Little Pinki’s face lights up as she sees a vehicle approaching her. It is her Goutham bhaiya bringing food. Finally, Pinki will get to eat and sleep peacefully. The children at the orphanage surround Goutham to hear interesting stories about how bountiful the earth is. Many kids on the streets wait for Goutham on weekends to learn alphabets. And there are many others whose lives he has touched in different ways.
Goutham Kumar, a crusader of destitute from Hyderabad, has led many projects to help the poor people in the city. The Logical Indian interviewed Goutham about his journey and initiatives. Here are some snippets of the interview.
How did this journey start? What drove you?
I started my career in a Marketing company and then moved to other fields and landed in a corporate firm. I was not satisfied with my work, and it was not fulfilling. After spending 11 years in various roles, I finally realised that what I wanted to do most is work for the society. I read about the social needs of our country. I learned about a lot of causes and finally felt that instead of feeling pity, I should do something for people living on streets. That is where all my projects started.
What are the projects you lead?
My journey started with trying to feed the hungry people on the street. I would go from door to door asking for a handful of rice. I then prepared this and shared with the street dwellers. Seeing me do this, many others also joined the drive. We named the project ‘Anna Daata’. We started off by feeding 50 people, and now that number has risen to 1000. Currently, 14 projects are going on in Hyderabad. We believe that people should not waste food and that they should share it with people around them who do not have access to it.
We have divided the city into eight categories which include slums, streets, orphanage, government hospitals, old age homes, cancer hospitals. We cover all the places where people go to sleep hungry. By distributing food and feeding them, they now recognise and wait for us.
Even people have started booking us for their birthday celebrations, and anniversaries. With the sponsored money we get, we prepare home-cooked meals and share it with people. The purpose is to make the city hunger free.
Besides this, what are your other projects?
We have started an orphanage for children. It is Little Angel and Stars. I started this with the idea that no one should be an orphan. We should all tap into our humanity and help the orphans. My intention at the organisation is to build their confidence and make them aware of their importance in their society. The children are being trained to be the pillars of strength, and we are imparting the importance of social work in them so that the thoughts are inculcated in them since their childhood. We have 22 children living with us; some are orphans, some are from single-parent homes while some have been rescued from trafficking.
The other project is “Save a life.” We aid in the rescue and rehabilitation of the homeless people from the city’s streets. It is executed in association with the Government bodies and Telangana Police. We reunite the homeless people with their families after following legal procedures to identify whether those rescued may be missing persons. The one who is found orphaned is given place in shelters and homes. So there are three stages in the process. First is to interact with the person. Second is to gather all data and go through the case study. Third, if the individual is missing, we reunite them with his family, or if he/she is an orphan, we provide a shelter to them. There are few old age homes we have identified and work in close cooperation with them.
The fourth project is that we also undertake the last rites of those who cannot afford to help themselves. Our NGO Serve Needy gets a call from people or police. To give dignity and respect to the deceased, we perform their funeral. Our team has launched a mobile ambulance for poor to provide medical services, emergency pick ups and facilities for any sudden accidents.
People are acknowledging our work and helping us.
The fifth project is we celebrate birthdays in cancer hospitals. We collect the data from the hospitals and celebrate their birthdays with some pomp and show. There are many who are going through chemotherapy, and there are many who are fighting against death. This one gesture brings a smile on their face, and they love it.
The sixth project is that we educate the street children on weekends. The name of the project is Bal Shiksha. We are making efforts to take this up every day as full time so that the impact can be greater.
How do people help you?
We are happy that in our five-year journey, we never asked for donations. People who were delighted with our work would contribute to this journey and this way there was no paucity of funds.
What do you expect from the people?
My goals are big, and in a country with so many people, it is hard to achieve it. But for our country, we all can come forward to put in collective efforts towards a greater good. Through The Logical Indian platform, I urge people to come and help us achieve the goals of Hunger-free country. They can call, email or message me; I will be there to take this journey ahead with them.
What is the ultimate goal?
We have six projects which aim at six different goals. Not only my city, but I feel that the whole country should be hunger free. There should be no orphans, and everybody should lead a life of dignity. We should make our country a better place. No country is perfect; we should come together to make the change.
Any message for our readers?
Oh Yes, of course! I would request my friends out there to take care of their parents. As charity begins at home, once a family is happy and settled, the society will get back to its proper place. Start with your family and make sure that we love each and every human being.
The Logical Indian salutes Goutham and his team for their efforts to bring a change in the society.
Goutham is looking for volunteers and sponsors for his initiative. To know more about his initiatives, click here.