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|Founder||Mr. Jackson Cole, Samson Daniel|
|Focus||Helping the Elderly|
|Slogan||Fighting isolation, poverty, neglect|
HelpAge India is a secular, apolitical, non-profit and a non-governmental organisation in India registered under the Societies' Registration Act of 1860. Set up in 1978, HelpAge India is a registered national level voluntary organisation. Since its foundation, its mission is to work for the cause and care of disadvantaged older persons, in order to improve the quality of their lives.
HelpAge India began the late 1960s when the speaker of the Lok Sabha visited his counterpart in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, who was also honorary secretary of Help the Aged. He came back with a vision of setting up something similar in India.
But it took seven years for this vision to take shape. In March 1974, when Jackson Cole, founder of HelpAge International visited India, Samson Daniel, a philanthropist, approached him for financial help to set up a member organisation in Delhi. Cole instead offered to train him to raise funds. After a three-month training course in London, Daniel and his wife returned to India and organised a sponsored walk with schoolchildren in Delhi. It was so successful that in 1975 HelpAge International recruited more staff to cover Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.
HelpAge India is one of the founding members of HelpAge International, a high-profile body having 97 member countries representing the cause of the elderly at the United Nations. It is closely associated with Help the Aged, UK and has received a special testimonial from the United Nations for "Dedicated service in support of the United Nations Programme on Ageing". HelpAge India is also a full member of the International Federation on Ageing.
In April 1978, HelpAge India was registered in Delhi. Within three months it became autonomous as financial support ceased from UK. Soon after, in July, the society was awarded Certificates of Exemption under Sections 12A and 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961, thus indicating general confidence in the society’s affairs.
HelpAge India works in the following areas:
- Elderly rights - Elder Abuse in India, Reverse Mortgage, Senior Citizens Associations (SCAs), Ending Isolation, Health Insurance, Parents Maintenance Act, Union Budget Allocation, National Policy on Older Persons
- Eldercare - Healthcare, Social Protection, Shelters, Specialized Care, Disaster, Mitigation
- Supporters - Individual Volunteering, Corporates & Business houses, Trusts & Foundations, Bi-Lateral & Multi-Lateral Funders
Some of HelpAge's biggest programs are funded by the European Union, Disasters Emergency Committee (UK), Department for International Development (UK), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), US Agency for International Development, Japan Foundation, HelpAge International and Cordaid.
HelpAge India runs various programs servicing the needs of disadvantaged elderly mentioned here below:
Mobile Medical Units (MMU): These are mobile health vans that provides basic healthcare virtually at the doorsteps of destitute elderly. The program provides 1.7 million free treatments annually, through its 97 Mobile Medical Units working in 1085 community locations in 20 states across India. The program has been recognized as Asia's largest Mobile Medical Program for the elderly.
Cataract Surgeries: HelpAge India helps conduct free cataract surgeries for needy elderly every year. In most cases, these surgeries help the affected elderly get back to work and earn a living once again, freeing them from financial dependency on anyone, enabling them to live a life of dignity.
Cancer and Palliative Care: HelpAge India provides palliative care to end stage patients suffering from Cancer.
Agecare/Physiocare centres: Elderly are usually impacted by the onset of arthritis and other related disease; this affects their ability to work and therefore earn their living. HelpAge India facilitated 80,228 physiotherapy treatments to 10,375 elderly in 22 states were conducted in year 2013-14.
Support a Gran: The program helps elderly to sustain themselves with regular supplies of food rations, clothing, primarily through the formation of Elder-Self-Help Groups. HelpAge India has enabled over 45,237 rural and destitute elderly in 20 states through the Support a Gran Program in 2013 -14 alone.Support-a-Gran program works across India, enabling these elders to live with dignity and independence.
Elder Helplines: HelpAge India Elder Helplines operate across India in 20 state capitals attending to calls reporting abuse, abandonment, harassment by family members and others, legal queries and provide rescue services during emergencies. It provides information to elders on access to various elderly schemes and address problems such as isolation abuse & neglect, facilitate emergency responses and provide linkages with the government, police, referral rescue & relief services.
Old Age Homes/Day Care Centres: A roof over their heads is the critical need of the destitute, the sick and the abandoned, and those uprooted by disasters and emergencies. This basic care is provided by HelpAge India supporting old age homes across the country every year.
Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation: Every disaster impacts the elderly very adversely as they are unable to push for relief packages. HelpAge India has stepped in at every major disaster, delivering specialized relief and rehabilitation measures. These range from floods in the plains of Assam, Bihar, Odisha, UP, tsunami in Tamil Nadu to earthquakes in Gujarat and J&K and the recent Uttarakhand Floods.
Livelihood programs: Income generation schemes enable otherwise needy elders to set up self-help groups to avail micro credit and start commercial enterprises. These help them earn their livelihood and regain their financial independence. Over 3200 such Elder Self Help Groups, covering more than 42,000 elders operate across India.
Tamaraikulam Elders Village (TEV): TEV is a unique rehabilitation project situated on the Cuddalore-Puducherry road, Tamil Nadu, built by HelpAge India - NDTV Viewers after the tsunami in 2004. 100 elder victims of the tsunami devastation were given a safe place to live in a model elder village which provides health care, professional care, livelihood options and recreational facilities.
Working with the Youth: Student Action for Value Education (SAVE) - Student Action for Value Education (SAVE) aims to inculcate care and respect for the elderly through HelpAge India's long standing program with schools across the country; the HUG (Help Unite Generations) initiative aims at involving college students and young professionals to engage with elders and keep in regular touch with them, providing them companionship in their lonely, later years.
Working with Governments: for Elder-friendly Policies and Laws - sensitizing legislators and governments in states and centre has resulted in HelpAge India contributing significantly to the formulation of the National Policy on Older Persons and the enactment of the Maintenance & Welfare of the Parents and Senior Citizens Act (2007). Current ongoing efforts aim at inclusion of age care in school curriculum and the provision for old age pensions; in some states, this pension facility is being introduced though the quantum of pension is still inadequate.
Working with Senior Citizen Associations: for senior citizens - HelpAge India taps the potential of Senior Citizens in evolving solutions to address their needs; it is currently associated with almost 1000 SCAs across the country. In addition, it holds regular health camps, offers counselling for financial assistance schemes like the Reverse Mortgage scheme and a nationwide helpline service for elders in distress.
AdvantAge Card program: This benefit card offers discounts from retail associates on various products, services and facilities ranging from health and wellness to holiday homes. It helps card holders to stretch household budgets, especially of those elder citizens living on limited or fixed incomes and, more importantly, encourages elder citizens to be physically active as the card requires their visiting the retail outlets themselves. Currently it has over 1.50 lakh members across 300 towns and cities in India with over 5200 Associates.
Awards & Recognition
HelpAge India's work has been recognized by the following organizations and institutions:
- NGO Leadership & Excellence Award
- Bharat Nirman Award
- Times Social Impact Awards
- ICAI Financial Excellence Award
- Healthcare Leadership Award
- Award for Outstanding Contribution to Social Welfare
- "Helpage India to conduct health camp today". The Hindu, July 13, 2014. Retrieved on July 1, 2015
- "Madan Mohan Sabharwal on Bloomberg". Bloomberg. 2016. Retrieved January 29, 2016.