Eight year-old Rahul Singh tries on a pair of footwear from a road side rack that he finds to his liking and that fits and then looks up the wall that has a banner that says “neki ki deewar” or wall of happiness, and salutes.
The “wall of kindness” on which people donate unwanted clothing, footwear, and even household items, are picked up by impoverished and needy people like Rahul, a slumdweller.
The idea started in the north-eastern Iranian city of Mashhad, where someone installed a few hooks and hangers on a wall, next to the words: “If you don’t need it, leave it. If you need it, take it.”
Borrowing the idea of kindness and charity, Adarsh Yog Adhyatmik Kendra –a group of residents from the Kolar neighbourhood of the city– started the concept a week back.
The group, however, wishes to remain anonymous as the banner on the wall does not either give an address or a phone number.
Sunil Singh, one of the members of the group inspired by concept of acts of kindness in Iran, suggested that a similar concept be installed in Bhopal, says Mahesh Agrawal, a member of the group.
“Initially, we are not expecting much response but we are extremely happy that people are responding spontaneously, says Agrawal.
“Needy people are encouraged to collect and keep donated items left behind and with the success of the concept, we are planning to install more ‘walls of kindness’ in other neighbourhoods of the city,” he says.
The concept has not only brought happiness among slum children of the Swarna Jayanti Park neighbourhood but also to the homeless people living on city streets, he says.
“Within two days after the banner was put up on the wall, people spontaneously started donating clothes, footwear, lunch boxes, used plastic cans, plastic bottles and even exercise books and pens.”
In the last five days, more than 100 people have come forward to donate items that they no long use, says Sumitra, a roadside fruit vendor who looks after the “wall of kindness”.
“People, especially youngsters like the concept,” she says.
“First they come to inquire about the concept and then they come back with things to donate. In the evening, groups of children from the neighbouring slum come to see what they can use. If they get something they want they take it home and are happy.”
Raghvendra Sharma, a student said, “I really liked the idea of brining happiness to people through charity. I donated a T-shirt that I hardly wear and am happy that it will be useful for someone.”