British Asia News Network
Sushma Lobo & Zara Ali
London: The Inner Joy Foundation (IJF) is an umbrella charity that works for the blind, elderly, orphans, hospitals and animal welfare. They are a part of a number of integrated projects, but their main focus remains on helping the blind, sick, elderly and under privileged children. Established in 2008, July 28th marked 10 years since the start of Inner Joy and the tight knit team have been continuously expanding their reach ever since. Inner Joy Foundation was set up by 3 Trustees Vijyalaxami Kara, Kiran Kara Patel and Himat Gami.
With the patients in charity hospital
British Asia News met with two of the trustees, a brother and sister team Vijya Kara and Himat Gami. They spoke passionately about their Charity, spoke highly about their Guru who has guided them.
Working under the guidance of guru, Shree Muktanandji Bapu, founders Vijya and Himat have broadened their outreach to respond to humanitarian crises. For example, when the Nepal earthquake struck in 2015, Inner Joy was able to provide timely assistance. They donated £30,000 to a project in Nepal by raising funds in the UK and Shree Muktanandji bapu personally went to remote areas of Nepal with a group of 50 volunteers, providing vital support to response teams working on the ground. This is reflective of their ability to act in emergencies and tailor their approach to help those most in need.
One of their first projects was when they took the pledge to build a hostel in Gujarat, India which currently accommodates 500 girls. Here, they educate children and bring a real sense of community to the girls. In their other hostels supporting visually impaired children, braille classes are available, empowering them to learn new skills and grow both in confidence and independence. A strong emphasis is placed on music which brings students out of their shell and has even uncovered hidden talents. The inspirational work Inner Joy do is beyond altruism, they truly are the helping hands of god.
With elderly guests, they are provided free accomodation and food etc
With blind children who are sponsored
Beyond India, Inner Joy also plays an important role in the UK. Last year, they held a number of workshops for the emotional wellbeing of communities around the country. Justifying the need for these sessions, founder Vijya said “I feel it’s the British people who actually support us financially through fundraising and we wanted to give something back since we have the capacity to do so”. The well attended workshops used music therapy to connect with others through singing, meditation and breathing exercises. “I am passionate about our national health system and the unnecessary drain people put on it. If everyone works on the emotional and mental wellbeing of others, I think that will actually save our NHS”. She went on to talk passionately about the current ‘mental health crisis’ in the UK and how it disproportionately affects young people, saying that it is an issue close to her heart in addition to the foundation’s goals in India.
Pics credit: IJF Trustee Vijayalaxmi Kara
Until now, Inner Joy have primarily raised money by holding concerts. The tickets manage to raise around £2-3,000 in sales and this often gets topped up by donors who are invested in the cause. They have had donors in the past who have contributed tens of thousands of pounds because they have seen their good work for themselves. Himat explains that the charity’s transparency works in their favour as donors are able to get involved and see where and what their money goes towards. This makes the act of giving to charity more personal and enriching as a real connection is formed between those giving and receiving. A great advantage to Inner Joy is that they function with zero administrative costs - everyone from their trustees to their supporters work in a voluntary capacity. This ensures 100% of funds goes to those in need which is not only a bonus for the cause itself but for donors who are assured that their money really will make a difference. Last year, the foundation was nominated as the charity of choice by a team of Bike Riders who thoroughly scrutinised the board of trustees and the work carried out by IJF. The bike riders were so impressed with the way IJF operated, they raised donations of almost £60,000 doing a gruelling bike ride of 400 km through tough conditions in India.
Inner Joy’s annual commitment is currently estimated at £46,000, where every £400 goes towards education and accommodation for each child they support. At the moment, regular sponsors are able to cover 25 to 30 children through standing orders while the remaining fees are actively raised throughout the year. This takes continuous work and the charity try to take advantage of every opportunity to raise money for causes close to their heart.
If you would like to learn more about an inspirational charity this new year and support The Inner Joy Foundation, be sure to take a look at their website and follow their spiritual journey to helping those most in need.
If you would like to donate you can use the links below to either print a donation form or donate online.