After three years of successfully collecting old newspapers (raddi) to raise funds,Maitri – a voluntary organisation in Pune working in Melghat found volunteers in Daniel Green,Elizabeth Steele,Grant Knoeoh and Alexa Willcox – all students from the USA. It is the first time that foreign volunteers have gotten involved in the newspaper collection activity.
The four students accompanied by two Maitri volunteers visited Rahul Towers in Bhusari Colony – the society that has been contributing to Maitri’s spirit for the past three years on June 20. We collected bundles of newspapers,loaded the tempo and oversaw the billing process, says Steele. There are around 180 flats in Rahul Towers,the 11-storey building in Bhusari colony. The four students also went to six societies on Sinhgad Road on June 27 to collect old newspapers.
There were about 15 volunteers from Rahul society including children,who were helping us, says Grant as he adds,We even played cricket with the society children for some time after our activity. Alexa adds,Certain organisations in the USA sell empty bottles or tin lids of bottles to raise funds.
We raise over one lakh rupees through this initiative in a year,as this activity is run at various societies in the city. We provide six-monthly accounts to the residents of these societies so that they understand what their money is being used for, says Jayashree Shidore,founder,Maitri. She further adds that the activity is not just about fund-raising,but about connecting with people. Since we do not spend on promotion or publicity of the NGO,word-of-mouth publicity matters a lot. This is one way of connecting people with the organisation, she adds.
The four students are in Pune to participate in voluntary work in Melghat initiated by Maitri. Daniel,an anthropology student along with Alexa,would work on educational activity in Melghat,while Elizabeth will be participating in agricultural activities. Their stay has been jointly organised by Maitri and Association of Colleges of Mid-west (ACM) -Pune.
For those who want to contribute to the newspaper collection,but cannot do so because they don’t stay in big societies,Maitri has come up with an easier alternative of ‘Maitri-Tijori’. It becomes viable for us to collect newspapers only from big societies. However,there are many others who wish to contribute,but are unable to do so because we don’t collect raddi from them, says Jayashree Shidore,founder of Maitri. People can put the amount of money collected by selling raddi every month into the Maitri-Tijori’ (Maitri -safevault). We can send volunteers to collect this money twice a year or the donors can e-transfer that much amount as donation to Maitri, Shidore says. A one-time amount of Rs 150 is taken as token amount before handing over the box. For more details visit- http://www.maitripune.net.