My soul sister Vidya always donates to ShikshaDaan on her birthday ever since we setup ShikshaDaan in 2012. I found the idea very interesting and also, this year as we celebrate our 25th anniversary, one of our resolutions is not to give or accept expensive gifts. Expensive is anything more than Rs. 100. We love receiving gifts as much as giving them, but who do you normally gift to? Your friends, colleagues, people that already have the basic necessities in life. Especially the Diwali gifting that happens in North India in general and Delhi in particular is overwhelming. Everyone is out to give a gift … the choked roads are further choked and businesses keep aside money specifically for this. Its great to give a Diwali bonus, so the employees can buy new clothes for the family and celebrate the festival of lights well, but gifting a flask, tea cups, bags etc doesn’t help. Its great to gift a fruit hamper or the traditional dried fruits and nuts.. even the sweets are a health hazard.
Haldirams and the many gift making companies will be looking for me so they can beat me up, but seriously, rather than gifting one kilo of sweets, gift half a kilo and with the balance money, gift an education. We have to consciously make an effort to move away from gifting material things to gifting something that helps another person to change their life circumstances. Gift a job if you can, gift a surgery to someone who can’t afford it but needs it, gift a set of spectacles to someone who needs it and can’t afford it, gift “TIME” and meet your friends, family, … and gift an education if that is of interest to you. But don’t gift another set of crystal to your boss, or a box of sweets to your security guard .. make this Diwali and all the future ones more meaningful.
By gifting an education, you will light up a young life. I just completed the payment of Padmavathi’s exam fees. She is a ShikshaDaan beneficiary from Tirunelveli and thats our gift to Rajesh :). Knowing him, he would be thrilled.
Our “no gift” policy is as follows – whenever we want to give a gift to any of our friends or family, we simply transfer that amount to ShikshaDaan and anytime anyone feels like gifting us something, please do likewise 🙂 Gift an education, change a life forever.