Report by OD bureau, Bhubaneswar: Joy of Giving Week (Oct 2- 8) is a national festival of giving and a platform to inspire and encourage the spirit of giving in society. Bakul Foundation, being a movement for volunteerism, and a platform where people contribute, has naturally taken the lead in Odisha to celebrate the Joy of Giving Week. The last 2 years, Bakul has been organizing a Collection Drive of used clothes, books and toys on a huge scale during the Joy of Giving Week.
Bakul Foundation organized 3 activities as part of the Joy of Giving Week 2012. Bakul Foundation in association with the WCD Dept, Govt of Odisha, Young Indians (Yi) and GPIL kickstarted the Joy of Giving Week celebrations in Odisha by celebrating 2nd October (Gandhi Jayanti) as a Day of Service.
Bakul mobilized close to 1000 volunteers in 26 cities of India to go to orphanages/old age homes and anganwadis and do fun/art activities and spread joy among the children/elderly. Although it was coordinated from Bakul in Bhubaneswar, Bakul volunteers who had moved to other cities, coordinated the activities there. In Bhubaneswar itself, there were activities in all the 11 orphanages and in 15 Anganwadis. This activity was led by Abhaya Panigrahi, Sudeshna Mishra, Sananda Satpathy and Pooja Mishra.
This included Makeover of an orphanage- Asha Kiran by a team of architects, IDEAZ. The orphanage was looking very ordinary and plain. So, the team of architects led by Krishnendu Nandy and Bandeesh Patro painted the entire exteriors of the orphanage themselves in bright colours. They did a mural on one wall in which they involved the kids and did 24 distinctive smileys for each of the 24 kids, and at the end each of the kids identified with each smiley shouting, "Mu Ei Smiley (I am this Smiley)
In addition to this activity, Toy Banks set up in 6 Anganwadis, Individual Photos (taken from before by volunteer photographers) were gifted to each child in 4 orphanages. Many Celebrities including Actors Akash Dash Nayak and Samaresh, Singer Nazia Alam and Cricketer Pravanjan Mallick actively participated. 2 Music Bands, Shabd and Canna Blitz performe and Counseling happened on demand for adolescents at 2 orphanages, Sneha Ashraya and OLS and request for counseling has come from Ruchika for their adolescent boys
Wish Tree at Infosys to set up New Library
The Wish Tree is an innovation promoted at the Joy of Giving Week 2012 edition. The idea being tried out across the country is a corporate setting up a Wish Tree in a public place in the corporate office. The Wish Tree will have small wishes to support an NGO. As the wishes are taken care of, the wishes are removed and Joy of Giving Week smileys replace them. As the wishes come to fruition, the tree gets increasingly laden with fruits/smileys.
Infosys Bhubaneswar, particularly the HR team of Bobby Patnaik and Nazia Tanwir were excited by this idea, and contacted Bakul Foundation, which they wanted to support. Bakul suggested that they could set up a new children's library entirely through the Wish Tree if all the wishes were taken care of. Bakul provided wishes like "8 Odia books for Rs 200", "4 English books for 200", "1 Bookshelf for Rs 500". There were 200 such wishes.
Everyone was overwhelmed including Nazia, who was driving it when all the wishes were fulfilled in less than 2 days and Rs 76,000 was raised. kaustubh bhople from Infosys who contributed said, "This was a great initiative and Thanks to all those who opened the way for all others to spread a smile. The thing I liked the most is "The money will be spent to build the library". Education is the only key which helps man to grow as a human being. And Books are the best friends, teachers and companion. Keep the smiles spreading"
Vastrasamman in association with Goonj
For the last 3 years, Bakul has been organizing a collection drive in association with Goonj. In 2010, Bakul and Goonj mobilized about 20 mini trucks of material. This was then sorted and distributed among villagers under the Cloth for Work scheme in which villagers take up their own developmental needs such as road repair and building of wells for which they are compensated with clothes.
last year, when the floods struck Odisha, material sorted and packed from before, were among the first relief that went out.
This year, also Bakul and Goonj are doing collection drives, but this is happening mainly at In-House Collection Centres such as Schools, Colleges, Apartments and Corporates. The focus of the collection is on Books, Clothes and Toys, but other items like utensils, sports goods, footwear etc are also being collected. This collection has started and will continue for the next few days. The Bakul Library in Satyanagar, XIMB and Goonj in Patrapada are Public Collection Centres in which anyone can contribute. This activity is being led by Sananda Satpathy, Pooja Mishra and Pranay.