Archive - December 2014

How To Have A Rocking 2015

Have a rocking 2015

Welcome to a brand new year! It’s a clean slate and a fresh start for us all! What better way to inaugurate the New Year than by doing something good, something creative, something special…and spreading happiness with it? Here are some ideas to get your New Year to a rocking start:

  • Start a campaign for a social cause. Raising awareness about a cause that needs it is an incredibly worthy cause. You will be educating everyone you reach out to about the issue at hand. Knowledge is power, and giving people this power only enhances the quality of our lives. For instance, I didn’t know childhood eye cancer could be cured with timely intervention, but after reading this campaign, now I’m knowledgeable and will spread the information wherever I see it being required.
  • Start a campaign for a creative pursuit. This is the year you could really let yourself be free and grow. Work towards your creative/entrepreneurial goal and let it come to life. Start working on your project and when you’re ready to ask for support, start preparing your campaign. There are several advantages to crowdfunding your project. Get started and experience them for yourself!
  • Crowdfunding is a wonderful way to let people know what you’re all about. Whether you’re campaigning for a social cause or a personal/creative one, when you reach out to your social network and tell them all about it, you’re baring your soul to them. There is nothing more true and touching. Open your heart and show the world who you really are. It’s all good!
  • Don’t hesitate to contact that old friend you lost touch with years ago. This is a great way to get back in touch with old friends. And an amazing way to make new ones too! So reach out to your social network and tell them all about your campaign. We hope it revives old friendships and starts some new ones!
  • Getting your close friends and family more involved in your campaign is the perfect way to strengthen and renew your bond with them. Working towards a common goal, meeting over meals and discussing campaign strategies and brainstorming ideas for rewards can be a lot of fun! Have at it!
  • This could be the ideal way to let that special someone discover the real you. Contact them and introduce your campaign and/or project to them. It can’t not have a positive impact on their view of you! And it definitely can’t hurt! Good luck!

The New Year is a blank canvas. Paint some vibrant colours onto it in 2015! The future is yours for the taking!

Start a campaign for a social cause or creative project today!

6 Things To Know About Alzheimer’s

Things to know about Alzheimers and its effects on the brain

If old acquaintance be forgot, maybe it’s time to look into that memory loss…!

When you realise that January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, it makes you wonder if Robert Burns was aware of the disease. After all, the Scotsman wrote ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in the 18th century, a poem that was put to music and is still sung by millions each New Year’s Eve. For those unfamiliar with the song, the lyrics go “If old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind, we’ll take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne…”

For those unfamiliar with Alzheimer’s, it is a neurological disease that affects the brain, causing brain cell death and brain shrinkage resulting in gradually debilitating memory loss. Forgetfulness, dementia, irritability, depression and confusion are just some of the symptoms of the disease. Ageing seems to be a factor (along with genetics and lifestyle) determining whether you are affected by Alzheimer’s or not. So if old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind, one might get a check-up at the doctor’s…!

Are You A Candidate For Alzheimer’s?

Jokes apart, there are a few things to be aware of regarding the disease.

  • Firstly, no need to panic. If you can’t remember where you parked your car or kept your keys, it doesn’t automatically mean you have Alzheimer’s.
  • The disease does tens to affect those above the age of 65 – once you cross 65, your chances of getting the disease increase, doubling every five years – but does not necessarily lead to Alzheimer’s.
  • Yes, there are also those under 65 who have Alzheimer’s. Called early onset Alzheimer’s, this can occur due to genetics, i.e. if a blood relation has the disease. Keep in mind, this does not mean you will get Alzheimer’s if a relative has it.
  • Women seem to be at higher risk than men of developing Alzheimer’s. Researchers are still trying to figure out the whys, but menopause might have a part to play here, since it means a lack of the hormone oestrogen. NB: ‘Higher risk’ does not equate to ‘definitely getting it’!
  • As mentioned earlier, genetics play a role. If the disease runs in your family, the chances of you getting it do increase. But you can control your future with a healthy lifestyle. You didn’t think we’d share bad news on New Year’s Eve, did you?!
  • The silver lining is if you exercise regularly, eat healthily, maintain a balanced body weight, avoid smoking and drink moderately, you can keep Alzheimer’s at bay.

So go ahead, party the night away this New Year’s Eve with the knowledge that your health is in your control!

Happy New Year!

Want to spread awareness about this or other causes?

Start a campaign today! Kick off the New Year in a very special way!

 

10 Things To Expect When You’re Expecting…To Crowdfund (for Creative Projects)

Ten things to expect when crowdfunding

So you’ve decided to start a crowdfunding campaign for your creative project. Awesome! Here is everything you need to know – to do and not to do – to have a successful one.

Behind The Scenes
  1. Start talking about your project on Twitter, Facebook and any other social media you use. Make people aware of your project before you launch your crowdfunding campaign. It will help when you begin reaching out to people for support.
  2. Your campaign’s goal amount should not be the entire amount you want to raise. First, get support from close friends and family. What you can’t raise with their support is the amount you will campaign for.
  3. To get support from your primary circle (close friends and family), make direct pleas. Meet them personally if possible or call them up on the phone. Tell them what your project is all about and ask them to support it.
  4. Your campaign page is mainly to pitch to relative strangers – friends of friends etc. Include all the basic information – what, where, when, why, who. Also talk about what you plan to use the funds for. Be clear and authentic with your campaign.
  5. A video helps. It doesn’t need to be long. 30 seconds is perfect. And be in your video. It helps authenticate your campaign.
  6. Rewards are important for creative project campaigns. Give your supporters perks for helping you financially. Be creative with the rewards. Give people exclusive experiences, i.e. things they can’t buy elsewhere. Like including their name in the credits of a film or album, giving them a chance to be an extra in a film, making them a caricature/portrait…you get the picture!
Action
  1. Reach out to your secondary circle directly via social media. Tell them you’ve already raised a portion of your goal and need their help with the remainder. (Again, face-to-face meetings and phone calls are the most effective.)
  2. Keep reaching out via social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email etc. Include your campaign page link everywhere and ask everyone to share the link with their network. Tell them it’s crucial to your campaign’s success that they do this!
  3. Thank each supporter within 24 hours of their having contributed to your campaign. It is gratifying to be thanked and will lead to good will for future campaigns if not repeated support for the current one.
It’s A Wrap
  1. When your campaign ends, don’t end communication. Keep updating your supporters on your project’s progress. And arrange for their rewards promptly. This is important for their support through your project and for future projects.

Keep these tips in mind to have a successful campaign!

 

10 Reasons Crowdfunding Is Perfect For You

top10

This New Year, do something different. Do something awesome…

It’s that time of the year again. As the curtain begins to drop on 2014, the New Year is getting ready to take centre stage.

These last few days are all about nostalgic looks back, the hope of an even better year ahead, the vow to do better, to be kinder and other noble New Year’s resolutions.

If you’re stuck on what to resolve for the New Year, let Ketto come to your rescue. Remember that hobby you haven’t been able to make enough time for? The song, book, film, app or other genius idea that’s been on the backburner? Well, it’s time to let that creative fancy take flight in 2015!

Vow to crowdfund your creative project this New Year!

  1. You can make your hobby your career this year! You can now crowdfund for any creative cause under the sun.
  2. You don’t need a huge budget. Whatever stage your project is in, get the financial support you need to complete it!
  3. You don’t need a marketing budget. When you reach out to people while introducing your project, it indirectly markets it right there!
  4. You don’t need a PR team. All you need is social media. Flex your email, Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp muscles!
  5. Reach a wider audience in seconds! Ask your friends and family to share your campaign link with their networks.
  6. Get instant validation. You’ll know you’re on the right path when people back your project!
  7. Get expert advice and feedback. Ask your network to send you their thoughts.  Get opinions and gauge what needs to be done to better your work.
  8. Get a pre-launch makeover. Use the feedback you get to smoothen any chinks you have before you launch your project.
  9. Backers will fund your creative project without any strings attached. Creative control remains with you.
  10. You can build a strong, loyal fan base by interacting with your supporters through social media.

Sounds good? Get started on your New Year’s Resolution today!

 

The Year That Was (Highlights of 2014)

Review of year 2014

Catch the highlights of Ketto’s journey through the year 2014.

By co-founder and CEO, Varun Sheth

The year 2014 has been eventful, to say the least. We launched Ketto 2.0 in June 2014 and it’s been one milestone after the next since. The second half of year 2014 amazed us. Over 300 campaigns ran on Ketto this past year.  Over 6000 supporters rallied together from more than 20 countries to raise above Rs.2 crore for some awesome, heartfelt causes. There were some incredible campaigns that really showed the world what generosity of spirit is all about.

It’s been an incredible journey for Ketto. We saw a huge rise in individual participation, with people starting their own campaigns for social change. We also launched a new feature called the “microsite” which allows NGOs, events & corporates to run their own fundraising website on the Ketto platform.

We’ve rounded off the year with more amazing developments. Ketto has now opened its doors to creative projects. So artistes, musicians, filmmakers, creators of all kinds can now start crowdfunding their creative projects on our crowdfunding website. Talk about ending the year with a bang!

We can’t wait for 2015 to get started!

Here are just a few highs to remember 2014 by.

sportsSports

Indians came together to support their sportspeople. Several campaigns were run by and for Olympic Gold Quest and GoSports Foundation. Luger Shiva Keshavan, speed walker KT Irfan, rifle shooters Ayonika Paul and Pooja Ghatkar, discus thrower Vikas Gowda, para-athlete Rajni Jha and swimmer Supriyo Mondal are just some of the wickedly talented sportspeople who got the funds they needed to train and participate in the Winter & Youth Olympics, Asian games and commonwealth games! And yes, they won several medals along the way!

 

marathonsMarathons

There have been several marathons that campaigners have used to propel their social causes forward. Hyderabad Marathon, Bengaluru Marathon, Mumbai Marathon, Boston Heartbreak Marathon are just a few. Then there was Pinkathon, the marathon event that raised awareness for breast cancer. Several marathoners chose to start campaigns to raise both awareness and funds for breast cancer treatment. Footsteps4Good was another themed marathon that asked participants to fundraise for a social cause. Several participants chose to do it online on Ketto, much to our pleasure!

 

animal welfareAnimal Welfare

Our furry friends were not forgotten. TIGI Foundation ran an amazing campaign to build an animal shelter. The NGO pulled out all the stops by organizing a football event and promoting it with a campaign on Ketto. Bollywood stars like Hrithik Roshan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Imraan Khan and several others attended and played on the football field. All in support of TIGI’s fundraising campaign. What an event it was!

It wasn’t all glitz and glam though. NGO Alokparna Sengupat ran a campaign to protect animals from being needlessly sacrificed at Gandhimai, raising funds and awareness for the noble cause.

 

Womens EmpowermentWomen’s Empowerment

Women’s empowerment took a big step this year. The NGO YUWA joined forces with the channel Star Sports to help send a football team consisting of Jharkhand’s tribal girls to participate in the USA Cup. They ran multiple campaigns and promoted their cause on television as well. The result? Well, the girls went to the USA Cup and did India proud.

Khabar Lahariya, a rural-language newspaper run entirely by rural women, ran a massive 12th anniversary campaign to keep their groundbreaking newspaper going strong. Many individuals started campaigns in support of the newspaper, and their anniversary campaign certainly was a happy one!

 

kashmirDisaster Relief

The devastating Jammu & Kashmir floods saw Ketto spurring into action. We partnered with Care India and within minutes, help began to pour in from all corners of the globe. Celebrities like Hrithik Roshan, Varun Dhawan, Abhishek Bachchan, Kunal Kapoor, Dia Mirza and Nargis Fakhri began campaigns in aid of the flood victims. Fans of the celebrities rallied in support of their favourite actor’s campaign and some even began their own campaigns to support the cause further. The initiative showed the true spirit of our nation’s people.

 

healthHealth

Jasmeet Singh Gandhi ran an amazing campaign for the cause of childhood eye cancer. He called his campaign Umeed 1000, and chose to bicycle 1,000 kilometres from Mumbai to Bengaluru to raise awareness and funds to treat children affected by retinoblastoma (eye cancer). This incredible campaigner promoted his cause heavily and drew in seven corporate sponsors in addition to individual supporters. What a campaign this was!

 

educationEducation

The red light area and all its inhabitants may be taboo in polite society, but people sure did come together in support of a worthy cause. Shweta Katti, the daughter of a sex worker, had earned a scholarship to study at New York’s Bard University but needed funding for living and other expenses. Her campaign on Ketto got her all the funding she needed. This was a campaign that brought a young girl’s dream to life!

 

dcbEmployee Engagement & Hiring

Here are some heartwarming campaigns with Corporate Social Responsibility. DCB Bank used Ketto’s crowdfunding platform as a task for one of their recruitment rounds. Several prospective employees were given a deadline within which to raise as much as they could for the Jammu & Kashmir flood victims. A healthy competition with heart!

 

personalPersonal Causes

We had some fascinating campaigns run by people for their own noble causes. Like Bhakti Sharma, an open-water swimmer, who campaigned to raise funds to swim the Antarctica (the coldest ocean on Earth). There was also the campaign for teenage karate prodigies Bhavisha Singh, Sharmila Gharu and Divya Kathawate that gathered hundreds of supporters. The girls have won hundreds of medals but are still unknown. Logical Indian decided to campaign for the teenagers and hundreds of very logical Indians joined the effort too!

Then there’s Vivek Vashist’s memorable campaign. A Teach for India fellow, he planned to bicycle from Delhi’s India Gate to Mumbai’s Gateway of India to raise awareness about the environment and funds to participate in the International Antarctic Expedition. What an inspiration!

And the most endearing campaign of them all is for Vijayan and Mohanna, an elderly Kochi couple who owns a little tea stall. What is so inspiring about them is that they have travelled the world with the earnings they make. They take a loan to travel and then work the next three years to repay the loan. The news website The News Minute decided to campaign to help them visit the United States since their age is causing banks to reject loans. The campaign raised a good amount for the Kochi couple, and we wish them happy journeys!

 

Social EntrepreneurshipSocial Entrepreneurship

Aakar Innovations, a for-profit social enterprise founded by two young and passionate social entrepreneurs, began a brilliant campaign to raise awareness and funds for women’s empowerment. Their initiative involved not only educating underprivileged women on sanitary habits but teaching them how to make low-cost sanitary pads and promote sanitary awareness. A truly empowering initiative!

The year that was has been an amazing ride for Ketto. We can’t wait to see what the future holds. Here’s to the future. Here’s to a better world. Here’s to seeing some incredible creative projects come to life. To infinity and beyond!

– Varun Sheth

An Incredible Heart (Successful Campaign for Childhood Eye Cancer by Jasmeet Singh Gandhi)

Jasmeet Singh Gandhi cycles to campaign for childhood eye cancer

This is the tale of an ordinary individual who did an extraordinary thing.

As told by Kunal Kapoor, actor and co-founder of Ketto.

I meet a lot of interesting people in my profession as an actor. However, the individual I want to introduce to you is far removed from Bollywood. His is not a face you would have seen on the silver screen. But just like a film, he has a story that needs to be told.

It is common knowledge that in the age of technology and instant gratification, trying to get people’s attention – and holding it – is a Herculean task. That is another reason why this story – and this individual – are so incredible.

His name is Jasmeet Singh Gandhi. He is an ordinary 46-year-old working an ordinary job. What he managed to do, however, is truly extraordinary.

Jasmeet Singh Gandhi profile picture

Jasmeet happened to come across Iksha Foundation, an NGO that works specifically towards the cause of eye cancer in children. He learned about the disease, how easily it could be prevented, and how many children have lost or will lose their lives because of it. And he decided to do something about it.

Since he had come across Iksha Foundation through RBL Bank, the company his wife works for, he began to map out a game plan with them. Jasmeet decided to start campaigning on Ketto to raise awareness and funds for the treatment of childhood eye cancer. Treatment for one child with cancer-affected eyes can rack up a bill of one lakh. So he also decided to draw attention to his campaign by bicycling an incredible 1,000 kilometres from Mumbai to Bangalore to raise awareness and funds. This idea formed because of his love for fitness, and the fact that he wanted a strong motivational factor to help push his campaign. A campaign he named Umeed 1000.

Umeed 1000 ran on Ketto for five weeks with the initial goal of 5 lakh rupees. Jasmeet later increased it to 10 lakhs when he realised it was a goal he may well be able to reach. What his campaign managed to raise was 24 lakh rupees. Rs.24,00,100 to be precise.

Jasmeet shares, “Since the awareness of this disease is very low, I had to meet a lot of people and organisations in person and explain to them the concept behind Umeed 1000 and the disease itself. Besides meeting a lot of people, we created a Facebook page and a Twitter handle (#umeed1000) which was used extensively while tweeting and posting on Facebook. We also used radio and press interviews to spread the word to a wider audience.”

“One-on-one interactions were most effective in convincing people to donate,” Jasmeet adds. “I reached out to approximately 200 people either via email, phone or a personal visit.” He also spread the word throughout all the RBL bank branches, so employees became aware of the campaign as well.

The reaction to Jasmeet’s campaign was that of amazement and empathy. “People were amazed that I would dare to undertake a journey of 1,000 kilometres. And there was, of course, a lot of empathy for the kids affected by this disease.”

The sobering facts that had moved Jasmeet to action also moved those he reached out to. What had drawn him to the cause was that children were needlessly affected by it. “Not many people know that Retinoblastoma (eye cancer) affects children between 2 months to 5 years. It is a disease that can be hereditary in nature and can be fatal. The good part is that it can be detected with basic physical examination and, if detected early, it has a high cure rate of 92-95%.”

Jasmeet’s campaign drew in seven corporate sponsors – RBL Bank, HPCL, Goqii, rediff.com, UFO movies, Titan and Hero cycles – and over a hundred individual supporters. “We were extremely lucky to get some tremendous response form a cross-section of family, friends, colleagues, and of course, corporate sponsors,” he acknowledges, adding, “We managed to collect and donate Rs.24 lakhs. It was a very fulfilling experience since this will be used to cure little kids who cannot afford the treatment.”

He continues, “I met the kids when I reached Bangalore and visited Narayana Netralaya, where they get treated. It was a humbling experience.”

He concludes, “I was lucky to have the full support of my family – my wife and daughters who encouraged me throughout. I am lucky to work for an organization like Microsoft that encourages such efforts, and with colleagues who cheered me on whole-heartedly as well.”

The progress of the children’s treatment will be shared by Iksha Foundation with all those involved – and those who want to be involved.

I hope Jasmeet’s incredible story and incredible heart has moved you as much as it moved me.

Below are some facts to be aware of.

Statistics

Eye cancer can be fatal. Statistics show that one on every 20,000 babies is affected by retinoblastoma. Every day, four children are affected by this disease in India, and one in four dies from it.

Prevention

Look for a white reflex in the centre of the eyeball. Visit the doctor right away if you spot something, or even if you find a child squinting one or both eyes. Remember, early detection can lead to a cure. Treatment for a child affected by retinoblastoma in both eyes comes to Rs.1 lakh on average, with the child requiring treatment till 12 years of age.

If you want to do something for this cause, start a campaign or support another cause here.
Thank you.
Kunal Kapoor

An Incredible Heart (Jasmeet Singh Gandhi’s Successful Campaign for Childhood Eye Cancer Treatment)

Child with eye cancer or retinoblastoma

This is the tale of an ordinary individual who did an extraordinary thing.

As told by Kunal Kapoor, actor and co-founder of Ketto.

I meet a lot of interesting people in my profession as an actor. However, the individual I want to introduce to you is far removed from Bollywood. His is not a face you would have seen on the silver screen. But just like a film, he has a story that needs to be told.

It is common knowledge that in the age of technology and instant gratification, trying to get people’s attention – and holding it – is a Herculean task. That is another reason why this story – and this individual – are so incredible.

His name is Jasmeet Singh Gandhi. He is an ordinary 46-year-old working an ordinary job. What he managed to do, however, is truly extraordinary.

Jasmeet Singh Gandhi profile picture

Jasmeet happened to come across Iksha Foundation, an NGO that works specifically towards the cause of eye cancer in children. He learned about the disease, how easily it could be prevented, and how many children have lost or will lose their lives because of it. And he decided to do something about it.

Since he had come across Iksha Foundation through RBL Bank, the company his wife works for, he began to map out a game plan with them. Jasmeet decided to start campaigning on Ketto to raise awareness and funds for the treatment of childhood eye cancer. Treatment for one child with cancer-affected eyes can rack up a bill of one lakh. So he also decided to draw attention to his campaign by bicycling an incredible 1,000 kilometres from Mumbai to Bangalore to raise awareness and funds. This idea formed because of his love for fitness, and the fact that he wanted a strong motivational factor to help push his campaign. A campaign he named Umeed 1000.

Umeed 1000 ran on Ketto for five weeks with the initial goal of 5 lakh rupees. Jasmeet later increased it to 10 lakhs when he realised it was a goal he may well be able to reach. What his campaign managed to raise was 24 lakh rupees. Rs.24,00,100 to be precise.

Jasmeet shares, “Since the awareness of this disease is very low, I had to meet a lot of people and organisations in person and explain to them the concept behind Umeed 1000 and the disease itself. Besides meeting a lot of people, we created a Facebook page and a Twitter handle (#umeed1000) which was used extensively while tweeting and posting on Facebook. We also used radio and press interviews to spread the word to a wider audience.”

“One-on-one interactions were most effective in convincing people to donate,” Jasmeet adds. “I reached out to approximately 200 people either via email, phone or a personal visit.” He also spread the word throughout all the RBL bank branches, so employees became aware of the campaign as well.

The reaction to Jasmeet’s campaign was that of amazement and empathy. “People were amazed that I would dare to undertake a journey of 1,000 kilometres. And there was, of course, a lot of empathy for the kids affected by this disease.”

The sobering facts that had moved Jasmeet to action also moved those he reached out to. What had drawn him to the cause was that children were needlessly affected by it. “Not many people know that Retinoblastoma (eye cancer) affects children between 2 months to 5 years. It is a disease that can be hereditary in nature and can be fatal. The good part is that it can be detected with basic physical examination and, if detected early, it has a high cure rate of 92-95%.”

Jasmeet’s campaign drew in six corporate sponsors – RBL Bank, Goqii, rediff.com, UFO movies, Titan and Hero cycles – and over a hundred individual supporters. “We were extremely lucky to get some tremendous response form a cross-section of family, friends, colleagues, and of course, corporate sponsors,” he acknowledges, adding, “We managed to collect and donate Rs.24 lakhs. It was a very fulfilling experience since this will be used to cure little kids who cannot afford the treatment.”

He continues, “I met the kids when I reached Bangalore and visited Narayana Netralaya, where they get treated. It was a humbling experience.”

He concludes, “I was lucky to have the full support of my family – my wife and daughters who encouraged me throughout. I am lucky to work for an organization like Microsoft that encourages such efforts, and with colleagues who cheered me on whole-heartedly as well.”

The progress of the children’s treatment will be shared by Iksha Foundation with all those involved – and those who want to be involved.

I hope Jasmeet’s incredible story and incredible heart has moved you as much as it moved me.

Below are some facts to be aware of.

Statistics

Eye cancer can be fatal. Statistics show that one on every 20,000 babies is affected by retinoblastoma. Every day, four children are affected by this disease in India, and one in four dies from it.

Prevention

Look for a white reflex in the centre of the eyeball. Visit the doctor right away if you spot something, or even if you find a child squinting one or both eyes. Remember, early detection can lead to a cure. Treatment for a child affected by retinoblastoma in both eyes comes to Rs.1 lakh on average, with the child requiring treatment till 12 years of age.

If you want to do something for this cause, start a campaign or support another cause here.

Thank you.

–          Kunal Kapoor

 

The Birthday Campaign (Radhya’s First-Birthday Campaign)

Save The Children

These doting parents weren’t just thinking of a big bash for their daughter’s first birthday. They were thinking of something on a much larger scale…

Vasuprada and Pradyumna Dalmia are the doting parents of now one-year-old Radhya. In the period leading up to their daughter’s very first birthday – a momentous occasion for any parent – the couple wanted to do something truly significant. They wanted to make sure the milestone of Radhya’s first birthday – 27th November 2014 – was something that would positively impact not just their own lives and that of little Radhya’s, but many others as well.

They weren’t just thinking of a massive birthday celebration with friends and family. They were thinking of a one-month-long birthday campaign benefitting underprivileged children in India.

The reasoning was straightforward, simple and heartfelt, as Pradyumna stated on their campaign page: “We are fortunate enough to be able to provide a safe, healthy and happy environment for our children to grow up in and would go out of our way to ensure that our kids receive the very best of everything. Unfortunately, this is not true for a lot of children across our country who live a life of deprivation and destitution. So let us provide some hope to these children and tell them they are not alone.”

Vasuprada and Pradyumna began Radhya’s month-long birthday campaign on Ketto with the aim of raising 1 lakh rupees benefitting the NGO Save The Children’s Indian chapter. They also pledged to match the total amount fundraised, urging their family and friends to help them raise a lakh so a total of two lakhs could be donated to the NGO. “This is the best birthday gift Radhya could get from you!” they told their supporters.

Who could possibly resist such a request?! Friends and family came together in strength and support for this wonderful cause. The campaign drew 24 supporters, raising a hefty 85,400 rupees within a month, to mark Radhya’s first birthday.  Adding the matching donation as vowed by Vasuprada and Pradyumna, a grand total of 1,70,800 rupees will be donated to Save The Children, India, going towards various aspects of childcare – maternal healthcare and nurturing for the health of unborn children, protecting children from child labour and child trafficking, ensuring they get a wholesome education, and providing them support during natural disasters.

What a wonderful way to usher in a child’s birthday!

Feeling inspired? Want to start a campaign too? Go for it!

 

Be Safe, Not Sorry (World AIDS Day)

World Aids Day December 1 ribbon

It’s myth-busting time for a very important cause. December 1st is World AIDS Day and we couldn’t let it pass by without showing our support. Although there are Hollywood films like the ’90s Philadelphia and last year’s Dallas Buyers Club that use the medium of film (and a glittering star cast) to portray the challenges faced by the HIV/AIDS community, there are still a lot of basic misconceptions that exist. Let’s bust ’em for good.

Myth Busters

–          You don’t ‘get’ AIDS. This is not just us playing with semantics. What we mean is you get HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) which refers to the early stages of the disease. HIV develops over time into what we call AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

–          What happens is that HIV batters the immune system over the years and leaves it too weak to fight off common germs. This later stage is AIDS which is fatal.

–          HIV/AIDS cannot be passed on simply by being near an infected person.

–          You cannot get it by sharing food, sharing the same cup/spoon or other utensils, using the same clothes, bed sheets or even toilet seat as an HIV/AIDS-infected person. So go ahead and be sociable with an HIV patient. It doesn’t hurt to be friendly!

–          Saliva can carry the virus, but it’s NOT a significant amount that would infect you. So it’s okay to hug and kiss an HIV Positive person.

–          The virus enters through the blood stream, through bodily fluids.

–          Mosquito bites cannot pass on the virus, no matter how many times they bite you. (Although, if they keep biting you, we suggest you get some insect repellant!) Blood sucking insects suck blood; they don’t inject it into people. And besides, even if the insect were to have bitten an HIV positive person and bitten you after, the virus would not be able to live long enough in the insect to transmit the virus from its body to yours anyway. Booyah to that myth too!

–          If you have HIV, you will not immediately look or feel like Tom Hanks was portrayed  in the last scenes of the film Philadelphia. You may not see symptoms of HIV for years together. Or you might get a recurrent cough or other smaller symptoms and not much more. If you’re concerned or doubtful, get checked. Better safe than sorry.

–          If you find out you have HIV, know that we have better antiretroviral drugs to help improve quality of life as you deal with the disease. There is no cure, but there is better treatment.

–          If you and your partner have HIV, it doesn’t mean condoms are of no use now. There are different strains of the virus and you need to protect yourself from getting re-infected with another one. Practice safe sex. No. Matter. What.

–          Drug treatment does not nullify the effect of the virus. So if you think you don’t need to use a condom because you’re on the antiretroviral drugs, you’re wrong. You still need a condom during sex.

–          The virus can also be transmitted through oral sex if one of you has any open wounds, abrasions, cuts, or even a sore, inflamed throat.

And so it doesn’t get lost in the series of misconceptions we still have about HIV and AIDS, here is a little reminder to ourselves to be kind rather than discriminatory and judgemental of those with HIV/AIDS.

In conclusion, practice safe sex (oral, vaginal or anal), don’t share needles, and be kind!

Want to raise awareness and funds for this cause? Get started here!