When I was 14 I wanted to join some computer courses, but my (single) mother couldn’t afford it.This taught me the difference that sources and family can have in our upbringing. At the same time, teachings of Swami Vivekananda, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Shaheed Bhagat Singh that I was reading for the first time, made me realize the need to work for the common people. I was consumed by the desire to help those like me so that they can avail of what I could not and financial constraints could never stop them from achieving their dreams. This led me to start The Golden Bird Foundation, an NGO that works to provide education to underprivileged children in India.
The very concept of starting a NGO hit me when I first visited an orphanage. On that day I concluded that orphans are easy to ignore before you know their name, and it is easy to pretend they are not real until you see their faces. I decided I need to do more than helping them individually, and reach a broader community of underprivileged children through a larger organization.
There were certain challenges that stood as a wall between me and my vision to start an NGO. I was merely 15 years old and aware that the idea of starting something so big would sound absurd to many. I already knew it would be hard for me to do all the legal work and documentation by myself. The idea was not very well accepted by the people around me but all the mocking did not shake my determination.
The second hindrance was the finances required to start an NGO in early stages. Neither did I havea job to self-invest nor a rich family support that would invest the money in the starting phase. The only way out was to earn whatever I could as a boy of 15. I took a job at Tikona, an internet service providing company and worked as a door to door salesperson. The job was small and something people could even despise , but I could not stop thinking about the NGO and that was enough to keep me going with what I had.
Being in touch with the right person with the right resources was very crucial during this phase. I was connected to an advocate in Delhi who was ready to help me with the registration and paper work of my NGO.However, travelling to Delhi and managing the stay was very hard especially when the advocate I was supposed to meet there let me down. I was back to square one but then somehow I managed to find help in my own city Indore.
The struggle was hard and long but it paid off well and after almost two years I was able to bring the NGO on paper and run the first campaign.
- We have successfully run computer education project (PARAM) for children to receive free computer education.
- Our women empowerment project (AARYAA) helped women to create clothes and sellthem by arranging fashion shows, thereby promoting their work.
- We have successfully run various health camps for blood donation and eye care that helped many people to avail of health services that they otherwise could not.
- Cyclothon was a very unique project created to raise awareness towards environmental issues by a cycling marathon that was a great success.
The future plan includes organising such assorted events to raise funds for the NGO and at the same time this year we will be strengthening our foundation by working on the NGO registration and tax transit certificate.We will also be tying up with organisations for corporate social responsibility, and to organise, and promote the NGO through events.
Our strength is our ‘minimal ideology’. By creating simple, specific and targeted events we give quality results and sincere dedication. We do not accept any donationand raise fund through our events and campaigns for effective working. The products and services we provide through the NGO come from reputed organisationsand companies because we not only help for the sake of it but also to give our best. Through our NGO, we try to give something that we ourselves would like to receive.
Image credit: thegoldenbirdfoundation.org
The author Aakash Mishra is the Founder of the Golden Bird Foundation
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.
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