Published: 08th October 2019
How a TED talk inspired Rohit Rao to start Hyderabad's youngest NGO yet
Ek Aur Kadam will work with Hyderabad's youngsters to solve one issue a month — from education to hunger. We try and find out what keeps him motivated
Winter is right around the corner. It's officially time to take out those warm hoodies and stylish sweatshirts. Now, we might be privileged enough to have those options, but for those who call the streets of Hyderabad their home, they have nothing or no one to turn to for their warmth. Until now. The youngest NGO on the block, Ek Aur Kadam, just concluded their first campaign, Winter Drive. With their 20 member-strong team, they distributed warm clothes and some food to all those who live on the streets for three days.
"My aim with Ek Aur Kadam is to spread smiles and help the needy," says Rohit
So, after nine years of experience relentlessly working with organisations like Youth Alive, what prompted Rohit Elijah Rao to start one of his own? "Just last month, I was listening to all the talks at TEDx Hyderabad 2019 and that was all the motivation I needed. I thought it's now or never," says the 23-year-old who officially started Ek Aur Kadam on September 23. "In my previous work, we used to go to colleges and talk to them about issues, but I wanted to go deeper. I wanted to involve them in more engaging ways," explains the youngster.
Their logo: The logo of Ek Aur Kadam
Rohit, who is a freelance lighting designer, came up with the name for the NGO himself. "I wanted the name to denote stepping into the light," says the alumni of St Joseph's Degree and PG College. Through Ek Aur Kadam, Rohit wants to take up one cause per month. After the successful Winter Drive, for which the volunteers spread the word, collected clothes from people ready to part with it and distributed them among the needy, for the next month, Rohit wants to educate people and college students about their rights. In the works is also some themed merchandise in the form of shirts, stickers and more.
Rohit knows that the journey ahead will not be easy, but he wants to try anyway
Rohit recalls the hugely successful Say No To Drugs campaign he helped organise two years ago, wherein, participants walked from Secunderabad Clock Tower to a stage set-up at the Secunderabad Railway Station — leading to him being appreciated not just by Hyderabadis, but by the police commissioner too. After such experiences, Rohit understands the power of the youth and wants to channelise the same for causes. "Every change needs to start from within the community, so we need people who can bring this change," explains Rohit, who was born and brought up in Hyderabad.
For more, check out instagram.com/ekaurkadam