As kids, many of us aspired to do something big and bring about a positive change in the society. Now that we’re all grown up, we still wish to help but are not sure where to begin. In this age of Facebook activism, it’s easy to feel associated with a cause by simply liking, sharing and well… forgetting! But that isn’t going to help.
If you truly want to give back, here’s what you can do:
1. Shop Local
Only 14% of the hefty price we pay for flaunting those branded apparels stays within the community, given out as salaries to the local staff. The rest goes back to the foreign brand we are obsessed with.
Whereas if we were to shop local, about 50% of our money would stay in the community.
So don’t turn a blind eye to how the mall culture has marred our economy. You can help someone keep a job, have food on their table, pay for their kid’s education and a lot more, by just making the choice to shop local.
2. Make Someone Tech-Savvy
For 18-year-old Chaitanya, helping people understand technology is almost a mission.
“Our maid couldn’t use ATMs, an elderly neighbour couldn’t make a Skype call to his children, and my mother couldn’t book a cab or recharge her number in times of emergency! I decided to teach them how to do it, no matter how unwilling they were. I bet their lives are easier now,” he says.
Internet and technology are no longer a luxury – they’re a necessity for day-to-day functions. The less privileged and the elderly have no one to teach them about it, so step in and do your bit.
3. Give a Treat to Street Kids
Organised begging in India is a reality we cannot escape. Be it the streets, railway stations, markets or eating joints, you’ll find these kids everywhere, and giving them money is not the solution.
Bhawna Giroh, a 27-year-old teacher, advises, “Avoid giving them money – they might not actually get a penny out of it if they’re a part of some racket. In worse cases, they might end up using it to buy drugs or tobacco!”
“Buy them food instead, since most of them go through the day without a single meal. That’s something they need and that’s what nobody can take away from them. Your heart will melt looking at their animated faces!”
4. Sponsor Someone’s Education
“Despite being a minority school, my principal made sure that every child received quality education irrespective of his/her socioeconomic background,” says Shivani (name changed).
“So when I started working, I felt responsible for taking her mission forward by doing whatever I could to support the concessions provided to children, whose families are finding it difficult to support their education.
“I feel this is the most ennobling thing anyone can do, because they’re giving them the means to sustain their life!”
5. Work for Animal Shelters
Love and care for animals? Then do your bit for the animal community.
Keith Gomes, 23, an English teacher, recently volunteered for Friendicoes. “An animal can’t voice the issue of the distaste with which it is treated. In such a case then, like humankind has always done, a few must take a step and do what feels right.”
“It’s true – you haven’t loved if you’ve not loved an animal,” he adds.
6. Visit an Old Age Home
Support need not always be financial. In this age of dysfunctional families and broken relationships, it is the elderly who are left behind and alone.
If you could spare an hour or two from your week to go and speak to them, you’d be surprised at how happy they’ll be (and how wise they’ll make you).
Step out and make a difference because giving happiness to others will only multiply yours.
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