SHRUTI RAMASWAMYSince 2013
A recent graduate from the University of Maryland in Computer Engineering with a minor in Technical Entrepreneurship, Shruti is based in Maryland, USA.
I was 10 years old when the Tsunami hit. I was glued to the TV screen just like every one else when news of the devastation started pouring in. People were talking about it everywhere I went. The local politicians, support groups, teachers, etc. kept saying - "I wish I could help...". I repeated the same but didn't understand why nobody was doing anything. Looking back, I blame it on my naivety: you see, I really believed that when someone said he wished he could do something, he was actually figuring out ways to help. I learned within days that "I wish I could help." was just a phrase that expressed sympathy. Then, I met a certain group of people who rushed to gather supplies - clothes, utensils, blankets... anything they could find in a short span of time. This group did not ask for much, but even at 10, I understood that they weren't just talking the talk; this group was "walking the walk". This was my introduction to Jana Rakshita and the "group of people" that formed the board of this beautiful organisation.
I grew up around their relief efforts which did not stop at helping the Tsunami victims. I saw the aid they offered anyone who asked for it: children diagnosed with cancer, adults in need of surgeries they couldn't afford and more. People were being helped in the true sense of the term. Also, one big realisation was that help does not necessarily mean money - Jana Rakshita had volunteers who spend time with the victims and hand hold them through all their healing procedures.
MAX ZTVolunteer since 2012
A musician, Max currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. While he was living in Mumbai between 2009-2011 and studying under the great santoor maestro, Panditji Shivkumar Sharma, he was introduced to Jana Rakshita through one of its board members and a fellow musician – Priyadarshini. The special reason was that he played the Hammered Dulcimer, a soothing instrument, similar to a harp and had years of experience playing in hospice care, as well as playing for Musicians Without Borders; a NFP that brings musicians to NYC area hospitals.
“Seven-year old Sumedha had come to Jana Rakshita for help with the treatment of a cancerous tumor in her stomach. After treatment, the tumor showed signs of improvement, but after eight months or so, there was a relapse. This time it spread to her brain, and she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Surgery was successful, but within a month, the cancer relapsed. The cancer was shockingly aggressive, and by the time I met her, Sumedha was terminally ill.
ASHWINI BHAKTAVolunteer since 2013
Ashwini’ s first association with Jana Rakshita began as a patient from March 2010. A brave cancer survivor, she is currently pursuing a graduation degree in Mumbai.
“Working as a volunteer at this wonderful organisation called Jana Rakshita makes me feel so blessed.There is a lot of positive energy that I get to experience being around the trust and its trustees. It does not feel like I work here; it just feels like I am around with my family and am giving them a helping hand.