You don't have to be a great philanthropist to do your bit for the world. No one expects you to be a Warren Buffet or a Bill Gates who has given away millions and millions of dollars to worldwide projects ranging from AIDS to malnutrition to illiteracy. You can be just as altruistic in your own small way and in your own small community, provided you have a large heart and empathy.
A spontaneous act Nestin Vas was like any other student at the BMS College of Engineering in Bengaluru, and his days were filled with classes, assignments, Facebook and spending time at the canteen. His world pretty much centred around himself.
But all that changed one day, two years ago, when a group of carol singers came to his house and sang several Christmas carols at his doorstep. His mother asked him to take the singers across to an elderly lady in the street, and that was, quite simply, the life-changing moment for Nestin. Just seeing the smile on the ailing, elderly, wheelchair-bound lady and noticing the joy that the music brought her, got Nestin thinking. Just a random act of kindness could light up a life and bring joy to someone.
A small gesture, a little thoughtfulness, a caring step could make a difference to another person. After all, what did it take the giver? Precious nothing!
Strength in numbers Nestin Vas decided to work on this feel-good project. When he tentatively broached the subject to his friends at college, he was amazed at the response. On their own, none of them would have probably donated to a cancer centre for children or raised funds for sports equipment for a disadvantaged group of children. But there is strength in numbers.
Working as a team, the core group of Little More Love (LML) planned on taking a leaf from the carol singers and singing their way to generate funds. At the end of some full-throated Silent Night renditions, LML counted nearly Rs 50,000 in their till. Not bad for a maiden attempt they felt, as they donated the funds to an orphanage in Indiranagar. You guessed right – the smiles on the faces of the children, the beneficiaries, was enough to vindicate their stand.
Soon, various plans and projects shaped up. Their blood donation camp yielded 91 pints of precious blood and would have certainly brought back the smile on the faces of critically ill patients.
News of LML is spreading and their dependability quotient is rising. The Kidney Foundation contacted them to generate funds for a kidney transplant on a low-income patient. All in a day's work, for LML, which has begun to build up valuable networks, contacts and sources that can be tapped in emergencies.
Strong ties Today, Nestin and his classmates in the LML team are out of college and working. Nestin himself is an engineer at Auma India, but his ties to LML remains committed and strong. Using social networking, the team has blogged and created a Facebook page for greater visibility. People from across the country are showing interest in the idea.
Little More Love is toying with the idea of opening various chapters across Indian cities to take the ethos forward. Growing – from a bunch of 12 engineering students to a force of over 70 members , this small idea has caught on in a big way.
It’s all in a day's work for these youngsters to spend time with the children affected by retinoblastoma, or raise funds for The Little Sisters of the Poor in their quest to look after the old and infirm.
No effort is too big to bring a small smile to someone's face and that is the biggest reward for this 20-something bunch of youngsters.