The renowned spiritualist and the founder of Art of Living Sri Sri Ravi Shankar launched ‘Volunteer for a better India’ in Delhi earlier this month. The program aims to address the key issues which society is fighting today including illiteracy, corruption and addiction and encourages every Indian to give up one hour of their day to assist these causes.
After the anti-corruption movement, this is the biggest gathering of volunteers for a social cause. The launch event at Ramlila Maidan attracted about 1.5 lakh people and the movement was launched simultaneously across the country in major cities like Mumbai and Bangalore.
Addressing the gathering, Mr Shankar said "We can't work amidst corruption. People - especially women, children, artists, dalits, minority communities and others - don't feel secure in the country. We need to get to the root of the problem and fix it."
"Anger is essential to wake us up. But if we are angry without the right attitude and action plan, anger will burn us. It needs to be channeled. You give one hour every day for the country’s betterment. Don't give this one hour from your study time but from your entertainment time," he added.
The Delhi Medical Association is ne of the first to come forward to join hands with the movement. President, Dr. Harish Gupta said, "15,000 Doctors of Delhi Medical Association have pledged to dedicate two Sundays a year for free consultation under the program, we are also looking forward to implement the same at the national level. This would make a big change in terms of health in the country."
The project, initiated by Art of Living, is in partnership with several agencies of the UNO like FPAI, UNODC, UNFPA, UNGCNI, UNICEF, UNMC, and other NGOs like Heroes Project, DRISHTEE, INERELA + (Asia Pacific) - IICA, and APAC - VHS which are all working within different humantarian spheres. The aim is not only to serve but also to create a new wave of volunteerism and advocacy to bring about an on-ground change and combat issues challenging society in a concerted effort towards nation building.
Dubbed 'Volunteer for a Better India' (VFABI), the movement aims to bring people together to address the critical issues affecting India like HIV and AIDS, the declining child sex ratio, sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as various issues affecting youth, environmental sustainability, drug and substance abuse, inequality in education and entrepreneurial opportunities, corruption and child protection issues.
In line with the movement, Mr Shankar has also launched three helplines, one to council people with violent tendencies, another for legal aid and awareness and a third one to assist and counsel school children and their parents especially during the exams to handle the pressure. “The helplines will be launched across the country to help men and women facing domestic violence, addiction to alcohol and other issues so that they are not motivated to commit a crime,” Mr Shankar added.
Author: Abhishek Jagini/ RESET editorial. Follow Abhishek Jagini on Twitter: @AbhishekJagini