The Hindu

By: Jyoti Shelar

Mumbai: Last month, 66-year-old Shirin Rajulawala had a fun day trip to the garden located on a hilltop in Mazgaon. For the Anjirwadi resident, this was the first outing in almost eight years, when she stepped out of her house for some kind of recreation.

‘It was relaxing. There were so many seniors like me who live alone and don’t get a chance to go for picnics,’ said Ms Rajulawala, who is already looking forward to an upcoming trip to Priyadarshani Park on Thursday.

At a time when there is increasing loneliness among senior citizens, the Dawoodi Bohra community has launched an elderly care initiative and starting Wednesday, seniors will be taken for recreational outings and offered nutritional and psychological care as per their requirements.

The five-day programme will see community volunteers, including young students, coordinating for the trips to local picnic points and tourist spots like Alibaug, Lonavla, Khandala and Matheran.

‘Most senior citizens simply spend their time at home. We are attempting to take them out to a pleasant environment where they can spend some good time. Also, we want to learn from their experiences,’ Sadiq Jamaluddin, coordinator of the programme, said.

He said it is a global programme and community members from across the world have organised a host of recreational and leisure events along with medical check-ups. ‘This is in addition to fostering meaningful conversations with experts and family members to address the problem of loneliness and provide a healthy home environment to those aged 70 years and above.’

The community’s religious head, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, has time and again emphasised the importance of caring for elders. ‘We should take care of our elders, take them out for leisure to freshen their minds. The blessings and prayers we receive in return will be of great benefit,’ he had said in his recent sermon.

To ensure that the initiative is long-term, the volunteers will prepare case files of the seniors highlighting various aspects of their life including details about nutrition, financial health, physical and mental well-being, daily schedule, hygiene, leisure activities, friendships, and religious activities. Interventions will be carried out based on the details of these files. For example, if a senior citizen and his family members need counselling, qualified professionals will be mobilised to offer it.

‘It feels great to go out in a group, play games, and just laugh with others,’ said 79-year-old Hussain Hinglawala, a resident of Nagpada, who visited the Hanging Garden in a large group of seniors last week.

‘The eldest in our group was a 103-year-old woman. We played housie and I won. We enjoyed our lunch and then got dropped back home,’ said the shopkeeper who lives with his wife, grandchildren, and daughter-in-law. ‘We only make plans when my son comes down from the U.S,’ he said. ‘I have my family here. But there are so many who live alone. It is a great initiative for community members.’

Outlook

New Delhi: ‘A five-day drive to look after the elderly people of the Dawoodi Bohra community was on Wednesday started here,’ a spokesperson of the community said.

‘Volunteers from the community will cover homes across several villages, towns and cities in the country, aiming at raising the living standards of the less fortunate members of society, who need additional support in terms of housing, food, finance, health and spiritual wellbeing,’ he said.

‘The Dawoodi Bohra community does an annual welfare drive every year, and this year the theme is helping elderly people in the community by tending to their various needs and bringing joy to their lives,’ the spokesperson said.

‘The drive will also be carried in Mumbai, Indore, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, among other cities,’ he said.

‘In an attempt to look after the well-being of aged members, the Dawoodi Bohra community has started a five-day drive starting November 27, where a range of social welfare activities will be undertaken for them,’ the official was quoted as saying in a statement.

Sadiq Jamaluddin, coordinator of the programme, said the community, under the guidance of their leader Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, strives to uphold the Prophet’s directives on caring for elderly, and that the Syedna regularly counsels the community on this.

‘This is in addition to fostering meaningful conversations with experts and family members in an attempt to address the problem of loneliness and provide a healthy home environment for the elderly aged 70 years and above,’ Jamaluddin said.

Murtaza Shakir, the Syedna’s local representative in New Delhi, said senior citizens and their family members in the national capital will be taken to a park for various interactive and engaging recreational activities.

Jamaluddin further said to ensure that the elderly are well taken care of and their essential requirements are being met throughout the year, a follow-up mechanism will be put in place for each individual, where volunteers will continue to visit them and look into various aspects of their lives.

The Times of India

Visakhapatnam: After taking up causes of women empowerment and safe driving, young members of the city’s Dawoodi Bohra community are now reaching out to senior citizens above 65 years, spending time with them, catering to their needs and taking them on family outings as and when possible. The initiative has been taken up to send a message to everyone to bond with their families in this mobile phone, social media and internet era.

The community elder care programme to support the aged and other social welfare activities have been taken up in around 200 villages, towns and cities across India wherever the community lives, informed Juzer Kheriwala, His Holiness’ representative in Visakhapatnam.

‘The aim of the programme is to raise the living standards of the

less fortunate members of society who need additional support in terms of housing, food, health and spiritual well-being. We are reaching out to the elderly people of the community by attending to their various needs and attempting to bring joy into their lives,’ said Alaifya Veera, a young member of the community.

‘On Wednesday, we took around 80 elderly people to Kambalakonda eco tourism park. Followed by recreational activities like nature walk and board games, volunteers will visit houses of senior citizens in Visakhapatnam to enquire after their well-being and attend to different but important aspects of their lives, such as faith,

nutrition, finance, occupation and time management, health and hygiene, family environment and leisure,’ said Samina Sabuwala, another community member.

Sharing the philosophy of the elder-care initiative, Sadiq Jamaluddin, coordinator of the programme, said: ‘The Dawoodi Bohra community, under the guidance of our spiritual leader, His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, strives to uphold the prophet’s directives on caring for elders. This also includes fostering meaningful

conversations with experts and family members in an attempt to address the problem of loneliness and provide a healthy home environment for the elderly.’

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