All of us have this wish to do something extra-ordinary. To do something that can create a greater impact across our sphere of influence. While, I chose to climb Mt Everest and demonstrate that we can do extra ordinary things along with our regular lives, I still felt that I could do more through this effort. Over the past few months, a lot of you have reached out to me and have offered your support. And I now have something for which I would seek your active support.
My objective was to support programs which do not have a shelf life and have a measurable impact. There are two causes I have taken up and am excited to share these with you :
- “Happy Feet” a sharing program in association with Goonj
- “Fruits are Fibre & Fun” a fund raising program for Mumbai Mobile Creches
Here’s more about them :
During our numerous treks, I’ve come across lots of happy kids in the mountains walking to or back from school. Every kid needs to hike 2 to 3 kms every day to school and back through the mountain terrain and mostly on a pugdandi (walking path). While the kids had smiles on their faces and happiness in their eyes, I would always feel distressed looking at their feet and the condition of their shoes. And I would wonder how I could help make things better.
A couple of years back, two young mountaineers, Samir Patham & Sauraj Jhingan, started a program called Save Our Soles. They collected used shoes and gave it to the mountain porters who they’d come across during their treks & climbs. This idea resonated with me and I saw an opportunity to create a larger impact for kids. In the cities, kids outgrow good shoes and the shoes are discarded. What if they could share those shoes and bring a smile to another less fortunate kid?
To take things further, we spoke to Anshu & Meenakshi Gupta (Magsaysay award winner & Founder of Goonj) and sought their support in distributing the shoes. Anshu & Goonj agreed and that’s how ‘Happy Feet’ was born! Read more about Happy Feet at http://www.openskiez.com/mission_everest/happy_feet.html
‘Happy Feet’ is my endeavour to collect and share 29,035 pairs of shoes. I am climbing 29,035 feet and therefore a pair for every foot I climb on Mt Everest!
‘Happy Feet’ is not a one-time effort. Hopefully, it will become a longer term program.
Together with you, we hope to create an impact and give children the spring in their step that is so natural to them.
Help us by contributing old useable pair of kids’ shoes by:
- Dropping off the outgrown shoes in good condition at any Goonj’s Dropping Centres.
- Couriering your kids’ shoes to Goonj offices. Please pack your shoes properly and mention your details on the package. Do not forget to mention “Happy Feet Project” on the package.
- Spreading the word among your friends to contribute and spread the message further.
If you wish to run a drive in your work place, society or school, we’ll be more than happy to support you.
That brings me to the second cause –
Fruits are Fibre & Fun
While we were talking to people about how Happy Feet could help make an impact for children, we happened to get in touch with Mumbai Mobile Creches (MMC). MMC, a 44 year old NGO, has been running creches for children of migrant workers living on construction sites across Mumbai. They now have 22 such centres providing comprehensive care to nearly 1000 children. They provide educational, nutritional and healthcare support to these kids.
Suffice to say that I was humbled and impressed by what they’re doing. MMC felt that we could support them by raising funds to help provide nutritious meals for these kids. And we agree that we can do a lot more than just raise awareness.
It costs just Rs. 5 to add a fruit to the nutrition plan of a child (and just Rs. 30, to provide a nutritious meal for a child). So, I have undertaken to raise Rs. 3.0 lakh to help add fruits to the diets of the little kids. You can read more about this at http://www.openskiez.com/mission_everest/OpenSkiez_Child_Nutrition.html
Many of my friends and family have offered to support the fund raising for my expedition. To all of you, I’ve maintained that I am not accepting any personal monetary contributions towards funding my expedition. However, I urge you to contribute towards making lives better for these children. They deserve nutrition as much as all of us do.
Here is how you can do this.
- Click on the contribute page on GiveIndia: www.giveindia.org/iGive-Openskiez and contribute (a minimum of Rs. 100/-). You’ll get a tax deductible receipt from GiveIndia.
- You can spread the word about this cause and ask your friends to contribute and spread the message further.