Do you know Pratima Devi aka ‘Amma’? She’s a mother to more than 400 stray dogs, also called as ‘The Dog Lady Of Delhi’. Did we mention she’s a rag-picker and despite of making Rs. 7,000 in a month single handedly manages to feed them, bathe them & of course shower them with a lot of unadulterated love. Read how the collaboration of a bank and filmmaker led to something beautiful.
Based out of Delhi, Sudeshna Guha Roy is a journalist by degree but a storyteller by heart who loves to watch stories come alive through photographs, films and documentaries. She along with her team decided to participate in the ‘Yes Foundation Social Film Making Challenge in 2014’, and that is when she decided to take Pratima Devi's story to the workd by making a documentary featuring her life. Her film was declared the winner of the season and they were even felicitated with an award from Mr. Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra.
While documenting Pratima Devi and trying to capture her selflessness in her camera, Sudeshna and her team were mesmerised and awed by Amma’s persona. On digging deeper as to why she felt that way, she said, “We all have seen people in our respective localities, taking care of stray dogs and feeding them regularly. My family does it as well. But we all can afford that, we all have a good job, and taking care of a few dogs frankly doesn't harm our pockets. But Pratima Devi showed us what it is to love someone so selflessly by doing it since the past 30 years!”
Moved by Amma’s nature, when Sudeshna asked her if she could help her in someway, Amma’s answer left her dumbstruck.
"She said she didn't want anything for herself, "just get a bag of pedigree for the dogs." Despite her condition being so poor, she didn't ask anything for her. She could have, very easily. But she didn't. For the first time ever, we met someone so selfless.”
That’s when Sudeshna and her team decided to grab this opportunity that Yes Bank provided them and start a fundraiser on Ketto to contribute in some way and make Amma’s life comfortable.
Sudeshna and her team raised Rs. 82,380 with contributions from 54 supporters. On her experience with crowdfunding she said, “We got an amazing response! We shared the link of the film and the Ketto fundraiser page with all our friends and family and they shared it with theirs. During this process, we had to speak to a lot of people, explaining them the cause and reason why I started it. With each conversation, our belief in the issue grew stronger. We had aimed to raise around Rs. 1 lakh for her, but managed to raise around Rs. 80,000 approximately.”
Sudeshna deposited the entire money into Pratima Devi's bank account. After a few months later when she visited her again, she saw how Amma had put it to good use, “She had bought a few cages to keep the injured dogs. She had renovated her shelter so that water wouldn't seep in during monsoons, as a lot of dogs would sleep with her inside the shelter as well. She bought a couple of daris for the the dogs who would sleep outside during winters. Most importantly, she started a small shop again where she would sell tea, biscuits, water and cigarettes.”
It’s beautiful how storytelling can move people and make them want to help others. If you have a compelling story to share, let’s hear it!