One day as I was walking into my office I noticed a man standing alone outside ANEW compound. (A reputed NGO based in Chennai providing skill development courses for under privileged women). His daughter was attending the job fair conducted by us. She was dressed in her best available attire, although old, it was neatly pressed and seemed like her interview outfit. After an hour, when I came out of my office I noticed that the man was wearing a torn shirt and was not even wearing a footwear. The doting father’s only possession was his “hope” that his daughter would soon get a job and be able to support the family. I offered him tea, biscuits and a chair to sit on. He told me that he lost his job as a security guard during the pandemic and was still unemployed. It was a moment of truth and pride as I felt so proud that ANEW, for past 24 years, is choosing the right beneficiaries and making young women not just financially independent but helping families overcome tough times.

Stories tend to engage us like no other form of literature especially ones like these that touch our heart. Out of the many from my bag, I would like to share one more, during one of our certification programs, a student came forward to share about her journey. She could speak in English, although not so fluently. She was beaming with pride that she had successfully completed the Tally training, spoken English and other soft skills training with ANEW. She was 2nd among the three daughters of her auto driver father and a home maker. Their kith and kin had kept them away thinking of her father as a person buried in debt and his daughters as his liabilities. Whereas this girl delivered her speech saying that she is all set to prove that she is a great asset to her parents and she will take care of them and make them live a good life. She was thankful to ANEW for giving her free coaching and helping her find a job. I had tears of joy listening to this young woman brimming with confidence to overcome the difficulties her family is facing right now.

We come across students from economically under privileged background where father is an auto driver, coolie, daily wage worker etc where some are good, there are those who are abusive as well. Their mothers work as house maids, tailors, home nurses or are home makers. Students, at the most, may have just a single pair of footwear and few sets of clothes. Happy to eat the food packed by their mothers and willing to walk up to the bus stand to reach college and back home.

If you are reading this article, I am sure you are a person with at least two pairs of footwear, many pairs of shoes, and wardrobe full of clothes, who orders food online when your mother’s cooking on that day doesn’t suit your taste. You might have rarely gotten into a crowded city bus and mostly would not think twice before throwing the days extra food into the dustbin. The apartment or the house that you live in has all the luxuries and the sight of rusting and unused bicycles in the parking area is pretty common. So much of abundance yet so much of waste. Isn’t it?

If today, you are in a position of giving and not receiving you are a blessed individual having been born into a good family or you have put in a lot of  effort to get to that position. Giving is not just donating money or clothes. Identify a needy child around you, may be your house maid’s or driver’s children and teach them regularly until they graduate. You have every right to spend what you earn however do not splurge; put that money aside for a good cause. Minimize waste at home and the same food grains can be used to feed the poor. There is so much one can give, in cash or kind. The joy of giving cannot be explained but felt. Go! And feel it all.

I hope that I have succeeded in inspiring you today to help another person in need. Thank you for reading my article in full.

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CHITRA AR OM

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