Charity begins at home

Charity begins at home
Nikhiya Shamsher’s joy knew no bounds when she saw her small idea take shape and noticed the huge difference that her endeavour could make to an underprivileged child. She seized this opportunity and decided to help a number of children who lack the basic necessities for education. This worked wonders, as she was successful in collecting and donating re-usable books and other school supplies to children recently, at Angels Orphanage and Parikrma Centre For Learning.

The idea spawned at home, when Nikhiya would regularly donate her school bag towards the end of every year to her helper’s daughter. “I wanted to donate my bag rather than discard it. My helper’s daughter was very happy and later told me that she had not used a school bag before. I realised that I could help upscale this act and help more underprivileged children in a bigger way.”
 
She then contacted her friends and school principal at Greenwood High International School, who were more than supportive. The students put up posters and diary slips, and the principal sent out e-mails to parents. Over a period of six months, they received an overwhelming response from classes one to four, over eight sections, and the school was able to collect supplies including 2,500 textbooks, 150 gently used bags, over 400 pairs of shoes, 300 compass boxes, 270 water bottles, 100 lunch boxes and notebooks, 75 colour boxes and crayons, six bags full of jackets and two bags full of stationery items like pencils, erasers and sharpeners. For an interactive experience, the girls entertained the children at the orphanages when they went to donate the items by conducting a magic show, after which, they quizzed them on the science of the tricks. They also performed a ‘Banana dance’ at Angels Orphanage.

Though Nikhiya recalls that a few people were skeptical at first, most of them turned out to be helpful and appreciated the concept. She says, “I am also part of an organisation called ‘Compassionate Clowns’, where we help children at St John’s Hospital. They helped me organise transport and sent volunteers so that we could carry our items.  After we collected the items, we counted, cleaned and arranged them so that we could load them in a tempo and take them to the orphanages. We found the entire process fun — collecting, labelling and sorting out the different school supplies; and it didn’t take a lot of time.” Happy with the response, Nikhiya says that she has received positive feedback from both the orphanages.

“The teachers at Parikrma Centre For Learning were able to donate a bag, water bottle, lunch box, shoes and some stationery to every child.” Currently entering high school, she wants to continue this project further by collaborating with more schools across the City. She also wishes to start an NGO soon and help set up science laboratories at schools that lack the infrastructure.

 “I find this concept very useful and sustainable. It cuts down on the wastage. Instead of throwing away the items that we don’t use at the end of the year, we could donate them to needy children and support their education.” She hopes to nurture this concept for a long time. For details, log onto her website, ‘bagsbooksandblessings’.

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