A famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi comes to my mind, as I write this article: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
The act of giving is, perhaps, as old as genesis, and it is the one thing that the sands of time haven’t impacted. The forms of giving may have changed with the evolution of mankind, but in its essence, it remains the same.
The act of giving impacts the giver more than the recipient, and at various levels – social, emotional, and psychological. It has been proven by research that giving enhances the feeling of self-worth, encourages healthy bonds between individuals, and evokes feelings of gratitude and happiness. It is also a known fact that many times the scale of the contribution doesn’t play a significant role, as the gesture is what counts.
The joy of giving is encouraged early on – as children, youth, and adults. I remember how as a child I would be encouraged to save, not only to contribute towards what I wanted to buy but also towards giving to others, who were not as fortunate as I was. As I grew up and giving became a part of life, I understood that giving could be in various forms – time, money, kind, attention, help, support, and so many others. Today, in the profession I am in, giving plays a very important role, as it not only helps secure the empowerment of the underserved and vulnerable but also helps the giver evolve in so many ways. In society, we see giving being celebrated, especially during festivals, special occasions, or even as a dedicated week like the Joy of Giving Week, also known as Daan Utsav.
Recently, someone narrated an incident about how giving would normally be associated between fellow human beings, when it should ideally be between living beings, including nature and its bounty. He went on to narrate the experience of giving thanks before plucking a flower, fruit or vegetable in his garden. Another incident that touched me was how a youth girl of about 15 years used to volunteer her time to spend with a senior citizen, who had been abandoned. So, as you can see, giving has countless forms. The crux remains that the act of giving gives joy to all involved, irrespective of the quantity – something that is so important in this materialistic world.
Time and again, one wonders how the world could be a better place if each one of us could give something that could change the other being’s life for the better. The next time a colleague faces a problem making a presentation, extend a helping hand; if a friend needs an ear that listens, extend it; give water to a parched bird, or help a child with her/his studies by donating your time; the list is endless since the opportunities that life provides to give are endless.
Another very important element is that the act of giving should not have a motive embedded in it, as that dilutes the act itself. Giving without attention is the purest form, and the most difficult, as it may not always come naturally.
In Anne Frank’s words: “No one has ever become poorer from giving.”
About the author:
Mr. Sumanta Kar, the Secretary General of SOS Children’s Villages of India has over 30 years of experience in the field of alternative care. He has conceptualised and implemented several development projects at SOSCVI. He led SOSCVI’s tsunami operation in the southern states of India between 2004-2007 – it was the largest-ever emergency programme undertaken by the NGO so far. Mr. Kar was also part of the SOS International Working Group in Alternative Care. He supported a couple of member associations in Asia in shaping their emergency programmes. Born and brought up in Rourkela, Mr. Sumanta Kar belongs to the state of Odisha. He holds a postgraduate diploma from Xavier Institute and an Executive MBA from Utkal University. His motivation comes from “Working with children and SOS-mothers and caregivers in different provinces and learning new customs and cultures.”
About SOS Children’s Villages India:
Established in 1964, SOS Children’s Villages of India provides children without parental care or at the risk of losing it, a value chain of quality care services that goes beyond childcare alone, ensuring comprehensive child development. Our customized care interventions such as: Family Like Care, Family Strengthening, Kinship Care, Short Stay Homes, Foster Care, Youth Skilling, Emergency Childcare and Special Needs Childcare are aimed at transforming lives and enabling children under care into self-reliant and contributing members of society. The organization empowers vulnerable families in communities to become financially independent, thereby enabling them to create safe and nurturing spaces for children under their care. Today, over 6,500 children live in more than 440 family homes, inside 32 SOS Children’s Villages of India, in 22 States/UTs, from Srinagar to Kochi, and Bhuj to Shillong. They are lovingly cared for and nurtured by over 600 SOS Mothers and Aunts. As India’s largest self-implementing childcare NGO, SOS Children’s Villages India directly touches the lives of around 38,000 children every year.
For more information, please visit: https://www.soschildrensvillages.in