Abhay Deol recently came across Butterflies, an NGO that works with street children. He was intrigued by their concept of a Children’s Khazana that urged these kids to bank their earnings in a safe place. “The manager of the bank is a 12-year-old Delhi girl who urges her friends to save and re-invest for their future,” says the actor-turned-social activist, who did an event with them in Delhi, and is planning one in Mumbai. Currently, he is using Facebook to spread awareness about the group’s initiatives that includes a mobile school that drives to the kids.
Abhay is also working with an international media and human rights NGO, Video Volunteers, which trains farmers, housewives and daily wage labourers to shoot and edit a video on any issue affecting their lives. At the end of the month, during a one-day festival, these films are screened to build public opinion.
“Some of them have also been shown to local authorities to get a policy change or permission for a much-needed road,” he points out. “My favourite video is the one made by a woman working in the fields who successfully campaigning to get wages equal to men for her female co-workers. It’s all about empowering people,” say the actor. Abhay points out that even though many of these people are from small town and don’t have fancy degrees, they have the requisite training, are well-spoken and feisty. “Some day, I'd like to see them as local reporters on TV,” he says.