Later this month, SThree Managing Partner Sanjiy Sood, Associate Partner Rakesh Patel and Mital Jethwa will be visiting a Family Strengthening Programme in Bhuj, Gujarat, India to provide support to abandoned orphans.
This visit has been initiated in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages and their Outreach Programme which helps at-risk youth build character and self-esteem.
We asked Sanj and Rakesh to give us more...
...insight into their upcoming trip and what they will be doing in India.
Can you tell us about your trip?
Rakesh: “We are visiting Bhuj and the surrounding villages to get a better idea on how we can support the Family Strengthening Programme, focusing on children from this region. As these villages are remote and therefore receive very little aid, we are happy to have been offered help from the SOS Children team to help us make this trip a success.”
How did you get involved?
Sanj: “I got involved through Rakesh who set up the Huxley Associates office in India where he spent a lot of his spare time adding value inside and outside of the office. With all his support and hard work, Rakesh really opened my eyes and made me realise that it is not just about helping financially, but actually the time and love you put into helping people is what they value most.
As a consequence we formed an SOS Team and are working on a support structure for the most vulnerable children. We chose to work in partnership with SOS Children as we want to have an active role in helping forge a sustainable programme for the long term future.”
What is the objective of your visit?
Rakesh: “The real benefit is to see first hand the positive effects that our support can have on people’s lives. I see this trip as an investment in people’s futures and for me there is no better feeling than the reward you get from seeing these children’s faces light up after all the anguish they have encountered. It is not just a one off trip but part of an ongoing initiative we intend to continue.”
What is the region you are visiting?
Rakesh: “We are visiting Bhuj in Gujarat which is home to 300,000 people. Ten years ago an earthquake killed 27,000 people in this region and destroyed homes, schools and hospitals. SOS Children’s Villages provided immediate help and set up 25 child relief centres.
However, it became apparent that many of the children lost at least one if not both parents and a longer presence was needed. The Family Strengthening Programme, we are supporting, currently looks after 469 boys and 404 girls all living in slum conditions. In addition to the provision of basic needs, we aim to provide training as well, to develop and improve their livelihoods.”
Can staff get involved or help?
Sanj: “This is the first of many visits. We want as many people as possible to get involved with this project and SOS Children’s Villages around the world. The more helping hands we have will enable us to have a better chance to improve these children’s lives. We would also like people to offer their support from a fundraising point of view. It doesn't matter how little or large people’s contributions are, whether it’s time, money, ideas or gifts of kindness, no act of charity is too small.”
What does this trip mean to you on a personal level?
Sanj: “We want to really connect with the people in the region and want them to trust that we can make a difference to their lives and offer a helping hand. This is really about making a positive change for their future and not just about the short term positivity we can bring to their current daily lives. Giving them the opportunity to live a life as best they can is what I hope we can achieve.
I feel that it is important to firstly offer emotional support to each individual. The hope then is that the financial support too, should help to improve things overall. I want to enable people to be able to rebuild their lives and feel confident and strong again. Therefore, I hope the help we provide will help them help themselves.
Like John Lennon, some people think I'm a dreamer but I hope I'm not the only one. My aim is to try as best I can, to help every orphaned / abandoned child understand that there is somebody out there who cares. No matter where we or they are in the world. ”
To learn more about our CSR initiatives click here!