This post really took a long time to come out but glad that finally I am sharing about my philanthropic trip to India. There are tonnes of things to talk about and I am not sure where to start from. But it would be good to give a brief background before I jump into discussing my work and experience.
So, the background is that I have been supporting a village close to my ancestral village in my own small way since I started working in Delhi. And when I say support, I used to either distribute blankets in winters (may 10 or 15) or distribute Sarees/Dhoti or just the utensils. In Hindu culture, ‘giving’ is taught from the very start and I have been deeply instilled with the idea. One of the reasons, why I spent my first salary of Rs.8000 just on buying clothes and sponsored a meal in the village. To me, it’s a very fulfilling experience. Since then, I continued my little contribution to them.
Though my move to Singapore affected my attention for them but they have always been in my thoughts. Now with the means and resources that I have, I feel I can do a lot more.Therefore, time left after two kids, husband, and work, I want to use it for a good cause. Therefore, the idea of the trip came up. The objective was to understand what exactly people need and how can I help because just handing over money is not enough.
Before going, I contacted someone to check what could be some of the things that they may need – And I collected Old clothes, Torches(Light), Laptop and Cash from office colleagues, and other friends who got to know about this trip. I really have to thank each individual who has generously contributed for this trip because as you will see in pics later, it has reached to the needy and they have been extremely grateful to each one of you.
Old Clothes : Asma, Monica, Anjum, Swati, Arunima
Laptop : Ridhima and her friend Healy
Torches : Felix Loke, Srishti, Akansha, Udipta, Swati
Cash : $335 : Felix , Anjum, Swati, Arunima, Sristi, Akansha, Udipta.
Thanks a ton for your contributions. Special thanks to Felix for his generous cash contributions.
I landed on Tuesday 4pm local time after travelling to Delhi and changing the flight from Delhi to Gaya. The sight of the city was quite disheartening as not much development had reached to the city. I was staying at the Village Head’s house for two days before leaving for my ancestral home in a different location.
By evening, I had meeting and discussions with Village Head and other senior people from the village on what exactly people need which I can buy from the donated cash. Everyone agreed that I should get them new dresses as Holi is one of the biggest festivals and everyone must wear new dresses. So, they will be very happy to get new sarees. The next morning went to shopping and bought around 35 Sarees and some dresses for children and men. It was very difficult to choose whom should we give. Finally, we invited women who are either very poor or handicap and distributed Sarees and their men or children got other dresses.
I had put all the old dresses on one side and asked them to queue so that they could choose and get. But of course, I was not in one of the most advanced worlds, people pounced on the clothes and got one or two whoever can get their hands on any piece. The sight was horrifying and I didn’t remember to take pics of all the chaos and I apologise for that. I gave away the torches to random people one by one because the fight for old clothes was quite upsetting.
Few college going youngsters were very excited to know that I have got the laptop to donate. Following day, met few of the school kids and college goers to understand how can they use this laptop for learning and common use. I realised that no one actually knew how to start and operate the laptop. They learn computers in their college and schools but they have an hour’s time to work on Desktops for practice. It was really sad. In this digital world and age, when we take so many things for granted, these guys are fighting for basic needs. Facebook’s Free basics made all sense to me. Forget about running all websites at the same speed, with Free basics, at least, these guys would have some access to internet. They do use the internet on phones (In fact they have the internet on feature phones also). But they didn’t know how to use the Internet on computers and for that matter, how to search and find out information for themselves.
I suggested that there should be a computer institute in the village where youngsters can learn computers. And village head agreed to the suggestions. It’s not only about gathering resources but they also have a challenge in finding a good teacher who can come to the village and teach. They need some money for the basic set up and one more laptop to at least start with something. And I will be contributing as and when I can. Do let me know if you would like to contribute in your own way. Little help also matters.
(Just to let you know after coming back, it has a magical impact on me – have become wiser with the money, eating less out ($100 dinner = Rs.5000, and it’s lot), less shopping etc. I know some would say too early to get into all this but Giving back to Society starts NOW and not when we turn 50.
Once again, thanks a lot to each one of you for your contributions and considerations. Here’s are some of the pics I had taken during the trip.
|Had some sweets with Sarees|