Hearts behind the Foundation: Monisa Nadeem
April 9, 2021 | Contributed by Monisa Nadeem
“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted”- Garrison Keillor
In roughly a week’s time from writing this blog, I would be completing one year with Genesis Foundation which is an NGO working for congenital heart disease in children. And joining in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic has almost been a surreal experience,if I can put it out like that.
Some of the children supported by the Foundation through website searches
I grew up in a family where my grandfather was a doctor and so is my father, and I’ve seen them both operate on innumerable patients free of cost. To put it in my late grandfather’s words “Being a doctor, there is no better way that I can serve the humanity. If God’s given me the talent and means then the least I can do in this lifetime isto cure them and reduce their suffering”.
Therefore, social conscience has always been inculcated in me from a very young age. So, it was a natural thing for me as well, that after I had finished my Grade 12, while waiting for college to begin, I ended up volunteering and that too at a school. I was supposed to take care of 20 children who were in Grade 2 and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I thoroughly enjoyed their energy, honesty and love they gave me, along with teaching me the biggest lesson in patience!
With the Genesis Foundation team (2021)
Being from a Journalism background, my work has always been human-centric. When I look back now, I realize whether I was reporting or writing, I’ve always found my way back to children. Like making a documentary on growing children’s obesity in India or understanding the 1984 Sikh riots of India through the memories of young Sikh children and what they’ve learned in their households.
Not only that, in my previous role while working on writing sexual awareness books for children, talking to them and understanding their perspective towards their bodies became a primary form of learning in developing content for the book. So, when I met Prema, Jyoti and Simran, the cause touched me because it was an NGO working for congenital heart disease in children. And life gives us few opportunities, where the source of our livelihood also becomes an opportunity to create a greater impact.
Joining during a pandemic lockdown, almost felt crazy to dress up and be excited for my first day at work, only to be meeting everyone for the first time on a Microsoft Teams meeting. The alienish feeling of remote working soon became a habit, as I tried to get to know everyone on the team virtually.
Unfortunately, thanks to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, what I looked forward to the most when joining the Foundation was meeting and interacting with the children, which hasn’t happened until now. I have not been able to go for any of the hospital visits to meet the children, owing to the hospital restrictions and Covid protocols. In fact, it was only in February 2021, that I finally got to meet all my colleagues in person, at an outdoor park, wearing masks.
But I feel immensely grateful to be able to see the actual reward for my work, when it comes in the form of parents in need being able to find us online or a donor resonating with our cause online and donating.Deep down I know, I’m not a doctor like my grandfather or my father, helping save a life or directly involved with any of the children that the Foundation supports,but it’s these little digital milestones that I get to celebrate which make my work worthwhile.