December 2nd, 2015
We come across many people who choose their profession out of choice and then switch it to some another after realising that their interests lie somewhere else.
After obtaining degree in engineering from NIT Karnataka, Akshatha Shetty and Piyush Goswami worked in the corporate organisation for two years till they realised their profession. So their passion made them resign.
Piyush took up photography and documentary filmmaking while Akshatha worked with The New Indian Express. It was in 2013; they quit their job and came up with “Rest of My Family”.
How the project happened:
For the past five years both of them travelled extensively in rural India documenting social issues and human interest stories. The people they met slowly became their family and these rural folks were treated as their story material but family.
They wrote about their struggles and found out that it made no difference to them as their life had been same. So they decided to create a more efficient system wherein they would not only highlight an issue but would also provide relevant support to the individuals they have met and documented about. Hence the project was formed.
The first leg of their project is the drive through different regions of India non-stop for an entire year which will be backed by a crowd funding initiative. The issues and communities vary from places to places. Since the project is story driven the nature of the project will vary in nature and scale. With one story they will try to help a family or an individual. The main goal of the project is to see if the couple can help a family and community they cover.
However, any particular story doesn’t get any preference to run over the other. The common thing which anyone of us knows but has hardly felt is the struggle of various communities to lead a life with basic facilities as the government has failed to reach out to them.
Source of Income:
The main source of income of these philanthropists is through their documentary work and they freelance with some publishers too. Their belief in humanity keeps them moving.
There was an instance in Kerala when the duo were taken to a police station, where they were interrogated for 45 minutes as they wanted to question the Malasar tribe in Nellianmpanthy were suffering for over a decade or more due to land displacement and the police mistook them as aide of Maoists. In the end, they went and met despite being discouraged by the Police.
Traveling has altogether been a new experience as it puts anyone in situations that one has never planned and makes an individual less ignorant. Akshatha and Piyush like many of us were brought in a society that teaches us to be sceptical of new places and communities.
They met a boy, Mari, who worked in a garage in Bodinayakanur where he earned a mere sum of Rs 100 per day. His mother is a daily wage worker in the cardamom plantation. He dropped out of school to lend a helping hand to his mother. His brother is in class 6 and a sister who is in a government school. Akshatha and Piyush’s splendid philanthropist work has built up their image so much that when they contacted with few people, “Smiley Faction” came forward to support girl’s education.
So far they are getting support from various organisations specialising in various sectors like health and education. They even vouched for nurturing Mari’s automobile skills and providing him vocational training as he don’t wish to go back to school.
The project Rest Of My Family is a documentation of amazing stories and more efficient system wherein Akshatha and Piyush would not only highlight an issue but would also provide relevant support to the individuals.
This is the first campaign of Rest Of My Family-Drive For Change 2015.
Now that Akshatha and Piyush are on the road, they are living paycheck to paycheck so they need help to sustain their work for the next year without interruption.
Through word of mouth on Facebook and the amazing generosity of strangers,they have managed to raise $31,696USD during their Indiegogo campaign.
Check the video: Akshatha and Piyush telling about the Rest Of My Family project