News Reports
Indian Express

Aaditi Jathar Tags : NRI Parents' organisationPune Posted: Tue Jun 09 2009, 13:37 hrs Pune:

Pune is all set to become the headquarters of nine units of NRI Parents' Organisation (NRIPO) in the country. The NRIPO, Pune, has taken an initiative to form a confederation (CONRIPO) of all these units functioning at Ahmedabad, Baroda, Aurangabad and Coimbatore and various areas in Mumbai.
While the process is expected to be completed in three months, "with CONRIPO in place, we will be able to voice our opinions and pursue various international issues concerning NRIs on a common united platform", said Nandkumar Swadi, president, NRIPO, Pune.

On the issue of the ongoing racist attacks on Indian students in Australia, the NRIPO has written to the Prime Minister's office, the External Affairs Ministry and the Australian Embassy in Delhi suggesting that Australia must take responsibility of the attacks and provide free medical treatment to the victims. "Similar issues can be tackled more efficiently once CONRIPO is formed," he said.
The Times of India

NRIs’ parents get a helpline
TNN, Dec 4, 2002, 02.01am IST

PUNE: City-based parents of nonresident Indians (NRIs) need not despair anymore as far as medical emergency, will making and its execution and funeral arrangements are concerned. The Non-resident Indian parents' organisation (Nripo) here has set up a cell to address these problems. Aptly named as the 'Will and after assistance cell' , the initiative has been launched specifically for the benefit of single and aged parents. 
It may sound strange that these senior citizens would have to rely on such a cell despite having children.
However, the ground reality is that the children who have settled abroad may not be able to rush to India within hours. "Things like admission to a hospital, funeral and religious rituals cannot wait," Nripo secretary Kumar Kiwalkar said. 
Addressing a news conference here on Tuesday, to announce the launch of the scheme, Nripo president M.H. Paranjape said the cell would also offer help in health related problems and property administration. 

"It will encourage members to make wills, which usually solves all property related issues," he said, adding that Nripo would be a trustee and executor of the wills. Also, the Nripo cell will take care of the property until the children of Nripo members arrive or even make arrangements for property disposal as per the will, Paranjape explained. 

A copy of each will be deposited with the cell, which will be opened after the death of the member. 
"Some members felt the need to make advance payment for the funerals to ensure that their last rites were performed as per their wishes, along with the rituals of their choice," Paranjape said. Another activity of the cell is to start a 'one-by-two' scheme where two families agree to keep a watch on a single parent and help him/her in times of need. 

"These families will regularly call the single parent, meet him/her after regular intervals and help in times of sickness or other emergencies. The volunteers will also do things like daily shopping and payment of bills," Paranjape said. 
Younger Nripo members (those in their 50s) can help their older colleagues, he said, adding that some of their senior members were as old as 95. Nripo members who wish to avail of the facilities will be asked to fill the required forms, which will authorise the organisation. 
The cell will be formally launched on December 8 at a function to mark the foundation day of Nripo. The organisation has 1,000 members, of which around 20 per cent are single parents. 

iExpress India

NRIPO model to go places, national network on cards

Posted: May 25, 2008 at 2228 hrs IST

Pune, May 24 Taking a cue from the work of non-resident Indians’ (NRIs) parents’ organisation (NRIPO) in Pune, the parents of NRIs from Kalyan, Dombivli, Thane and Ghatkopar have come together to replicate the model in their areas. Now, with the formation of nine such organisations, the NRIPO is all set to form a confederation, which will address the issues of parents of NRIs at the national level.

In the backdrop of recent murders and attacks on NRIs in the US and Australia, the NRIPO has written a letter to the Prime Minister expressing concern over the security of NRIs. The NRIPO also suggested some steps that could be taken to avoid such incidents.
“We have sent a letter to the PM two months back. Although there is no response from the PM’s office, some of our friends in the other cities, taking a cue from the work we do in Pune, have come forward to start some activities in their cities. There is a necessity to form a network of parents of NRIs to have a pressure group to address our issues,” said Kumar Kiwalkar, president of NRIPO.

Presently, taking inspiration from the NRIPIO, parents of NRIs in Bangalore, Coimbatore, Baroda, Ahmedabad and Nagpur have formed organisations in their respective cities over the last two years. D A Sant, a member of the NRIPO, Pune, has now initiated a process to replicate the model in Kalyan, Dombivli, Thane and Ghatkopar. Though Sant could not be contacted, he will be in Pune on Sunday to discuss the formation process.
“We are looking forward to form a strong network. Forming a confederation as a representative body at the all-India level can be thought of,” said Kiwalkar. “But our main aim is to develop more interaction between parents. We generally gather six times a year, though on informal level, we meet regularly. We have formed this group to help each other in times of need,” he added.

Nripo to hold Vasantik Mahotsav todayNripo, Pune, has 1,200 members in the city. The organisation was formed 14 years ago to cater to the emotional needs of the parent of NRIs. It conducts various programmes for the members throughout the year. The members are facilitated by various schemes. Sixteen hospitals in the city are affiliated to the organisation. Members can get cashless admission in these hospitals in the time of need by producing their membership card. The organisation has an information centre for their members where information regarding passport application and visa processes is given. NRIPO also has plans to have a separate housing complex for parents of NRIs. NRIPO will hold its Vasantik Mahotsav on Sunday. It is like an annual gathering, in which the members showcase their acting and dancing skills.

Make A New Family In Autumn
Aging parents of NRIs form support groups to make friends and influence people
How The Support Groups Help

When doctors advised Pune-based Usha Rairikar a major surgery in 2004, the retired Class-I officer, living alone and on the wrong side of 80, firmly told both her US-settled children to stay put there. "Don't worry," she reiterated on the phone, hours before being wheeled into the operating theatre. "I'm in safe hands." During the ten days she spent in hospital, a caring presence by her bedside, a daily supply of home-cooked food and fresh flowers helped hasten the healing process.

The bonds between Rairikar or Parikh and those who saw them through their crises are not relationships of blood or philanthropy, but bonds of empathy. For they too are parents with either one or all their children pursuing their dreams and their fortunes in foreign lands. The networks of mutual support and friendship between these aging parents of NRIs keep at bay their niggling fears and blunt the pangs of loneliness in their twilight years. "Even the closest relatives wouldn't have done what they did," says Rairikar. And when Parikh regained speech, he addressed a meeting of these parents to thank them.

Such meetings are not uncommon in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Nagpur, Baroda, Ahmedabad and Coimbatore, where parents of NRIs have banded together into formal associations; similar associations are being formed in Rajkot, Surat and Jamnagar. They meet every month; organise excursions, get-togethers and recreational activities; celebrate festivals; bring out newsletters and directories of members; and in times of need provide a rock-solid support network. At a more practical level, they provide lists of recommended vital service providers, hold lectures and workshops on typical concerns like travel, insurance, healthcare, and foreign exchange; teach members to become computer-savvy enough to stay in regular e-mail contact with their children; help those travelling abroad, especially first-timers, with visa and passport modalities, ticketing, medical insurance and the like; and stand guard over each other's personal and material well-being. Some associations even advise their members' NRI children on investment, property ownership, taxation, repatriation of funds, inheritance, and dual citizenship, and help returnees relocate and resume careers and children's education. Now, an all-India body called the Association of Parents of Indians Resident Overseas (APIRO) has been mooted for greater synergy among these associations.

All these associations started out in the same way—a parent or two seeded a group by announcing a meeting in a newspaper, held the first meeting with a modest turnout, mostly 25-30 couples, and grew that informal group into a full-blown association. Pune's Non-Resident Indians' Parents' Organisation (NRIPO), founded in 1994 by N.L. Abhyankar, a retired high court judge now touching 99, has grown into the largest such association with over 500 members, including eminent scientists Jayant Narlikar and Dr R.M. Mashelkar. The Pune NRIPO even organises foreign trips and stages entertainment programmes. "Weeks of spirited preparations keep them occupied and motivated," reveals Kumar Kiwalkar, vice-president. The association has tied up with 16 of Pune's leading hospitals, where members can simply produce a card to get admitted at any hour of the day without paying a deposit. What's more, all help is available right within the association—there are doctors among them to advise on health, and legal experts to guide on will, asset and property management through the association's 'Will-and-After' cell. Under its innovative 'One-by-two' initiative, every ailing member receives care from two members who live nearby.

In 1998, Ambuja Narayan formed NRIPA, Bangalore, when she noticed that "the NRI parents, although not really old, were mostly twiddling their thumbs here, while the NRIs themselves networked rather well". Today, NRIs push their parents to get involved in the 250-member association. In 1999, Wing Cdr (Retd) Madhav G. Hastak booked a hall in Nagpur at his own expense and called a meeting of such parents, and thus was formed the NRI Abroad Parents' Association (NAPA), which has 80 members. In 2002, Madhusudan B. Mehta and some others convened a similar meeting in Baroda. Recalls the 72-year-old founder-president of the 80-member group: "We booked a hotel room with food for 30 couples, ready to foot the bill if none came; luckily, 25 of them attended." People who never knew each other, exults Mehta, are today the best of friends. In Coimbatore, the Association of Parents of NRIs, focused exclusively on parents of NRIs living in North America, came into being in 2003. Says Pratap Gokuldas, founder-president of the 60-member association, "Our key objective is collective bargaining to solve the problems of NRIs' parents." Ahmedabad got its NRIPO in September 2005 and the membership has already risen to 148 couples, says its founder-president Hemant Shah.

To many, these associations are like extended families, who step in when the unexpected happens. When Pune-based Meera Bharvirkar landed in hospital in 2005 with broken ribs after an accident while her husband Ramesh was away visiting their children in the US, her first call was not to a relative, but to a friend from NRIPO. Or when floods inundated Baroda that year, Neelkanth and Vasudha Jambhekar, visiting their two children in the US, didn't need to panic: Prannath and Pushpa Sikka not only waded through the water to salvage the ground floor of Jambhekar's bungalow, but also got it disinfected. Others like Bangalore-based Heera Rao have found the NRIPA an effective antidote to loneliness and insecurity. "NRIPA has added a new meaning to my life," she says. Rao, 57, lost her husband 20 years ago and raised two children amid tremendous hardship. When they both went abroad, she plunged into activities, ranging from teaching computers in schools to joining a health club. But that didn't really fill the void in her life. In 2000, she joined NRIPA. "While the trips and outings give me a much-needed break from life's monotony, interacting with other parents is highly enriching." The best part, says Rao, is the safety the association offers to single women. "I can mix with anyone without the fear of being misunderstood. And since these people come from diverse professions," she adds, "their company is truly stimulating."

Boston-based Sumana Bhat says NRIPA offers her Bangalore-based sexagenarian parents B. Janardhan and Susheela a great social networking opportunity. "The calling chain its members maintain reassures me that they won't ever be untended," she says. "Children settled abroad are torn between two worlds," observes Dr Mashelkar, whose two daughters live abroad. "Such organisations are very comforting for them too. And they provide a good model for geriatric care as well." Indeed, as many NRI parents are finding out, nothing thaws the cold realities of empty nests like the warmth and unhesitating support that these associations of NRI parents provide.