Today is the festival of Rakshabandhan and on this day sisters across the country express their love and belonging by tying Rakhi on the wrists of their brothers. However, the wrists of many jawans posted at the borders of our country often remain unscathed. But there is also an NGO, which not only delivers rakhis on the wrists of jawans, but also enriches the lives of poor and destitute children.
This NGO is Ghanshyam Oli Child Welfare Society based in Uttarakhand. For the last 7 years, the NGO has been sending rakhis made by children to soldiers serving the country.
How did it start?
The founder of the NGO, Ajay Oli, started this society in 2014. Its aim was to connect children with livelihood and they should not do the work of begging. After doing his MBA in Lucknow, he started it from Lucknow itself. After that he also started it in his hometown Pithoragarh.
Your story While talking to Oli he said that many children used to drop out of school to earn a living. After seeing this, we decided that we will do something so that children can study along with their livelihood and learn any skill.
In 2014, we started working with three such girls who somehow made a living. We started to make them self-sufficient. He also did education. From the year 2015 we also started doing skill development activities. In this we get kids to make Rakhi, Diya, Epan, Colors etc.
NGO volunteers Prema Sutri and Pooja Bhatt look after the girl’s development and education. She is playing an important role in creating Rakhi for the last 7 years. Laxmi, Prema, Muskaan, Meenakshi, Manju, Sapna have been continuously working with the NGO for the last 6 years.
started sending rakhi to soldiers
Oli says that Rakhi is our most important, unique and first product. We make about one lakh rakhis, out of which we send about 45-50 thousand rakhis at no cost to the soldiers who are in other difficult places along the country’s borders.
Oli said that right now we are sending rakhis to the 70 personnel of 1 Rashtriya Rifles to all who are on the PoK border of Jammu and Kashmir. This time we are sending Rakhi to Assam Rifles soldiers working in Assam floods, jawans posted on Rajasthan border and ITBP personnel in Uttarakhand and Jammu. We are also sending Rakhi to soldiers stationed at China border and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
Oli says not only this, we also send rakhis made by children to good people working in other sectors. Rakhi made by children is also going in the market
Oli says even after sending the soldiers, our 50-55 thousand rakhis are saved. We try to sell them in the market at a reasonable price. We keep the price of these rakhis from 10 to 35 rupees. We have made 5 to 5.50 lakh rakhis in the last 7 years.
Provide livelihood with skill development
Oli says our NGO is an unfunded NGO. All these children come from very poor backgrounds and we don’t take money from them. But based on the activities the children do, we generate funds and manage the NGO.
He says that of the classes we do, 3 days are his skill development classes. So if we buy goods worth two lakhs and give them to children for activities, then we sell them in the market and extract that cost. The rest of the money is used to ration water, education and children’s education. Our goal is that with these skill development programs, we can prevent kids across the country from falling apart. It is the same way as drawing in normal schools: 17 thousand children have worked with NGOs
Oli says that, we have children from 5 years to 16 years. So far in the last 8 years we have worked with 17,000 children. These include children who live with us, stay at home but are supported by us, or work with us etc. A total of 7 children currently live at Oli’s NGO and four children live at home. There are total 30 children making Rakhi.
It has received praise from the President, Prime Minister, Amitabh Bachchan
Oli said that the army units continue to send us letters of appreciation. Once we received a letter from the Prime Minister. The Governor of Uttarakhand has sent the letter twice. The president has also sent a letter of thanks. Amitabh Bachchan’s letter has also arrived. Not all battalions, but the cards come from many battalions. Children need to learn and demonstrate their talent.
Oli said that when we go to sell these items we also take the children with us. This gives them an idea of how marketing is done. If a kid goes ahead to do BBA or MBA then it will help him.
He said we also take children on educational trips. This year we will take them to Kumaon, Garhwal. Many of our young children have won gold, silver in boxing, taekwondo, Khokho etc. at district, state and national level.