INTRODUCTION: The Rescue & Revival Mission, which functions under the aegis of the Baba Nanak Educational Society, was founded by the late Mrs. Daljit Jaijee, IAS. It is a non-partisan organization, providing humanitarian assistance in rural Punjab to next of kin of suicide victims. These are families with small children left completely destitute by the death of bread-winners. In some cases more than one person in the family has committed suicide. These women and children have been forgotten by the government.
WHY RESCUE & REVIVAL MISSION IS NEEDED: Caught in ever-deepening economic crisis and trapped in debt, Punjab’s farmers and farm laborers are committing suicides by the thousands. The situation is deteriorating by the day, but it is ignored by the government at both state and central levels and finds only sporadic mention in the media. Suicide ends a life of despair for the victim but it only multiplies the distress for the victim’s family. Many families have sold off their last bit of land yet remain under heavy debt. Left with no means of support after the death of earning members, sometimes other members of the family are driven to take the extreme step. Cases of multiple suicides in families are becoming increasingly common. From 1988 to 2005 the number of suicide victims in two blocks of Sangrur district, namely Lehra and Andana (as documented by MASR) is 1540. This figure is not exhaustive, there may be more. The situation is as bad in adjoining blocks.
Starvation has become a reality in rural Punjab. In most cases, next of kin of suicide victims lack resources, skills and education; they seek work as agricultural labor on daily wages but this is not always available. In the case of the very young, the elderly and infirm this too is beyond them. Even for the able-bodied, earning enough to simply stay alive is difficult; earning enough to educate orphaned children and provide health care for aged parents is impossible. Women in this situation are extremely vulnerable.
OBJECTIVE: Our aim is to bring them back into the mainstream in their own home environment. Sending children to orphanage and elderly parents to old age homes, would uproot them, thereby adding to the trauma. So far, 50 families have been adopted. We have seen that by doing so, the village panchayats are also encouraged to come forward and help the families. Our work is to educate the children and save mothers and daughters from exploitation
OUR VOLUNTEERS: Baba Nanak Foundation has opened a college Village Chural Kalan, District Sangrur, which is affiliated to Punjabi University. Lecturers of this college also act as home visitors, dropping in on the Mission families on a regular basis to see how they are getting along and particularly to see that the children are attending school. Families receive monthly cheques from the Baba Nanak Educational Society. In this way the Rescue and Revival Mission ensures that assistance money spent is well utilized.
PERSONAL CONTACT: We encourage donors to remain in direct contact with their adopted families and visit them if possible. Some donors prefer to disburse assistance themselves; for them we function as a liaison, directing them to families in dire straits.
DONORS’ COMMITMENT: Charitable persons have come forward to provide Rs. 15600 per year:- Rs. 1000 per month for children’s education & family sustenance and Rs.300 as administrative cost.