The Definition of Philanthropy
Three Cheers to Swagat Soni !

For youngsters, there are two sets of experiences which are bound to nurture the inter-connectedness of good values, ethics, thought – almost instantly. Their deepest cultural link comes from the home environment and the school’s grooming. Parents can hugely energize the root-traditions (sanskar). But, the trouble is that the entire educational system and lifestyle is so heavily brought on the tracks of technology and materialism – that root-traditions are being neglected on a mass scale. Since the curriculum of education is subjected to fierce competition, programmes on spirituality (including moral science) are scarcely included in the formal education. The attitudes of those families who are able to inculcate suitable moral guidance in their children will exemplify the goal of making good citizens out of them. This is an enormous wealth of the society.

Swagat Soni feels, ‘Every child has a right to play a sport’.
And he made it happen!
For the sake of his usefulness, Swagat Soni shares the meaning of charity in his own words. Please read on…

My name is Swagat Soni. I am fifteen years old and attend Turner Fenton Secondary School in Canada. My family originally belongs to India but we live in Canada and come to U.A.E. for the holidays. My Dad is associated with Ekal Vidyalaya and helps raise funds for the tribal schools in India.

I wanted to help a poor community and I was lucky that my dad was associated with this section of community. My mom gave me the idea of collecting donations for Ekal schools. The idea didn't seem appealing to me initially but then I came up with a unique way of helping these kids. Being a sports lover, I know that there is more to school than just academics. There is a vast amount of extra curricular that we are blessed enough to do on a daily basis. So I wanted to give these kids a start, and sports seemed the most sensible option. I put together a flyer and asked family and friends to donate. Over the two weeks Christmas break in 2010, I organized a football tournament among the kids in the Golden Sands area in Bur Dubai. Each child had to pay an entry fee of Dhs 10/- to play in the tournament. I was referee for the tournament and it turned out to be a success. During those two weeks, I also collected funds by approaching my neighbours’ door to door in the building. I plan to do some more fundraisers before I leave for India. Once I arrive at an Ekal school in Himachal, I will provide them with low budget sports equipment for sports like cricket, football, and basketball. I want it so that in the average school day, these kids will be allotted some time to play around and have fun. If something like a basketball hoop is put on the school ground, it should be available to each and every person after school hours. No fees, no restrictions. I hope this action will put at least one remote community one step closer to a stable living standard.

One more time, let all of us say, ‘Three Cheers! Swagat.’

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