Time and again, I have mentioned in my blogs about how by giving back to the society, we actually end up giving much more to ourselves. It may be called social service but I see it as something we ought to do, because who else will? We don’t realize that what we spread around stays in our milieu and impacts us too. The issues plaguing our society are often viewed by us from a third-party perspective, as if we live in a bubble untouched and unfazed. The heartening news is that quite a few people do realize this and are going out of their way to do their bit for the betterment of the world. There are also those who want to contribute but are clueless about where to begin. Honestly, no step is small or big as it adds to the iterative process of bringing about a change, which one day becomes a revolution. I remember when I was volunteering with an NGO as a counselor during the rehabilitation process of human trafficking survivors, a staff member from the organization had lamented that there are many who are willing to donate money to them, but very few are able to give time which is something they are in desperate need of always.
Today, I am proud to share the story of a foundation which is growing from strength to strength each day to make a difference in the lives of our only hope – our future generation. Founded in Mumbai in 2012 by Anubha Sharma and Beenaa Advani, Angel Xpress Foundation (AXF) is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated towards empowering underprivileged and slum dwelling children through education, mentoring, values and life skills lessons, and career guidance. Their vision is to create a balanced and compassionate society and what started as a small project with 18 children in 2012, today supports 1900 slum children at 17 locations across the city via a strong volunteer team of 500 members. They have inspired many from different walks of life to join them in their endeavour to address socio-economic inequities and generate awareness and a sense of empathy and responsibility in the citizens.
It all started when Anubha Sharma, a financial services professional with a flourishing career spanning over two decades, started volunteering at a street school for slum children during her sabbatical. It hit her then that there was a lot lacking in the education system for the poor and this was hindering their growth instead of propelling it, thus causing them to feel stuck in the vicious cycle of poverty. When a Facebook post asking for warm clothes for these children resulted in over 3000 people calling to offer all kinds of help, she realized that a bridge needed to be created between socially responsible and empowered citizens and the underprivileged children. Thus, together with Beenaa Advani who expressed a desire to work with her, Anubha began a journey which has brightened up the lives of thousands ever since.
On 3rd February 2019, the renowned rock band Indian Ocean, is flying down to Mumbai for “Day of Grace” – a charity concert which is an Annual Event of the NGO. This is their humble attempt at paying a tribute to the women who as volunteers of Angel Xpress Foundation are doing path-breaking and inspirational work. The relentless efforts of all the volunteers in ensuring that every child receives quality education are bearing fruits in many ways. The children are not just learning about a subject but are developing confidence and skills which will help them greatly to live a life of their choice. The foundation also provides a daily snack for the kids who are registered for the program and organizes outings and various educational workshops. There are extra-curricular activities that keep the children engrossed over the weekend as well.
So, you see there are ample opportunities to get involved if one really wants to. Urging my friends in Mumbai to go out there and be a part of this revolution. Take that first step and see for yourself how much power you have within you. What can be more satisfying than watching another life bloom because of the time you could give and the knowledge you could share? Give someone the gift of time, and gift yourself with happiness of a lifetime.