I was always socially aware and liked to reach out wherever possible to help in any way. But the 26/11 attacks changed the way I looked at life. It was at that point of time that I made up my mind to do something for my nation and help my countrymen in whichever way I could.
The old phrase goes, ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step,’ but someone has to take that ‘one step’. I decided to take mine. I started collecting old newspapers, so that I could sell them and raise funds that could be donated to any needy person. My neighbours and friends too pitched in with scrap papers. Then I asked my close friends Siddharth Popat and Jash Doshi to join in and they did. The money that we collected was used to help a needy student who wanted to pursue chartered accountancy. We helped him by issuing a pay order in the name of the institution for registration.
Initially, we could collect around 200-300 kg/month and today we are able to collect 1500-2000 kg/month. It was not easy in the initial stages to convince people. None of the societies in our locality allowed us to do scrap collection but we managed getting permission from a few. As we started collecting more money, we wanted to keep a proper account and do it in a more organised way and that is how the idea of forming a Trust was floated.
We wanted our accounts to be audited and file the returns on time. The most important thing was to open a bank account from where all the transactions could take place. The most touching moment was the Charity Commissioner’s comment when he saw us for the first time at the time of registering our Trust. He said, “Are you all the trustees? This is the first time I am seeing such young trustees who are keen to do good deeds and coming with the aim of helping our country. Keep it up.”
After we made Deeds Of Kindeness a legally registered Trust, people started believing in us. Housing societies, which earlier denied us permission for collection of scrap papers now encouraged us and helped. Many others too are helping us in whatever way they can. Some give us donations while some give their inputs to do better. Our Trust helps anyone who is in need, it might be a student needing help for education or anyone who needs money for medical treatment. No applicants are given any cash. The requirement is fulfilled by issuing a cheque in the name of school or medical institution as the case may be.
We are planning to expand the collection area. We cover different areas on different Sundays. We do collection on the 1st, 2nd and on the 4th Sunday. On the third Sunday we conduct events to raise awareness. We often try to get feedback personally when we go for collection regarding our activities or any improvement needed in our collection process.
We are planning to bring more and more youngsters from our locality and other areas to take part in the cause. The more people we will have for collection the more we will be able to help people. We would also like to conduct awareness campaigns in future, such as rain water harvesting, awareness about skin donation, awareness about stem cell donation, etc. We are also planning more tie ups with different schools and colleges to help maximum number of students. We are also planning to organise events in association with different NGOs.
These activities have given us immense satisfaction and a proud feeling to be able to contribute to the society. I believe every youth in our country should take active part in the matters which affect the society and their locality. I would like to ask the youth of the country, is that “WE ARE DOING OUR BIT, ARE YOU????”