⮚ Friends of VSSM
“If you want to travel fast, go alone. if you want to travel far, go together,” says an African proverb. The journey VSSM embarked upon was expected to be bumpy with its share of ups and downs. We knew it was never going to be easy to enable lakhs of nomadic and de-notified families to attain identity and dignified living. It was expected to be a long and lonely journey. However, as we endeavour to ensure the attainment of fundamental rights to some of the most marginalised sections of the society, we see our beliefs resonating with a growing number of individuals from civil society. They are the ‘Friends of VSSM’, our dear ones who voice our concerns, who cheer us always and support us through thick and thin. They are the wind under our wings!!
The help VSSM receives from its friends powers the activities it does at the grassroots level. It has helped benefit 75,000 families. VSSM wouldn’t be half of what it is without the support it has received from its patrons, we owe our achievements to our well-wishers and contributors. We are grateful to “Friends of VSSM” for being our pillars of strength with their unwavering support and guidance.
As C. S. Lewis says “What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” Thank you for becoming an integral part of our mission, believing in us, trusting us and putting your faith in us. We feel fortunate and humbled to have a large and ever-expanding family!!
⮚ Friends of VSSM & Dharampur
⮚ Respected Late Shri Pradeepbhai Shah
Shri Rashminbhai introduced VSSM to Shri Paradeepbhai.
Pradeepbhai always remained near us, with us!! Just as God answers our prayers when we close our eyes and chant his name during any emergency, Pradeepbhai came to our rescue just like so. Talking to him over the phone would calm our anxious mind and relax a tired mind at the end of a busy day. Just like a caring and concerned parent, he worried about VSSM.
“Your job is to listen to the communities and work towards resolving their issues. Don’t worry about money, leave that to us!!” Under Pradeepbhai’s aegis, we had nothing to worry about. All we had to do was work hard to realise our goal, and that we did. VSSM could sprint towards realising its vision and scale great heights because Pradeepbhai never left our side.
Pradeepbhai and Rashminbhai formed an informal group called ‘Friends of VSSM’ in Mumbai.
Today, Pradeepbhai may not be with us in person but he walks with us in spirit, we experience his blessings all the time.
The Core Group of Friends of VSSM and Dharampur was formed under the chairmanship of respected Late Shri Pradeepbhai and is now functioning under the leadership of respected Shri Rashminbhai Sanghvi, Smt. Kokilaben Shah, Shri K.K Jhunjhunwala, Smt. Meena Shah, Smt. Nandita Parekh, Shri Nitin Shingala, Smt. Trupti Shingala, Shri Mihir Sheth and Shri Abhay Bhagat give their active participation in its functioning. All the dear ones associated with this group are always concerned with the work and spare their valuable time to keep in touch with the donors of Mumbai and discuss the work with them. You all are with us that is why we can work without any worries. Your continuous warmth helps decrease the pressure of financial responsibilities. Your experience also guides us to keep the work forward. We pay our gratitude to all of them who are connected with the Core Group and are always ready to help on an email or phone from the Core Group.
⮚ Shri Rashminbhai Sanghvi
Mumbai based Shri Rashminbhai Sanghvi is a practising Chartered Accountant and a Good Samaritan. The ethics he adheres to are reflected both in his professional and personal conduct. An extremely compassionate and empathetic human being, Rashminbhai dreamt and worked towards making 100 beggars surviving on Mumbai’s footpaths and pavements, self-reliant. The passion and hard work he poured into the effort enabled more than 1000 individuals to find dignified ways to earn their living.
The constant desire to help more individuals and communities brought him to Surendranagar where he initiated water management works and to Dharampur where he launched programs for the advantage of the tribal communities of the region. Education and water are the issues he concentrated upon, educating the communities on better farming practices and rainwater harvesting. Once a region surviving on rainfed farming, he transformed it into a lush green belt with the water management efforts he brought to the area.
Shri Rashminbhai has been associated with VSSM since 2009, just as a doting father takes his child under his wings, he nurtures and showers his affection over VSSM. If you have followed our journey, you must have noticed Rashminbhai regularly travelling with us to many of the nomadic settlements in some of the most remote regions of Gujarat. He is the one who has encouraged us to look at our work with these communities in a holistic manner.
VSSM plunged into the participatory water management initiatives in one of the driest regions of Gujarat, all thanks to Rashminbhai’s foresight. It was his idea to make water a bridge to connect the privileged communities of the village to the plight of the marginalised families residing within the village boundaries. He had a firm belief that through water, VSSM would be able to influence the medieval mindset of the local leadership towards their approach to the nomadic, de-notified and other marginalised communities.
A strict disciplinarian and insistent Rashminbhai is a rather warm-hearted human being, both he and Late Shri Pradeepbhai Shah have been instrumental in taking VSSM’s endeavours to great heights.
Shri Rashminbhai also steers ‘Friends of VSSM’, a group of well-wishing individuals functioning from Mumbai, and he continuously inspires individuals and businesses to support VSSM.
We feel proud and blessed to have Rashminbhai waking with us, guiding VSSM through thick and thin.
⮚ Shri Krishnakumar Jhunjhunwala
K.K as we all call him is a practicing Chartered Accountant. Extremely humble, soft-spoken and caring K K will charm you with his politeness. “All will be well…” he assures walking beside us. K K is also an integral part of Friends of VSSM.
Dear Meenabahen Shah, Shri Atul Ambavat, Shri Mihirbhai Sheth, Shri Abhay Bhagat, Shri Nanditaben Parekh are all Chartered Accountants by profession, they are also the founding members of Friends of VSSM. We know you constantly worry about VSSM, it is an honour and pleasure to have your unflinching support.
⮚ Caring Friends
Our respected Shri Rameshbhai Kacholiya, Shri Nimeshbhai Sumti, Shri Dhiren Dalal formed Caring Friends, an informal group in lines of Friends of VSSM. Spending 10 minutes with Dhirenbhai is enough to gather some new ideas, Nimeshbhai taught us how to associate more people in our endeavours.
Nimeshbhai is also the one who cares about the welfare of the grassroots team of VSSM who continuously work towards improving the quality of life of the NT-DNTs. The very amiable Ramesh Uncle remains in pursuit of expanding the list of VSSM’s well-wishers, so does Dhirenbhai. It is always a pleasure to be cocooned by such caring friends.
Respected Shri Nimeshbhai Sumati- “The Magician Who Cares” has been with VSSM. He and Caring Friends have always been inspiring us by sharing the experiences and stories of the places they work in. Nimeshbhai’s care & concern have always made us feel home. We are fortunate to have him with us.
⮚ Giant Group of Central Mumbai
Our dear friends associated with the Giant Group of Central Mumbai always remain concerned for the well-being of the girls staying with VSSM managed hostels. The hostels have received their continuous support, so has all the unforeseen needs that pop up now and then. The Giant Group has always been happy to help. While the entire group remains tremendously helpful, Madhu Gala, Beena, Harsha Sangoi play an active part. We are glad to have your comforting warmth through this journey.
⮚ Shri Bharatbhai Patel
UK based Shri Bharatbhai Patel is an award winning published travel and portrait photographer whose passion lies in capturing images of people from indigenous tribes across the globe. In fact, it was his quest for finding and photographing the Nomads of India that brought us together almost a decade ago. Bharatbhai’s images portray a very honest picture of the ethnic groups in their cultural and natural environs, conveying the triumphs and trials of their everyday life. The images Bharatbhai captures of the nomads have had a profound impact on creating sensitivity towards these forgotten communities. We have cherished our association with Bharatbhai who never misses an opportunity to support VSSM’s endeavours in whatever ways he can like hosting an exhibit of his photographs to raise funds for VSSM or giving us permission to use his images in our publications, website or social media platforms. It is friends like Bharatbhai who have enriched our journey with their support and goodwill.
We came in contact with Dipal when the Book Sarnama Vinana Maanvio was released. Since then, we developed a familial association with her. Dipal keeps suggesting us ways to connect to people and she herself also has been introducing VSSM to the people in her circles. She is always ready to help us in whichever way she can. Dipal is from Mehsana. She studied Computer Engineering and was working as a Lecturer in the Engineering Institute for 2.5 years after that she moved to California, USA with her husband. She lived there for 5 years where she did Masters in computer Science and worked as Software developer in eBay Inc. Dipal moved back to India in March, 2020. She has been working in many organizations working in Gujarat for cultural and literature activities. Dipal has a blog which covers food, travel, art, literature and gardening. She teaches yoga as well.
We are grateful to Dipal with us who has been supporting us in our thick and thin.
⮚ Rutu Dave and Maharshi Dave
Rutu is a doctor by profession and Maharshibhai is a lawyer. Both are animal lovers and animal rescuers. We came into contact with Maharshibhai during an event of Friends of VSSM & Dharampur. Later, he visited the field with us and witnessed the activities. Since then, he has been playing the role of being a bridge very well between the us and the people who are willing to contribute. Maharshibhai and Rutu run an organization named Sparsh. We are thankful to have support Maharshibhai & Rutu for forming a major part in our support system.
⮚ Shri Bharatbhai Desai
Shri Bharatbhai Desai came to know about VSSM’s work on City FM Radio and decided to support our work in whichever way he can. He started supporting us and told others about the organization as well. He wishes to dedicate all his time when we start an educational complex and/or a vocational training programme for students. Baroda based Bharatbhai works with Life Insurance Corporation Company (LIC), India. Bharatbhai is also associated with Spandan Organization. We are happy that Bharatbhai is with us.
⮚ Shri Kiritbhai Shah
Kiritbhai keeps trying to put us in touch with people in Ahmedabad who are willing to support our work. He is helping us expand our reach in Ahmedabad. We are happy to have Kiritbhai with us.