By Shubham Mishra:
While getting back to college after an exhilarating two-month vacation, I got to know about a social entrepreneurship cell Desire Foundation working in my college. At first, I wasn’t quite sure. “Why should I join a social organisation?”; “Wouldn’t it be boring and stuff?”; “Should I go for it?” Since I was quite busy with my branch change procedure, however, all this simply escaped my mind.
A few weeks later, while walking across the corridor in my hostel, I met a few girls distributing copies bearing the motto “You write, Help them write”. Intrigued, I went ahead to know more about it. These copies were being distributed by the same organisation for lower rates and surprisingly the quality of these copies was pretty good. While talking to these people, I got to know that the money collected by the distribution would be used for children, i.e., for their education and development. Not only that, the copies also contained pictures of their previous work in various slum areas in and around Bhubaneswar.
Later on, while looking them up them on social media, I learnt that this society was built on the values of dedication and hard work. Their team was made of college students like me, the youngsters which ‘our society’ considers to be too immature and spoilt to have even basic decency, respect or humanity. In front of them stands this society bearing the flame of service for those in need. To sow the seeds of hope in the budding generation of our country and to provide them with a platform to let their dreams take flight is the main vision of this society.
I got to know that here the interns do not just monotonously ‘do their job’ as members. Rather for them, it’s like an opportunity on a silver platter. I realised that a combined feeling of compassion and love coupled with an immense sense of helpfulness drives this cohort of young people to brighten the lives of those others. It was then that I took the decision to join Desire Foundation.
My first project here was celebrating Independence Day at a school in a slum and it was extraordinarily extravagant. The bustling excitement for the beginning of celebration for another year of independence was draped in the colours of the little ones. Several competitions were organised for the children and the stream of beauty and dedication was simply overflowing. The entire celebration in the sweltering heat of Bhubaneswar was exhausting but the big smiles on those little faces were like a cool breeze of bliss. There were many projects after that.
Desire had earlier done projects like ‘Liter of Light’ which is a national movement in which a simple device is used to for lighting up homes of the people dwelling in destitute areas of the city in an eco-friendly and cost-effective manner; ‘Rice Bucket Challenge’, in which 61 kilograms of rice were distributed to various families living in slums in Bhubaneswar; ‘Treatzza’, in which about a score of students were given a free treat at Pizza Hut etc.
Also, recently Desire has started working on RTE, i.e., Right to Free and Compulsory Education in India, by which every child between 6-14 years has got the right to free education. We have done many surveys across various slums of Odisha and are continuously in contact with government officials who can help us to improve the implementation of this precious Act in Odisha. A few months ago, Desire became the social partner of the fest Technext, IIT BHU, Varanasi and BITOTSAV, BIT Mesra, Ranchi to spread awareness about RTE in these colleges as well.
Throughout this journey, coping with the hills and crevices of destiny while taking up the burden of breaking the shackles of hegemony that have so far imprisoned the advancement of our society, Desire has played it’s part well in making this world a better place to live in. By believing in the motto “Poverty can only be eradicated by Education”, Desire has provided young kids with the hope to desire, to dream and to achieve the stars of infinity. And as for me, Desire has carved me into a better person. It helped me to unveil the ‘goodness’ of my heart by obscuring the mist of materialism. It taught me to be selfless, to be mature and to pamper the world with happiness and love.