THEY CARE: Kyle Ian Fleming and Leroy Ashley Tills
Giving dignity to a community
Here’s an organization that works for the uplift of Anglo-Indians in Bangalore
Yamini Nair | TNN
They are a distinct yet minority community originating in India, consisting of people of British, French, Portuguese or Dutch ancestry whose native language is English. The Anglo-Indians, though a minority in India, have contributed much to building the nation by providing the best of teachers, and have worked for other aspects of development as well, from as early as in the 1950s itself. Yet they remain ignored.
To change this situation, a bunch of youngsters stepped in to form an organization. The brainchild of Leroy Ashley Tills, the Anglo-Indians in Bangalore (AIB) was officially born on November 1 this year. Among the 12,000 community members in the city, more than half of them lead a difficult life. The rest include many who cannot even afford their children’s education or a square meal a day. “In just 13 days of formation, we have over 60 members registered and a monthly get-together was conducted on November 9,” says Leroy, founder-member and president of AIB.
With members ranging from CEOs to MDs and GMs, the organization has a different strategy. “Education is the first priority though we also provide them with food, grocery, job placement, healthcare as well as personal and career counselling. We help the children of our community members who are not able to take forward their education,” he adds.
However, their activities are not confined to education alone. Adrian Gregaroy, in his successful days in West Asia, had earned enough to own a couple of houses and some land in India till his wife became a schizophrenic 20 years ago. Her medical treatment was done at the cost of his savings in all its forms. “When I came to Bangalore in 1999, I just had the clothes I was wearing, other than an ailing wife and my little son. The members of AIB helped me a lot. With their help, I’m shifting my wife to another hospital from Nimhans this week,” says Adrian.
“Our activities aren’t limited to just giving money and supporting their education. Many of them drop out of schools for various other reasons too. We go deep into the root cause of the problem and try to solve it. We give them guidance and help till they can sustain themselves,” says Kyle Ian Fleming, CEO of Nidus Technologies, and a member of the governing board in AIB. He looks after web, visual and media relations for the organization.
“Our aim is to change the image of the community in the society and lead them to the next century. According to the most recent Census, there are about 12,000 Anglo-Indians, a small figure from the government’s point of view. But that does not mean that we can be ignored,” adds Kyle.
Still at the budding stage, these youngsters want to make the functioning of their organization absolutely transparent.
“People frown when they contribute even Rs 100 to an NGO. They will have doubts about whether the whole amount will go to deserving hands. To avoid such confusion, we will let our well-wishers know where each and every rupee they donated is going,” says Kyle.
And do not think that the services of AIB will be limited only to Anglo-Indians. “We have plans to expand our services to other communities as well. We are always Indians first,” says Leroy.
ANGLO-INDIANS IN BANGALORE
Contact: 16, B-2 Renuka Nilaya, 9th Main, Chairmans Layout, Banaswadi Main Road, Bangalore 560043, Phone: 080 25465161; 9740657240
(This is a weekly column on schemes and initiatives by the government, private enterprises or organizations that have had a far-reaching effect on the under-privileged. If you are aware of any such programme, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Sunshine Schemes’ in the subject line)