Relish The Joy Of Giving: The Avinash Way

Have you ever thought about the impact you could have on your community?

Could you take a moment to start pondering your life and the contribution you’ve made so far? You’ve done your job well, your work adds value to society, and you care for those around you.

But is that enough?

You’ve dipped your toes into some community service, played a minor role, and felt good about it.

I did, too.

But then, I heard about Avinash Khemka, and suddenly, my efforts seemed like mere ripples in the ocean.

To know why, you need to read this.

The Awakening

In 2020, when the world was grappling with the chaos of coronavirus, India was struck hard. A nationwide lockdown left migrant workers stranded, desperate and uncertain about their future. When work stopped, and migrant workers found no means of sustaining themselves or their families, nor did they know when their ordeal would end, they left for their villages and hometowns.

Their plight while making their way home in the scorching summer caught Avinash’s attention, thanks to Paresh, his driver. Avinash was so moved that he reached out with whatever help and resources he could muster.

While the rest of us were trying to keep ourselves and our families safe, Avinash hit the roads with a small team, trying to relieve or lessen the plight of migrants on the national highway and providing them with cooked meals, dry food, water, temporary toilets and transportation to the stranded migrants.

The Impact

It was no small feat. And the impact was extraordinary. Consider these statistics:

  • They served over 80,000 cooked meals to migrant workers.
  • More than 200 migrants were safely transported to their villages.
  • They distributed dry ration kits, medicines, water, and set up makeshift toilets.
  • Avinash and his team provided 2,00,000 meals to the distressed who were stranded at railway stations, living in slums or hospitalised.
  • They delivered 20,000 hygienic meals to over 500 COVID-19-infected families.
  • Monthly dry ration kits were distributed to 1,750 daily wage-earning families, including those in slums, childcare institutions, an old-age home and organisations for the visually challenged.
  • They fed 80,000 rotis to stray cattle and 2500 kg of biscuits to stray dogs.

When asked about his tremendous contribution during the most challenging times, here’s what Avinash said:

“It gave me immense satisfaction to be able to help lessen the severity of the challenges they were forced to cope with.”

Birth Of A Vision

These numbers speak for themselves. The efforts are massive by any yardstick and would seem enough to most.

But Avinash didn’t stop there.

He felt there was so much more to be done. He founded the Amulya Jeevan Foundation (AJF) with the simple yet profound credo: Every Life is Precious.

AJF became a charitable Trust and began working proactively for the most disadvantaged, those in distress. Avinash found an able partner in Shweta Kanungo, who is passionate about the cause and now heads AJF’s campaigns.

Their vision is to help the most vulnerable lead dignified lives.

What began with providing food and nutritional support to the most vulnerable in emergencies and times of crisis is now famous as AJF’s Jeevan Aahar.

AJF narrowed down a few priority sectors and began more such initiatives:

  • Jeevan Aakaar facilitates education to deserving students from underprivileged backgrounds, focusing on girls — ensuring quality education for the most disadvantaged children.
  • Jeevan Aarogya provides healthcare support to the needy who don’t have access or the means.
  • Jeevan Aadhaar enables people in situations of disadvantage to become skilled and self-reliant, and earn a livelihood for their sustenance.

There are more in the pipeline.

All these have been scaled up quickly and already had a tremendous impact on the ground.

But I won’t get into that here.

This story is about the power of thought, conviction and action, and what can be achieved when a spirited team comes together.

Why You Should Care

Avinash’s story is a reminder that each of us has the potential to make a difference in someone’s life.

But how many of us take action?

You may argue that you want to give back but don’t know where to begin.

Well, guess what? You’re not alone in that boat. So many of us can but find ourselves adrift without a clear course. It’s that nagging feeling of wanting to do more but not knowing how to navigate the waters of community service.

Let Avinash’s story inspire and motivate you to take action, big or small.

Join the cause, support organisations like AJF, or start your journey to improve lives. The power to make a difference is within each of us. But only a few take action.

The world needs more folks like him, ready to step out of their comfort zones and contribute selflessly.

As I write this, the festival of Diwali is being celebrated in India and many parts of the world. In just over a month, the world will celebrate Christmas. As you get together with your loved ones, spare a thought for those less fortunate and consider spreading light and love in their lives in whatever way you can.

Some of us need a nudge, a trigger to take action. I hope this is yours. If not, wait till you find your Paresh.

Happy Diwali to you and yours!

P.S. This is not a plug for a former classmate. I had 150+ students in our class (divided into four sections). Many of them are doing great work. Now that you’ve read this, you know why I chose to write about Avinash.

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