By Shabnam E. Subha
Diwali is just not a festival of lights, it is also a festival to light up people’s lives. As many people revel in Diwali celebrations, a considerable few engage in extending this privilege to others. This is done by participating in an NGO’s activities, or contributing to one.
Numerous college students and volunteers across India annually come together and participate in activities to make Diwali a joyous time for the less fortunate. One such initiative is the Leadership Training Service (LTS) where many volunteers help to bring change in society by teaching underprivileged children, helping senior citizens, contributing basic necessities to those who need them, and engaging in activities that better the environment.
I volunteered with LTS and got to spend my Diwali with a few of such children. As a volunteering member, I collected old clothes, and books, and donations for food and firecrackers from students and parents. The other volunteers cooked food for the children and kept them entertained. The satisfaction that I received from seeing the joy on those children’s faces was unparalleled.
There are many other NGOs across our country that regularly better the lives of the less fortunate through donations, and by helping them become financially independent by teaching them marketable skills. Here are some lesser-known NGOs that have been super awesome this year:
- Robin Hood Army: An NGO that believes in serving the hungry with surplus food, the Robin Hood Army and its Robins have reached 103 cities in 12 countries to serve people who barely get a meal a day. This year, their #AGreenDiwali chose a greener and pollution-free way of celebrating the festival. Furthermore, the organisation came up with a concept to Work and Earn in which they taught women from slum areas to sell decorative items for the festival, and in the process, earn a livelihood.
Women selling handicrafts at a drive organised by Robin Hood Army. Credit: Robin Hood Army/Facebook
- Padikkattugal: This organisation is an independent non-profit organisation that constitutes young volunteers who want to bring a change in the society. The volunteers of this organisation travel to slums and orphanages to find areas where they can be of help. They celebrated this Diwali with HIV-positive children. Padikkattugal provided them with new clothes, burst crackers with them and arranged a lunch party.
- Uday Foundation: This organisation helps patients and their families who are in hospitals. They accept contributions in the form of clothing, medicines, food, toys or money to help this particular group of people. This Diwali, they are also accepting blanket and meal donations for the homeless who languish in the cold weather.
A young kid with gifts from Uday Foundation on Diwali. Credit: Uday Foundation
- Team Everest: Team Everest believes that every child needs education to realise his/her potential. They work on providing that through their network of volunteers. To celebrate Diwali, the team is accepting donations to provide new clothes to the less fortunate—poor children, homeless people, and old citizens in old age homes.
- Cuddles: It is India’s only NGO that helps malnourished children fight cancer by providing them with a healthy chance at surviving through nutritious food. This Diwali, they are selling handcrafted items to raise more funds for the kids’ nutrition.
- Kshitij: This Mumbai-based NGO believes in creating employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities, and helps them lead dignified, independent lives. Adults with such disabilities create handcrafted items and chocolates for sale, and earn a salary for their work. This generates employment and encourages their emotional growth through creative self-expression. They are holding special exhibitions for Diwali to promote their products that are apt for gifting.
An act of kindness does not always require committing time; a generous donation with the tap of an electronic screen can also go a long way. Visit the sites of these NGOs to know more about their work.
Qrius is not sponsored by any of the organisations mentioned in this article nor does it receive any benefits in any shape/form from them.
Shabnam E. Subha is a writing analyst at Qrius