Empathy towards people around us is what matters at the end of the day. Bridging the gap between the people who have access to necessities and those who do not is the need of the hour.
And, Warm The Street Campaign by the duo, Meghdut Roychowdhury, Director of Global Operations, Techno India Group, and Pauline Laravoire, Sustainability Director, Techno India Group, came forward to ameliorate the living conditions of those spending the chilling nights in the open, by providing blankets and clean clothes.
While talking to The Optimist News, the pair unveiled their journey and highlighted some key points which can be addressed in near future.
Y-East, an initiative associated with Techno India Group, is Eastern India’s only aggregator platform gathering professional organisations in social and sustainability sectors which have been organising the Warm the Streets campaign every year since the winter of 2018.
With the successful completion of the first edition, the duo introduced the project of collecting discarded clothes from various sectors and succeeded in gathering around thousand of kilos of material. Since some of the clothes were in damaged condition they partnered with Twirl (a Kolkata based start-up in the up-cycling space) to turn them into new brand accessories.
“In our humble endeavour to give back to the society, we thought of connecting Y-East with Techno India network and start our first edition three years back by collecting old quilts and clean clothes and distributing them to the needy with the help of Seva Kendra Calcutta, a non-profit organization (NGO),” shares Pauline. According to Meghdut social media has become the coveted arena for the campaigning sites, especially during and post lockdown. “In reality lots of greenwashing happens and people use the platforms to exaggerate their work. To create a project like Warm the Street, human connection was needed from scratch, and social media could not help us beyond a point. However, social media can be a potential place to share your work once it’s truly done,” opines the dyed-in-the-wool philanthropist.
Pauline, however, harbours a different perspective as she believes in the power of the word of mouth. Sharing stories of the campaign on the sites builds trust and connection which in turn helps in fundraising.
At ground zero the situation was challenging and the duo found that even though relief material was available from NGOs, there was lack of manpower to distribute them, owing to the virus scare and lockdown restrictions.
Speaking on this Pauline says, “It was not possible for us to reach out to the people in need without prior permission from the authorities. Post lockdown, things have become more manageable for us.”
Recently a campaign for spreading awareness on the work was held at Cafe Offbeat, a rooftop space, started by Meghdut post lockdown to help people of Kolkata overcome the lockdown stress by offering a panoramic view and good food. The campaign turned out to be super successful by garnering encouraging support.
The duo now wants to inspire more people to take up such campaigns and help the needy at a local level in Kolkata to donate liberally and help spread smiles among the not so fortunate ones.
More power to them!!