At a time when Australians are viewed with suspicion for racism against Indians Down Under, it's good to hear of some who have decided to support a charitable cause in Vrindavan, India.
Vivek Oberoi, who has initiated Project Devi for girls and is in the process of expanding his Sandipan Muni Vidyalaya there, has roped in three Australians to further his cause.
On a recent trip to Delhi, Oberoi met an Australian social worker. During the course of the conversation, the social worker pledged his support to Oberoi's school and convinced his two friends, an IT engineer and a teacher, to join in.
A friend of Oberoi reveals that the actor's association with the cause first began during a holiday in London last year. Oberoi learnt that his driver, a Croatian named Kanha (Krishna), was associated with a cause for girls in Vrindavan.
The actor was apparently moved when he learnt that these girls came from broken homes and were forced to work hard and couldn't afford proper meals.
"The girls would walk far to fetch just one pot of water which wasn't good enough for drinking and cooking. We approached mothers to send their daughters to our school, where we would also give them proper meals and education. Pumps have been set up with pipelines so they don't have to walk long distances. Today, about 1,200 children study at the school and Vivek is planning to raise the capacity to 3,000 children," explains the actor's friend, adding that they also have a computer department to impart basic education in computers to the students.
Apart from this, Oberoi has also adopted a family of five where the father is suffering from cancer. "Vivek became emotional when the younger girl just wouldn't smile. He spent considerable time with the family and explained his plans to them. This year, he went to Vrindavan to celebrate Holi and was glad to see the family, particularly the girls, all dressed up with make-up and in cheerful spirits," says the friend.
When called to talk about his cause, Oberoi said, "It's all because of Kanha, the Croatian guy I met in London. He had visited India and traveled to Vrindavan where he met a social worker called Raghunath. That's how they started working towards a school for girls."
About roping in the three Australians for his project, Oberoi says, "This will only add to the quality of education we provide at the school. In the coming months, we want to add classes up to the 10th standard and then 12th also. At first, the kids wanted to become teachers when they grew up, now they want to become engineers, doctors and even journalists. I've already spoken to a couple of institutes for a certain reservation for students who pass out from our school."