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#TBIYearEnders: 10 Times Social Media Came Together in 2018 To Make Things Better!

It has certainly been a busy year for social media users. There have been several reasons for the virtual world to come together and help each other. Whether it was the Kerala floods or the #MeToo movement – social media platforms have been abuzz with activity.

“Don’t use social media to impress people, use it to impact people.”

Truer words have not been spoken, especially since we are all, in one way or another, living our lives on social networking sites.

It has certainly been a busy year for social media users. There have been several reasons for the virtual world to come together and help each other. Whether it was the Kerala floods or the #MeToo movement – social media platforms have been abuzz with activity.

We, at The Better India, have put together a list of 10 such times when social media users came together in 2018 to work for a better India.

10. One post, ten days and 400 umbrellas

Some of the donated umbrellas.

Even if you didn’t live in Mumbai, you would know of the rains and how they bring the maximum city to a halt. This year was no different.

While on his way to work on one such rainy day, Mumbai-based IT professional Vimal Cherangattu was asked for his umbrella by a little girl who was on the streets, begging. Vimal gave her the umbrella, and it was only then that he noticed that the girl was drenched from head to toe.

Without wanting to stop at that one umbrella, he made a PowerPoint slide and put it up on social media, requesting others to come forward and donate umbrellas.

They say kindness begets kindness and before he knew it, he had crossed the initial mark of 100 umbrellas he had hoped to collect. Within ten days, he had managed to collect 400 umbrellas.

You could read more about this here.

9. Rs 16 lakh raised in just six hours

The grandparents
Photo Source

There is nothing greater than the act of giving. And such an act should be based on a sense of humility, of modesty–echoing the saying that the right hand should not know of the deeds of the left.

When I read stories about strangers across states coming together to raise about Rs 16 lakh in just six hours to fund the surgery for a little girl, I am proud to be using these platforms.

In was a post by the child’s 70-year-old grandfather. He spoke of all the hardships that the family underwent. His emotional plea struck a chord with many online, and that, in turn, resulted in an outpouring of financial assistance.

In a few days, they managed to collect Rs 2 lakh more than their target amount.

You can read all about it here.

8. Homeless Oxford graduate finds home

Raja Singh
Photo Source

For 76-year-old Raja Singh Phull, a chance encounter with Avinash Singh changed the course of his life.

Raja Singh, a resident of the streets of the national capital, had gotten used to a life of struggle. A conversation he had with Avinash led to his story being shared on Facebook and the rest as they was history. Avinash took to social media to highlight the plight of this senior citizen.

Avinash mentioned how Raja Singh moved to Mumbai and started a business with his brother. The business didn’t take off, and his brother also died due to his excessive drinking habit. With nowhere to go, Raja Singh stayed on in India.

In just five days, the post went viral, and Raja Singh found himself a shelter at the Guru Nanak Sukhshala Nursing Home in New Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi, thanks to the graciousness of members of the online community.

He continues to live there and has also undergone a surgery for the pain in his knees.

You can read all about it here.

7. Daughter of vegetable vendor funded for college

For representative purposes.
Photo Source

They say it takes a village to raise a child; this is perhaps true even when one grows up.

For an 18-year-old who managed to clinch a seat at Bharati College, an affiliate of the Delhi University, it was perhaps a dream come true. Unfortunately, though, her financial condition did not allow her to secure the admission.

A professor of the college, Nandini Sen, chose to highlight her plight in a post on Facebook. In about half an hour, they had managed to collect the entire fee amount. With the Principal leading from the front, they had students and professors contribute for the cause.

You can read all about it here.

6. Abandoned baby girl finds a home

For representational purpose
Photo Source

You might remember this case of a baby girl being abandoned in a dustbin on the Moradabad-Agra Highway. While this, unfortunately, occurs often in India, this little girl was fortunate to be rescued.

There were some local dailies that carried this story and a social media post that went viral. The officials at the Child Welfare Committee, where the child was taken, were inundated with phone calls offering to adopt the child.

These are the instances when one realises the potential that both print and social media can yield.

While the hunt for her biological parents is still on, the child has been rescued and has found a home.

You can read all about it here.

5. From being a labourer to a singer

Rajesh Unni

For 30-year-old Rajesh, singing was something he did to keep himself and others around him in good spirits. Little did he know that one video of him singing ‘Unnai Kaanadhu Naan’ from Kamal Haasan’s movie, Vishwaroopam, would result in him even getting the opportunity to speak to industry bigwigs like Shankar Mahadevan.

Rajesh’s friend, Shameer, shot the video and posted it on Facebook. Before they knew it, the video had over 3 lakh views and close to a million shares.

Sitting in London for a project, Shankar Mahadevan heard the song and contacted Rajesh. He not just appreciated his singing but also urged him to move to Chennai to collaborate on future projects.

They say what’s meant to be will always find its way – looking at Rajesh, that rings true.

You can read all about it here.

4. Indian football captain turns to social media

Sunil Chhetri thanking fans after the match. (Source: AIFF Media)
Sunil Chhetri thanking fans after the match. Photo Source

Sunil Chhetri is no stranger to the world of social media. There is not a day when this youth icon does not share a photo online. However, in a video, he made a plea to all Indian supporters to support the team by coming in large numbers.

In the heartfelt appeal, he invited even non-football fans and promised them a match they would always remember. So powerful was this honest video by Chhetri that Nikunj Lotia, a YouTuber from Mumbai, decided to buy an entire stand for the match. Various other sporting celebrities also joined hands to encourage people to watch the match and support the team.

That match against Kenya also happened to be Sunil Chhetri’s 100th match for the country – a truly memorable one. Stories like this surely make us believe in the amount of good that social media is capable of doing.

You can read all about it here.

3. Jhansi cop-mom goes viral

Photo Source

We are well aware of the work conditions that cops have to deal with, day in and day out. In such a situation, a cop from Jhansi was taking her six-month-old to work because she had no family support in Jhansi, where she was posted. It was a senior police official who highlighted this.

While netizens applauded her sincerity and dedication, it did not stop there. There was an outpouring on social media, urging the authorities to have her posted closer to home, so she would have some help in raising her child. Paying heed to these suggestions, she was not just transferred to Agra (closer home), but also triggered the idea of setting up a crèche for other women cops like herself.

This is certainly a right step forward.

You can read all about it here.

2. The viral photo of stork leads to its rescue

The rescued stork.

The harms of plastic for animals is not a secret. We have all seen at least one video of how the discarded plastic gets stuck in the animal’s throat, nose, and beak – and how painful it is for them.

One such powerful image was of a stork in Gurugram that got a plastic ring into its beak. It was wildlife photographer Manoj Nair who captured this image.

While the picture went viral, it also brought together many concerned citizens who took it upon themselves to save the stork. Without the use of any tranquiliser, a team patiently waited for five days before the bird started showing signs of fatigue. They captured the bird and managed to remove the plastic ring without hurting the bird.

This bird could have very well died without the help – imagine the power of social media. That one picture made all the difference.

You can read all about it here.

1. Social media saves lives

Collector Bro, Prasanth Nair IAS (centre).

Earlier this year, Kerala went through a deluge when vast areas of the state were submerged. IAS officer Prasanth Nair decided to use social media to bridge the gap between the administration and citizens. While there were thousands of people who came forward to help, it was a concerted effort that Nair set in motion.

Compassionate Keralam, a platform that helped connect people who were willing to help with those in need, was formed. It ensured that all efforts to rehabilitate the state and its people were in the right direction. One of the projects undertaken by this group was to provide scholarships to more than 25,000 students affected by the floods. The entire process of registering for the scholarship and contributing to it was done online by a group of volunteers.

Read all about it here.

 

Here’s to building many more meaningful online communities–may it continue in the years to come.

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

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