An initiative created by kids living in the slums of Mumbai and by the friends of Shanti Ashram of Coimbatore also known as Kovai, with the support of the Udisha Project.
Together with Shanti Ashram, a Hindu movement inspired by teachings of Ghandi, the Udisha movement conducts and supports various activities such as the Piggy Bank, with the motto: “The more you give, the more you get.” «Launched in March 2014, the project draws its inspiration from Chiara Lubich’s concept called the “culture of giving,” and which she held very dear - one of the coordinators, Valentino Agri, wrote. The project thus expresses the great desire to share with the children and their families, the discovery of God’s immense love for each one of us.»
The initiative aims at promoting the importance of savings as a way of meeting the needs of the poor. Practically speaking, this is a small personal piggy bank where every child can deposit his/her savings. At the end, the proceeds are divided into two parts: one for those children living below the poverty threshold, the other, for the family of the child who possesses the Piggy Bank.
«A few months ago, an interactive meeting was held with Mr. Vijay of the Shanto Ashram to discuss the problem of poverty – Valentino says – which revealed the scenario on the poverty experienced by many children in the villages of India, in circumstances that differ from those of children in the cities. It stressed how our children in Mumbai, despite the daily difficulties of life in the slums, can still consider themselves lucky to have a family, and can go to school. Instead, thousands of minors have no one to take care of them, and often lack food and water, and have no education or healthcare. Mr. Vijay furthermore explained to the children how their own contribution, no matter how small, can make a difference for those who have nothing. “Our country will be a better place for each child if we all share what we can,” he affirmed.»
The kids committed themselves even more to keeping their savings in the Piggy Bank: «On Ghandi’s birthday anniversary – Valentino continued – we broke our money box and gathered about 3,000 rupees, equivalent to 45 euro». A small fortune, in that context and considering the fact that we are talking!
« My mum usually buys a cake on my birthday. This time I asked her to give the amount for the cake, and I was able to put it in my piggy bank. I felt happy…», recounts Alisha, 10 years of age.
«At times my mum gives me money to take the rickshaw to school, but sometimes I went on foot so I could save and put the money in my piggy bank…», says Racheal, 11years. While Valerie, who is only 6 said: «My uncle gave me ten rupees to buy some biscuits. He saw that I put it in my Piggy Bank for my brothers and sisters who do not have mothers and fathers and who cannot go to school like me. So he gave me another ten rupees. » At times also a bit of cunningness comes in useful. Nine-year-old Ryan narrated his experience: «Like all my friends at school I wanted to buy an expensive pen. I then remembered my Piggy Bank and I bought one that cost 5 rupees less, so no one would think of stealing it!»
«It is a small drop in the ocean, but it is a drop just the same – Valentino concluded -. We suggest you propose this initiative also in your environments, so that this drop can become a river!»