Shajan Samuel started off his career at the age of 16 years by selling ads for yellow pages, by knocking at the doors of people, 25 years have passed by, and he is still knocking, this time at people’s heart through his films & social work.
I came from a modest background, stayed in a single room with my parents and a younger sister -My father started and left the only company he worked for 38 years without even owning a scooter – But I still thank him & my mom profusely, because they gave me the biggest gift of their lives -Education.
How far a child goes in India depends to a large extent on the parents he/she is born to and the pin code. I call it the Ovarian Lottery – I struck gold in my mother’s womb.
At some point in my life I looked back, paused and introspected & asked myself several pertinent questions.
The first question I asked myself was “What is the purpose of my life” and the answer holds good for everyone & for all the questions I asked myself.
We know for sure that our life is finite, we know for sure, that we will leave everything behind. We know for sure, that in the final analysis the money in our bank, the car we drive or the house we stay doesn’t matter then why is the mad chase to amass wealth. Why can’t we see beyond ourselves? Why can’t we find good causes to fight – There is mighty injustice happening in the world, why can’t we fight against these epidemic?
I have done several rounds of fund raising campaigns, made documentary films on Underprivileged Children and the Bangalore Traffic Cop. These films went on to win several awards. I have also set up an exclusive library which nest books only on freedom fighters at Lovedale foundation school Bangalore, but it’s never enough. My last short film on Happiness “ABC” won 20 awards & was screened in 40 film festivals across the world. I use Cinema as a medium to bring socially relevant messages to the forefront.
Recently I raised money for Acid Attack Survivors through the crowd funding platform Milaap, to create awareness for Acid Attack Survivors. The campaign which went live on March 27th, with a target to raise 75 k in 30 days, achieved 250% of it’s target in less than 3 days. The cause of fighting against Acid Attack resonated with the audience. 103 people supported this cause.
I handed over the cheque to the iconic torchbearer and founder of Chhanv foundation Laxmi Agarwal today at Delhi.
I had visited Sheroes, Agra in November and was overwhelmed by the free spirit and high nervous energy of the Acid Attack Survivors, who were managing the restaurant. It looked as if nothing had happened in their life, they were bubbling with enthusiasm & had a spring in their stride. These were the real heroes, the tenacity to pick up the broken pieces of their life and getting back on track is a salute to their indomitable spirit & unflappable spirit. One fine morning on March 26th, 2017, I woke up from my sleep and said I needed to do something for the Acid Attack Survivors and the idea of crowd funding to garner funds came in to my mind. The success of this campaign has restored my faith in humanity.
Today 400 million people in India live under abject poverty for no apparent fault of theirs. I could have been one of those 400 million people – I didn’t because I was given the opportunity to bail those 400 million out of Jail. Either I have to be part of the issue or part of the change. I just cannot be in between.
Not doing anything is like frittering away a golden opportunity to transform lives.
There is a lot of people wanting to jump on to the bandwagon of humanity – We need to trigger them, ignite them, move them & that is essentially what I do. Giving more than you need, to people who have less than they need creates optimum equilibrium and nourishes the soul.
To be the reason for somebody’s smile is far more impactful and enduring than anything else. Once we are able to circumvent our insecurities, we can be a better person with more compassion.
I will do all that in my powers to make the world a better place. I can assure you off one thing, that I will die trying.
Now I am raising money through Project Khushi, with a 6 member, Aarushi, Brahmi, Konica, Mohua, Snighda & Taara to raise money for the education of 7 Girl Children for next 7 years. I believe education is the best bet to park poverty in the museum it belongs.
The campaign is live on Milaap.
Submitted By: Shajan Samuel