Advocate and social activist Shane Cardoz speaks to Monarose Sheila Pereira about uplifting the poor
What are your educational qualifications and how has it helped you?
I have done my B Com, LLB and my LLM Masters in Human Rights. Commerce helps me to organize the finances, law and human rights helps me to reach out to people and serve society. Having said that, I think social work is inborn. No one can be forced to do social work. It has to come from within. Social work is close to my heart and I started the Clifford Carmen Foundation to help the poor. My manager Jal Naidu and I try and bring like-minded people together to help my social work.
How do you fund your social work?
Being an advocate my assignments come from corporate houses and families. Most of my social work projects are funded from my own resources. I also appeal to my clients and friends especially through social media and get funds via corporate donations, personal funds etc. I try and bring like-minded people together to help with my social causes.
What are the various social work projects you undertake?
My latest venture is to help women earn a living by organizing them to supply food dabbas at Rs. 45 a dabba to several people in and around Bandra. The tiffin includes rice, chappatis, dal, twice a week non vegetarian food which includes fish and chicken and vegetarian food on the other days. The dabbas are delivered in the morning and evening. I do not keep any money. The entire amount goes directly to the women who prepare the food.
We also have programmes for children like free karate coaching for girls, career guidance camps for poor students, where we mentor and organize tuitions, and the fees are partially or fully reimbursed. We have helped children with their education from nursery to college and even get them jobs. We also organize various extra-curricular activities for children like dance workshops, football matches, etc. We even provide them with accessories like shoes, bats, books, uniforms and T shirts. Some of the students we have sponsored have even played professional matches. Every child wants to play. When they do not have adequate sports gear like shoes, hockey sticks, bats, footballs etc we provide for these needs and encouraging them if they have good talent. We have started a football team where a professional coach Eudes Kinny is on my payroll.
What are some of the problems you face?
We have several laws and schemes in place but we have to push the authorities like the BMC, the police and various organizations. Even for the basic needs and health of the people you have to fight. I am trying to help make Bandra more hygienic but I have to fight for basic necessities. Another discouraging thing is that people are not generous to help for a worthy cause unless they get some mileage out of it. They want to get publicity by having their names mentioned in the news briefs etc.