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The Essence Of Giving Back

Thursday, February 22, 2018

With the aim of helping women and children lead a better life, Meera Theresa Gandhi set up The Giving Back Foundation. Trisha Ghoroi asks the entrepreneur about her new endeavour

After meeting Mother Teresa at the age of 16, Meera Theresa Gandhi was inspired to work towards the betterment of women and children. And, in the year 2010, The Giving Back Foundation was set up, with the philosophy that we are only as much as we give. We got a chance to speak with Meera about her organisation and her passion for philanthropy. Here’s what she had to say.

Tell us something about The Giving Back Foundation. What is its aim?
The foundation has three main missions. The first is to empower and educate girls through transformational education; the second is to serve as a platform for positive dialogue and debate for young people to promote positive social change; the third is to spread mindfulness and happiness.

What was it about Mother Teresa that inspired you?
I think Mother Teresa showed me the joy of giving, the joy in simplicity and the joy of helping other human beings. My basic lifestyle is very simple in spite of the luxurious lifestyle options available to me. Working with Mother Teresa at a young age made me realise early on that the joy of helping and serving makes me truly happy to be alive.

What influenced you to set up the foundation?
Apart from Mother Theresa, I was deeply inspired by the Cherie Blair Foundation and also by Hillary Clinton.

Where did the idea of Giving Fragrance come from?
I wanted to create a product that was of a world-class standard, so that people who donated to The Giving Back Foundation could receive a quality product in return for their generosity.

The current trend among MNCs and family businesses is that of philanthropy. What is your view on this? Do you think such foundations are more sustainable than non-profit organisations?
It is fantastic to see the current trend of philanthropy and giving back in India! I think service to others is the only thing that is really sustainable. Businesses come and go, power comes and goes, material possessions are useless beyond a point — but true service to another human being is the only thing that endures in the chaos of life.  I think we are at a time of all time prosperity on the planet and we are finally understanding that the human being is truly the most important thing! I have always understood that and hence the motto of The Giving Back Foundation has been for the last decade ‘We are to the universe only as much as we give back to it!’

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