Philanthropy that Goes Beyond Money

While money is important, an equally significant need is to share our time and love, feels this NEXT100 winner

More than just making monetary contributions, spending time with children and old-age people is something everyone appreciates. R Gracekumar, Associate Director IT, Cognizant Business Consulting, not only believes in this philosophy but has been actively following it for some time now.

Says Gracekumar, who's also a recipient of the NEXT100 Award from IT Next, I believe one who loves mankind should get into such philanthropic activities. Huge contributions in terms of money and grants are already coming in from NGOs and people abroad. So, what they really need is contribution in terms of your presence. We need to shown them that the outside world still loves them, and not merely cares for them.

In his free time Gracekumar visits the Nirmala Shishu Bhavan. Run by the Missionaries of Charity, it is a home for abandoned and destitute children, including children with special needs. It provides shelter, food and medical care, and children residing here attend regular schools. It is also involved in domestic adoption for children below three years.

I visit this Shishu Bhavan near Banaswadi in Bangalore, which is close to my office and residence. The orphanage has babies that have just been born as well as 3-to-4-year-olds. I go there with my family and play with the children. My family, especially my children, also enjoy their company, says Gracekumar.

He also check up with the Bhavan staff in case they need things like clothes and medicines for children, which he then delivers to them. On occasions, he has brought groceries to last for a month, among other things.

Since the Cognizant office where Gracekumar works is quite close to the orphanage, he has told his colleagues and friends about the Bhavan. Many of them also have visited this home over the last few years.

Another philanthropy gesture from Gracekumar is the visits he pays to an old-age home in Madurai. In fact, one of his distant relative lives in this home and so he checks on her and also the others. Usually, whenever I go there, I ask my relatives to prepare enough food for me to distribute among the old people at the home. Most of them are above 70 years and don't care much about food but the thought of someone carrying something for them and spending time with them is what they really appreciate, he remarks.

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