International Day of Charity is observed in the memory of Mother Teresa on her death anniversary on September 5. The objective of the day, according to United Nations, is “sensitizing and mobilizing people, NGOs, and stakeholders all around the world to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities”. Actor turned Yoga Expert Anu Aggarwal talks about what charity means to her, the charitable causes she supports, running her own NGO and how essential it is to generate fund for the same to keep up the good work.
“Mother Teresa is close to my heart and one of the first things I visited was her Home for Children in Kolkata. Charity, I feel, is essential to maintain your inner balance. I believe whatever you do to help others comes back in multi-fold to help you. Being kind is the new fashion of the day. Supporting by money donation is one kind of support but I feel I want to be on the ground and help. It has been a childhood dream, which is why I enrolled in Social Work in my teens, to get trained in giving social – support. I volunteered with the United Nations as well back then,” she says.
A few years back, Anu happened to witness the desperate mental condition of slum children in a class organized by an NGO in St Stanislaus, Bandra. “I used my training in social service and inventive yoga therapy to make Anufunyoga, which I started teaching personally. Seeing its remarkable success, three years later, I registered my foundation AAF to be a pillar for mental health well-being. We are a non-profit organisation where we cannot earn money, hence to run our projects we have to rely on funds support. So funds are crucial for us to help those in need. Mind you, we the directors do not get paid either, but it is our love for the community that keeps us going,” she adds.
When Anu started AAF, she was called for motivational talks where she would ask the organizers to pay the whole sum or a large chunk of it to the foundation. Her family/ friends also donated a big chunk of money to help her start her foundation.
“Experience has shown me there is a lot of corruption in CSR funds, donation given and taken, which I am totally against. It is tough. I run my foundation as a totally transparent entity so a lot of times we wait for funds to come in before we start doing something new. Right now we have three projects in the pipeline waiting to be funded,” she shares.