BHOPAL: A group of young professionals from the city distributed pairs of shoes to needy children during corona times. Their motto is to ëgive a new hope of lifeí to the kids. Shoes, they say, symbolise the ability and the urge to march forward in lifeóthe hope of progress and growth.
Over the past eight months, they have donated around 5,000 new pairs of shoes. Their target group is children living in orphanages, homes for the differently abled, slum clusters and on the streets. Also, children who beg at places of worship and at railway stations, bus stops and other public places.
They work under the banner of the NGO, ëDivyajeevaní. The NGO has around 500 members, of whom 300 are active. The members are in the age group of 15-40 years and include doctors, CAs, engineers, IT workers, students and housewives.
Dr Divya Bharthare, 25, is the director of the NGO and the moving spirit behind the organisation. A Bachelor in Dental Science, Divya runs her own dental clinic at Bairagarh. The idea of distributing shoes to children struck Dr Divya when she met a girl from a slum cluster near her home. "They were six sisters- all of them very young. The one I met was wearing slippers from two different pairs. She told me that even that odd pair was borrowed and that neither she nor her sisters had ever owned footwear of any kind," Divya told Free Press.
ìShoes for children are not on the priority list of poor families. When they canít arrange for two square meals a day, how can you expect them to buy footwear for their kids?î she says.
Campus Shoes, a well-known footwear company, sponsors Divyajeevan. The company provides polyurethane (PU) leather shoes to the NGO for distribution. "They supply shoes of different colours and sizes, both with and without laces. The company doesnít charge anything for the shoes but the transport charges have to be borne by us,î the doctor says. "Royal Enfield had provided us with 500 warm jackets and nearly 3,000 T-shirts for distribution," says Dr Divya.
Activities of the group
The group members visit slum clusters and other places on weekends, carrying around 100 pairs of shoes with them.
They gift shoes to children in the 2-15 years age group and make them wear the new pairs in their presence.
The NGO has also gifted around 500 pairs of shoes to cobblers in the city as a 'mark of appreciation' for their work.
In the past, they had also distributed food and clothes to the needy.
Resumed after lockdown
The members of the group had to stop their work during the lockdown, but have resumed it now.
So, they have decided to organise a mega-shoe drive this Sunday.
They have planned to distribute 50 pairs of shoes each in Indore, Raisen and Biaora, besides Bhopal.
They will also be distributing shoes in Rajasthan.