WHAT IS HELPAGE INDIA DOING
Supporting the basic needs of Elders
Known earlier as Adopt-a-Gran, Support-a-Gran, is HelpAge India’s way of extending a lifeline of support for elders with no family, financial or social support. Under this program, donors sponsor the basic needs of elderly people.
Moving Towards Income Generation
To help elderly citizens live with a sense of dignity, HelpAge India began to shift slowly towards implementing livelihood support programs.
HelpAge India launched development programs aimed at involving elderly persons in income generation through the revival and upgradation of traditional crafts, cottage industries and animal husbandry units. The major thrust of the programs remains that of organising the elderly as a group and increasing their participation in individual and group based income generating activities. They are involved in procuring raw materials, managing the production process, and in marketing the finished products through Apni Dukans — which are self managing and self-sustaining units of production. Small-scale enterprises were set up — candle making in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh and carpet-weaving in Bhadoi, Uttar Pradesh being just two examples. Revolving loans facilitated these small enterprises to enable a life of dignity for many senior citizens.
Story from the Field
Rajaram Ganpath Patil, 74 from Mumbai’s Ambedkar Nagar in Kandivali (East) was a mill worker for more than half his life till a near fatal accident severely injured his leg. Constant dizzy spells led to brain surgery. Patil tried to put up a petty tea stall but his physical condition — increasing age, poor hearing and eyesight made it exceedingly difficult for him to take on any kind of activity. Along with the expenditure of seven leg surgeries was the constant need for medication, with approximately Rs 2,000 being spent on medical expenses every month. His wife Malati, 60, started vegetable vending to bring in some income. Patil, who was staying with his wife and grandson, began to feel that he was becoming a burden on his family. HelpAge’s Support-a-Grandparent program took him under its wing, and today he and his family look forward to the monthly ration and money, which helps keep their family together and gives Patil a sense of independence.
Current Program Status
Reached out to 826 rural and destitute elders across 22 states through the Support a Gran program in year 2015-2016.