Message from Chairman of Sai Prema Foundation Fiji

Message from Chairman

Mr. Mahendra Tappoo

My greetings to you all!

Margaret Mead, a famous author and anthropologist, once stated “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”. This is the philosophical bedrock that drew a group of like-minded people together, many of whom had been involved in volunteerism in some way, shape or form, and were moved to do even more. This is what catalyzed us to form the Sai Prema Foundation (Fiji) – to serve with no expectations of getting something tangible in return except the satisfaction and peace of mind from doing good.

The Sai Prema Foundation Fiji is a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) founded to serve the poor and needy people of Fiji through Medicare, Educare and Sociocare initiatives. This involves free heart surgeries for the children of Fiji, free medical camps in the rural villages, disaster relief, raising awareness on healthy lifestyles and human values, and the promotion of love, peace and unity.

William Shakespeare proclamation that “the meaning of life is to find your gift – the purpose of life is to give it away” and the words and teachings of our inspirational master, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, “Love all, Serve all, Help ever, Hurt never” and “Hands that serve are holier than lips that pray”, is at the very core of our Foundation’s values.

As we celebrate our second year of existence, I can say without doubt that it has been extraordinarily monumental in ways which are often hard to put in words but easier to express through emotions.

Truly, extraordinary things can happen when we come together in service of others!

Our simple and humble efforts to begin a Foundation, to make a difference to the people of Fiji, is today a growing and an ever-expanding force in society, embarking upon projects and initiatives in such multi-faceted ways that even we would never have imagined.

What is unique about our NGO is that each and every person who has joined hands with us has done so with the willingness to serve the underprivileged and needy in a quest to bring joy and bliss to the people and to our beloved motherland, Fiji. There are no paid personnel or employees in Sai Prema Foundation Fiji. Our common bond is love and service to mankind.

The Foundation was registered in March 2016 and officially launched by the Acting Prime Minister of Fiji, Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on 19th August 2016 and guided by three key ideals:

(1) To promote physical and mental well-being among the underprivileged, through Sociocare and Medicare initiatives;

(2) To raise people’s understanding of human values, in a world that is increasingly challenged by a lack of humanity;

(3) To promote love, peace and unity among all Fijians, and promote better spiritual wellbeing.

The foundation is made up of a four member Board of Trustees comprising of my wife Maya Tappoo and myself as Founding Trustees and Mr. Rajen Kumar & Mr. Kamlesh Tappoo as Trustees; An International Advisory Board made up of Mr. Isaac Tigrett, Father Charles Ogada, Mr. Waisale Serevi, Mr. Arvind Thiagarajan, Mr. BN Narasimhamurthy, Mr. C Sreenivas, Mr. Madhusudan Naidu and Dr. David Cornsweet; an Executive Committee comprising of Mr. Pratin Lal, Mr. Remal Tappoo, Dr. Krupali Tappoo, as well as an SPF Volunteer Group made up of over 100 volunteers comprising of a dynamic mixture of youth and adults. Sumeet Tappoo is the Foundation’s Director entrusted with the responsibility of spearheading all projects of the Foundation.

In this very short time span since our inception and official launch, the following projects have been embarked upon for the benefit of the people of Fiji:

GIFT OF LIFE – providing free heart surgeries to the Children of Fiji. Fiji does not have Paediatric Cardiac facilities available locally. Our ‘Gift of Life’ project has benefitted and will continue to benefit the great majority of children who do not have financial resources to be treated overseas. In August 2016, the foundation coordinated with the chairman of Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals India, Mr. C. Sreenivas, who graciously sent a team of highly experienced Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon, Doctors and Medical staff to conduct free Paediatric Cardiac Surgeries. A new lease of life was given to 23 children whose families had no hope of getting the treatment that the children deserved. 3 children with more complicated diagnosis were sent to India to the Hospital in Raipur for free surgeries and they successfully returned back to Fiji.

MEDICAL SCHOLARSHIP – In association with the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital, India and the Government of Fiji, the Foundation is providing a scholarship to train Fiji-based Doctors to further their skills in Paediatric Cardiology at the Hospital in India completely free of cost.

HEALTH ON WHEELS – serving the rural population of Fiji through regular free Medical and Dental camps by taking Fiji’s experienced medical professionals to serve those who are unable to access quality healthcare. Thus far, we have undertaken over a dozen camps and have touched the lives of more than 2,000 people in rural villages of Fiji, providing them with free healthcare in conjunction with The Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services who provide Doctors and Medical personnel to complement our team of Medical professionals and volunteers.

SAI ANNAPOORNA – distributing free food, clothing and general living needs to families who are unable to feed themselves. This project also extends out to looking after residents of institutions such as Old-Age Homes, Orphanages, Handicapped children and Blind schools.

BE A HERO – a project to assist the National Blood Service of Fiji in blood collection drives across the towns and cities in Fiji. In a short span of time, our humble efforts have resulted in over 3,600 patients benefitting from this initiative.

CHILDREN OF GOD – looking after the needs of Orphaned children, providing them with the basic necessities of life to make their living comfortable, giving them motivational talks to boost their morale as well as providing them with experiences that any other child in our society would enjoy (e.g. visits to shopping malls, play centres and restaurants).

HELP IN KIND – The Foundation also does its best to be responsive to the needs of Fiji’s most vulnerable in times of disaster or need. The Foundation undertook a focussed effort in providing immediate relief to villages in North Eastern Fiji severely ravaged by the devastating category 5 cyclone which hit Fiji in 2016.

HEART BEAT – To complement our Gift of Life project, we have launched a heart screening initiative for the children of Fiji to identify any potential heart conditions and ensure that they are given the deserving treatment. Children with more complex problems will be referred to the specialist Cardiac Team from the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital in India. This program will be conducted in conjunction with the Fiji Ministry of Health.

CONTROL D – We will soon launch a Diabetes awareness campaign and a treatment program for underprivileged Diabetes patients across Fiji by an expert international team of Endocrinologists. This program will be conducted in conjunction with the Fiji Ministry of Health.

SAI CARES – We will launch a project that will provide employment opportunities to underprivileged and unemployed women through the development of a product which will not only provide much needed income for the women but will also serve to promote positive human values to the youth of today.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE – We will launch a Mental Health awareness campaign, through modern tools such as social media, targeting the Youth of Fiji who are susceptible to conditions such as depression and suicide. This program will be conducted in conjunction with the Fiji Ministry of Health.

The future holds much in store for our people when we all work to shape our destinies. There are a few more big plans afoot that the Foundation hopes to realise in the near future:

SAI PREMA ASHRAM “A GLOBAL CENTRE FOR LOVE & PEACE” -The foundation’s Sociocare mission is being fulfilled by the soon-to-be-constructed Multi-Faith Spiritual Centre. This Centre, which will be open to all people from all faiths, cultures and social backgrounds, aims to promote Love, Peace and Unity in Fiji and the Pacific.

SRI SATHYA SAI SANJEEVANI MEDICAL CENTRE – The Foundation’s Medicare mission will expand itself into a new dimension through the establishment of a free Medical Centre in Suva, to serve the country’s less privileged members of society. The construction of this Medical centre is reaching its final stages and we envisage to officially inaugurate this in April 2018 and opening doors to the public soon after. All services rendered and all medications dispensed will be totally free of all cost. This project is in association with Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

SRI SATHYA SAI SANJEEVANI PEDIATRIC CARDIAC HOSPITAL – The medium to long term plan is to then expand the Medical Centre into South Pacific’s first Paediatric Cardiac Hospital which will provide the children of Fiji and the neighbouring South Pacific Island nations with free heart surgeries, giving them a new ‘Gift of Life’. We are indeed truly blessed to have received the full support of the Prime Minister and his Government towards this project. A piece of land in the city of Suva has been dedicated by the government to our foundation for this landmark project. Our Foundation will work closely with the Government of Fiji, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital India and the international donor agencies in Fiji to realise this monumental project into reality for the poor and needy children of Fiji and the Pacific.

In order to expand the awareness of our projects and initiatives and to ensure that the Foundation is able to spread its wings to impact the lives of as many people as possible, we have appointed three internationally renowned Fijian ambassadors – Fiji’s Rugby legend Waisale Serevi, Fiji Football Captain Roy Krishna and Singer Sumeet Tappoo – who will all be the face of our projects.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the Director, the International Advisory Board, the Executive Committee and Volunteers of Sai Prema Foundation Fiji, I humbly invite all of you who have the same desire to serve, to join our efforts and help us work towards that common good. Let us try to make a difference. Let us do all that we can to inspire change. Like Mahatma Gandhi said, “let us be the change that we wish to see in the world”.

I leave you with two everlasting echoes of the eternal truth – the first from Maya Angelou the great poet who said “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver”, and the second by Martin Luther King Jr. who emphatically stated that “everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love”.

 

The future holds much in store for our people when we all work to shape our destinies. There are a few more big plans afoot that the Foundation hopes to realise in the near future:

Sai Prema Ashram “A Global Centre for Love & Peace” – The foundation’s Sociocare mission is being fulfilled by the soon-to-be-constructed Multi-Faith Spiritual Centre. This Centre, which will be open to all people from all faiths, cultures and social backgrounds, aims to promote Love, Peace and Unity in Fiji and the Pacific.

Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Medical Centre – The Foundation’s Medicare mission will expand itself into a new dimension through the establishment of a free Medical Centre in Suva, to serve the country’s less privileged members of society, with particular emphasis on women and child health and diabetes. The medium to long term plan is to then expand this into South Pacific’s first Paediatric Cardiac Hospital which will provide the children of Fiji and the neighbouring South Pacific Island nations with free heart surgeries, giving them a new ‘Gift of Life’. We are indeed truly blessed to have received the full support of the Prime Minister and his Government towards this project. A piece of land in the city of Suva has been dedicated by the government to our foundation for this landmark project. Our Foundation will work closely with the Government of Fiji, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital India and the international donor agencies in Fiji to realise this monumental project into reality for the poor and needy children of Fiji and the Pacific.

In order to expand the awareness of our projects and initiatives and to ensure that the Foundation is able to spread its wings to impact the lives of as many people as possible, we have appointed three internationally renowned Fijian ambassadors – Fiji’s Rugby legend Waisale Serevi, Fiji Football Captain Roy Krishna and Singer Sumeet Tappoo – who will all be the face of our projects.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the International Advisory Board, the Executive Committee, Members and Volunteers of Sai Prema Foundation Fiji, I humbly invite all of you who have the same desire to serve, to join our efforts and help us work towards that common good. Let us try to make a difference. Let us do all that we can to inspire change. Like Mahatma Gandhi said, “let us be the change that we wish to see in the world”.

I leave you with two everlasting echoes of the eternal truth – the first from Maya Angelou the great poet who said “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver”, and the second by Martin Luther King Jr. who emphatically stated that “everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love”.

God Bless Fiji.
Mahendra Tappoo