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Heart of giving enhances art of living


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March 06, 2003
Times News Network
Namita Devidayal

MUMBAI: One of the more foolish fixtures in children's birthday parties is the 'return-present', but advertising executive Subhash Kamat recently pulled off a novel idea for his ten-year-old. Instead of getting the usual seven-sided pencil boxes, he made a donation to CRY (Child Relief & You) and gave each child a certificate which said that he or she had contributed towards helping a child.

Mr Kamat, chief operating officer of Ambience, says, "It's a drop in the ocean but every individual needs to do his bit. I was hoping I could influence 30 other parents to do the same thing."

Actor Rahul Khanna is another gift maverick who never buys crystal or flowers. Instead, he routinely sends a contribution to CRY on behalf of his friends.

So, when his buddies had a baby recently, they received a thank-you note from CRY's head, Pervin Varma, in which she told them that the birth of their child was special because it heralded the 'birth' of another, less privileged, child.

"There are so many organisations doing such good work. This is such a nice way of supporting them," says Khanna.

Which is why businesspersons Suresh and Devika Bhojwani give mithai boxes the go-by and send donations to Sneha Sadan in the name of their friends every Diwali. NGOs are also doing their bit to promote the art of giving.

The Give Foundation, a non-profit fund-raising body which acts as a conduit between donors and deserving organisations across the country, recently launched a service on its website (www.giveindia.org) whereby individuals can 'give back' to the social sector in unusual and convenient ways-such as by authorising an automatic payroll deduction of a fixed amount every month, or by contributing their credit card points, which the charity can then monetise.

Or, you can gift a donation to a friend. If you believe your contribution is not large enough to make a difference, you may also set up a 'giving circle' and organise a group of friends to contribute towards it.

The sum collected can then be used towards one needy invidual or project. In return, benefactors receive regular updates on the status of the particular girl-child, medical centre or old-age home that they have adopted.

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