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Giving back to the Indian Community.

Very often we hear about extreme human rights violations in India. Reference: http://indianexpress.com/section/india/crime/. We have an educated middle class, advancements in science but we are still battling age old problems like safety, hygiene, nutrition and education for all. While kids in my neighborhood, here in the US ask for Xboxes and iPhones, for some kids in India, new shoes would feel like Christmas.

I remember what being a middle class working woman in India was like in a big city like Mumbai. It was a challenge to get to work and back. Buses were crowded. Money was limited. The heat, pollution and corruption was exhausting. I could not prioritize charity then.

The main difference between me and the kid on the street is what I had on the platter. If it was not for my good luck and opportunity, I too, could have ended up in the news just like them.  Think of all the people who helped you get where you are and the money you spent on your education. A lot of people had none of that. I think it is fair, to help even if I do in a small way.

I used to vent on social media till I realized what a waste of energy it was.

My first step to giving back.

My first step to giving back was reading and educating myself about ongoing efforts in India, what works and what does not. We are a very charitable country (http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/india-philanthropy-report-2015.aspx). We may shoo away beggars that walk to our cars but we will help from a safe and comfortable distance. We care 🙂

The one that has worked out best for me is to sponsor a girl child’s education in India through children.org. If you work for a big corporate, they might match the amount too. I am also taking various training sessions that would help toward disaster relief. This is some time in the future though.

Resources/Groups that I would go to volunteer/donate.

There are various groups in our backyard like, Asha-India.org, cry.org and medical teams international.

I found https://www.charitynavigator.org/ useful in picking charities I wanted to contribute to. Since I have been involved, I don’t feel as helpless. This contribution costed me $25 per month when I started in 2012 and has now increased to $35. That is the cost of one fancy meal in Seattle or a night out. The hope is, at least one girl can delay marriage and childbirth, travel safely and provide better for her family in the future.  Old age homes, child welfare, disaster relief, public healthcare, disability, environment, animals, arts and culture could also use more.

Remember the 90’s when we used to think any effort towards India goes in a black hole? Look at us now. We are a superpower. Just imagine where a big push from NRI’s can take us! If the public is offered better lifestyle and opportunity, they’ll be less on the edge for crime.

We are very lucky to be here in the US. Remember that time you were passed up for a promotion or you didn’t get the bonus you wanted? It is that injustice times a thousand for several fellow humans. Giving helps the donor too. It helps build awareness. Organizing community service events builds leadership skills in students and may help toward college admissions. It teaches us to share and gain empathy. What I get out of it personally, is a perspective and the most impactful contribution I will ever make.

Featured Image Source: Pixabay

Author: Nazneen Malik

Nazneen Malik is a Software Engineer based in the Greater Seattle area since 2010. She is originally from Mumbai. She did her B.E. in Computer Engineering and then worked as a Software Developer in Mumbai for 2 years.  After that, she moved to Utah to do her Masters in Computer Science in 2008. Nazneen Malik is passionate about her career and serving the community. For fun, she likes to read, hike, salsa dance, and travel!

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