Chairman’s Message: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS!

– A Time For Reaffirming Gratitude, Introspection & Reflection –


It is a matter of great pride and joy for us to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of our WZO Trust Funds, Bai Maneckbai P. B. Jeejeebhoy Senior Citizens Centre at Pinjar Street, Malesar, Navsari. January 06, 1998 was a very proud day for us for that is when our Centre became operational in the service of our community.

REAFFIRMING GRATITUDE: The journey of a thousand miles always begins with the first step. That first step was taken during a conversation Bachi & I were having with late Mrs. Scylla R. Vatcha, during early 1995, as we discussed community related issues. At that time World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust and WZO Trust for Women & Children had been established in 1991 & 1993 respectively. The objects of these two Trusts were limited to Medical, Education, Relief from Poverty, and Farmers Rehabilitation.

Mrs. Scylla Vatcha, from the inception of our welfare activities in 1991, had been our principal supporter, took keen interest in our activities, mentioned during the course of the discussions that many Zoroastrian families were living in cramped accommodations, many times three generations together, which did not provide adequate privacy for younger generations and we should look into establishing a Centre for Senior Citizens that would cater to individuals who were mobile and capable of looking after themselves.

The idea appealed to us and we started scouting for suitable property in Mumbai. But, with suitable locations being difficult to find and astronomical land prices in Mumbai, we suggested that she consider establishing the Centre at Navsari, where we also had our base, in addition to Mumbai. Scylla immediately agreed, laying down three simple conditions that the Center should: (a) be conveniently located in a predominantly Parsi precinct; (b) located near an Agiyari; and (c) have easy access to a market-place.

We found a suitable location at Pinjar street that met all the three conditions. However, since our existing Trusts comprise establishing a Centre for Senior Citizens as one of its objectives, we were advised to establish a new Trust, and thus was found ‘WZO Trust Funds’, comprising multiple objectives, including having a Centre for Senior Citizens, as also establishing Sanatoriums, in line with our  earlier discussions with Scylla as regards the modalities of purchasing a palatial bungalow at Sanjan and converting it into a Sanatorium, as well as a project providing interest-free micro credit scheme to individuals who wished to be self-employed.

After registering WZO Trust Funds on August 31, 1995, we began the task of establishing our Bai Maneckbai P. B. Jeejeebhoy Senior Citizens Centre. Plans for constructing a building of 20,000 sq. feet spread over ground + 5 floors were drawn, statutory permissions received and work began April 1996. Within the space of 21 months our Centre was ready for occupation in all respects. The complete cost of construction and furnishing was borne by Scylla through her Bai Maneckbai P. B. Jeejeebhoy Deed of Settlement Fund.

It is to the eternal credit of the visionary Scylla, who foresaw that some residents at our Centre could become bed ridden, and considering our set up being for those who were mobile, it would not be possible to take care of them, hence, during her only visit to Navsari, she suggested having a tie up with the Infirmary at Navsari where our immobile residents would be provided admission. Since the Infirmary had limited capacity, Scylla immediately approved funds for constructing an additional building at the Infirmary! Dear Scylla indeed created the foundation upon which our many projects were conceived, of which have elevated the lives of thousands of community members.

Scylla will always be remembered as a doyenne of philanthropy. Our everlasting gratitude will always remain for dear Scylla, for without her support, the Centre would not have seen the light of day.

The other stalwart without which the Centre would not have been what it is today – a vibrant haven of peace and tranquility – is our very own Bachi Tamboly, my wife and Founding Trustee of WZO Trust Funds. Any fame the Centre has achieved is due to her dynamism with which she has pursued her mission and vision of doing something distinct and tangible for our Seniors. The Centre that she shaped is reflective of her personality – firm but caring, providing a facility that is a ‘home away from home’ for the residents, where all residents, whether paying or residing gratis, all enjoy the same facilities, their self-respect and dignity intact, always.

Without these two ladies, Scylla & Bachi, the Senior Citizens Centre would remain just a dream.

We are also very grateful to our generous donors who continue extending financial support from towards the running of our Centre. Our very sincere gratitude, specially to Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao for the regular support they extend every quarter.

 INTROSPECTION & REFLECTION: We always believed that it is through candid introspection that we identify our strong points and make them stronger. The early days were a learning curve. Managing an institution where 50+ mobile senior citizens from different walks of life resided peacefully, in a vibrant environment, living, eating, and relating with each other is certainly an experience not for the faint hearted!

We learnt managing a group of senior citizens is a continuing process, not an objective – an important trait we learnt was to be rapid and impartial in sorting issues whenever they arose, ensuring each one understands and appreciates the viewpoints of the other. Our Centre has been blessed to have residents who are kind and supportive of each other. It’s a treat to observe all residents sitting together for meals, spending time playing carrom, cards, viewing television, singing songs, giving or receiving advice, bonding as part of an extended family.

Ours is perhaps the only institution of its kind within our community where two sets of residents decided to get joined in matrimony! These events were a source of great joy and pride, indicative of the vibrancy of our Centre. We have over the years been arranging outings for them, spread over a few days to visit Iranshah at Udvada and stay over at our nearby Sanatorium at Sanjan. These outstation trips are a much sought after and enjoyed event.

ACKNOWLEDGING OUR MANAGEMENT TEAM AND STAFF: We are fortunate to have with us Sharmin, Homi, Sarosh & Sam, who constitute our very dedicated team managing daily operations; our team of 5 ladies who man the kitchens daily; 4 kitchen helpers and support staff of 16 ladies who maintain the upkeep and cleanliness of the Centre. We extend sincere gratitude for their commitment and dedication towards their duties. We take this opportunity to remember and acknowledge the services of our two Chefs – Khorshed and Bapsy – who were with us from the beginning for 23 years, till they succumbed to Covid-19. We also acknowledge the services of erstwhile Manager Soli, who also served for 23 years but retired due to indifferent health.

IN CONCLUSION: Our objectives have always been to ensure that our residents spend the evening of their lives with smiles on their lips, not tears in their eyes, replace their wrinkles with twinkles, keeping them always aware at all time that age is just a number for those who have the ability to appreciate the beauty in their lives, they never grow old. Our residents, are illustrative of the immortal words of Robert Browning:

“Come, grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life,
For which the first was made”


Dinshaw K Tamboly,

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