IMAs charity program iTouch was established in 2006. The goal of iTouch is to help a child or a needy family with an immediate medical need to reignite the gift of life. A portion of the proceeds from IMA events such as Kerala Day, Picnic, and Onam are used to help support the charity activities of iTouch. The Kerala Day program was specifically started in 2006 as a funding raising event for iTouch. IMA believes that such charity programs may also bring a sense of awareness to our children about the dire conditions under which less fortunate children live in Kerala and instill them with a sense of caring and giving.

Through various cultural activities in 2006, IMA raised $2,500 for iTouch and the fund was used to treat Vineetha and Shyam in 2007. Vineetha from Kottayam had a longstanding Lymphoedema. Vineetha had four surgeries at KIMS hospital, Trivandrum, Kerala. Shyam had bone cancer and the fund was used for his surgery.

IMA raised over $3,000 for iTouch in 2007 and this fund was donated in 2008 to the Heart Care Foundation in Kerala for the surgery of Saramol, Master Jijin, and Santosh. These children were 3, 12 and 4 years old respectively all needing a heart surgery to survive. All surgeries were conducted at the Medical College Hospital, Kottayam.

SARAMOL is 3 years old and she is from Ettumanur, Kottayam Dist. She needed surgery for closure of Atrial Septal Defect. She was given Rs. 30,000 for her surgery at the Govt. Medical College Hospital, Kottayam.

MASTER JIJIN was 12 years old and he was in need of an Open Heart Surgery for Mitral Valve Replacement. The cost was estimated at Rs. 75,000 and his surgery was successfully carried out at Govt. Medical College Hospital, Kottayam.

ABEL SANTHOSH was a 4 year old, from Kurvilangad, Kottayam. He had surgery for Closure of Atrial Septal Defect, and underwent operation on June 30, 2008. Total estimated cost for surgery was Rs. 40,000. The operation was done at Kottayam medical College hospital. See the request for kindness and support from Abel's father on the side with his photo. Abel's surgery was successful and his prognosis is really good.

In 2008, through various cultural events, IMA once again saved $2,500 for iTouch that was dispersed in 2009. By this time iTouch has really caught on and everyone in the community was quite aware of iTouch and the support was outpouring. With the 2008 funds, IMA decided to treat a 12 year old girl Hiba in Calicut who was diagnosed with a rare case of leukemia. Hiba was identified and recommended through the Palliative Care Unit affiliated with the Calicut Medical College. The treatment required Rs. 1,000,000 and IMA provided this fund. However, sadly, Hiba did not make it beyond two weeks of the treatment, a tragic case of not getting the needed help on time. The left over funds, $75,000 was given to treat little Fathima, again from Calicut referred by the Palliative Care Unit. Fathima Sherin is a one year old girl came to the Calicut Medical College in January 2010 with history of cough and breathlessness. Examination and investigations proved that the child is having Acyanotic Congenital Heart Disease (ventricular septal defect), in congestive cardiac failure and pulmonary hypertension. The child gets recurrent respiratory tract infection (bronchopneumonia) every month. The final assessment was that Fathima has very good chance to survive with a surgery. The surgery has been scheduled at Sri Chithra and we are anxiously waiting to hear about the outcome of Fathima's surgery.

The iTouch initiative is growing and at every IMA event, the importance of this charity program is highlighted through posters and special announcements. During certain events in the past years, special auctions were organized to raise funds for iTouch that also boosted the awareness. As mentioned earlier, the Kerala Day event was specifically started as a fundraising event for iTouch. The 2009 Kerala Day event was such a blast and it helped to raise $1500, an all time record. This success also implies how the IMA community has embraced this charity program and how a fun-filled event can serve dual purposes. IMA is once again working with the Palliative Care Unit at the Calicut Medical College to identify another needy child for disbursing $3000 that it has raised in 2009.

iTouch is a charity undertaking of the Indiana Malayalee Association

Serving the Needy

The "Serving the Needy" Philanthropic initiative came to fruition in 2009 with the sole purpose of serving the less fortunate in downtown Indianapolis. This local initiative created a much needed avenue for our dedicated IMA volunteers to give back to the community in which we work and live. More importantly, through their active participation, our youngsters are experiencing first-hand the true joy of volunteerism, service and giving. Since its inception in 2009, volunteers bring hot food, sandwiches, boiled eggs, fruits etc. and serve approximately 200 individuals on the 2nd Saturday of every month at the Robert Parks Methodist Church parking lot. Braving the freezing winter temperatures or the hot summer weather, on any given serving day, there will be approximately 25 dedicated volunteers to serve the needy and WE HAVE FUN DOING IT!!!