In my vision of society, answering the "Call to Serve" not only helps integrate the helper internally and with the community, but also assures the helper we live in a caring society, and we ourselves will be cared for. Answering the "Call to Serve" is critical for each community's recovery and growth. Here is my current PeopleGiveBack pick for IndiaWritingStation recognition:


Current PeopleGiveBack Picks

For Earthquake Relief in Kashmir:

The Punjabi American Heritage Society of Yuba City

[]: $9,000; raised at the Star of India restaurant, Yuba City, Oct. 20.


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Teenager Ramya Kumar, a 12th grade student of Lowell High School, Massachusetts, raised $4,000 for South Asian Tsunami Assistance to benefit coastal Tamil Nadu villagers and personally delivered it . The Hindu reports from Chennai that at the premises of the Mangayarkarasi Mahalir Manram at Shastri Nagar, Adyar, Sundari Venugopal, president of the manram, presented the money Ms Kumar had collected to R. Desikan, founder trustee of The Catalyst Trust.


According to the newspaper report, the trust, which provides relief to those affected by the tsunami, is planning to construct a community hall; a four-room creche for children when their mothers are away selling fish; a computer center, where a disabled female will train children to use PCs; a solar dryer; a cold storage facility; and an air-conditioned fish stall.


The newspaper reported a trustee as saying, "Developing new avenues for livelihood of fisherfolk is also part of the project."


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The American India Foundation’s (AIF) Tsunami Relief Fund has raised $2 million for tsunami victims in India.


“We envisage approximately 98% of the $2 million raised be used for long-term rehabilitation initiatives targeted at infrastructure development and livelihood projects,” said Pradeep Kashyap, AIF Executive Director.


Grantees identified initially to fulfill this objective include: South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies [], which is working to rebuild coastal fishing industries by setting up local repair stations for crafts and engines; the Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective (TNWC) [] and the Integrated Women’s Development Institute (IWDI) [], both working to improve long-term political, social, and economic empowerment for tsunami-affected women and children through programs like self-help groups and microcredit loans. Additional awardees will be announced in coming months.


AIF reports that a small portion of the Tsunami Relief Funds have already been used for immediate emergency relief. In Tamil Nadu the beneficiaries were:

the Development Promotion Group [], IWDI, Bhoomika Trust [], the Dhan Foundation [], and Samerth Charitable Trust, as well as two organizations in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, PRERNA and the West Bengal Voluntary Health Association [].


These organizations have created temporary shelters for affected families, offered trauma counseling to victims, handed out relief items like food and household necessities, and put together student kits to fill gaps in education during this crisis.


Check out the American India Foundation at


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A New California Media poll conducted Feb. 8-18 reported that an estimated one-sixth ($200 million) of the $1.2 billion Americans contributed to South and Southeast Asia tsunami relief came from California's Asian Americans. This level of giving was the result of as many as 70 per cent of the state's Asian Americans contributing. An earlier poll in January reported that 33 per cent of Americans had contributed to tsunami relief efforts.


Many individuals and organizations have done outstanding work in a very short time. IndiaWritingStation’s PeopleGiveBack picks Global Uplift's Prakash Shah for the work he did in Monterey County to recruit volunteers and monetary assistance to rebuild the village of Akkaraipettai in Tamil Nadu's Nagapattinam District as reported in India-West March 11, 2005.


Among the volunteers India-West identified were: Building Contractor Eric Liittschwager, Cattle Rancher John Schoch, United Church of Christ Minister Wayne Martin. The newspaper quoted Mr. Shah as saying that he used Gandhian self-help methods.


Check out Global Uplift at


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Radhey Khanna, has donated $1 million to the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, Massachusetts, for "the study of natural substances in the prevention and treatment" of Myelodysplastic Syndrome, or MDS. Chief among the natural substances are Ginger and Curcumin.


The MDS Center at the university describes MDS as "a group of disorders affecting the bone marrow, with the abnormality being most prominently reflected as a lowering of blood counts."


Reporting on the establishment of the Radhey Khanna Center, the University's official website explains as follows how its approach combines "the best of the East with the best of the West":


"Cancer incidence in Asia is significantly lower than that in the United States. For example, the incidence of breast cancer in the US is 660/million while in India, it is 79/million. India is a country where large numbers of people smoke, and where pollution control is far from ideal, yet the incidence of lung cancer is 30/million compared to 660/million in America.


"One factor accounting for this lower incidence is related to diet which is rich in spices. Garlic, onion, soy, turmeric, ginger, tomatoes, green tea and chilies that are the staples of Indian cooking have been shown to be associated with a lower risk of a variety of cancers ranging from colon, Gastro Intestinal tract, breast, leukemias and lymphomas.


"Mothers knew millennia ago that meat spoils quickly in hot weather, and their children died if fed such spoilt food. They learned to add spices to preserve the meat as a rich source of protein for their children. The exact mechanism by which these same spices also prevent the development of cancer is not precisely understood.


"The latest research suggests that these natural substances may not only be useful to prevent cancer development, but also to treat cancers. It is our contention that these innocuous substances will work best in early stages of cancers. In a sense, MDS (Myelodysplastic syndrome) can be regarded as an early stage of leukemia in a third of the patients at least, and in others, patients with low risk disease are also in an early phase.


"We already completed a study using the natural substance coenzyme Q10 in lower risk MDS patients, and reported some complete hematologic and cytogenetic responses.


"We now want to start a large-scale study of natural substances like Ginger and Curcumin to treat MDS patients, and also to study their mechanism of action by using the latest Microarray technologies."


For more information on this research into the benefits of ancient practices and cutting edge therapies, which is being led by Dr. Azra Raza, check out the following page from the university's website; it contains an inspiring and moving letter from Dr. Raza to her colleagues:



Dr. Raza is Professor of Medicine, and the Chief of Hematology Oncology at the University of Massachusetts. Read more about Dr. Raza at:

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