May 31st, 2017
“A life not lived for others is not a life,” – Mother Teresa
When the Chennai flood hit in November 2015, I was highly motivated to help the people affected. Being in Bangalore, studying in Christ University, it was almost impossible for me to go to Chennai. But keeping the motto “Distance is not a barrier to help people,” in mind, I decided to raise funds from Bangalore itself.
I contacted everyone who I knew in Bangalore. Be it family, friends, seniors, juniors, teachers or even strangers. I went to all classes in my college, office rooms and departments asking for funds. For three continuous days, I was standing on the roads of Christ University, asking known and unknown people for help, while continuing my college. I was able to raise Rs 1 lakh, with which I bought food for the victims of the flood. After this, I departed for Chennai after collecting bedsheets, medical kits, and other essential items from my family, friend, and neighbours. I was fully unaware of the fact that arranging money is just the starting: there is a long way to go.
When I arrived in Chennai with some friends to distribute the items, many people refused to take the bedsheets as they were not comfortable with accepting old bedsheets. Some of them returned the medical kits too. But a large number of people appreciated our effort, blessed us and thanked us. The satisfaction that comes from doing such work is priceless. When I went to a wholesale shop to buy goods for the Chennai flood victims, I met so many other people who came t the shop with the same objective. This incident inspired me to do more for society.
This journey was very enlightening and ongoing. After the Chennai floods, many more moments came that gave me an opportunity to help society. One day, I saw a poor person congregating some food from a pile of garbage. I went to him and gave him some food. It is very surprising that there are people who legitimately need help and there are some others who cry because of a breakup and think their life is at stake when they get poor marks in the exam. One other hard truth is that people spend a countless number of hours in temples/mosques/churches worshipping god while some of them spend their precious time in playing with their dog, but when it comes to helping the needy, they say I don’t have time. How ironical is that?
Some incidents are impossible to ignore. A similar kind of tragic story lies in my maid’s home where her husband, after getting drunk, would abuse his wife and daughter, both physically and mentally. When our maid told us her story, my family and I decided to help her. We first helped our maid in getting a divorce from her husband and then funded Shankari, her daughter, for her higher education. Today, I feel jubilant to see that Shankari is an accountant in a company and earns Rs 25,000 per month.
When I first volunteered in my 5th grade to distribute polio vaccinations among patients, I was not aware of where I am going to be, but slowly this became my life. After that, I worked with a number of NGOs and volunteered for many others. Some of them are Rotary International, the Orange Leaf, and Blue Cross.
This odyssey has helped me in making an excellent connection with people, which I use to help people and give them all kind of possible assistance. Last year, a poor mother of a girl suffering from Cerebral Palsy (a disease which involves physical impairment) approached me for financial support. Unable to see the grief of the girl, I asked people to raise funds for her, and we raised Rs 9,000 in no time with the help of social media. Today, that girl has a wheelchair and a neck rest to support her body. I regularly visit old-age homes. It is very emotional and heartwarming to see the happiness that they get when you visit them.
Presently, I am working in a corporate in its CSR Department (Corporate Social Responsibility). For now, I am thinking of means to make more people happier by continuing my assistance towards them in whatever the way possible. My primary focus is going to be in the education sector for these poor people as “Do not help people, make them capable of supporting themselves, and for that education is a must. This awful truth can only be knocked out if we all stand together against it and work towards the upliftment of society.”
– Shruti Prakash Adiodi
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