NATIONAL Youth Day is celebrated every year on January 12, to honour the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, one of India’s most incredible spiritual and inspirational leaders, who believed in the power of youth and service to humanity.
Swami Vivekananda was a great believer in the potential of youth to change the world. He urged the Indian youth to educate themselves and emphasised how service should be the focus of their lives. He once said, “It is a privilege to serve mankind, for this is the worship of God. God is here, in all these human souls. He is the soul of man.”
He coined a new word Daridra Narayana – ‘God in the poor and the lowly.’ Through this coinage, he brought in a sense of religious duty that people could feel towards the poor.
Leading by example
Swami Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission in honour of his guru and raised funds for the Mission from various sources. The nonprofit has been in the service of humankind for almost 125 years now. It has a two-fold purpose— to spread the teachings of the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta and to uplift the oppressed masses of the country.
Online crowdfunding is one of the ways in which the organisation solicits funds for the various activities that Swami Vivekananda started. You can donate here for the Ramakrishna Mission.
Poverty alleviation is central to India’s rise as envisioned by Swami Vivekananda and that cannot be achieved as long as many Indians remain illiterate. It is no coincidence that the number of poor people in India is equal to the number of illiterate. While 270 million people live below the poverty line, around 272 million are uneducated.
An inspiration for generations
Swami Vivekananda has inspired millions of youths over the years, and following his teachings, many have been serving humankind through social developmental programmes. Some of the pan-India organisations that are doing great service towards fellow human beings include Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, Swami Vivekananda Medical Mission, Vivekananda Youth Forum, Swami Vivekananda Rural Development Society and others.
“If the poor cannot come to education, education must reach them, at the plough, in the bakery, factory, elsewhere,” he once said.
While many people inspired by Swami Vivekananda have dedicated themselves to education, poverty alleviation and other forms of social service, ordinary well-to-do Indians can also do their bit by helping those who are directly involved in these missions.
With increased social awareness and a sense of responsibility towards their fellow citizens, more and more Indians are donating through online crowdfunding.
For many years, online fundraising by NGOs has been largely limited to asking visitors to their website or followers on social media to contribute to various causes. But it has undergone a great change with crowdfunding platforms such as Give making it easy for social sector entrepreneurs to raise funds from around the world for poverty alleviation, medical emergencies, and other activities at the grassroots level.
Making a difference through crowdfunding
For ordinary citizens who may see Swami Vivekananda as an inspiration but cannot take time out of their everyday lives to do their bit for society, can look at a crowdfunding platform like Give with over 2,500 verified nonprofits. Give ensures that the money people are donating is used for the right causes and can also track the same.
People can directly choose a nonprofit of their choice from the list of verified organisations on Give, or choose other giving options. For instance, the salaried can donate to causes like education, health, hunger on Give’s monthly giving platform or through the corporate ‘Payroll Giving Programme’ under which employees of member companies can contribute a fixed sum every month to charity through their payroll. Give ensures that the donations are channelled to the programmes and organisations of the donor’s choice.
Swami Vivekananda once said, “All that man has to do is to take care of three things; good thought, good word, good deed.” You can do that good deed today.
(Updated in January 2023)
Established in 2000, Give is the largest and most trusted giving platform in India today. Our community of 2.6M+ donors have supported 2,800+ nonprofits, impacting 15M+ lives across India.
Kumara was a professional journalist for over 15 years, with stints in The Telegraph and Reader’s Digest. He grew up hating maths and physics. He is a post-graduate in history. Kumara believes that cricket and Seinfeld have answers to most questions that life throws at you.