Remember little children in school uniforms singing the National Anthem gracefully and rhythmically? Their hands moved, communicating not just the lyrics of the song, but the depth of their emotion.
This 3 minute video was screened in almost every theatre and captured hearing impaired children performing the National Anthem. The video touched many and became a topic for discussion. However, for many of us, our involvement with the issue stopped there.
Not many of us were inspired to do something for children suffering from hearing impairment. But, every once in a while, there comes about a person who believes in coupling discussion with action. They are the ones who seek to bring about a change, and are also the ones who succeed in doing so. Juhi Goyal is one such person.
Meet Juhi Goyal
Juhi Goyal is the force behind the campaign ‘Awaaz.’ The campaign seeks to source crowdfunding for furthering the education of hearing impaired, underprivileged children in the Samarpan Badhir Vidhyalaya in Agra. When asked about her motivation to do so, she smiles and says, “It’s because of the desire to do something good for society. My earlier visits to this school had made me conscious of the needs and difficulties of these children.” Aware that society tends to sideline the underprivileged and differently abled, she decided that these were the children she wanted to help.
Why do they need Help?
When asked why she chose to help this particular group of children, Juhi gives an answer that is brimming with feeling. “Look at how the opportunities for the underprivileged in India are less. There’s also a lack of awareness about the needs of hearing impaired students.”
She also had a lot to share about their academic pattern. “It’s sad that there isn’t a special board or set syllabus for these children. They are made to cope with existing procedures and academic patterns, many of which are difficult to follow.”
It touched her heart that there are schools, like the non-profit Samarpan Badhir Vidhyalaya, which are trying to create a conducive atmosphere for learning for these children. A firm believer in the adage, ‘The pen is mightier than the sword,’ she decided to lend her support to this school and therefore, the children studying there.
Juhi decides to crowdfund:
Having come across Ketto through online research, Juhi decided to start a campaign to help collect money for these students. “Since the school has 55 enrolled students, with each child needing an amount of Rs. 6000 to complete their education, I needed to generate a sum of Rs. 3, 30, 000.”
How Juhi went about it:
Juhi worked hard to collect this sum. She relied on social media to help put the word out to friends and acquaintances. She would also speak about her campaign to people and motivate them to pledge their support. She says “My relatives were especially supportive and generously contributed to the campaign. An existing database of contacts came in handy at this time. I contacted each person on my list, informing them about my campaign.”
She left no stone unturned in her efforts to raise donations and she managed to collect 1, 36, 850 rupees. She continues to push the campaign and hopes that more people will join in to help these children enjoy a brighter future.
Her Observations & Future Plans
When asked if she has visited the school after the campaign, she says “Yes! I continue to visit these children and hope to one day, with the help of the teachers, ask each child what he or she thinks would help him/her.” She believes this is the only way to understand what exactly needs to be done to better the lives of these children. She also made an astute observation, one that underlines society’s apathetic attitude towards these children. “These children are taught skills that aren’t valued much in contemporary society. Skills like sewing, mending, painting, etc, cannot really help an individual gain gainful employment. Instead, they should be taught computer coding, an activity that can be easily mastered by them, and also has demand in the job market. “
She plans to direct her attentions and efforts to bringing about this change in the future.
Juhi believes in the power of crowdfunding, for she knows how difficult it can be to take on such a mammoth task singlehandedly. A person to speak her mind, she also suggested a couple of changes that could be made and we welcome the feedback.
So, the next time you come across something that moves you, follow Juhi’s example and go a step ahead to help out. Remember, you’re not alone. People are dying to lend a helping hand, all you need to do is reach out and ask for help.