A little love and compassion goes a long way to make the world a better place. Light of Life Trust is doing exactly that
Set up in 2002 by spiritual healer Villy Doctor, Light of Life Trust (LOLT) is a non-government organisation that follows the 3E rule—educate, empower and employ—to transform lives of the underprivileged in rural India. It all started with a ‘spiritual message’ says Ms Doctor, who quit the market research company, Ormax Consultants, which she had started with her husband, to pursue her passion of helping the underprivileged. Over the past 12 years, she has helped reach her transformational work to 321 villages.
LOLT believes that its holistic approach is the way forward to develop rural communities. Education empowers people to earn an independent living. It also helps the destitute and those who are old or severely ill. LOLT’s journey began with the project ‘Anando’ at Karjat, near Mumbai, with just 25 children. Over time, it reached out to 3,413 children; now, it operates from 33 centres.
Ms Doctor and her team discovered that the number of school drop-outs increase in the seventh or eighth grade. This is because parents of children in their mid-teens expect them to start earning and free education provided by the government also comes to a halt at this stage. Absence of competent teachers in government schools also makes learning a bigger challenge for underprivileged students who have no one to guide them at home. LOLT decided to change this. They started visiting homes to convince villagers to allow their children to continue their education. “This was the biggest challenge we faced,” recollects Ms Doctor. After they managed to breakthrough parents’ resistance, they started student friendly supplementary education programme (SFSEP) which covers free tutoring, distribution of education-linked supplements, mahachurcha and sphurti programme to strengthen preparedness of students right up to the 10th standard. They also conduct meditation camps, health camps, eye check-ups, etc, and other initiatives to brighten up their lives. LOLT provides career guidance and personality development programmes to empower these children by helping overcome shyness and insecurity. “Parents have now become our biggest spokespersons,” says Ms Doctor happily.
To improve its efficiency and serve better, LOLT has partnered with several international organisations such as Flowering Tree (a Singapore- and USA-based NGO) to provide arts and music education, while Children’s Hope India (USA-based NGO) helps LOLT by providing medical vans; another NGO Chance of Life collaborates on empowering the girl-child.
LOLT plans to launch another project ‘Aangan’—a holistic hospice for the terminally ill. It also plans to set up a senior citizen's home, medical diagnostic centre, mobile medical unit and a children’s home in the coming years and to extend its activities beyond Maharashtra. It has made a small beginning in Gujarat already.
LOLT requires volunteers and donations to sustain its work. “We require people to participate either by sharing their knowledge and love or help with funds. Participation and collaboration is required to make this world a better place to live in,” says Ms Doctor. LOLT meticulously publishes its financial reports on its website as it is emphatic about ensuring transparency and honesty in its operations and use of funds. LOLT is among the few NGOs which enjoys a 100% tax exemption on donations to its activities under 35AC of the Income-tax Act.
Light of Life Trust
181, Digital Planet, Hill Road, Opp Vodafone showroom,
Next to Abhyudaya Bank, Bandra, Mumbai: 400050.
Tel: +91-98202 39000, +91-22-2655 7792