Started in 1999 as emergency blood phone help line, Sarthak Prayas now works for four majorcauses —creating the longest chain of emergency blood donors, providing education and human values to children, giving benefits to senior citizens, and greening the environment for future generations.
Mission Save Life, which is their dream project, is also their very first program. The notion behind this project is to create a human chain of emergency blood donors who will always be available to donate blood in an emergency. CEO and founder, Harsh Arora, began this project with only 15 donors back in 2003. Now, after 11 years, over 9,000 blood donors support this program. However, the organisation feels that this is not enough . Their dream is to build a chain of 5,00,000 such people all over India so that nobody will ever die merely because of shortage of blood at the right time.
Educating children in rural India will bridge the gap between rural and urban India. This idea is clearly understood by Sarthak Prayas, as evinced by their program Build a Foundation. As a result, Divya Sanskar, a school for impoverished children was established in a village called Pakkakhera, in Karnal district of Haryana. Visiting the school and talking to the children gave me a peculiar sense of satisfaction, probably because of the school’s history.
It started with a few girls being taught under a huge tree. As the villagers saw the dedication, passion and hard work of the teachers, they requested Sarthak Prayas to convert the girls’ school into a co-education institute. Infact, they also donated a piece of land for adding a new building to the school. Then came little acts, from different people, that saw the school being built on this plot of land.
From a priest who conducted an Indian ritual called Satsang, (which is a spiritual discourse or sacred gathering) Rs. 3 lakh was raised to construct a wall for the school. Another Satsang raised enough money for the building’s 2nd floor; computers and benches came from donations. Sarthak Prayas has shown that little drops truly make the ocean!
Even though the school is fairly small, it looks no different than other public schools in India. Neither are the dreams of the children studying here any different. One of the girls I spoke to wants to become a singer; she even did a little audition for me! Then there were two boys who are always seen together, and tell everyone they are brothers. One of them aspires to be an actor and the other a policeman. The little actor asserts that his acting profession will allow him to get the feel of all the other professions, so it’s all in one!
Sarthak Prayas is also well aware of the importance of soft skills in life. In this endevour, they conduct exposure visits for their children. Like, for example, when they took these children to visit the kitchens of Dominoes and McDonald’s; where the staff taught the kids how to work with the fancy machines present there, and also took the opportunity to inculcate in them the value of hard work – studying hard today could well get them the opportunity to work at one of these restaurants in the future. As Harsh explained to me, this program motivates children to work hard and makes them look at the brighter side of life.
Then there’s Second Inning Centre—the name is inspired by the senior citizens home in the hit Bollywood movie Lage Raho Munnabhai. Initiated in 2008, this project’s aim is to create a chain of recreational centres for senior citizens. Harsh believes that one’s golden age is the time to spend one’s days relaxing and sharing experiences of life and Second Innings Centre is his attempt to make that happen.
Another program that emerges from this belief is the , Ration Distribution program. Commenced in June 2013, it is targeted at destitute elderly. For the past year, on the first Sunday of every month, 25 senior citizens gather near Remal Public School in Rohini. These needy individuals are given rations, which includes flour, rice, lentils, soap, tea, sugar and biscuits – enough for an entire month. I learnt during my visit that many of these elderly individuals have either been abandoned or are abused by their children. Sarthak Prayas gives them the ability to live independently without begging on the streets.
There’s more to Sarthak Prayas. Those wanting to donate on their birthday every year can do so through Sarthak Prayas’ Birthday Project. Do you want to help save the planet? Sarthak Prayas’ Green India, Healthy India program fights Global Warming with your assistance. There’s clearly a lot going on under one umbrella. Sarthak Prayas is doing as much as it can with the hope to impact society in a positive manner and improve the lives of the less-privileged