176 students from Mumbai’s prestigious Cathedral and John Connon School have been going around door to door, organising bake sales and enlisting the help of their parents to raise money in order to fight sexual abuse. In two months, the students have managed to raise ₹72 lakh through the Tata Mumbai Marathon for the NGO, The Foundation, which also works towards fighting sexual abuse against children.
“We’ve read about cases of child abuse but these are the only ones that have been reported. The full extent of the problem is bigger and no one is really safe” said a student of Class VIII Sumer Hiremath, to the TOI. Sumer has, so far, collected ₹1 lakh from his ₹1.3 lakh target, and he plans to keep going.
Rahul Bose, actor and founder of The Foundation, was particularly pleased with the involvement of students in the cause. “It is not the money students raise that matters, but the fact that students are talking about child sex abuse to other adults, which is a step in the right direction,” he said. Hansini Somaiya, a class IX student found a rather innovative way of raising funds, by baking and selling some delectable cookies.
Some students even made creative, informative posters, by thoroughly researching on the subject, so that donors would have a clear idea of the cause and the students could answer any queries coming their way. “We went door to door in our building explaining how the donation will help avoid a long-term effect on the victims. This is the easiest way to ensure children grow up with little scars of the past,” said sibling duo Amiti and Abhijay Daga who have raised ₹80,000 from their ₹1.5 lakh target.
Apart from The Foundation, students have also associated themselves with other NGOs in the city. Says Principal Meera Isaacs, “We always insist students work with NGOs in whatever way they can. This helps them keep in touch with reality.” The students have set a target of raising a total of ₹75 lakh.