For This 13-Year-Old, Diwali Is a Time to Help the Underprivileged with the Money She Earns
Kshirja Raje, a 13-year-old girl from Bombay gives all the profits from her small handicraft business to help out those in need.
How old does one have to be to give up all of one’s profits to charity?
40? 30 at least?
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Well, the answer in this case, is 13. Yes, Kshirja Raje, a 13-year-old girl from Bombay gives all the profits from her small handicraft business to help out those in need. Kshirja’s story was recently shared on the popular Facebook page Humans of Bombay.
In the post, Kshirja talks about the incident that proved to be a turning point in her life. One day, when she was being fussy about the food prepared at home, her mother took her to a neighbouring slum area where a food truck was distributing food to the underprivileged. Seeing children running behind the truck, unsure about where their next meal was coming from, Kshirja made up her mind to help in any way possible.
Later that year, during Diwali, she started making and selling small sky lanterns and earned enough money to buy sweets for the kids and celebrate the festival with them. Since then, Kshirja has continued her initiative of spreading joy. She makes paper quilling objects like envelopes, photo frames, greeting cards, handicrafts, dolls, etc., and uses the profits for a good cause. Here’s the link to her Facebook page titled ‘Kshirja’s Creations’.
When her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and was undergoing treatment, Kshirja began thinking about the cancer patients who could not afford medical care. That year, she raised Rs. 30,000 for cancer patients. This Diwali, Kshirja will be conducting a workshop for underprivileged kids suffering from cancer at the Tata Memorial hospital, teaching them how to make handicrafts.
Her inspiring story has been shared over 1,600 times within two days on Facebook and readers have showered her with hundreds of positive comments. Kshirja’s story is certainly an inspiration for everyone; it reinforces an important message – where there’s a will, there’s a way!
“One evening, I was being really fussy with the food made at home, when my mom told me to leave my plate and go with…
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“One evening, I was being really fussy with the food made at home, when my mom told me to leave my plate and go with her. She took me to a slum behind my house where I saw little children, my age, maybe younger running towards a truck of food that distributed food to them every Sunday. I was left in tears — they didn’t even know if they would get to eat for days and here I was complaining. That incident, made me desperate to help in any way I could.
A few months later, I made a small lantern for a school project before our Diwali holidays. I asked my mother how much it costed us to make 1 lantern — she said it was approximately 2 Rupees and that’s when the idea struck me. I started making these lanterns and selling them for 5 Rupees to my relatives and neighbours while my mother sold them to her colleagues at work. Over the weeks, as I sold more lamps I saved enough money to buy all the children sweets for Diwali. I don’t know what it was, but seeing those children devour sweets that we take for granted made my Diwali more than special.
From there, I began quilling and making envelopes, handicrafts, dolls and even themed sets. In 2013, I had another experience which made me rethink how much we take for granted. My mother was detected with breast cancer. As she underwent treatment, I felt like my whole world came crashing down — but my mother was always so positive. She told me were so lucky that we could afford the best treatment for her, and there were so many others who weren’t as fortunate. That was the second time where I felt gratitude but helplessness at the same time. That year, I collected an additional 30,000 Rupees for cancer patients— and I know it might not be much, but I did whatever I could. I’m conducting a workshop at Tata Memorial this Diwali, for children who have cancer…to make them play games and give them lots of sweets! I’m 13 right now and I hope that every Diwali I can add a little more light, and bring a few more smiles. Hopefully the day will come where no child goes to sleep hungry and everyone can afford medical treatments — I’m going to try and give it my all…and that’s all we can do for now — try, until it becomes a reality.”
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