The Perfect Diwali Gift: 11 Inspiring Heroes You Can Help This Festive Season
This Diwali, we have done the work of curating a list of 11 causes you can support right away, so it's easier for you to give changemakers across India the perfect gift.
The season of joy, love and light is right around the corner, and we at The Better India are back to let our readers know how they can use this occasion to make a huge difference.
This Diwali, we have done the work of curating a list of 11 causes you can support right away, so it’s easier for you to give changemakers across India the perfect gift. We salute these unsung heroes who have gone over and above to serve society — whether it’s finding new clothes for patients with leprosy, helping kids from underprivileged backgrounds study, or getting medical aid for rescued animals. Now, it’s our turn to help them!
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Each one of these people and organisations has been doing exemplary work over the years, and your donation will help add to the incredible impact they are creating. So look no more for the perfect Diwali gift — just select the cause closest to you and send a gift that will fill your heart with joy and thousands of lives with light.
1. Prem Illam: Unable To Walk Herself, She Grows Organic Rice & Fruits For 30 Special Kids
Tamil Nadu’s D Indra was just five months old when she was diagnosed with polio, which left her 90% disabled. She was barely four when she was admitted to a shelter home for children with mental and physical disabilities. She was allowed to visit her parents and elder sister only during the weekends, so she was aware of the pain of staying away from loved ones in hours of need.
Today, at 36, Indra is making sure others in her village find solace and comfort amid the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. In Sirunallur village, she runs Prem Illam, a shelter home of Prema Vasam, an organisation for children with disabilities. She also grows organic food to feed the children as well as those around her village.
The organisation is running on donations and Indra and her team are currently looking for donors who can finance bedding for the children, provide support for cattle feed, and sponsor a solar plant. To help D Indra in her initiative, you can donate here:
Account Number: 6893753941
Account Name: PREM ILLAM
Account type: Savings
IFSC code: IDIB000M072
Bank Name: Indian Bank, Madurantakam
2. Abha Kunj: A Law Professor Who Tutors 5000 Slum Children, Helps Them Become Nurses & Engineers
When associate law professor Dr Lalita Sharma moved to a new locality in Indore in 2009, she noticed a few teenagers and children from a nearby slum gambling, street fighting and loitering aimlessly. Having been an educator for 18 years, it pained her to see children tampering with their future this way.
Today, she runs an NGO called ‘Abha Kunj’, and educates around 500 students annually. She has formed an army of 200 volunteers over the years who have joined her in this mission. The impact of Sharma’s interventions has been extraordinary. Her students have surpassed the emotional, social and development barriers to learning to become nurses, marketing executives, engineers and so on.
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Running the initiative for so many years has been a daunting task for Sharma, especially considering how she has been using her personal savings to meet the expenses like stationery, school fees, stipends, etc. Abha Kunj needs your help to continue its work and provide for underprivileged children. You can donate to them here:
Account Number: 64770100002315
Account Name: Abha Kunj Welfare Society
Bank Name: Bank of Baroda, Scheme number 54, Vijayanagar, Indore.
3. Project Dream School: Help 30 Children Complete Their Education
We, at The Better India, launched a campaign in January 2020, to help children from underprivileged families get access to education. Under #ProjectDreamSchool, we adopted a classroom of 30 children studying in Dream School Foundation in Bengaluru and raised funds to support their education for a year. This year, we are continuing to support them so they can gain the education they truly deserve.
However, with the raging pandemic and these students having been promoted to Class 10, things have been severely difficult. Many of these students had reached the verge of quitting school since their parents lost livelihoods due to the pandemic. Many are thinking about quitting because online classes were difficult without devices and they can’t cope now. They cannot afford to lose access to their education and a chance to fight for their dreams. Therefore, we are reaching out to you, requesting help with donation/devices. Every small donation will count. You can find more details and donate here.
Join us in helping raise funds to support the education of these students.
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4. Hope Welfare Trust: Transforming Villages in UP one Volunteer at a Time
Hope Welfare Trust started as a nascent movement from Varanasi in September 2015, when a group of students from various universities and colleges joined hands for rural development. They are a 100% volunteer-based NGO working in over 150 villages in Eastern UP for the last six years to uplift the most backward villages of Sonbhadra/Mirzapur, the adivasi and vanvasi people here live in extreme poverty.
Hope Welfare Trust needs your help with donations for the arrangement of new clothes for leprosy patients and their children on the occasion of Diwali. These leprosy patients are living with their families at the colonies in Varanasi, four colonies in Prayagraj and three colonies in Ayodhya.
To donate for the cause:
Account Number: 50200013646960
Account Name: Hope Welfare Trust
Bank Name: Bandhan Bank, Varanasi
5. Snehan: Once A Child Labourer, Anumuthu Helps Hundreds Of Homeless Get Care & Jobs
Anumuthu’s childhood was marred by poverty and struggle as a child labourer, after he lost his father at the age of seven. Learning from his own experiences, today he provides dignity and care in the form of jobs, medical attention, food and clothes to the homeless through his NGO Snehan.
Anumuthu and his team provided skill training and employed the homeless at tea stalls, hotels, and shops. He purchased cycles for those who wanted to sell items, vegetables or fruits. Some sell the bags made by women from marginalised communities. He needs your help to build a home for the homeless where they will be given food, shelter, clothing and other such amenities.
Account Number: 005601029727
Account Name: GOODWILL MISSION
IFSC Code: ICIC0000056
Bank Name: ICICI Bank. Pondicherry Branch.
VPA (virtual payment address): snehanpondicherry@icici
6. The Toy Bank: A Unique Bank Providing Toys & Spreading Joy
The Toy Bank, as the name suggests, houses toys! It collects toys, restores them and further distributes them amongst underprivileged children. Ther toys bring smiles to the faces of children across the country through their partners who work with government schools, anganwadis, shelter homes, children hospitals and in slum and rural areas.
Started by Vidyun Goel, the Toy Bank has reached out to over five lakh underprivileged kids across India. The organisation has also initiated the Covid Relief Initiative: Reach and Teach Program for 1,500 children who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus crisis in India.
The Toy Bank distributes DIY – activity-based learning kits and implements e-learning activity worksheets to support remote learning. The activity kits provided will allow the children to learn by the play-way method.
They need your help in touching more lives and creating a bigger impact. You can help The Toy Bank by donating here.
7. Positive Women Network: Widowed At 20 & Forced Out Of In-Laws’ Home, HIV+ Woman Transforms 30000 Lives
Kousalya Periasamy from Tamil Nadu was reportedly the first in India to come out openly as a HIV positive in 1995. It grabbed national headlines and several NGOs and other HIV+ women reached out to her. Today, she runs the Positive Women Network, an organisation which aims to provide affordable medical access, counselling, vocational training for jobs, and quality education and health care to children of HIV-positive parents. The organisation is working on multiple fronts to help HIV positive women, and is also making changes at policy levels.
Kousalya needs your help in setting up an emergency medical fund for women who are HIV positive.
Donate here to support her cause:
Account Number: 014010100277433
Account Name: Positive Women Network of South India
Bank Name: Axis Bank Ltd, T Nagar
8. Probably Paradise: A ‘Paradise’ Created by Roxanne Davur for 431 Rescued Animals
Roxanne Davur (69) grew up around rescued wild cats and today runs Probably Paradise, a shelter home for dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, cows and pigs in Karjat. The 1.5-acre farm in Karjat houses 431 animals today, including 250 dogs, 162 cats, eight ponies, seven donkeys, two horses, one pig and one cow. Most of these rescues are from Mumbai and Pune, where they were injured, abandoned or found chronically ill. This shelter home for unwanted animals has the unique purpose of giving them a “dignified place to die”.
Probably Paradise needs funds to support the shelter and redo the medical block to ensure all emergency cases of animal rescue are treated well in time. If you’d like to support them, please donate here:
Account Number: 006710110016986
Account Name: World for All Animal Care and Adoptions
IFSC Code – BKID0000067
Bank Name: Bank of India, Chakala Branch
9. Utsah:Sexually Abused at 12, This Assam Hero Has Trained Over 500 Cops in Child Rights
Child rights activist Miguel Das Queah (34) runs Guwahati-based non-profit UTSAH (Universal Team for Social Action and Help), which works for children’s rights, particularly those affected by sexual violence, in Assam.
His organisation has provided end-to-end psychosocial and legal assistance to 300 child survivors and provided immersive child safety training to over two lakh children across schools and communities in Assam. Miguel has also trained and mentored over 500 police personnel in child protection practices and played an instrumental role in designing the Assam Police Sishu Mitra Programme, a child-friendly policing and police reform initiative.
Miguel is looking for donations that will help support the educational, nutritional, legal and most importantly the recurrent healthcare needs of children who are victims of rape and sexual assault. Donate here to support his cause:
Account Number: 20451450000041
Account Name: UTSAH
Bank Name: HDFC, Chandmari
10. Palawi: When No One Else Cared, 69-YO Gave 125 HIV+ Orphaned Kids a New Lease of Life
Mangaltai (69), her daughter Dimple, and grandchildren manage a care home for 125 orphaned children with HIV. These children are primarily between the ages of four and 21 from Pandharpur (Maharashtra). Run under the aegis of Mangaltai’s non-profit called Prabha Hira Pratishthan, Palawi is a first-of-its-kind institution in Maharashtra.
Palawi needs help given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the additional expenses Mangaltai and her team had to incur. A lot of lives depend on the successful operation of the organisation and the support of people will ensure that Mangalatai continues her inspiring work to provide hope and love to the 110 children living with HIV.
Account Number: 54010010004843
Account Name: Prabha Hira Pratishthan
Bank Name: IDBI Bank, Pandharpur
11. Eleutheros Christian Society: Death of Brothers Inspires Naga Reformer to Uplift the Health of 73 Villages
Former pastor turned social reformer Chingmak Kejong and his wife Phutoli Shikhu work hand-in-hand with tribal communities through their non-profit, the Eleutheros Christian Society (ECS). They have helped communities living in the remote and backward district of Tuensang in eastern Nagaland bordering Myanmar successfully battle the HIV and heroin epidemic in the 1990s, established a functioning primary healthcare system and brought warring tribal communities together with their work in healthcare.
Chingmak has been trying to raise funds to provide drinking water to a very remote village near Myanmar, just five kilometers away from the boundary. He needs support to provide nine kilometers of water connection to around 600 households! Donate below to help him reach his aim:
Account Number: 36308732509
Account Name: ECS General Fund
Bank Name: State Bank of India, Tuensang Main Branch
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