DIWALI celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and hope over despair. Each year, as the festival of light and hope approaches, we cheerfully set about deep cleaning our homes and offices and decorating our surroundings with fragrant flowers, fairy lights, oil lamps and rangoli. Family and friends meet up, greet one another, and exchange Diwali gifts.

Diwali is also the time when many of us donate to light up the life of those in need. Our donations can mean shelter, education, care and protection for the mentally ill, the elderly, orphaned children, the visually impaired and other disadvantaged groups.

On this auspicious occasion of Diwali, here are 5 NGOs on Give, India’s largest and most trusted giving platform, that you can support.

Mauli Seva Pratishthan

Dr. Rajendra and Dr. Sucheta Dhamane’s Mauli Seva Pratishthan is a saviour for mentally ill, abandoned women. “Mentally ill women living on the streets are sexually exploited and often become victims of gang rape. Many of them die a painful death on the street, while others get infected with HIV or end up getting pregnant from their repeated exploitation,” says Dr. Rajendra Dhamane, co-founder of Mauli. Presently, this doctor couple provides love, care and medical aid to 400 women and their minor children at ‘Mangav’ – a lifelong haven in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. Mauli also operates a fully equipped Intensive Care Unit at their shelter home.

Mauli is in urgent need of funds to be able to rescue more women from the streets and to tide over recurring expenses for regular medication, visiting medical experts, doctors and paramedical staff. “Mauli Seva Pratishthan has no fixed source of income. Our service depends entirely on contributions from generous donors and philanthropic organisations. Please help us so that we can help more mentally ill abandoned women,” appeals Dr. Sucheta Dhamane, co-founder of Mauli.

This Diwali, as we usher abundance and prosperity into our homes and lives, let’s join hands to help this doctor couple brighten the lives of more women battling mental illness and homelessness with healing and hope. Click here to donate.

Miracle Manna

This NGO was founded in 2010 by bus driver Shivaji Lazarus and his wife Prema, with the simple aim of providing abandoned and orphaned children with a loving home, good education and encouraging the children to dream big. Shivaji and Prema have been doting parents to 24 children at Miracle Manna – 23 orphans and their biological daughter, Gracy.

“But without your help, all their ambitions and dreams face uncertainty, as these 23 orphans could again become homeless and return to living on the streets. Mounting bills and dwindling funds are putting the future of these kids at stake. We need your support urgently to keep them in school and to keep a roof over their heads,” appeals Shivaji.

As we open our homes and hearts to welcome in the lights of Diwali, we can help Shivaji’s Miracle Manna ensure a loving home and a hopeful future for its 23 kids. Donate here.

Kat-Katha

Kat-Katha, founded by Gitanjali Babbar, helps sex workers to walk away from forced prostitution, embrace alternative professions and work towards building a new life for themselves and their children. The NGO runs Dream Village near Delhi, a safe haven for women – currently eight – who were forced into prostitution, and their children. 

“My life’s dream is to see every single woman forced into sex work walking out of brothels and living the life they’ve always dreamed about,” says Gitanjali. According to her, what holds many women back in brothels is their fear that society may not accept them and their children and that they may be forced to beg to survive. The only way to stop this endless exploitation of women is by empowering them with the skills and confidence needed to live a self-reliant, dignified life. 

“We have identified 20 more women who are trapped in Delhi’s GB Road brothels and eager to leave behind their life of abuse and exploitation. We are in urgent need of funds so that we can rescue these women and provide them a safe shelter and a bright future. Your generous support will help make this possible,” says Gitanjali.

Amidst your Diwali celebrations of light over darkness, do spare a thought for the many women still trapped and exploited in dingy, stifling brothels. With your generous contribution, Gitanjali’s Kat-Katha can help dispel their darkness and give them a better life. Click here to donate.

Maitri

Abandoned, elderly widows are amongst the most vulnerable sections in India. After being thrown out of their homes by their own children they are forced to beg for food and shelter. “Through Project Jeevan, Maitri houses ageing widow mothers in two ashrams in Vrindavan and Radhakund (Mathura), providing them with wellness and well-being. This programme also reaches out to widow mothers beyond the ashrams with fruit, milk and healthcare services,” explains Winnie Singh, co-founder, Maitri India.

But not every elderly widow who comes to Vrindavan after being abandoned by her family gets as lucky. Many end up living a lonely life and begging to survive on the streets. “Maitri aspires to take care of every widow in need of help. For this, we urgently need your support to provide nutritious food, clothing and healthcare to sustain these elderly widow mothers who are prone to more illnesses as they age,” says Winnie.

While we fill our homes with the flowers and fragrances of Diwali, and surround ourselves with family and friends, let’s extend our generosity to help Winnie Singh and Maitri provide more abandoned widow mothers with a home away from home, filled with friends like family to embrace. Donate here.

Blind Welfare Society 

Founded by Dheeraj Bhola, Blind Welfare Society (BWS) has been a ray of hope for 40 visually impaired girls, many of whom were abandoned by their families and had nowhere to go. BWS provides these young girls food, shelter, education and career support so they can pursue their dreams and build self-reliant life for themselves. 

Dheeraj Bhola is visually impaired and understands first-hand the struggle and discrimination faced by the visually impaired. “I heard of a few visually impaired girls who’d been abandoned by their families because they considered a blind girl child as an additional burden. Some were sold off and a few were raped. In each one of them, I saw a bright future that held promise and potential. This inspired me to start BWS,” says Dheeraj. BWS is facing a severe funds crunch and needs your help to continue supporting visually impaired girls as they pursue their dreams.

This Diwali, as we decorate our surroundings, let’s help BWS light up the pathways for blind girls by donating here.

For every Diwali lamp that you light and every laugh that you share, do remember that you also hold the power to spread that light and joy to those in need of help.

This Diwali #GiveDilSe

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