Barbara Piner was given a plaque and a bouquet of flowers by the grateful ASTI officers at its Oct. 7, 2017 meeting, honoring her for her long years of dedicated selfless service to the people of India, particularly in the areas of education, medical and disaster relief.
Participating in the award ceremony were: William Parmenter, president; Bakul Zaveri, treasurer and Srinavas Murthy, former treasurer. The plaque inscription read: “Excellence in Leadership. We hereby honor
Barbara Piner for outstanding
performance and dedication to the highest standard of excellence to American Service to India.”
Piner has been a driving personality in ASTI since its formation in the early 1980s. Serving as president and roving goodwill ambassador she went to India to monitor donation recipients and spread good cheer at numerous flood, earthquake and drought sites, to schools and student hospices, rural agricultural projects and home industry endeavors, networking with project leaders and Ramakrisna swamis.
Path Bhavan Students Need Uniforms, Bags, Books and Lunches
Most children in the coastal Sunderban region are too poor to go to elementary school, and either work or stay home while their parents work, leaving them subject to abuse and exploitation. Many children are forced to work rather than attend school, a situation that results in an unbroken circle of poverty and hopelessness.
The Sunderbans in the delta south of Kolkata, running into the Bay of Bengal, is an area of poor fisherman and mono-crop farmers, who eke out a living in an economically backward and ecologically fragile area that is subject to monsoon flooding. Located in India and Bangladesh, the Sunderbans is the largest block of tidal mangrove forest in the world, and the largest reserve for the Bengal tiger. The area is braided with rivers, streams and islands, making transportation and communication difficult, and the poor population struggles with poverty.
In 1982 after floods hit Kultali Island causing havoc, the Baikunthapur Tarun Sangha (BTS) was born, with the purpose of providing better service to the population, and to try to fill the gap of the lack of support from the area’s elected officials. The BTS’s mission is to serve rural poor, providing comprehensive development, with a particular emphasis on vulnerable woman and malnourished children.
BTS is located in the village of Baikunthapur, 120 kilometers from Kolkata, and 25 kilometers from the Bay of Bengal. The organization serves the neighboring area of the Tiger Reserve Forest in the Sunderbans, under the biosphere reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Among the relief offered by BTS are quality basic education, health care, the utilization of renewable solar energy and organic and bio-farming to ensure secure food sources. A rural community hospital offers safe delivery options for pregnant women, and strives to reduce the morbidity and mortality rate of mother and child by eradicating unhygienic conditions for those delivering at home. More than 900-plus safe deliveries have been made to date. Care and protection for children from ages three through six is offered through BTS’s pre-school centers and creche units.
Mrs. Monalisa Mullick contributed through ASTI $2,500 (USD) to buy school uniforms and provide for the mid-day tiffin meal for 200 school children. The contribution served to feed and clothe BTS and Path Bhavan school children who usually came to school without having eaten, and who had no means of getting a mid-day meal.
The school needs more donations from ASTI to cover the cost of school uniforms, bags, books, umbrellas for the school’s 210 students amounting to $3,000 per year. The salaries of the seven teachers amount to $4,000 per year. And, the cost of mid-day meals for the malnourished children comes to $2,700 per year In total the school needs $9,700 per year to fund its operations, for which donations are currently being solicited.
Donations can be sent Baikunthapur Tarun Sanga via Bakul Zaveri, treasurer of ASTI, at P.O. Box 4796, 1317 S. Diamond Bar Blvd. Diamond Bar, CA 91765, U.S.A.
Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre & Research Institute is desperate for resources to accelerate its fight against cancer
Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre & Research Institute at Thakurpukur in Kolkata requires immediate funding to widen its arsenal for the fight against cancer. At this time, contributions are needed for the acquisition of image-guided radiation therapy equipment — a linear accelator and a cyclotron/synchrotron.
The treatment in question utilizes imaging equipment, such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computed tomography), PET (positron emission tomography), ultrasound and even x-ray machines to accurately locate diseased tissue. Once the treatment area has been identified, radiation is delivered by a team of highly-trained professionals.
The newest techniques and equipment are essential for better treatment and improved outcomes for cancer patients. The Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre provides many of its lifesaving services free of charge to those in need. Your donation will ensure that even more patients will have the opportunity to live a longer life!