In India, whenever there is a need to do charity or take up voluntary service, we prefer to discuss what large companies, the super rich and the government have done to change the situation on the ground. We prefer not discuss what we have done to change the world around us. It’s time we question ourselves about what our contribution has been as individuals.
Thankfully, there are a few individuals helping various voluntary organisations that are working on key social issues such as empowering women, educating underprivileged children, providing healthcare to poor, offering micro-credit to farmers, File a Right To Information case to eradicate corruption etc. Despite numerous NGOs working on various social causes, very few of them get the right visibility or get proper access to funds. Further, there are a few corrupt NGOs that swindle funds and bring disrepute to the entire voluntary sector.
Many concerned citizens who want to provide donations or work for charity are in a dilemma on whom to approach for reaching out to the right NGO that is dedicated to its cause. Similarly, corporate enterprises find it hard to evaluate a set of civil society organisations for partnering for their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
Understanding this need to connect the social organisations with the corporate sector, India Cares Foundation came to being to act as an intermediary between the two. Established in 2000, India Cares Foundation provides continuous support to voluntary organisations for communicating their work effectively to public, mobilise resources and enhance their donor relations. Today it is the philanthropy partner of TCS World 10k Run in Bengaluru and Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, which are the two premium fundraising events in South and North India.
India Cares Foundation hosts CSR Melas to bridge the gap and build a direct link between private companies and voluntary organisations for implementing social projects. One of these events is the ‘Daan Utsav’ a festival celebrated between October 2 and 8 every year across the country. It is a good platform that brings together people from all walks of life and encourages them to celebrate “Giving”. In fact, Daan Utsav was earlier known as the “Joy of Giving Week” when it was started in 2009.
Kusum Tamang, Senior Manager–Programmes, India Cares Foundation said Daan Utsav is a 100% volunteer driven initiative, which encourages people to do any act of giving of their choice. There is no blueprint for the festival and the idea is to get everyone to participate in the joy of giving. As of 2015, over 1,000 cities and towns across India have celebrated giving in their own way. This includes house maids donating food grains, CEOs singing on stage to raise money, students across schools and colleges volunteering, corporate employees and several Govt departments conducting collection drives, etc.
This year’s Daan Utsav has two main components –
Daan Utsav – Seva Mela is an event connecting the society to civil society organisations (NGOs) working for the empowerment and livelihood for the underprivileged. The event offers a platform for CSOs/ NGOs to showcase the products made by the community they work with and help get them sell their products to a larger market. Seva Mela is happening on 6-7 October 2016 at the Multipurpose Hall inside the International Tech Park, Bengaluru.
Daan Utsav – Food for Change brings together some of the top five star hotels and fine dining restaurants in the city to showcase their culinary talent and skills. Celebrity artists come and give their time through performing at the event to help raise funds for the social cause they are working. Food for Change has been hosted in 4 cities of Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Pune and has helped raise more than 10 crores in the last three years.
So the season of festivals has arrived in India with beginning of the ten-day long Dasara celebrations. We at Caleidoscope urge all our readers to take up a social cause of your interest and celebrate the joy of giving with Daan Utsav!