What do you do when someone hands you 22,500 rupees and tells you to do something good with it that relates to clothing?
Yesterday that was the responsibility I was given. People participating in a walkathon in New Jersey raised this money and after passing through many hands, the money is now my responsibility. My job is to spread love and kindness with this money and use clothing as a theme for these acts of kindness.
When I first received the money, I was thinking what sort of event/project I could do. It was a large scale mentality, after all 22,500 is a lot of money. As I got caught up in thinking about what would be a good event type way to use the money giving away clothing, I was given a much simpler suggestion. Walk around and talk to people. Interact with them, cut their nails, clean their house and make note of where they live and sizes of family members. Then buy clothing and give it to the people you interact with. So that is the plan.
Here is the first beneficiary. (Note the description of the family is from MS’s annual report 04-05 as it’s very well-written).
Arvind, 16 years old, beams with confidence that few children his age have. His brother, Jayanti, 11 years old, never passes a day without his infectious smile. I had the pleasure of spending two evenings with him thus far and he never stops smiling!
Arvind starts his day at nine in the morning by cleaning his house. He then walks to the main commercial street of Ahmedabad- CG Road, a road he loving refers to as his “office.” Along his walk to the office, he shines shoes, which he keeps up until six in the evening. From his eight hours of labor, he earns 40 to 50 rupees. Afterwards, he returns home to help fetch water and do laundry for his entire household. After eating dinner and resting briefly, he leaves home at nine in the evening, spending the next four hours picking through and collecting garbage to sell. In between all these tasks, Arvind finds time to attend Manav Sadhna’s Street Child School program, where he eagerly learns to read and write.
Arvind and Jayanti live with their mother, who is mentally challenged and elder brother, who works when he is sober. Their father died from alcoholism a few years ago.
Two years ago, Arvind was picking rags late one nigh when he found a box outside of a jewelry store. After arriving home, he sorted through the box and found several pure silver coins. Arvind could not sleep at night knowing that these coins did not belong to him The next morning he notice that the box held a letter with an address attached to it. Since his reading skills were limited, he asked an adult to read the address and took him to the jewelry store to return the items to the owner. The owner, taken aback from Arvind’s honesty, felt compelled to give him a 500 rupee award.
A child that earns less than 50 rupees a day, a child with such dismal family situation, returned a box filled with treasures worth 100 times his daily earnings.
Two weeks ago, Arvind was injured by a motor vehicle. Even though the driver was at fault, he did not get angry. His injuries have limited the amount of work he could do, greatly reducing the family’s daily income. He and his family are the first beneficiary of the “clothing” fund.