It is heartening to know that not all youngsters in Maximum City are afflicted by the splurge-all-you-can credo of a consumerist age. A few are dedicatedly saving money -- not for themselves but for those who cannot afford to pay for school fees, or even food to get by.
Some 80 young professionals and collegians from Borivli, operating under the banner Shashwat Youth Foundation (SYF), have decided to fund school fees of deprived students from a school in their suburb. They have, since the inception of the informal SYF, paid fees for more than 110 students of the school, in all amounting to Rs 1,60,500 in cash.
Sohil Shah, 21
Computer engineer, KJ Somaiya College
Last year we visited an orphanage and distributed food and other household stuff. Then we all decided to make a contribution for the education of needy students in a Borivli school. When we got a good response, we decided to fund their education this
year as well.
SYF is not a registered NGO but a collective with disparate causes, all rooted in the idea of uplifting disadvantaged sections of society. Its affiliates do not hanker after designations or press coverage, they “just want to help”.
Says 19-year-old Mit Shah, “It was Yashesh and I who first had the thought that rather than wasting money on roaming around, hanging out and splurging it on unnecessary things, we can pool it and do something for the needy. That is the time we decided to bring all our friends together for the cause.”
The first mission the group took up after coming together last year was for orphanage Shanti Ashram in Gorai, where they distributed food and household items. The same year, they also donated school fees for 43 hard-up students at the school. When they saw the response from the students, they extended the aid this year too, this time for more than 70 students.
Only yesterday, a total fees amount of Rs 1 lakh was given to students of Stds V to X. The youngsters also chipped in for stationery worth Rs 5,000. Nipun Doshi, 21-year-old SYF member, said, “The money we gathered is mostly from our pockets and from the donations our elders and friends made.”
Nipun, along with Yashesh Shah, Mit Shah and Sohil Shah, among others from the group, were present at the institute to distribute the amount.
The class teachers helped them with identifying the indigent students who could not pay their annual school fees of Rs 1,500. Many are orphans in the custodianship of kin, or wards of single or handicapped parents, or facing challenging situations like physical disability.
Rs 1 lakh
Amount the members of Shashwat Youth Foundation handed over to a Borivli school yesterday
Amount they paid for stationery, books, etc
A spokesperson of the school said, “SYF has been helping us since last year and they are doing a very good job. We are proud that these youngsters are concerned about society. Our school is aided but there are expenses like students’ exam fees, calendars, sports fees and so on that most can’t pay even though it is a minimal amount of Rs 1,500. The government doesn’t give us non-salary grants and the trust pays for it from its pocket.”
Another schoolteacher said, “Most students at our school are from middle and lower-middle classes. While some are looked after by single parents or mothers who work as housemaids, others depend on relatives. We are happy that there are youths like these who are taking an initiative to help needy students.”
The following SYF members were also present to hand out the cash at the school
Chintan Dedhia (22), Electronics and Telecommunication Engineer from Nashik,
Hitayu Doshi (20), TY BCom student
Pratik Shah (25), Businessman
Rohan Shah (20), TY BSc IT student
Sameep Shah (18), FY Chemical Engineering student
Harsh Shah (22), Teacher at coaching classes