Published: 23rd August 2018
No cash, no selfies: How Collector Bro's Compassionate Keralam is setting #DonationGoals
Through the initiative, one can directly donate aid, volunteer to help or adopt a family and help them rebuild their lives — but not subject them to the indignity of making them look like beggars
In the aftermath of the Kerala floods, your Facebook and Instagram timelines were possibly filled with people doing some form of rescue work or donation and posting selfies of their 'humanitarianism' and listing how much cash they'd donated. Well, this website www.compassionatekeralam.com is solidly against both: cash and selfies!
Through the website, you can donate things to people in need, register yourself as a volunteer to identify and reach out to affected families, offer help, adopt a family or request for help. The website does not collect any money and the volunteers make sure that the help reaches the beneficiaries directly. And if your motive behind helping somebody is just for the sake of a few likes on Facebook and Instagram, then Compassionate Keralam is not the place for you. Here, the founders are committed to protecting the dignity of the beneficiary and making sure that the donor truly does it out of compassion.
We caught up with IAS officer Prashanth Nair, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, who is among the moving forces behind this idea. If the name strikes a bell, it's because he shot to fame when he was Kozhikode's very own 'Collector Bro.' Nair says that the idea came up as an extension of his earlier project Compassionate Kozhikode. "We believe that compassion is the driving force behind every good deed that you do. Especially in the present scenario in the state, we must be ready to help each other, without fanfare, photography or making a deal out of it and more importantly without affecting the dignity of the beneficiary. That is the whole idea," says Nair.
Prashanth Nair feels that the society should be standing with the government, especially at the time of a crisis because there are certain areas where a government has its limitations
He stands firm that the dignity of a person should never be compromised and one has no right to make a beneficiary look like a beggar by making them stand in a queue or clicking photos with them. Which is why, he believes in sharing and not in a give-and-take policy. "Many people in Kerala believe in this philosophy. This is not charity. You'll not find photos of any of these activities anywhere," he affirms. 'Collector Bro' is completely against the idea of collecting any cash, but he says that the team of volunteers will connect you with people and motivate you to help people.
When people ask for help, the young team of volunteers do a background check before opening it up to donors. "These youngsters are totally committed but never got a chance to do something about it. These are people without any agenda.," Nair says, adding, "this is not all political or a movement. It is a sporadic thing where everyone can become a part of."
Nair also doesn't forget to tell us more about the most exciting part — the site offers you the option of adopting a family. "Here, you get a loving family, which isn't related to you by blood. But they require support financially and emotionally. It's an eye opener for everyone," he says. After all, isn't the feeling absolutely wonderful to blur the lines of caste, creed and societal status and think that the whole world is one big family that follows the religion of love?