Avantika Deepak did not receive any toys or gifts when she celebrated her 11th birthday in January. Instead, the Bandra resident asked friends and relatives to donate cash as part of an online initiative, ‘Share My Cake’, to raise money for a not-for-profit organisation that works for children’s education.
You too can sign up to pledge a percentage of the cash gifts you receive towards a social cause. “There has been a paradigm shift in how individuals want to contribute to a cause,” said Anuradha Parekh, co-founder of The Better India, a website that highlights social work. “They are willing to go the extra mile by engaging in activities to raise money to get a sense of having made a difference,” she added.
“I started this system of gifting after I realised that most birthday gifts remain unused and that the money can be put to better use,” said Lakyntina Lakshmanan from Chennai. The initiative, which was started last year, has seen 130 registrations so far.
Deepak’s family is not the only one taking the path less trodden to help raise funds for not-for-profit organisations. Somasekhar Sundaresan, 39, a city-based lawyer, will scale Mount Kun, the second highest peak of the Himalayan Range, next month to raise money for Yuva, that works with the urban poor.
Sundaresan signed up with Oxfam India for the expedition and is hoping to raise more than the Rs16 lakh that he had raised from his trek to Sudarshan Parbat last year. “I am an ardent mountaineer and am happy that I can raise money from it,” said Sundaresan, who was inspired by Ian Botham, a former cricketer who raises money through similar activities.
Pervez Parakh, 71, has also merged passion with charity. The retired doctor from Worli uses his “Saigal-like” voice to charm friends, relatives and neighbours to raise money for not-for-profit organisations. “For the last few years, I have been recording popular songs and distributing the CDs to people asking them to contribute for a cause,” said Parakh.
In 2010, Parakh raised Rs 1 lakh for Child Rights and You (CRY). In February, a four-member team from the US Consulate, Mumbai, raised Rs 25 lakh at Oxfam India’s Trailwalker event by walking 100km in 31 hours. “While it was physically challenging, it was a good feeling to contribute for a cause,” said Roland Minez, vice consul, US Consulate.