“We do not accept money or things”

September 21, 2017 Asia , HUMAN RIGHTS , India , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

By

Kingson Chingakham

 

At the age of 21, when everyone is trying hard to make a career and earn money, Anmol Kwatra from Ludhiana has completed his BBA but compromised his dream to be a businessman. Anmol hails from a business family, but he has never got time away from his social work. He has been passionate about helping the needy from the time of his childhood. He started helping the people six years ago but now he has an NGO called ‘We do not accept money or things which he runs entirely himself. His parents have been very supportive in whatever he does.

 

He was apprehensive about starting an NGO in the beginning because of the popular perceptions among the people that NGOs have become business oriented. Nobody has the will or passion to work for the needy in reality. He was worried how it would work, but did an initial study and started ‘We do not accept money or things’ three months ago. The NGO does not accept any money directly nor does it engage in any fundraising. The NGO helps in connecting the donors and the needy. If the donor wants to help, he/she has to meet the needy and donate the money. They have donors all across the country even from abroad. Though he works alone, the organization has around 20,000-25,000 registered members. Since he does not accept any funding, he pays expenses from his own pocket.

 

We do not accept money or things’ mainly focuses on cases that deal with children up to the age of 13. But the doors are always opened for other cases. There have been many exceptional cases where Anmol has helped beyond the children’s focus approach.

 

Though he already has a broadcast list of donors on Whatsapp, he uploads videos of the needy on the Facebook page of ‘We do not accept money or things’ which also acts as a medium to connect the donors with the needy.

 

 

Challenges he faces

 

Once Anmol gets the case, he visits the person to inspect the genuineness of the case. Most of the time out of 100 cases, 95 are fraud. Hundreds of people pretend to be poor and needy to extract money. Therefore, it is very important for him to analyze and undergo background checks of the people concerned in order to ascertain that money goes to the right hands. He inspects all the cases within 24 hours. After he is thorough with the checks, he arranges a meeting for the donors and the needy within 24-48 hours.

 

Another challenge he faces is that whenever a case comes to him and he tries to reach out to the donors, the donors are sometimes not available due to some reason. With some donors, even after finalizing the schedules, they do not turn up. Therefore, in some urgent cases, it is very challenging to arrange the required money. If he does not get donors or runs short of the target amount, he pays from his own pocket and arranges the money somehow.

 

It is very challenging to handle each and every case. He said, “I receive around 2,000-2,500 calls daily from across the country. That comprises of nearly 200 cases daily. But it is disappointing that we are unable to help every case due to lack of resources and geographical barriers. In some cases, I have made a list of donors from other states and arrange to connect them with the needy. If a case comes from Ludhiana, I personally check everything. But if the case comes from outside Ludhiana, I select the most trustworthy donor and give the responsibility to analyze the case.”

 

Non Resident Indians (NRIs) staying abroad are very active donors and they are very willing to help in whichever way possible. The only issue is the geographical barrier. Since the organization believes the presence of the donor at the time of donating the money, sometimes even if they are willing to help, it becomes helpless. But for those who have relatives in Punjab, they direct their relatives to visit the places, meet the needy and donate the amount. Within India itself, the support and love he has got has been overwhelming. From an individual donor, the minimum the NGO has collected is Rs 10 and the maximum is Rs 51,000.

 

Anmol has seen many heart breaking and stressful cases, but he recalls one beautiful experience. He said, “There was a lady admitted at the Ludhiana’s Civil Hospital. She was about to deliver a baby, but her husband was a heavy drinker and drug addict. He left his wife at the hospital. The lady, right after delivery (she even had stitches) moved to another hospital with her baby due to being short of money. She stayed there for 2 months because earlier she used to stay at a rented house and she did not have money to bear all the expenses. This case was reported to me. I went to check and was really touched. I collected around Rs 2.5 lakhs and relieved the mother and child from the troubles they were facing. When the hospital discharged the mother and the baby, the mother named her baby ‘Anmol’. This was the most beautiful moment.”

 

 

About Wingmancare- another initiative

 

Anmol said that there are two groups of people who want to help – One who has money and does not have time and the other group who do not have money but have time. Therefore, he thought of merging these two groups and work something productive. That is how the idea of www.wingmancare.com came about.

 

Anmol said, “Wingmancare is a website that provides 50-70% discounts to all the stationery items. People who stays in Ludhiana can place the order and get it delivered at their homes for personal consumption or to donate to the schools. But especially for those who stays outside Punjab, it will act as a good platform to donate to the needy kids without visiting the places. I have asked those who do not have money to join me and help in reaching the donated items to the schools. The order now can be placed from all over the world.” Anmol decided initially that Wingmancare will only cater to the government schools but he has made all the items accessible even to the private schools now.

 

 

Anmol on government schools

 

Anmol has visited almost around 250-300 schools and talked about the pathetic condition of the government schools. He said, “The condition of the government schools is miserable. I don’t know where the funds go. The schools do not have proper classrooms, children sit on the floors, no proper sanitation and drinking water facilities. We have connected with the donors to donate benches, water filter, etc, to these schools.”

 

Anmol added, “Nobody visits government schools to interact with the students. I visit the schools on the bahana (excuse) of distribution of stationery items. Otherwise, if I just ask the school authority they will not allow me. Most of the students are not happy and they are depressed. They do not have people to talk to. For example, when I visited a school, a kid cried. He explained his problem to me that his father earns Rs 300 on wage and spend half the amount in drinking. When his father comes back homes, he beats his wife and kids. The kid is in depression and has nobody to share with. We should start interacting more with the students.” In this six years of service, he has helped almost 20,000 children.

 

 

No interaction with the media before

 

Anmol expressed, “Media ask for money for coverage. All newspapers and news channels have called me up but they will always ask something in return. In Punjab it’s all about money. We are doing so good but no media is helping us. You can see our Facebook page, no prominent media has shared our page nor any of the videos which we have posted. If they start sharing the videos, we can get more donors and help the people. It is useless to pay the media for coverage because I can use the money to help the kids. Facebook is helping us. So many blessings come from Facebook. If there was no Facebook, I would not have been able to help any people.”

 

 

Reactions from local politicians and does he wish to join politics

 

He said, “The local politicians are trying to push me down because I am helping people and I have received love and support from many people. There are people who have been in politics for 40-50 years but they do not work for people like how we do. I don’t want to join politics immediately. But sometimes I think whenever I go to any hospital where I want to help, I want some power since many a times the hospital officials, the security guards, general people and the police misbehave with me. I thought many a times that politics will give me some power. But on the bright side, I have the power from people now- the love and support of the people I have received is enough for me at the moment.”

 

 

Final message

 

“People tell me 21 years is not the age to do such things. But in 6 years, I have done something which I have wanted to do and which people will remember me. Therefore, I always say do something remarkable which is selfless when you are alive for which you will remembered in peoples’ hearts forever,” said Anmol.

 

 

 

 

 

Kingson Chingakham

Kingson Chingakham is a citizen journalist based in Delhi, India. He is currently pursuing M.A Political Science from the University of Delhi. Politics and Society are his core interests. He has recently started contributing stories to Indian media houses. He aims to become a Political Journalist in the near future.

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