Your pocket money could save a child

Published: 28 October, 2012 08:30 IST | Anjana Vaswani |

Rs 100. It's less than what a movie ticket costs these days. Actor Kunal Kapoor and citizen Varun Sheth would have you donate that cash to those less fortunate

Born of an epiphany, and launched on August 15 this year, Ketto - a fusion of the words Key to Tomorrow - is an online network that makes it possible for you to contribute as little as Rs 100 at a time to any cause close to your heart.

Varun Sheth and Kunal Kapoor
Varun Sheth and Kunal Kapoor started Ketto two years ago

It’s an idea that 25 year-old graduate of NM college of Commerce and Economics, Varun Sheth tells us just occurred to him while he was listening to speakers discuss non-profit initiatives at a TED conference two years ago. “TED stands for Technology-Entertainment-Design,” Sheth, a Juhu resident, explains, pointing out that the initiative brings together the most fascinating people from the three streams with a view to spreading ideas.

“The idea behind TED is to offer free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most brilliant thinkers.” Partially motivated by the concept itself and then further encouraged by the content of discussions, Sheth suddenly struck upon an idea.

“We wanted to present people with a fun, non-intimidating approach to charity,” says Sheth. The word charity may conjure the image of hard-at-work activists and colossal funding, but here, all you’re required to do is contribute as little as Rs 100. “It’s a concept called crowdfunding,” Sheth explains, stressing that actor Kunal Kapoor has been integral in conceptualising and creating the platform which has already generated funds for Shabana Azmi’s Mijwan Welfare Society, which supports women’s empowerment and for a breast cancer awareness programme.

Ketto also hopes to get people to pledge their time to assorted campaigns, for instance, “Forty two year-old cyclist Mark Ellison has committed to cycling all along the Indian coastline - a stretch that spans 15,000 km - to raise money for Mijwan.” Earlier this month, actor Nargis Fakhri invited fans and friends to contribute towards the Akshara Centre, an organisation committed to promoting gender equality, on the occasion of her birthday. And you don’t have to be a celebrity to start a campaign. All it takes is one click of the mouse on the portal’s website - “Announce your campaign, cause, goal and deadline and watch people unite to support it.”

Being an international platform, Ketto not only reaches out to a wider group of philanthropists, it also extends awareness of different organisations. “Kunal and I have worked on this for the last two years,” says Sheth, telling us about the job as an interest rate swap dealer with a brokerage firm which he quit for Ketto. “We don’t charge any fees so the website has been funded by the two of us but we’ve recently received a grant from Google for $120,000 worth of Google advertisements which we can spread over a year, which our campaigners will no doubt benefit from.”

How you choose to contribute may incur a “payment gateway charge” says Sheth, explaining that this is what the credit card company levies. “Net banking charges are slightly higher.” Other than that, you may res,t assured that your entire contribution goes straight to the cause. Further, all NGOs that raise funds through the portal must submit a feedback report that allows the Ketto team to see how the funds have been directed, so you can be sure your money’s being put to good use.

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