‘ Oneness, or Solidarity, we will also need to practice the same. We will need to be ‘One‘ in this journey, help out each other, fight against malpractices, injustice as one then only we would be able to make a difference.

Abhinav

Abhinav is CTO at savetime.com. Besides the work he likes to be involved in several different exciting things.  Technology interests him but more than that the usage of technology to solve real world problems excites him more.  Working with teams to achieve difficult targets and in the process helping individuals realize their full potential is one of  his skills. He is an ardent blogger and social media enthusiast. When not working, he is either blogging, reading or bicycling.

Healthcare and Technology

In the year 2010, 21-year-old Ravindra Mokashi, a resident of Vada village in Thane district, was stricken by an almost debilitating pain around his mouth and throat. Ultimately, swelling in the area combined with an inability to swallow even a morsel of food, forced Mokashi to make the long trek to the Thane District Hospital in Thane city. But doctors there were unable to identify what appeared to be a growth near his throat.

It was then that they consulted specialists at KEM Hospital Pune with the help of a telemedicine centre that had been set up at both healthcare centres less than two years ago. Doctors in Mumbai, after studying Mokashi’s case, diagnosed him with a rare condition, schwannoma of hypoglossal nerve, a benign tumour. “We didn’t know if the mass was a normal occurrence or not. So we consulted doctors at KEM. The verdict was that the benign growth had to be operated on immediately,’’ said Dr V Kalwanda, Thane District Hospital. Mokashi underwent surgery on February 15, where doctors removed an almost four-cm-long mass of tumour.

Source: Times of India

This is just one of the case where telemedicine has helped a patient. In Pune since the start of telemedicine in KEM hospital, rural Maharashtra has benefited from it in several ways. Such stories can now be found in other states such as Rajasthan, Assam, Bihar and all over India.

Telemedicine now makes a mockery of distance and provides a timely and expert doctor care to the people residing in the remote parts of the country.

Our healthcare system even helps out several African countries with telemedicine. In a closely monitored project by our previous President APJ Abdul Kalam, India helped connect several remote areas in African countries and provided the people there with much needed healthcare at affordable rates. In addition the ill-equipped and under staffed hospitals of such African countries can now discuss medical cases and even perform critical operations under the supervision of expert medical counterparts sitting in India.

Technology has advanced in order to deliver healthcare in more ways than one. Now people are no longer stuck up with what their doctor tells them.

The first thing an internet-savvy youth does when he is facing some form of physical pain or discomfort is put the symptoms on a search engine to find out what is ailing him. Information exchange has become so easy that medical reports of an Indian patient are sent to specialist sitting in U.S. or Europe to get a second opinion.

Patients today are not satisfied by just simply following what their doctors tell them. They seek second opinion, they search for possible causes, they investigate medicines and their side effects that a doctor may have suggested. Patients also pose different question to their doctors about their medical condition and treatment they’re undergoing. Ease of access to information has empowered them to take informed decisions and presented them with more suitable choices.

Alternative medicines are getting lot of focus with the advent of technology in healthcare industry. This has kept the medical fraternity also on their toes, to diagnose better, to suggest better options that include non-invasive and other safer methods.

Websites with information on medicine and alternative medicine have mushroomed in past few years. Mobile apps can help you track your medicine schedule, can keep a track of your vitals, medical reports and much more.

At the minimum every nook and corner of the country is equipped with a phone, every other person in the country now carries a mobile. Even this piece of technology has made remarkable strides in providing and receiving healthcare. With this easy mode of communication, patients interact with their friends and relatives at different places to get more information about the cures to their ailments or specialists available in different parts of the country.

20 years back this was not the case, a patient was at the mercy of doctor and his treatment and in some ways this is still the case. Technology has changed this picture for the better and continues to do so. In the years to come it will help each and every Indian receive better medical care at affordable rates.

Savetime.com is also another small step in this direction.

AbhinavAbhinav is CTO at savetime.com. Besides the work he likes to be involved in several different exciting things.  Technology interests him but more than that the usage of technology to solve real world problems excites him more.  Working with teams to achieve difficult targets and in the process helping individuals realize their full potential is one of  his skills. He is an ardent blogger and social media enthusiast. When not working, he is either blogging, reading or bicycling.