Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Helping the destitute

About five years ago, I don’t exactly recall when, I was out on a nice evening stroll with my wife in Chennai. As we were walking, we were curious to see why there was a lot of commotion in one of the houses. I thought some kid was probably celebrating his/her birthday. On coming closer, we realized that there were around thirty kids screaming and playing, and at the entrance was a board that read “Sarvodaya Vidyalaya” (I hope I got the name right) – a home for orphans and destitute children. I was blessed with a son just a few months ago, and my heart stopped for a moment looking at these kids. We walked in to check how we could help these kids. They were running low on their stock of rice. On the way back home, we made sure that the home got a few bags of rice and that is how things started. I soon moved to Delhi but I made a point to support this cause in whatever manner I could. I make it a point to do something for those children at least once or twice a year. On the first few occasions, it was more and more bags of rice. About a year back, I asked them what they would like to have and the conversation really opened my eyes. I realized that these were kids and had all kinds of wants and needs like my own, from toys to crackers to stationery to school uniforms. On that instance, I ended up giving them cloth for uniforms to be stitched for about 30 kids. I try doing my bit personally whenever I can. I also try to see how my association with Pearson can bring in some assistance. For example, I have tried discussing the possibility of donating some children’s books to these kids for free in some internal meetings and forums. It’s not much, but I am hoping that if I win the prize, the money can contribute more for the cause. I would love the laughter and joy of these children when they get new shoes or toys or books or clothes or maybe a field trip to the Chennai museum and beach.