Saaisha India is effectively the brainchild of Jayashree Ratan. Let us hear her tell the story………
On New Year’s eve in 2017, I visited one of my daughter in law’s relatives and welcomed 2018 in a small party in their house. The lady of the house is a cancer survivor and had mastectomy performed on her four months. previously. She was explaining the difficulties she was facing. I remembered then reading about crocheted/ knitted breast prosthesis (which are lovingly called Knockers) being supplied free by an organization in USA. Being an avid crocheter, I told her that I will crochet a prosthesis for her. She was very happy on receipt of a pair from me and gave me a wonderful feedback.
That weekend I was discussing with some of my friends in Mumbai, who are also avid crocheters, about my desire to do something in this area on a charitable basis. There was ready response from them, and we offered to meet over the weekend.
Our Group met as planned and worked out the modalities. We came up with “SAAISHA” (Sanskrit word which means “meaningful life; truth of life”).
Our first project is to provide prosthesis to breast cancer survivors. Knitted Knockers of USA, have added us on their website as their Indian collaborator. We have been using their time-tested design/ patterns and fulfilling orders for supply received through them. We will also, independently, make our own efforts to identify beneficiaries across the country and meet their needs. We will however use only Indian materials and our own volunteer band to make the prosthesis.
Ours will be a charitable venture and whatever we make we will give it away FREE and we will not make any distinction among our beneficiaries on the basis of religion, caste, creed, or status.
Retiring after 37 years in Banking industry I was in no mood to take up any new assignment and wanted to spend time in my favorite hobby reading, reading and more reading! I distinctly remember the fateful day in 2018 (March 13th to be precise) when Jayashree, Mallika, Punit, Subha, Soumini, Sushma and few other Crochet Queens were discussing their new project for providing breast prosthesis to cancer survivors.
I was in the same room in front of my Laptop and could not help overhearing their conversation. I could see that they were going in circles. I joined their conversation and gave them some pointers for organizing the whole thing. Before long I was deep into the whole project and made to accept a Management Committee position (of course for a short period!)
The passionate involvement of the Volunteers in the project stopped me from quitting. While Jayashree is an excellent people person she needed support in establishing processes and procedures to run the organisation and I have been trying to do my best in that area.
Way back in late 90’s, my husband Prakash’s godmother had undergone Mastectomy. She was embarrassed to come out of her house. With a view to helping her to overcome her embarrassment, I bought a feeding brassiere and stuffed it with mul-mul cloth and gave it to her. I could see that it boosted her confidence immensely…
Later, in 2011 my father suffered an intestine cancer and in 2014 it relapsed as endocrine cancer. My paternal uncle was the next victim of this dreaded affliction and I was very upset about the eventuality recurring in the family in a set pattern.
Perhaps this was the trigger to motivate me to serve cancer survivors in some way or the other. That’s when Jayashree, whom I know since early nineties, spoke to me about Saaisha and a bell rang in my mind. I felt it is a God sent message to me and decided to contribute my services in whatever way she desired. She wanted my help in recruiting Volunteers in UAE and other places and generally help her out in Administrative matters which I gladly took up.