Wealth from waste: Charity begins with your unused junk

  • Swati Goel Sharma, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Nov 09, 2014 22:18 IST

If you thought your defunct transistor or outdated laptop is only worth a few hundreds of rupees in the scrap market, think again, for it might fund a lesser-privileged child his school uniform or a poor patient his medicines.

An initiative by a group of Sikh boys does just that – they repair your household junk, mostly electronic, and sell it to raise money for social causes.

Manpreet Singh, 32, a businessman, who came up with the idea, said: “We have tied up with 25 Gurdwaras for the initiative. We have got a space earmarked where residents can donate their scrap. Every weekend, the team segregates the junk. The irreparable stuff is sold off to a scrap dealer, while products that can be repaired are given to repair shops. We then sell it to people through dealers.”

The members, who volunteer for a non-profit Gurmat Prachar Charitable Trust, offer receipts for the donations.

This week, Gurdwara Singh Sahib, Sion-Koliwada -- from where the initiative was kicked off in January -- received a sewing machine, and an old DVD player. “We have received several other products such as ovens and washing machines,” said Singh.

Manmeet Singh, a resident of GTB Nagar, Sion, who donated a 21-inch television set last week, said, “The project has become extremely popular in the community. People who had stored things just for the sake of preserving memories are finally parting with them.”

Instead of donating the cash to organisations, the team directly approaches the underprivileged with the things they need. They seek the help of Guru Singh Sabha, the central community body for Sikhs, to find out such people and places.

Dilip Singh, member of the charitable dispensary Baba Jivan Singh Medical Centre in Sion, said, “We received a bulk of medicine from the team a few months ago, which helped us recover our costs as we offer medicines at subsidized rates. The team also sponsored a blood camp in September, where 74 people donated blood.”

Good samaritans
When the project, informally termed as From Waste to Wealth, was proposed, the first donation was 300 pairs of branded sports shoes with minor defects by a well-to-do shoe dealer in Sion

“We sold them on the footpath outside a Gurdwara, and raised Rs 30,000 in a day. Soon, we received scores of shirts and women’s bags from a dealer in Bandra. That really encouraged us to do it regularly,” said Gurmeet Singh, 30, a businessman who co-founded the project

Manmohan Singh of Guru Singh Sabha, the central community body for Sikhs, said, “People are quite encouraged to donate under this innovative initiative.”

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