In India every year approx 50000 children are diagnosed with cancer and because most of the population of the country is from the low-income group only 22% are able to reach hospitals for treatment. It gets even more tragic, most of those children are malnourished. Now the question here is that ‘is medical intervention alone enough to fight the deadly disease?’
Purnota Bahl, a Mumbai-based woman took matters to her own hand started a non-profit organization to bring food and nutrition to the underprivileged children fighting cancer since 2011. Her ‘Cuddles foundation’ has collaborated with many hospitals and nutritionists including Tata Memorial Centre and AIIMS. Cuddles has reached more the 35000 children till date.
Birth of Cuddles
Purnota was not planning to do such a thing, it was one of the life-changing incidents from her life that motivated her to take this huge step. Remembering that incident from past Purnota shared this incident with the better India and said, “I was crossing one of the wards and my eyes fell upon the tiny foot of a baby girl probably a few months old. Although I never got to see her face, her legs reminded me of my own daughter who was around the same age at that time. The fact that the child inside could have been mine was the moment of epiphany which just broke me emotionally but drove me further to act upon it”.
Overwhelmed with the thought of it Purnota headed straight to the hospital in charge and asked him about the ways she can help such children there she got to know about the hard truth that the hospitals receive many funds and donations for treatment but nothing for food. Following this, she decided there and then to channel all her funds to meet the nutritional requirements of underprivileged children at Tata memorial. The funding soon began to overburden her so decided to quit her job and teamed up with some of her friends to launch ‘Cuddles Foundation’ in 2011.
As of now, Cuddles foundation has become a 100% women-run establishment. The organization has branches in 13 cities across the country and collaborations with 22 hospitals.Alumni of Indian School of Business (ISB), Purnota pledged that no child will suffer because their parents couldn’t afford good food. The thing she did at Tata memorial could have been a one-time help after her funds were running zero but she did not stop and proved the proverb ‘where there is will there is a way'.
According to Purnota in recent years, “one can see a steady rise in startups, whose model of operations is centered on driving social impact. The idea that only retired people engage in philanthropy is a myth we need to bust by considering the field as a serious career option”.