Instead, the $4,000 (Rs 2,32,000) saved on the party and gifts was donated for a noble cause - 10 widows of Vidarbha region. “It was a tough decision. But my wife Sireesha, daughter Surina (6) and my parents, who had come down from Andhra Pradesh were very supportive and encouraged me to go ahead,” said the boy’s father, software developer Suresh Ediga.
Surina also chipped in - by emptying all the coins from her piggy bank - for the worthy cause after hearing an inspirational talk by her parents. He also sent out an appeal to his friends in the US and through his NGO, i4Farmers, asking people to chip in - instead of buying gifts for Subhash. “It deeply hurts when we learn that the farmer who produces food for us cannot afford his own meal,” Ediga said. The money collected would go towards rehabilitation schemes for the most deserving Vidarbha farm widows, through the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) NGO, Ediga said.
In February, too, Ediga and his group of friends had adopted 10 widows and given them aid worth $4,000 for various domestic, farming, academic or medical purposes. “To streamline such initiatives and take on more activities where individuals can contribute to the solutions for the farming crisis, the i4Farmers (www.i4farmers.org), not-for-profit organisation was set up,” Ediga said. Three years ago, on Surina’s third birthday, the Edigas ‘celebrated’ by donating the party bash money - $1,000 - for a year-long mid-day meal scheme for 75 children in his village of Patancheruvu in Andhra Pradesh through an NGO, Akshaya Patra.