They call themselves ‘Sunday Friends’. I call them ‘Anonymous Friends’. ‘Sunday Friends’ was formed 27 years ago by a group of businessmen whose motto is to better the lives of less fortunate fellow human beings.
The group is actively involved with social work in Sion, Matunga and Dadar, but keep their names and photographs out of any publicity material. It’s only the ‘Sunday Friends’ logo that is prominently displayed.
It’s not an established NGO. But this does not prove to be a hindrance when it comes to generating funds. One of its members, who would rather remain anonymous, says, “We pool in our own money or accept donations from friends and relatives. We are happy that all the projects that we have undertaken so far are still functional.”
Last Sunday, I dropped in at Amulak Amichand School, King’s Circle, to meet with some members of the organisation. Here, every Sunday, they feed approximately 300 poor people. This has been a regular activity for years.
‘Sunday Friends’ has also taken up the task of educating poor children in the age group of seven to 15. Another team visits Sion Hospital regularly and works with medical social workers and doctors.
They have established life-saving drug banks in emergency wards, intensive care units, burns wards and neo-natal care units.
Provide food to the dependents of a patient who is hospitalised.
They distribute insulin injections, dialysers and antibiotics at subsidised rates to those in need.
Donate medicine to the not so well-off.
Organise blood donation camps for patients in Sion Hospital and K E M Hospital.
One of the most challenging projects undertaken, is the promotion of skin donation, in conjunction with Dr Madhuri Gore, head of the burns department, Sion Hospital.
Dr Gore initiated the skin bank in April 2000. By 2006, they had 56 skin donors. She says, “We have to take skin from skin banks for patients who have suffered more than 50 per cent burns. The concept of skin donation is still new. I involved ‘Sunday Friends’ two years ago to promote awareness of skin donation.”
Another member of the group reveals that they also organise seminars for doctors and speak to people at functions to create awareness and motivate them to donate their skin after death. “We have put up banners and distribute pamphlets with the message of skin donation along with the contact numbers of people involved with the project,” he informs.
Dr Gore adds, “The year 2007 alone saw 53 donors. That number rose to 70 donors last year. We are expecting an even better response this year.”