“Ray of Hope…” was initiated as a Social Service organization at Hyderabad by 8 close friends from Engineering on November 21st 2005. We comprise of students of the IITs & the IIMs, and also corporate employees working for various MNCs in India and the USA. From a short-term campaign to fund for 300 children at Shishu Vihar, Hyderabad, as of now, we’ve supported 10000+ of the underprivileged. We have spread across 10 major cities in India and 4 the USA.
Our aim is to integrate forces such as NGOs, the Govt., the Corporate world, and the local as well as the global community
Since resources such as time, money, people, etc, are limited, we’ve taken a conscious decision to reach out to the most challenged people. We arrived at this decision after realizing that many places of concern have a steady source of heavy funding from political parties and media coverage.
Thus we felt that it’s not fair that someone else out there in some corner of the world doesn’t have a home and 3 square meals a day. In our research, we came across Pocharam Village and our first visit was overwhelming as we were sad as well as happy; sad due to the horrible condition of the village and happy due to the opportunity to transform the village; and hence adopted the village.
We invite anyone and everyone, to join us, a registered NGO (Registration # 221/2007) as of December 12th 2007 under the Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act 2001.
- To reach the unreached and transform their lives positively for an overall enhancement of our nation.
- To promote national integration, nation building activities and uplift the poorest of poor.
- To work for the socio-economic fortification of the society irrespective of caste, creed, sex, color and religion.
- To establish, organize, found, cater to arrange and participate in allied developmental programs as a network intervention with collective responsibility.
- To cater to health services with a special interest towards the poorest of the poor.
- To facilitate, arrange and establish youth clubs, self help groups, summer camps, personality development, vocational training clubs, mutually aided cooperative thrift societies and community based organizations.
- To involve the community, apply knowledge and transform the target.
- To deal with each situation with community leadership, balanced approach, teamwork, transparency and accountability.
From a short term campaign, Ray Of Hope has come a long way. Here’s the story of how it all began:
“Life is strange, the way it twists and turns and entangles a person’s life with someone else’s…it’s unexpected, but not uncalled for…it’s surprising, but never scary…each and every situation you face, each and every obstacle you tackle, it doesn’t deter you but helps build character, the moment you stand up and fight for your rightful place in this myriad of opportunities…” This was an excerpt from a truly educational conversation I had with an 8 year old girl on November 21, 2005.
It all started with Praneeth finding out from his mother Noorjehan, a Government Officer, about the requirement of blankets for the 300 orphaned children and the 30 old women at a Home called“Shishu Vihar”. He felt it to be unfair for all of them to brave the cold and wanted to do something for them. There stemmed the idea and the Team was thus formed with V. Vara Prasad, Ch. Prudhvi Krishna, C.L. Madhava Krishna, A.Naresh Kumar, Harivardhan, Pavan Babu, Praneeth and me, Tharun Sholarajan who have all been close friends from our engineering days at VNR VJIET, Hyderabad, and began our attempts by persuading and encouraging people around us. We contacted many of our old friends, some of whom are now in the US and received a huge response. The students at Career Launcher (Hyderabad) were informed too. They were all quite enthusiastic and not only donated but also raised funds from others as well. Thus the network started spanning to new horizons.
We then decided to find out if anyone else other than us was interested in helping these poor kids and we went door-to-door spreading the word. We were quite surprised to see the number of people who were willing to give something: cash or kind, it didn’t really matter, the fact that they were donating showed us that humanity still existed among most people. There were two unexpected surprises in this process, first of which was from one of our friends, Ramakrishna, who was in the US for his M.S, who donated a substantial amount. This was a great contribution as he wasn’t employed and was struggling in the US, but still donated that money. The second was from a fruit vendor, who wholeheartedly donated Rs.500/- of his hard earned money.
This was the turning point for us as this showed the kind of trust that people had in us and also that almost everyone is interested in reaching out to the needy and just needed a medium which they could trust their resources with. We decided to be the channel through which help was rendered. Our initial plan was to collect funds that would suffice to buy blankets and mattresses for them, but considering the amount of publicity it had generated, our funds were equally mind-blowing and by the end of the campaign, we ended up collecting around 10 times more than what we originally set out for!!! Now with such a large amount of funds in our kitty, we went miles ahead and purchased clothes, play equipment, lots of books and book shelves for the children, and a Television Set for the old women there.
After this, we spent the evening at Shishu Vihar and left with loads of exuberance and a sense of increased responsibility. Our initial plan was this short term campaign, because we were all heading off to different horizons in lieu of our different career plans. However, this experience changed it all! At Shishu Vihar, we had taken photographs, which we mailed to everyone who contributed and even to those who didn’t. We did this as we wanted to reinforce the trust that everyone had in us and contributed so generously, to show them that without them this wouldn’t have been possible. We also wanted them to feel the joy and exuberance that we felt when we visited the home.
Our friends were mostly either in the US doing their MS or in India working for IT companies. They were so moved by the photographs that they spread the story where they were and wherever they went and started collecting funds. So, through word-of-mouth, the funds started pouring in, in huge proportions. We now started thinking about our long term plans and that the place that we are in shouldn’t be a barrier to our work, neither the distance between us. We started believing that this would only help us increase our network and help us reach out to many more people; both the people who would like to work for this noble cause and also people in need, as we would find people in need anywhere and everywhere. We invested these funds in places viz., The Good Samaritan Home in Pocharam Village, Devnar Blind School (Begumpet, Hyderabad), Ashray Akruti (Little Angels School for the Hearing Impaired, Hyderabad), etc.
Post these events, we received a substantial amount from Naresh Agarwal, one of our classmates from college and this was just 2 days prior to Praneeth leaving to Kanpur. Naresh was both thankful to us that we shared the photographs with him and also sorry that he didn’t contribute the first time around. This was so unplanned and we realized how amazing it was that without any particular planning as such, we have achieved so much.
People continued to send funds though we never had any intention to keep this work going on. One fine day, we decided to name our organization and it was as if it were meant to be “A Ray of Hope…” Time and again, the trust and faith that everyone had in us was reinforced. We were in a bit of a dilemma as to what should be done; when Praneeth’s father advised us to continue the good work, and so we opened a community for Ray Of Hope in Orkut, a social networking site, which received a stupendous response.
This name stemmed from the hope that everyone has to lead a better life and there would always be someone out there for them, who would be, literally, their Ray of Hope…
We’ve come a long way 2 years hence. True to what we believed in, we’ve broadened our work anywhere we’ve been to; be it IIT Kanpur, where Praneeth is a second year MBA student now, may it be Dell, where I worked for a year. At IIT Kanpur, Praneeth received great support from Kanika Saraiya, his classmate and a good friend, who did her B.Tech in Kanpur. She knew the place well and was already associated with an orphanage there. So they visited the orphanage there and are presently continuing the work even in Kanpur.