The genesis of the foundation lies in a personal tragedy—Prema lost a child who was declared a blue baby. It was a traumatic moment for this advertising professional, but her tragedy motivated her to work with orphans at the Missionaries of Charity in Civil Lines, Delhi. Here, she devoted her time to the medically challenged. Her interactions with Naveen, a five-year-old orphan struck by palsy of the left side and abandoned by his mother in a near-vegetative condition at a hospital, strengthened her resolve.
Prema arranged for Naveen’s treatment in the US. "At that time, medical facilities in India were not up to handling complicated cases like Naveen’s," says Prema. Through a friend in the US, she arranged for his free medical treatment and stay. "Raising funds for his treatment was not a problem, we wrote to our friends and business associates asking them to contribute whatever they wished. Funds just poured in," she recalls. Today, Naveen is a US citizen, living with his adopted family and leads a life as normal as can be for people of his condition. The case of Gayatri, suffering from dormant VD, was also taken up by the foundation and today she too is in the US.
Now Genesis has been recognised and empanelled by the UK-based Charities Aid Foundation. "The idea is to make a difference," says Prema. A start has been made by compiling a dossier of medically challenged orphans from all over India. The hospital outreach programme, through which it aims to forge and consolidate links with the medical community, commenced work in January 2004.
The medical issues are often complex. Among the kids the foundation is helping is one suffering from scoliosis (deformed vertebral column), a five-year-old diagnosed with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (which kills mobility in the arms and wrists), and an 11-year-old with spina bifida (a condition where the patient can exercise no control over urinary and bowel movements).
For fund-raising, the foundation has empanelled itself with a "give as you earn" initiative in association with the Charities Aid Foundation. Genesis Public Relations, a company founded by Prema, sets aside a percentage of its profits each year to help support the foundation besides offering willing volunteers. It also puts up greeting cards and the like for sale, the proceeds of which will go towards the foundation corpus.
In fact, "Share a Smile" is the key philosophy of the foundation—which believes people who help by volunteering resources either in the form of time or financial commitments are not doing the orphans a favour, rather, they are getting much more out of it. "We want more hands and people who are charged by this idea to come forward and help us with time, contacts and commitments," says Prema.
Contact Genesis Foundation at 807 B Signature Towers, South City I, Gurgaon-122001, Haryana. Tel: 124-2383514-18 (Extn: 125). Fax: 124-2383393. Email: www.genesis-foundation.net