Corporate Social Responsibility


There is a story of an incident that happened before the  Non-Cooperation Movement. Nehru ji was sceptical about the success of the movement and he went to Gandhi ji for advice. Gandhi ji looked up and uttered only one sentence “kar ke dekho.” Nehru ji was still sceptical but followed Gandhi’s advice, all the time thinking the movement will eventually fail. Suddenly in the midnight, police came to arrest Nehru ji  which at that time meant only one thing that the movement was successful.

Nehru ji smiled and sent a telegram to Gandhi ji which was “dekh liya.“ Now what was the role of the Non-Cooperation Movement in Indian independence is a different topic but the moral here is that we should not restrict ourselves from trying something new due to the fear of failure.  

Trying something new can be both exhilarating and intimidating. It is difficult to step out of our comfort zone and try something we have never done before but taking that leap of faith and trying new things can also be incredibly rewarding, help us to grow and learn new skills.

My story is also related to trying something new – something I have never done earlier in my life. We have a very beautiful river called Bhatasa in Vasind. We used to sit on the banks of the river every evening. On one side, there is a beautiful river and on the other side there is so much waste of plastic wrappers, glass bottles, and whatnot.

I used to think how can we change this scenario and that’s when it hit me – I can take  help of volunteers to clean this waste around the river. I pitched this idea to my CSR Head Vidya Gorakshkar and she gave me a green flag. That’s when the real challenge started because now I had to talk to different  stakeholders. Mumbai Sustainability Centre works in partnership with JSW Foundation for collection of dry and wet waste in Vasind. They agreed to help . We started with forwarding our event details in different social  groups of Vasind, and then arranged all the materials needed for the event.

On the day of the drive all of us were very sceptical about how many people will turn up. We reached half an hour before the event on the river banks, waiting for people . It was time but no one came. We decided to wait for another 30 minutes.

I thought this drive was going to be a flop . I said this was a bad idea, maybe people were not prepared for a drive like this. Maybe we lacked in outreach efforts. Maybe we planned it on a wrong day. But after an hour past our decided time people started coming in and I was so happy.

I was hoping even if 10 people came, this would be a good start but to my surprise more than 30 people of all age groups, including women, children and senior citizens. The volunteers worked tirelessly for two hours to collect 16 sacks of plastic and other waste which would have ultimately polluted the river.

The waste collected there was segregated by the Mumbai Sustainability Centre team and further processed and recycled.The JSW Foundation team, with stakeholder organisations, is actively planning future events to continue cleaning and conserving the river. The community leaders and Sarpanch promised their support in monitoring the situation of river banks and taking strict actions against throwing waste near river banks.

Now maybe there are hundreds of drives for cleaning rivers all over India but why is this drive so special for me?  This was the first time I was a part of a solution and was not looking at a problem from outside and thinking someone else should solve it. This is exactly why I joined this fellowship and planning and implementing this drive successfully with all the stakeholders gave me the boost that I am on the right track . 

Trying something new makes us go out of our comfort zone and gives us the space to grow as individuals. For me this drive taught me how to manage a large group with people of different ages and genders together.  It also taught me how much preparation is needed to gather people and implement something. If I am being honest, trying something new can also be daunting. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to make mistakes and to not be perfect right away. In fact, it’s often through making mistakes and learning from them that we grow and improve. What I learned through my experience is that the journey of trying something new is often just as important as the end result. So, take that leap of faith and try something new today! 

Maine bhi Gandhi ji ki sun kar kar liya …..

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