Makes a Difference

I have recently come across two very different types of organizations, (non-profit) that have left an impression on me. One works in the field of education of children with dyslexia and the other is a donor registry for blood stem cells.


On my visit to Nagpur this summer, I was invited to a very different kind of school. With the ratio of 1:1 for a child to a teacher, this school is unique. Situated on large grounds in a prime property right in the centre of the city, I noticed parents sitting patiently, some talking on the phone, some reading and then some others just idling.  In all their eyes though, I noticed a love for their children- a love that made them bring their children to this special school.

Curtained partitions separated the different classrooms and the walls were brightly coloured and adorned with different learning materials. The school had a sand-pit and a playing room, gym area with props and even a small zoo with different birds.

The biggest USP of this school is that it is completely FREE. Yes, you read right. There are no fees here. Most of the teachers here are volunteers. Remember the iconic movie ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and how we all instantly connected with the ‘day-dreamer’ Ishaan? That was perhaps the first time that dyslexia was highlighted in India.

Dr. Nisreeen Maimoon, Director and Dr. Sofia H Azad, Professor of Occupational therapy school and centre GMCH, Nagpur run the program at Sprouts. Their mission is to provide a unique centre to our society and it is run by a team of skilled multi-speciality faculty that is efficient in nurturing young minds and enabling them to discover and manifest their inherent skills through an education best suited to them.

The activities at this centre include Occupational therapy, Speech therapy, Special education and Counselling. Considering each student to be a unique entity, they develop individualized educational plans along with sensory-motor therapy and counselling.

Counselling forms a major part of intervention for parents as well as students. They conduct regular workshops at different schools highlighting dyslexia and other learning disabilities and urge teachers as well as parents to recognise problem areas in children as early as possible, so that they can be tutored keeping their special needs in mind.

Dr Maimoon says that learning disabilities and dyslexia cannot be corrected, but they can help a child develop coping skills,  so they can have a normal learning experience at school and can mingle easily in the society.

Some of the famous people who suffered from learning disorders are: Pablo Picasso, Tom Cruise, Richard Branson, Mohammed Ali, Magic Johnson, Whoopi Goldberg, Daniel Radcliffe, Steven Spielberg, Justin Timberlake, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper, Keira Knightley, singer Cher, TV Chef Jamie Oliver…

It is heart-warming to know that there are selfless people like Dr Maimoon and her team who are highlighting this issue and lending a helping hand to many ‘mis-understood’ children.

Find out if someone you know needs help by answering this simple questionnaire.

questionnaireSprouts Resource and Remedial Centre is run by ‘Sk Asgharali Hasanali Maimoon charitable trust’ and comes under the project for ‘Dyslexia Management’ in the name of Late Mrs. Khadija Maimoon.  Helplines: +91 9823060144/+91 9823320938

Blood Stem Cell Registry

We usually wake up to medical emergencies when something happens to us or to someone close to us. For me, the eye opener was when my dear cousin fell seriously ill. As the case maybe, a mad rush for matching donors or treatment options ensues. And also, instant searches on Google.

As infections and accidents increase, blood banks and organ donation drives have also increased and help in giving a new lease of life to many in need. Blood donation camps are rampant and large numbers of citizens turn up to donate their blood. It is lesser, but same with volunteering for donation of corneas for eyes and registering for other organs.

A not so new, but a lesser known type of donation, is that of BLOOD STEM CELLS. This is used for treating patients with Lymphoma, Thalassemia and Leukaemia. According to data, there is only a 25% chance that a genetic match can be found in one’s own family. This makes, a blood stem cell donor registry that much more valuable as cases of cancer are on the rise and treatment is still limited.

Recently, a blood stem cell donation camp was organized at Waltair Club in my home town, Vizag (Ah Vizaaag!). I am happy to be 1 of the 217 willing donors who registered by giving a cheek swab sample in the hope that I can be a genetic match for someone in need. In case of a suitable match, the donors will be contacted and they can choose to donate by simple out-patient procedures.

Increasing the registry of such facilities works 2 ways- not just for being there for someone, but it also expands our own chances at treatment, if ever need be. Let’s not wait for our own emergencies to wake us up (Whatzat!).

Datri Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry:

-Tamanna S. Mehdi




There are a variety of things that interest me and I am certain it is the same for most people.

While my writing revolves around travel (A Royal RetreatIraqisBonding- Spiritual, Social, CulturalPalaces, Lakes and MemoriesOne Lazy SundayWhat-e-‘NumaMysticism and the Kumbh, Let’s wander where the WIFI is weak), food (Ah Vizaaag!) or craft (Craft ParTea, Phases), there is a sport that I am equally passionate about- most Indians are passionate about. While some claim it to be another ‘religion’, I stop short of it. It’s the game of CRICKET.

Every by-lane in India on a Sunday wakes up to impromptu cricket matches between people of all age groups. And when there is a big India match on TV, all other life just crawls.

Vizag, my home town was host recently to its’ first ever Test match (5 day match) between India and the visiting England team. All serious economic issues (like the demonetization) were relegated to the back burner for those five days as all anyone asked was ‘what’s the score? How many overs? How much is Kohli on’ and so forth. The occasion was so momentous that the Chief Minister of my state of Andhra Pradesh flew in to watch the first day’s play; and the icing on the cake was India’s victory.

It is impossible to live here and not get caught up in the frenzy of this game. All families dream of having their children play for the Indian team. I am so thrilled that my cousin Faiz Fazal is a proud India team member and it gives us great joy every time we see him on the playing field.

I along with most of my family and relatives belong to a social group called Mahdi Bagh Youth Club and a charitable trust called Faza Foundation. As part of the youth club our main aim is to generate funds and organize fund raisers to support the charitable foundation.

Our club organizes and takes part in many events to this end. We were recently part of the ‘Dance for Kindness’ initiative from our headquarters in Nagpur. Another one of our most entertaining and successful fund raiser is – you guessed it-the good old game of cricket.

The Faza Foundation-Vizag Super 20 corporate cricket tournament as we call it follows the 20-20 format of the game and is played between 16 corporate and government teams from Vizag.

Under the guidance of our club’s President, Mr. Moinuddin Malak, we, about 20-odd members in Vizag, come October put everything behind us and as they famously say –eat, sleep, dream and live cricket.

From booking the sports ground, to canvassing for teams and sponsorship, to organizing press and team meets and then the 8 days of action packed cricket- it is perhaps the most gruelling, but the most satisfying period of time that we all spend together-our varying views forming a perfect blend that leads to a successful cricketing extravaganza year on year.

There is the excitement of the teams, the camaraderie on the cricketing field, the off-field commentary and steady peppy music, the exciting scores and some really close nail-biting finishes- a total carnival atmosphere. From tears to ecstatic smiles, our first 2 editions have seen everything.


As we now prepare for our 3rd edition from the 1st of December, 2016, we the organizers have more butterflies in our stomachs than the playing 11 out on the field. 😉


Apart from the immense love for the game, there is only one thing that drives and motivates us and that is our ultimate goal of being of assistance to those less fortunate than us through the charity work this tournament helps us in performing (Makes a Difference).

Our fantastic teams for this edition:


















Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players. The batting team attempts to score as many runs as possible, whilst their opponents field. Each phase of play is called an innings. After either ten batsmen have been dismissed or a fixed number of overs have been completed, the two teams swap roles. The winning team is the one that scores the most runs. The game is played either as a 5-day game, a 50-over game or the newest format a 20-over game.

Our tournament is based on the 20 over format and we have 2 games in a day- morning and afternoon.

Faza Foundation

Faza Foundation was formed in 2003 in Visakhapatnam for carrying out social services all over India. The Foundation primarily provides medical aid, welfare for women and children and education for the needy child. The activities have been held in Vizag, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Ujjain and Pune irrespective of the caste or creed of the people.

Tamanna S. Mehdi