Can a bunch of people make this world a better place? Yes!
Ever felt like changing the society for better, but also felt that your contribution might be too small to make any difference? Well, here are a few people who are changing lives. No act is too small, here’s inspiration.Updated: Jan 04, 2019 12:50 IST
We all want to live in a kinder, more loving and happier society. While many just desire so, there are many others who do their bit to make this world a better place. Offering a cup of tea to cheer someone up to treating people for free, and giving homeless a warm home — there is plenty that people are doing and you could join them, too, in the coming year, to draw satisfaction from someone’s smile.
A loving home for the homeless and abandoned
Ravi Kalra was recently invited to the finales of Kaun Banega Crorepati, by none other than actor Amitabh Bachchan, for his work for the abandoned. “I won ₹25 lakh but Bachchan sir donated another ₹50 lakh to our NGO, Earth Saviours Foundation. He is such a humble person. He refused to stand in between during the photo session and asked me to take his position and said, I deserve this,” says Kalra.
He has spent the money to improve the infrastructure of his ashram and has paid the salaries of his staff. “Around 400 elderly people stay in my ashram. Most of them have been abandoned by their families, most of them on road. We take care of their food, clothes and day-to-day living. My presence at the show has inspired and motivated my staff. This is the best thing. Earlier, I was looking for ways to pump them up. They have to deal with several issues. Since, a lot of oldies are mentally challenged, they abuse and hit the people around them. The appreciation from across the country has filled my staff with new energy,” says Kalra, whose shelter if located in Gurgaon.
Despite doing this wonderful job of giving the homeless a home, he was accused of running a kidney and blood racket by neighbours initially. Yet, he continued with his “sewa”. “If you are true to your seva, don’t feel scared and harassed. There will be a time when God will be with you,” signs off Kalra.
Now, many have joined him in giving these people a better life. Tavishi Singh, 15-year-old student from Gurugram, has has installed rainwater harvesting system at Kalra’s NGO. Her initiative is helping the foundation to meet their daily water needs.
The Khichdi group
This is a group of 25 people who prepare khichdi to distribute it among the needy, like “patients who can’t eat a proper meal but need something healthy”. “First we tried to understand the need of someone who is old, ill and on medication. There are many gurudwaras that serve food, but it mostly daal-roti. Those suffering from cancer can’t eat it. So, we thought of donating khichdi prepared in desi ghee with prime quality rice and lentils. It’s easy to digest, good for kids, healthy for cancer patients and old people,” says Meera Goswami,a member of the group.
Each member of the group collects ₹2000 at the beginning of every month. They donate khichdi every alternate day (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) at Gate No. 5 of AIIMS Metro Station. “Giri gurudwara at Kalka Ji prepare it for us. We pay them and they do it happily,” adds Goswami. The group has also decided to celebrate Christmas with the kids living on the footpaths near AIIMS and Sardarjung Hospital. “We will distribute new clothes, warmers, footwears, toys and other items to the kids to make their Christmas cheerful. People are most welcome to join in,” says Goswami.
Serving hot tea
What can a cuppa of tea not do! It can surely cheer up any person. That’s what these 45 people have been doing for the last seven years, everyday of the week — serving hot tea with biscuits and rusk to around 800-900 people everyday at AIIMS. “This was started by me and a friend of mine, Paramjeet Singh Bunty. We saw people outside the hospital living without food and water, waiting for their turn. In 2009, we started distributing food
every Wednesday and in 2011, we started serving tea every morning. We’ve continued doing both till date,” says Parminder Singh, aka Lucky.
An act of kindness
In the tech-savvy world, where there is an app for everything, now, there is one for good deeds, too. Designed by a group of youngsters, the app known as Black Lotus focuses on spreading compassion, kindness, humility and love. “There are lot of people who want to help the community. Through this app, they can do it. Anyone can join this free app, ask questions, discuss problems. It promotes acts of kindness, motivate and support each other. It shows that with collective responsibility, we can bring about change. It spreads love and kindness,” says Shelly Singh, who is one of the founders of the app. Random Act of Kindness (RAK) is a section of the app, that asks the users to help others. It also offers suggestions on how one can help strangers, colleagues, family members, and the environment.
It has other features too, and meditation is one of them. “Sine we all lead a stressful life, 10-15 minutes of quality meditation can calm us down. There are music tracks of devotion and relaxation, blogs, and videos in both Hindi and English language,” she says.
One needle at a time
Health is wealth. That wealth is what an acupuncturist of international acclaim, Dr Sunil Kumar, is out and about to spread. His reputation for having healed all sorts of diseases and ailments — acute, chronic or seasonal — has taken him all over the world from Europe to the US. And those hoping to get treated by acupuncture (an alternative medicine in which thin needles are inserted into the body at specific points or acupoints) flock to him from all over the world to his Safdarjung Enclave centre. Despite being one of the busiest in the field, he takes out time to treat those in need. “No one should suffer because they can’t afford the treatment,” says Dr Kumar, whose work has earned him the moniker ‘the needle man’. His clinic, as a policy, doesn’t have a reception or helpers charging money. “If I can do it, then mustn’t I! I have wanted to and believed in helping and building society, even as a child. I have been practising for 23 years and I have attended around 300 patients every day. There is no reception at my hospital, people come, get treated and pay me whatever they can manage,” says Dr Kumar, who sometimes give money from his own pocket to patients who can’t afford two square meals or the fare back home.
He had taken a vow to heal one lakh patients for free when he was starting out. “From kiln workers to sweepers and those staying in the remote areas — lakhs have been treated and the count is still on,” says Dr Kumar, who continues to change lives for better and has inspired many.
Turning barren lands into green fields
Little drops of water makes the mighty ocean. With that philosophy, Vimlendu Jha, environmentalist along with a group of volunteers turned a barren piece of land into a fruit forest. And now two-and-a-half years since initiative’s inception in June 2015, the piece of land near the DC residence in Gurugram has 2500 trees and shrubs growing with varieties of citrus plants, such as oranges, mausami, apart from sitaphal, guava, mangoes, lemon, gooseberry, shahtoot, anjeer, among others.
“With trees being chopped everywhere, this is the power of volunteers where we were able to not just plant but have the forest survive. The idea is to showcase the possibility of change. Although there was anxiety and fear that one day the land will be diverted for something, the local staff has been very active in ensuring all of it survived. The new Gurugram DC[ Vinay Pratap Singh] has been extremely helpful, too,” says Jha.One can also watch out for the butterfly garden, plants of medicinal value, native trees at the forest. The ambience and the air quality is also better.
(With Inputs from Naina Arora)
First Published: Jan 04, 2019 12:12 IST