Can a picture say a thousand words? This picture which I took after I broke my piggy bank spoke to me in many ways, both as a teacher and as a Sanman volunteer.
These coins had been collected over some time by my husband who simply dropped the coins he found in the car, in his pockets and around the house into a tin can. When it got full, he handed the can over to me and said that it could be used for Sanman. This picture emerged as I counted the coins and to me it had tremendous pedagogical potential. As a mathematics teacher, I could use it to teach topics across primary school: sorting, counting, data handling, arithmetical operations such as addition and multiplication. A little later I could teach measurement, weight and proportion. If I were a history teacher, this picture would help me teach Indian history with all the emblems and symbols on the coins. And if I taught economics, the changing weight and size of the coins, the phasing out of certain coins, all these could speak volumes on the concept of inflation and the value of money. These were the ideas that occurred to me, using this as a stimulus in a teacher training workshop would surely spark off a dozen more!
Moving from the pedagogical to the practical, I asked Amar bhai from the small store across my house if he would like to exchange these coins for notes. When he agreed readily, I took it across and came back with a cool one thousand rupees (I had to reserve a few coins for the next collection). I also realised that the small stores did not accept ten rupee coins and that I would have to go to the bank to exchange these.
What can a thousand rupees do for Sanman? Here is a list of possibilities.
I could get a Bangalore Kidney Foundation dialysis token for ₹ 750/-. Sanman supports the dialysis of four women patients every month. These women come from financially weak families and are often left destitute when they are diagnosed with kidney problems. They need dialysis thrice a week: @₹750, that works out to more than 10000 a month if you add commute costs, medicines and blood injections.
A thousand rupees could buy 3 units of Random Donor Platelet blood. Excessive bleeding by our leukaemia patients (often little children), sees parents and caregivers scrambling around for donors and money at times of emergency. How wonderful if we can save lives with just a thousand rupees.
A thousand rupees can fund 3 chemo port needles for our paediatric patients. These needles once inserted can be used to deliver chemotherapy without the pain of repeated insertions.
A little over thousand rupees can buy a bone marrow transplant needle (about ₹1320/-). Patients on treatment need to have their bone marrow tested frequently. Imagine if the pain of extraction is compounded with the pain of repeatedly finding non-existent funds for the needles.
A thousand rupees can keep an ageing patient on blood pressure and diabetic medicines for a month.
A thousand rupees can buy good nutrition for a patient on chemotherapy, we have seen patients unable to recover because the chemotherapy is of no use to a starving patient.
Isn’t this a grand idea? I’m in for the count!!
- – By Sneha titus a Sanman Volunteer