DaanUtsav, earlier known as the Joy of Giving Week(JGW) is India’s very own ‘Festival of Giving’. It aims to spread love, joy and happiness among those who are lesser fortunate than us, and for each one of us to experience the joy in giving.
It is like our own Christmas, Diwali, Eid, World Elderly Day or Mother’s Day, with a key feature that it celebrates “giving”. A large number of socially conscious citizens volunteer their time across the country to encourage more and more people to “celebrate the festival of giving”. People celebrate this festival in various ways. Some people donate money, some their time, some materials, and some just pure love.
Since it began in 2009, the only thing that has restricted further growth of ‘Joy of Giving Week’ is its name, confined as it is within the English speaking boundaries of India. This year, as volunteers plan to take the festival to rural India, a change in name became essential and after much deliberation have chosen ‘DAAN UTSAV’.
DaanUtsav is celebrated across the country for a week starting from Gandhi Jayanthi (Oct 2-8) every year. Hundreds of hours of volunteering and crores of rupees in donations are contributed to NGOs across India. It is a festival, which promotes acts of kindness or acts of giving, which people can do throughout the year. There’s nothing to stop them!
YOU can celebrate DaanUtsav the way you want keeping the theme in mind. YOU decide whom to support. There are no restrictions on who you can support. Since DaanUtsav is not an organisation, it doesn’t seek or receive money or materials. DaanUtsav volunteers can assist you with finding credible/deserving organisations, so that you can be sure that your contribution doesn’t get misused. 2 million+ people participated in 900+ events across 80+ cities in DaanUtsav 2013, raising several tens of crores in money and resources donated, and millions of volunteer hours.
This is the first time DaanUtsav is being organized in Kerala. Technopark, India’s largest IT park, also witnessed the largest event in connection with the DaanUtsav. GTech, the industry body of IT/ITes companies in Kerala, along with Technopark introduced the ‘Festival of Giving’ among the IT community. The Festival had the support of IT companies, employees and entrepreneurs.
“The idea is to bring together every single member of the 40,000 strong Technopark community, thus making this the largest such event in India,” says K G Girish Babu, CEO of Technopark, Trivandrum.
GTech CSR Group, Technopark, Trivandrum tied up with several charity organizations like H2O, a care home for autistic kinds and elderly near Karyavattom, for the celebrations.
“The main objective of the celebrations would be to inculcate in the youth, the need to be compassionate towards your fellow beings. An initiative of this kind would go viral in Technopark, have multiplier effect inside and outside our community and we hope the society evolves to be more and more kind-hearted,” says T Vijay Kumar, VP of Aptara Inc.
The event was launched at Bhavani Atrium, Technopark by Mr. K G Girish Babu, the Chief Executive Officer of Technopark, Trivandrum on 1st October 2014. Ten big smileys passed around the campus, covered all the employees popularising the festival. A series of fund-raising programmes were planned and implemented in this connection, which provided opportunity for each one to involve, engage and contribute. The CXOs themselves lead by example, all initiatives.
A new website related to this event http://joyofgiving.gtechindia.org was also launched on 29th September 2014 itself, which showcased the upcoming events of DaanUtsav held at Technopark. All the ‘events’ listed were free for all the employees/visitors in Technopark as well as for the beneficiaries of NGOs who wished to participate.
The great initiatives from the Technopark employees by setting DaanUtsav banner as their Facebook cover page and with motivating tweets also gave hand in hand for the promotion of this event through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
“The highlight of the celebrations would be different fund-raising programs which would involve fun-filled activities to attract participation. One such activity would be CEO-bashing, where the employees would get to throw wet sponge balls at their respective CEOs, seated in a chair, for a price. The proceeds from the fund raising programmes would go to charity,” says Arun Raj, Chief Executive Officer, Orisys India.
The weeklong celebrations also witnessed a Facebook photography contest (from Oct 2nd to 8th) on the ‘Joy of Giving’ theme. Techies sent the photographs as and when it was clicked from 2nd to 8th October 2014 for the contest to firstname.lastname@example.org. GTech kept uploading the pictures on its official facebook page. The photographs reflected ‘acts of kindness’ or ‘the joy that it invoked in the giver or the receiver’. Submissions were judged by its creativity, quality, originality and number of likes on facebook. The three best pictures which captured the priceless moments of ‘giving’ and provided inspiration for others to participate in DaanUtsav would be featured as the cover page of their website for the next one year!
GTech also conducted various events in the coastal areas in the city. Volunteers of GTech CSR team and Technopark, Trivandrum officials along with their families visited the coastal areas of Mariyanadu, near Menamkulam in Thiruvananthapuram and had a wonderful evening with children on Sunday, the 5th Oct. They spent the evening with the children from fishermen families, playing games and serving snacks.
On 6th October, volunteers of GTech and H2O brought the under-privileged for a tour of Technopark to participate in various programs. More than 100 differently-abled children of H2O and elderly from nearby care homes participated in it.
A special movie screening of the Malayalam movie 1983 was held for the children at Travancore Hall, Park Centre in the afternoon. The star actor of this film Nivin Pauly just happened to be a champion of DaanUtsav at Park Centre, Technopark, Trivandrum. He was not invited to the event and was gracious enough to drop by and speak to the children and the elderly after the movie screening.
On the 7th October, the employees of various companies joined the children from care homes in pot-painting and other craft making, and then auctioned the products in the Technopark campus.
Wish Trees with wish cards were planted on 7th and 8th Oct 2014 in the lobbies of Thejaswini, Nila, Bhavani and Park Center of Technopark which had variety of wishes of the differently-abled children and the elderly. A Virtual Wish Tree were also made available online from 29th Sep 2014 in the website http://joyofgiving.gtechindia.org. Anyone could choose to fulfil one or more wishes.
Wish trees are supposed to be the biggest fundraiser for this event and fulfils the wishes of the NGO beneficiaries. Employees/ visitors desirous of fulfilling any of the wishes may pick the card and write their name, email ID and cell number on the reverse of the tag and the wish card will be replaced by a JGW Smiley Tag, henceforth referred to as Wish Fruit (‘WF’).
The more cards get picked up, the more they get replaced by JGW Smileys, the fruitier the tree looks and shows how many people are committing to the cause.
The wishes on the wish tree from NGOs were granted by techies and have been a hugely successful ‘event’ during DaanUtsav collecting wishes worth lakhs of rupees.
The afternoon of 7th October also witnessed Technopark’s IT bosses shook a Leg and take a Bashing for Charity.
The CEOs of around 30 companies at Technopark along with Technopark CEO Shri Girish Babu melted into a flash mob organised as part of the event. The CEO’s stepped out of their boardrooms and proved they are just as skilled on the dance floor. They donned their dancing shoes and swayed to music. Anyone would be surprised to witness their boss moving their legs and hips to rocking music. The daily chores, responsibilities, tensions of employees were taken away by the magical events.
Video of Flash mob conducted during this event is available on Flash Mob_DaanUtsav
Event photos are available on GTech Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gtechindia.org
“We wanted to attract the attention of all of the 45,000 plus employees in Technopark, to this noble cause, which is the reason the CEOs themselves hit the dance floor. I hope the message of ‘Joy of Giving’ is embraced by the larger society too,” said Mr Girish Babu.
The top honchos of IT companies also willingly offered themselves as soft targets for slightly harsh but fun-filled pranks at the hands of own staff as part of Daan Utsav.
CEO Bashing, a chance for employees to take a potshot at their bosses with water-soaked sponge bricks was the major attraction of the day. Wives of CEOs, who are co-directors, were also active participants in the events. Who will miss a chance to bash their CEOs? DaanUtsav paved the way and opportunity for these rare moments at Technopark. There were plenty of takers for the Rs. 100-a-throw offer. The proceeds were for the charity initiatives.
KG Girish Babu, CEO of Technopark and host of the festival, volunteered to be the target for the first round of sponge-ball throws. CEOs of other companies aimed at him. In the end, he took the maximum number of throws. Some of the thrower-CEOs who revelled at it paid even higher prices for the privilege to aim at the CEO of CEOs! Most of the 20 throws aimed at Girish Babu were on target. But he also managed to ‘punch out’ some incoming deliveries.
“This is a fun and spirited way of raising funds for a noble cause. The response to all activities has been overwhelming and shows that the IT workers will go all out to support the needy. All CSR initiatives of GTech have been very well received by the community,” says Mr. Anoop P Ambika, Secretary, GTech.
Beyond the DaanUtsav festival, a proposal to adopt H2O as a long-term project that GTech could support was also planned. Launch of GTech partnership with H2O was done at the Travancore Hall, Park Centre, Technopark on 8th October.
The organisers of each event were much happier to give their time, skills and knowledge as part of their ‘daan’ for DaanUtsav. The response to all activities has been overwhelming and shows that the IT workers will go all out to support the needy. DaanUtsav made Technopark more lively.
– Apathy can’t change the world, empathy can –