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Umang Foundation has been bringing happiness into the life of the underprivileged by helping orphanages and providing care to cancer patients
It was 2008. Ashish Goyal, an IT professional working in an investment bank, was looking for fulfilment beyond his personal and professional life. He felt indebted to society; this resulted in the formation of Umang Foundation in July 2008. The mission to bring joy to the underprivileged began with two friends.
Umang is a now a registered NGO that helps orphanages, street children, old-age homes, organising eye-care & blood donation camps and promoting eye donation, distributing clothes and helping cancer patients. It took a while to earn the trust of corporates as well as enrol volunteers. Mr Goyal says, “In the beginning, we hardly had any funds and few people attended our events. Trust was developed over a period of time with the increasing success and impact of every event of Umang.” Now Umang has a huge volunteer base, with support from the corporate sector.
Umang believes that only education can help reduce poverty and uplift people’s lives. However, education should be of the best quality; many children who go to school don’t have enough basic educational material like notebooks, pencils, etc. Umang decided to fill this gap by providing the necessary stationery to children whose parents couldn’t afford to buy it for them. And the campaign ‘Promote Education—ek kadam ujwal bhavishya ki aur’ (one step towards a bright future) was born. Education kits purchased from donation amounts ranging from Rs300 onwards have been distributed to students on the outskirts of Mumbai.
Umang works with other NGOs, volunteers, orphanages and government agencies that help in identifying deprived students in schools, orphanages and slums. This collaboration helps Umang to monitor the requirements and performance of the beneficiaries. In 2010, Umang distributed educational material at a few schools in Ulhasnagar and Kalyan (in Thane district, Maharashtra).
Till date, Umang has supported around 8,000 children with educational material. It has collected 7,300 bottles of blood during blood donation camps. This year (16th January), Umang made its debut at the Mumbai Marathon—donations raised were used to support education of 4,000 students from Ulhasnagar by providing them educational material. “These children manage their entire year’s study by writing down notes on all subjects in just one or two notebooks, and they stop attending school when they don’t have notebooks to write on. But now they will have a separate notebook for each subject,” says Mr Goyal. Despite the Right to Education Act becoming a reality, Mr Goyal thinks that things will take some time to change. The media and society at large will play an important role in this change. Anyone can become a part of the efforts of organisations like Umang.
Mr Goyal says, “All the people working for Umang are volunteers, not employees. If you want to help society, Umang is ready to support you. Become a member; Umang will train you. If you are interested in warli (a traditional Maharashtra art form) painting or paper-bag making, Umang will allow you to pursue your activity to help society and eventually allow you to handle events of your own choice too.”
He continues, “We make volunteers as comfortable as possible. We help them to explore and experience. Each idea is good—it just needs some brainstorming and action.” Umang volunteers had arranged a bus ride for 26 children who are selling books & newspapers at the traffic signal at Haji Ali, Mumbai—with their help, 10 children have been admitted to school in this academic session.
Umang also provides a platform to corporates and helps them arrange activities as a part of their CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives. Contributions can be made via cheque or demand draft in favour of “Umang Foundation”.
All donations are exempt under Section 80(G) of the Income-Tax Act.
Mumbai 400 080
Tel: 91 98199 40222