Donate, don't discard

Shabana Azmi on a nationwide drive to facilitate clothes for street kids.

entertainment Updated: Oct 05, 2010 14:12 IST
Jayeeta Mazumder
Jayeeta Mazumder
Hindustan Times

Have an old pair of jeans under your pile of new clothes? Donate it to Ek Jodi Kapda, a month-and-a-half long drive that starts today, and aims to tend to the basic needs of the less fortunate.

Shabana Azmi, who launches the initiative, is the first one to donate clothes to the drive. She has also been spreading word through Twitter to fetch support from commoners and Bollywood personalities.

The campaign, spearheaded by voluntary organisation Goonj, involves placing cartons in over a thousand dealer outlets across 200 cities, and deploying road vans to collect clothes. Urban households and schools are also being encouraged to give away wearable clothes.

Azmi says, "The campaign research reported a girl who used to sleep next to a corpse for warmth. It was such a telling comment on the plight of street children who don't have decent clothes to wear. 'Kapda' (clothes) is considered only in times of disaster, but it's a basic requirement, just like 'roti' (food) and 'makaan' (shelter)."

She also mentions Mijwan Welfare Society that her late father, poet Kaifi Azmi, had started in the Mijwan village in Azamgarh and which works towards empowerment of the girl child.

Name game
Does associating with a popular personality give a social cause much-need boost? "Of course," says Azmi.

"I know that my colleagues who do any charitable work make a commitment. They practise what they believe in. This way, a celebrity gets sensitised and modifies behavioural changes."

And has she garnered Bollywood's support for the nationwide movement yet?

"I'm sure many would come forward. My appeal to people is donate; do not dump old, out-of-fashion clothes. It's a delight to see these poor kids running around in Benetton sweaters," Azmi says.

The actor, who is also actively into theatre, says that any medium of art can be an instrument of social change.

"It can create a climate of sensitivity. I'm going for a month-long tour of my play, Broken Images, in the US in 14 cities and I'll be doing shows for a New Jersey-based NGO called Bitiya. It works in India towards girl empowerment and our shows will help raise funds there too," Azmi says.

First Published: Oct 05, 2010 14:11 IST