This post is also waiting since a long time to feature on Confused Soul. It is related to an event on the very next week to our Vaishno Devi trip. I and some of my friends did some community work that weekend. We went to some slums and provided those people a good meal and some old cloths.
It was started with a discussion with Namrata, that I want to do some community work and that time the idea was only to give a proper meal to underprivileged people. So she suggested to include more guys in the mission and a mail was sent by me on March 12th, 2009. The response was tremendous, though some people were not able to present physically but their support was no less than other’s. Also in a response, Bhavya tossed the idea of donating old but wearable clothes to those guys.
We had plans for Sunday (March 29) to do this exercise but a lot of things were pending a few days back. We weren't decided on menu for the day, also some calls were to be made: 1) Go to some slums or orphanage 2) Donate cloths in slums or take help of ‘Goonj’ guys (For uninitiated, ‘Goonj’ is an NGO, which collects old cloths and donate those to the needy.) and 3) Collecting old clothes.
For closing all this, we made an agenda and there was a huge chaos on that. We were divided on going to slums or Orphanages/Goonj. The things, which fell in slums favour was the real needy people. The things, which fell in orphanage favour was easy management. Finally after a lot of discussions, all of us were unanimous on going to slums. This decision inherited a new task of identifying the slum area. Bhatti and I were given the task to identify a place which is manageable and worth going. Another area was to decide a menu for the event. I wanted to include milk in the menu so that it can give some nourishment to malnourished children as well as adults. But this was cornered as earlier experiences showed that these guys are not able to preserve the milk and later on they would use that spoiled milk, which may result in diseases. For clothes collection, we requested our neighbours and colleagues to join in the mission by donating their old but wearable clothes. And we got a tremendous response.
On Saturday, I and Bhatti went in the search of a suitable slum for the event. We came across a huge slum in the way but both of us thought that this will be unmanageable coz of its size and our limited resources. So we skipped the idea to go there and zeroed in on a smaller one nearby. At that time I was worried coz we were not able to collect enough clothes by that evening. But after many efforts, when we collected all the donated clothes at one place, I was overwhelmed by seeing the amount.
Now, the stage was set and we were ready for the noble mission. Everyone gathered at my place by 9:00 AM and by that time we were ready with the food items and clothes. At that time it was a lil raining and that scared us. But even God was with us and the rain stopped as we started our journey to the chosen slum. We went there but got a bit disappointed coz all the men were already left for work. But still there were a fair amount of people, who got a proper breakfast from us and also some clothes.
When we were done with that place we saw that only a fraction of food and clothes was consumed and everybody there was given more than enough amounts of the items. So keeping statistics in mind, we headed for that huge slum, which we discarded the previous day coz of its size. To our surprise, after serving those slum residents and some outsiders we were still left with a lot of clothes. So we headed for a temple and decided to donate the residual there. Finally, we were done after around 2 hours from start.
After that we gathered again at my place, where we had our breakfast (same, what we donated) and discussed about the events. Gauri played some songs on guitar for us. It is still debatable if he was actually playing or trying to play: D. Overall, it was a great experience and a lot of things were learnt for future events like these.
- Never, go to a temple for such a donation. Our experience revealed that those people are not needy but GREEDY.
- Also, if you really want to help children and stuck between orphanage and slum then go for slums. The reason is that the orphanages are already in continuous support for corporates and other big guns.
- Always have some guys, who are able to control the crowd. Otherwise, no one let you do the thing you want and you will see that neither you donated nor you are left with anything to donate.
- If you are deciding between food-items and meal, think about it. Both have their own pros and cons. With a meal, you will have the satisfaction that everybody is having that meal in front of your eyes. And they will not resell that to the shopkeeper which is possible in case of packaged food-items. But with food-items, you can provide them several meals in place of just one. So choice is yours.