DAAN UTSAV AT AKSHARA
‘The Joy Of Giving’ — ‘Kucch Karo, dil ki sunno ’ – Anita Panda
“The best things to do with the best things in life is to give them away.”- Dorothy Day
Empowering the needy, the selfless act of giving to the under-privileged sections of society and contributing towards their social upliftment is an essential humane act. An individual and collective responsibility for us all. ‘The Joy of Giving Week’ (JGW) by ‘Daan Utsav’- the “festival of philanthropy”, aims at such acts of lending money, time, resources & skills, covering NGOS, corporates, schools, colleges and general public pan-India in October.
‘Akshara’, a Mumbai-based women’s rights and non-profit organization, kick-started its own unique initiative towards this cause, by organising a clothes collection drive for ‘Daan Utsav’. This was followed by a grand exhibition-cum-sale for young women (16-22 years) from low income communities. The exhibition was held on October 20th, 2018, at Savitribai Phule Gender Resource Centre (SPGRC) in Elphinstone, Mumbai.
Most of the girls come from families where the average monthly income is between Rs. 5000 to 1000/-. The clothes were given away at very modest prices, ranging between Rs. 10-150 making it affordable for these young women, who aspire to own trendy clothes and look well-groomed. Not to forget how this infuses them with a sense of independence & self-respect when they go to colleges, for internships and jobs. What makes this a praise-worthy initiative, is that the sale proceeds go for medical and health needs of these girls.
Mumbaiites from all over from the marginalised sections of society, flocked in the sweltering heat to donate clothes.
Akhina, Program officer at Akshara says, “To celebrate Daan Utsav, the exhibition cum sale was a brainchild of the entire Akshara team. The girls share with us their financial problems, struggling to make ends meet and the desire to own and wear trendy clothes, instrumental for their social image and grooming at schools, colleges & workplaces Keeping that same reality in mind, we decided to organize this.”
Neelam Maurya, 20, is an Akshara volunteer, pursuing M.Com, Part 1, Mumbai University. Daughter of a vegetable vendor in Dadar, she says- “This is an excellent human empowerment drive to aid girls, who can now aspire to buy expensive clothes at affordable prices with their own money. It enhances their self-respect and social image & is an amazing platform for attracting and connecting with many such females.”
Karuna Chauhan, 18, an Akshara volunteer studying B.Com, 1styear says:- “Such events are an amazing initiative not just to get affordable attire at nominal prices but also trains us into the fundamentals of organising such exhibitions and improve our marketing skills.”
Being a part of this exciting, dynamic event; I was thrilled to discover the first-hand infectious enthusiasm and joy of giving for a cause. Kudos to Daan Utsav for taking the initiative of helping people realize the importance of donations and philanthropy.
Seeing Akshara Centre tap into the infinite power of giving and manifesting this joy was a delight and hope we can see many more such initiatives in the future.