Personal causes

last updated on: 4th Jan 2017

“If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped.” ~ Melinda Gates, valedictory speech, Ursuline Academy, 1982

“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” ~ Hellen Keller

Bill and Melinda Gates were never much of an inspiration for me, but an article I read about them sometime back hit me at the core. Along with the above quote, they talked about how everyone should adopt 2-3 causes and give their everything for it.

Which made me think. What if I were to adopt some causes? What would I want to give back to the world? There were things which I enjoyed – reading, travel, nature and staying healthy. If I wanted to help others, it would surely be on these lines. And finally, I decided on 3 issues:

  1. Environmental protection
  2. Children’s education
  3. Health

Initially, there was entropy. I gave all sorts of excuses to myself – I have too much work, I don’t have the time and energy, I don’t have the money. I kept procrastinating for many years.

But then one day suddenly, I thought – when would I have the time or energy to help? Was I expecting a messiah to help me get over these obstacles? I began checking the internet, got in touch with some charitable organizations and started donating money and material. I slowly brought changes in my life which would reflect these causes.

I don’t have a concrete future plan on how to proceed. But I have started. Inaction is one thing I shall no more be blamed for. 🙂 (Since June 2013, I have begun donating 10% of my take-home income.)

And when I die, I want to go knowing that I gave back more to the world than I took from it.

These are the NGOs I will be donating to in 2017:

Give India – online interface with various NGOs (member since 2005)
They give a variety of options for making donations – you can choose your cause, the Indian state and the NGO where you wish to make charity and the amount (which starts from as less as Rs. 200). You can also gift your charity to your friends and family. Another interesting thing is, they send photos, testimonials and thank you letters from people who have benefited from your donation.

Rang De – online micro-credit (member since 2011)
This online NGO helps in passing on your money to people who need to start businesses on a small scale. You usually get about 3-4% interest on your money. They give an option to again re-invest it.

Grow Trees – online way of helping the environment (member since May 2015)
This online NGO plants trees for you in various projects across India, which includes reforestation and trees for supporting a community. The interesting thing is you can gift the planted trees to anyone on special occasions and they will send a beautiful certificate to them.

Avaaz – online campaigning for global causes
Who says that by clicking you can’t change the world? Avaaz, an online campaigning effort does just that, all you need to do is to support the causes on their website and they send forward your views to the concerned people. Diverse issues like Tunisia’s fight for freedom to Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign in India are raised on this site.

SOS Villages