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Give a little

Friday, August 31, 2012

This weekend, instead of agonising over where to go, spend your time thinking about how you can lend a helping hand to those less fortunate than you. Rhea Dhanbhoora & Gargi Bansod tell you how you can spend your free time giving back to society

Charity begins at home and there’s no better place to start than in your city. Mumbai is home to several underprivileged people and animals that need a helping hand and it’s time to lend your support. Not only will you be spending your time doing something good for someone else, there’s no better feeling than having helped out, in whatever little way you can. Don’t let your busy work schedule be an excuse for not helping out, as you can hold drives, volunteer, visit or donate over the weekend as well. There are several organisations, NGOs, charity drives and trusts that you can help out at, so this should not by any means, be your sole definitive list. But, if you’re a first time do-gooder, here are a few places where you can get started.

BSPCA: Love animals? Then volunteering at the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals including the Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals (BSPCA) is a good idea. The organisation, established in 1874, gives dedicated service to sick and injured animals. The BSPCA projects include cardiac care, intensive care units, blood banks, animal birth control centres, electric crematoriums, shelters, rain water harvesting, bio gas plants to prepare food and much more. Those too busy to help out in person can go ahead and donate to help the organisation get more equipment and better facilities to care for the animals. BSPCA also has volunteer programmes as volunteers are an essential part of their hospital team.

Helping out: To be a volunteer, you have to visit the BSPCA and Animal Hospital activities, familiarise yourself and then fill up a volunteer form. So, if you’re 14-years-old and above and can put in around 12 hours a month, go volunteer.
Contact: [email protected]

World For All: Ruchi Nadkarni started this NGO by caring for strays at home and it has since gained popularity through its Facebook page. From paralysed kittens and dogs, to the adoption of puppies and kittens found in heartbreaking conditions, this NGO puts its heart and soul into saving these beautiful animals. So, if you find a stray animal in distress, you can contact them and they will rescue it, nurture it and make sure that it gets a lovely home.
Helping out: Apart from rescuing and adopting abandoned puppies and kittens, you can help them by donating your old t-shirts, your pets old collars, leashes, toys, bowls, old bed sheets, baskets, pillow covers, towels, hot bags and feeding bottles to provide warmth and care for the animals.
Contact: 9820001506 or www.facebook.com/worldforall

Reef Watch Marine Conservation: If you’re the sort of person that cringes when someone drops a wrapper on the ground and constantly bemoans the state of the environment, you should get involved with the International Coast Cleanup (ICC) or closer home, the Mumbai Coastal Cleanup. Participating in the ICC is a positive, active way to show that you value clean oceans and waterways. The Beach Company and The Reef Watch Project also share the same goal, ensuring that the beaches are kept clean. The cleanup project takes place at various points throughout the year and although you could just volunteer and help out in general, they’re having an event on September 15 this year to clean up Juhu and Girgaon beaches. Marine debris is a pervasive problem and it threatens ocean health, so, cleaning up the debris can help clean water as well as help wildlife.

Helping out: To join the cleanup initiative, you don’t need to have background knowledge or be of a particular age as the essential idea is to spread awareness.
Contact: www.reefwatchindia.org

DM Jariwala: The DM Jariwala Trust is a place where girls can find a home as well as earn their primary and secondary education (they also offer technical education). Home to an orphanage in Mahim which houses over a 100 girls, the trust helps to uplift underprivileged girls. The primary focus is to provide housing, boarding and a basic education to help build a better future for them. It’s also home to vocational center, WECAN, established in 2000, which offers advanced career training and specialisations in vocational skills such as computers, fashion technology, catering and health care.

Helping out: If you’d like to volunteer, visit or help out in person, contact them to see where you can help out. They’re always looking for donations though, so we suggest holding a charity drive and donating to help them out.
Contact: 24472335/ 24444394 or [email protected]

An organisation that strives to give back to the uderpriviliged, they collect clothes and distribute them in cities across the country. They actually deal with channelising unused material lying idle in urban homes, to the far-flung villages of India as an important economic resource. Although they deal with all kinds of underutilised material, the prime focus is clothing, one of the most ignored basic needs of human kind.

Helping out: In order to contribute, you need to contact them to find a dropping centre that’s closest to you. You can also organise a collection camp for clothes and cloth in your residential area and then contact them to donate the material.
Contact: 28453034 / 8767434352 or email at [email protected]

MSS: Very few people are as worried about the state of human welfare as the people of Maharogi Sewa Samiti, Warora (MSS). The public charitable trust is a non-profit organisation that was founded by Baba Amte in 1949 and is one of the largest health care providers to the needy and poor rural and tribal population in central India. It provides primary and secondary health care and shelters around 3,200 people, those who are leprosy patients, have disabilities, orphans, senior citizens and socially backward people. MSS aspires to make each of its differently-abled inmates self-reliant by imparting value based training, enabling them to live their life with dignity. With a policy of ‘Not saying ‘No’ to a needy person’, MSS since its inception has always embraced every ill-fated soul who was ostracised by the society and had lost all hope including that of survival.

Helping out: You can help with any of their programs either full time or part time and if you don’t have the time to dedicate, you can visit them and bring a smile on someone’s face over the weekend. They also welcome donations of any kind.
Contact: 7176282034/ www.anandwan.in

Helpage India:
A non-profit organisation set up in 1978, Helpage India is one of the most well-known organisation that helps and protects the rights of India’s elderly. They provide them with relief and advocate with national and local governments to bring about policies that can benefit them. They also help the elderly to become more aware of their own rights.

Helping out: You can volunteer, visit or help them out by making the society around you more aware of the concerns that the aged have, promoting a better understanding of issues related to age.
Contact: www.helpageindia.org

ISKCON Food Relief Foundation: Also known as IFRF, they provide children with the right nutrition. They believe that the right education isn’t good enough if your children are not getting the right food and with their 24 kitchen centers across 10 states, they strive to help children in the country. They’re also implementing the Midday Meal Scheme, meaning that they want to liberate underprivileged children from the cycle of poverty and illiteracy by providing them with sanctified food.

Helping out: You can donate one wholesome meal to the organisation in order to help out, which won’t interfere with your busy work schedule. We suggest sharing your weekend meals with them.
Contact: www.annamrita.org

Door Step School: This NGO works for the betterment of street children. Many children who sell flowers and small tidbits on the streets are deprived of education and basic medical aids. Door Step School provides education and support to the children of pavement dwellers, slum dwellers, construction site families and many other underprivileged families.

Helping out: You can join as a volunteer to teach or you can also organise art, dance or any other kind of workshop you want. You can also help them organise picnics and outings for the children. Apart from that, they also require monetary donations to fund the children’s education as well as their shelter care needs. Additionally, you can donate, books, soft boards and medicines.
Contact: www.doorstepschool.org

As all these are non-profit organisations, they require monetary support from you. But, if you can’t manage to give a lumpsum, here’s how you can help out:
BSPCA: Apart from monetary donations, the organisation needs foster mums and dads for litters of puppies, kittens and birds; someone to walk dogs on weekends or weekdays; someone to help groom dogs and horses; digital photography to spread the word; fundraising help and participation in events and the Marathon; a canine companion or feline friend; assistance cleaning dog kennels and filling water bowls; data entry operators and emergency help and rescue correspondents.
Contact: [email protected]

DM Jariwala Trust: The trust needs donations of a specific nature. Apart from clothes, they need cupboards, soaps, oil, 30 lockers, 57 fans, plastic baskets, waste paper bins, kitchen pots and pans, 6 sunflame cookers, 3 fridges, 1 deep freezer, laminate for kitchen cabinets, plastic for kitchen use, plates, vessels, cutlery, lighting for their theatre, speakers and lights, 20 computers, wires and any educational material you can offer them.
Contact: 24472335/ 24444394

Goonj: They require clothes donations as well as financial donations to help go on their drives to deliver and distribute these items. You can also drop a cheque /draft in the name of GOONJ in any HDFC branch. You need to share your full name, address, telephone and Pan number for their receipt purposes.
Contact: 28453034 / 8767434352

Taksheel Foundation: This non-profit organisation, which supports the underprivileged children, needs your help through monetary as well as material donations. You can sponsor a child’s education, provide study material, teaching aids, stationery or join as volunteers by teaching at their various centres. They even hold exhibitions of the children’s artwork, which you can buy to support them.
Contact: 9321928191

Join a Rotaract Club
One of the easiest ways to get involved in community work is by joining a Rotaract Club. You can ask your college if it has a club or join a community based club near your area. These clubs work on grassroot levels by supporting the various NGOs in the city as well as interacting with Rotaract Clubs around the world. It’s a great way to contribute to society as well as widen your network and socialise with people from various walks of life.

Contact: Log on to www.rotary.org/ Rotaract to locate a club near you or you can also do a simple web search for Rotaract and you’ll find a list of clubs.

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