THE YOUNG & ENTHUSIASTIC CHANGEMAKER
From garnering numerous laurels for the nation as a popular Indian Cricket team player to an admired people’s representative (MP) and a dedicated social worker, the national youth icon Gautam Gambhir has come a long way. He believes in the notion that every change should begin from home and that we need to cultivate a positive mindset in children with regard to issues pertaining to gender equality. Under his able leadership, The Gautam Gambhir Foundation has been consistently undertaking various socially beneficial endeavours.
Q. Sir, we at AsiaOne, really appreciate the various socially beneficial endeavors undertaken by your organization, ‘The Gautam Gambhir Foundation’ under your exemplary leadership. Please throw light on all the initiatives, which your organization has undertaken especially during the pandemic, especially the recent ones.
A. See, first I want to start off with from where we started this foundation, the base of this foundation was to serve the martyrs family – children, because as you all know, I’ve always wanted to be in the army. So we started this foundation supporting 16 families of the Sukma victims, and then later on then, now we sponsor 100 children of all the paramilitary forces. So whether it is BSF, CRPF, CISF, all the paramilitary forces.
And at the same time, the second initiative which we took was to sponsor the 10 girls of the sex workers. And that is something which is very, very close to my heart, because the most important thing when you sponsor the education of a sex worker, the girl from the sex workers family is that you can’t disclose the identity. I, myself, don’t know the girl, to be honest. I don’t even know the identity or anything. So that is something which is very, very satisfying.
And then the third thing which we did was starting this community kitchen, which serves 1100 people every day at Rupee One. And the quality of food which we give is probably anyone can eat – I can eat, you can eat, all of us can eat. And I go there randomly just to check the quality of food. I believe that food should be served with respect. And that is the reason why we’ve kept one rupee. So, when someone enters that kitchen, or that canteen, he should feel proud of himself. Because self respect is probably the most important thing. Yes, you want to give free food you want to give free water, free electricity, but you got to give it with self respect as well. So that is the reason why we had kept one rupee for community kitchen. And at the same time during the pandemic, the foundation actually gave around 50,000 ration kits. So we had distributed 5,00,000 kgs of ration, especially to people who were in desperate need of it. And then we had supplied PPP kits, we had supplied masks, sanitizers, all such essential things. All that happened through the Foundation.
So, I think that the base of the foundation is the Martyrs family. We try to support as many children as we can! Having started with 16, now, we have around 100-150 children, which we support from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. There are children from different places, and we look after their studies. Until the time they want to study, they can obtain education. Plus they can choose the school as well. You know, 90% of these children are studying in convent schools or public schools, and some of them are even studying in boarding schools. At the same time, we sponsor their stationary, we sponsor their uniform. At the same time, we counsel their mothers as well; because counseling the mother becomes equally important. So this is where this Foundation started. And we are all very proud. It is not, again, my individual effort, it is the team effort, which has actually taken this Foundation to where it is now. But the most satisfying thing is that when we started these 2 community kitchens, and when we see people come out there and eat quality food, and with respect, that is something which is very, very satisfying.
Q. Sir, you are a social icon, a youth icon, in fact, the national icon. The youth of the nation, look forward to you for inspiration! As a youth icon, and a young leader dedicated to nation building, what’s your message to the youth of the nation?
A. See, my message has always been very clear. I think when people talk about good people should get into politics, I absolutely believe in it. They should get into politics. Till the time good people will not get into politics, I think this country will not change. When you get into politics with only one mindset and the intent is to give it back and not taking anything from the people and that is something which is very important and then you get that contentment and satisfaction when you try and serve people because you can have loads and loads of money, but this effort or this belief of giving it back to your own people is what makes you a true human being. This is what actual nationalism is all about when people talk about what is nationalism; I believe nationalism is everywhere. Nationalism is serving someone food, nationalism is probably when you’re coming back from the airport at 2 o’clock in the morning or 2 o’clock at night, following the traffic rules, stopping on red light even when you know that there is actually no one looking at you. Not throwing litter on the road, respecting women, which is very important. Yes, we can make use of the CCTV cameras – all these technologies are very important. But behavioral change is far more important, I believe. We must respect women, whether it is at home. So all of us, we have to go to start respecting our mothers, grandmothers, wives, and children. So that is how behavourial change will happen. And that is when the crime against women will start going down.
So my message to all the young people is that I think nationalism is everywhere. Just follow it and be proud to be called as Indians because this country is giving you the biggest thing that’s your identity, that’s your name. And no one else can give you that. You go to anywhere in the world; you’re not known by your name, you know, but by the name of your country. And you feel proud when you call yourself as Indians. Every minute of my life, I feel proud to be called as an Indian. And I’m very, very proud!
Q. AsiaOne magazine has also forayed into the digital media from print during the pandemic, taking a cue from PM Modi ji’s call of ‘turning adversity into opportunity.’ So what’s your message for this “Greatest Brands and Leaders Series” by AsiaOne magazine in which we aim to bring to fore those leaders who have not only made an impact on the economies of India and Asia but also on their societies?
A. First, I want to congratulate AsiaOne for this new venture at the same time, I feel that it’s a great initiative when you try to bring leaders to the fore; interview them and get them into the main front, when they deliver for the people of this country, when they do something really impactful. So I really want to congratulate you all and I hope AsiaOne grows even stronger in future! And it’s just the start hopefully, there’s a lot of success in the coming years. Thank you so much!
Owing deep regard and reverence to martyrs and taking responsibility to provide a bright future to their children, Gautam Gambhir has vowed to reach out to as many children of martyrs as possible to empower them to fulfil their dreams; dreams their proud fathers would have cherished for them. While this program remains the key project of the foundation. It has also identified other areas that needed immediate intervention including caring about adolescent girls from underprivileged homes and helping them in generating awareness on nutrition, health and hygiene.
GGF will also provide them with nutritious food. Last but not the least, it aims to plant unlimited trees in the cities to clean the air and give the future generation a better, healthy place, free of respiratory diseases. These areas of work have been chosen with careful consideration and research, focusing on critical issues where not much work has been undertaken. GGF needs your support in making a bigger mark on the lives of the children and the environment they breathe in.
A SALUTE TO MARTYRS
Behind every breath we take lie countless stories of valour and sacrifice by our soldiers. It is not easy task to leave behind your family to live in inhospitable areas to safeguard the sovereignty of the nation, and freedom of its citizens. The least we can do is to safeguard the future of martyrs’ children. It is an indeed a debt we owe for their sacrifice. The real identities of children and their families are not disclosed keeping their safety and privacy in mind.
EK ASHA, JAN RASOI: SERVING NUTRITIOUS FOOD TO THE NEEDY
In furtherance of the vision that the city’s poorest of the poor should not be deprived of nutritious and hygienic food, Gautam Gambhir launched Delhi’s first ever “Jan Rasoi ” EK ASHA, a fully developed private community kitchen, which provides food to those in need for just Rs.1, on 24th December 2020 in the country’s biggest wholesale market Gandhi Nagar, New Delhi. After the success of the first community kitchen, taking the implementation of the project ahead, the second EK ASHA JAN RASOI was launched on the 9th February 2021 in the hustling market of New Ashok Nagar.
Together, through both the kitchens the GGF is feeding 2000+ marginalized people like Daily wage workers, rickshaw pullers, rag pickers and all others in need on a daily basis. The rasoi is functional from 12 Noon to 2 PM from Tuesday to Sunday serving THALI EK RUPAY WALI. The menu varies everyday and we serve channa rice, kadhi rice, rajma rice, halwa, fruits, pulao, etc. The focus is kept on running the kitchen abiding all the COVID-19 safety protocols.
The seed of this idea was sowed back on 31st July 2017 as a 7-month long drive by Gautam Gambhir himself as Ek Asha Jan Rasoi programme in West Patel Nagar market of New Delhi to make sure that the underprivileged people in the area don’t go hungry.
The initiative aimed to feed the needy at free of cost from 1 PM to 3 PM, every day of the week with wholesome meal to eradicate hunger and malnutrition from the society. Every day more than 250 underprivileged received nutritious meal.
In its capacity as a Foundation, GGF is contributing towards the Sustainable Development Goal 3, regarding “Good Health and Well-being,” being one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2015 and to be achieved by 2030.
PANKH: GIVING WINGS TO THEIR DREAMS
The condition of the daughters of FSWs is adverse and they are forced into prostitution because of the environment and surroundings they are living in. Their kids due to lack of aspiration and opportunities are following their mothers and often pick the same path. These children don’t have the access to quality education, nutritious food, and proper care and support from mothers which they require for their holistic development. Gautam Gambhir Foundation has decided to step in this process of development to provide the best environment possible for the growth of these kids. Gautam Gambhir Foundation will be working with 25 daughters of FSWs in Delhi under the programme “PANKH.” This programme started in 2020 and involves working on the holistic development of Girls to break the loop.
GGF is committed to safeguard the future of FSW’s daughters and break the loop for this generation. It continues to support their Education, Health, Nutrition, Counseling, Shelter, etc. with the long-term objective to support them in making their future and becoming independent women.
GGF provides 100% funding support to the daughters of FSWs for their holistic development.
It empowers FSW’s to support their daughters to break the loop.
Outcome of the Programme
- 25 daughters of the FSW’s will be benefited from this programme.
- They will receive complete academic support which can be monitored through their academic performance.
- Children will get Nutritious food which can be represented through their BMI Test.
- Children will receive Care, support, and Counselling for their mental, Emotional & Psychological development.
- Children will engage in Co-curricular activities which will develop their social skills.
EXTENDING ALL POSSIBLE HELP TO COMBAT THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The speed and scope of the coronavirus crisis poses extraordinary challenges for the poor and the needy. Gautam Gambhir Foundation, has been extending extending support to the marginalized by assuring that our healthcare workers stand at the first line of defence. GGF has been able to accomplish ‘a drop in the ocean’ by the support of its valued donors. These activities involve the distribution of Ration Relief Kits, Cooked Meals, Personal Protective Equipment Kits, N-95 Masks, Nourishment Supplements, Bedding Kits, etc. Gautam Gambhir stresses, “We believe ‘Our Unity is Our Strength.’ So, we must come together to fight this pandemic, as a brighter and healthier future awaits!”
Gautam Gambhir, through his foundation, has distributed various COVID-19 related items, including oxygen cylinders, concentrators & Fabiflu. He has been also organizing free COVID vaccination camps in a month-long drive. This vaccination program has been organised by the MP from East Delhi for all those above 18 years. The target is to vaccinate 10,000 people. Gautam Gambhir Foundation is purchasing vaccines from hospitals and the jab will be given free to all. On an average, 150 to 200 people will be vaccinated every day