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Lighting up lives

From scrap paper collection drives to solar lanterns and special parties for the underprivileged, student groups have adopted innovative causes to make a difference this Diwali.

mumbai Updated: Oct 24, 2011 00:53 IST
Sucharita Kanjilal
Sucharita Kanjilal
Hindustan Times

The students from the National Service Scheme (NSS) unit of DJ Sanghvi College of Engineering have had a busy week.

Last Sunday, through an initiative known as ‘Deeds of Kindness’, 60 students, including volunteers and NSS committee members went door-to-door at a large housing society in Kandivli collecting old newspapers and magazines, collecting nearly 2500 kg of scrap.

“After we collected all the papers, we sold it to a raddiwala (scrap dealer), and will be using the money for various causes that we take up in the future,” said Sagar Vora, 19, vice-chairman of the NSS unit.

“Residents of the society were extremely enthusiastic and impressed by our idea. They also gave us 300 kg of old clothes, toys and books, which we donated to a home for mentally challenged children in Borivli.”

The team used some of the money they collected to provide a special lunch to cancer patients from the Tata Memorial Hospital and will be saving the rest to sponsor the education of needy children.

“We are making sure that we avoid giving money directly to non-government organisations as we cannot be sure what use they might put it to. Instead, ask them what they need it for, and provide that directly.”

The festive season is the right time, according to students, to reach out and spread joy among the less fortunate. On Thursday, members of the Rotaract Club of HR College, Churchgate organised their annual event ‘Utsav’ wherein they held a special Dandiya night for the students of Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Tardeo. Over 100 visually impaired students gathered on their school grounds, for an evening of dinner and dancing.

“We gave out special awards for the best dressed, best dancer and so on. We also had a special chief guest, Samir Munshi, a visually-challenged doctor who spoke on overcoming adversity,” said Amit Jethwani, 19, a member of the club.

For the students of Cathedral and John Connon School, Fort, the Diwali vacation is an ideal time to boost an existing project. A team of five Class 12 students from the school runs a venture known as Illuminating Indian Lives, which provides solar power lanterns to remote villages at highly subsidised costs.

“We have managed to collect over Rs25 lakh and distributed 3500 lamps through corporate and individual sponsorships,” said Hriday Munim, 17. “Since we will be leaving school this year, we are setting up corporate appointments for our juniors during the vacations so that they can continue the project. We are keen to continue our project as it has been a great success and helped bring light to villages without electricity.”

First Published: Oct 24, 2011 00:48 IST