These past few months have been very busy with major organizational changes and chasing up the 80G certificate that provides tax relief to donors for donations made to Yash Charitable Trust.

We initiated the process for obtaining the 80G certificate ten very long months ago.

I have lost count how many visits I have made to the Lal Baug office answering query after query: “Why did you have recreation activities?
How much money did you spend on paying the teacher?”
“Isn’t providing a dabba service a business?”
“Are you running a business under the guise of running an NGO?”

No folks, we are not!

We are providing supported employment to a group who love to go to work. We are providing dignity and respect to individuals who clean lots and lots of garlic without batting an eyelid. Who have tears streaming down their eyes, but continue peeling onions because the work has to get done. Who, when we have sudden extra lunch orders and may not be left with an adequate meal, rise up to the occasion with “It’s fine! Don’t worry!”
And this is after working hard in occasionally very uncomfortable conditions.

Recently we extended our work day (without raising remuneration) and there was approval!

It is wonderful, when after a long and frustrating trip to Lal Baug, where one is told “Ho, madam, hoil. Pudchya athawadyat vichara” loosely translated as “Your work will get done. Ask us next week,” Pratibha takes my bag off my shoulder and brings me a glass of water.

Or Chetan gives me a quick hug. “Didi, jevan anu?” (Shall I bring you some lunch?”)

Or after a long and hot busy day, Bunny and Aarti spontaneously break into a song. Anand hears Om Jaya Jagdeeshwara Hare in the neighbourhood and belts out his own version in gay abandon.

Our employees work hard; they bring smiles and they bring love. They bring into the world they touch, the real and the important… humanness and compassion. Nandu, Nanda and other support persons feel it and therefore laugh with them. There is positivity and a sense of community.

Our people do not need “to be occupied”; their strengths need to be recognized and applauded. They also need to be included.