‘Salamat Raho’ stories are usually about unsung heroes but today we present to you the story of a simple city girl- Roshni D’ Souza. Her ‘be the change’ attitude is impacting the society in a positive way.. She has volunteered in many non profit initiatives thus, making a difference in the lives of the people. If we all think alike we can change the world for better.
Rohsni is a simple city-bred girl who followed her passion, taking bold steps, not caring what the world thinks or expects, but doing what she felt was right and socially relevant. She is a true example of today’s generation.
Words like ‘Millennials’, ‘Gen Z’ etc. are being used more often these days. These words kind of sound ‘Cool’ but actually, Who are these millennials?
They are the ones that come in the age group of mid-twenties to late thirties approximately. They are generally regarded as being more open-minded and more supportive of human rights and equal opportunities for all. They are confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living. They are especially passionate about things that impact others: the planet, the environment, social justice and poverty. They see their passions as a way to define themselves as ‘change makers’.
Background of Roshni D’Souza
Roshni, is a resident of Mumbai. Born, bred and worked for 10 years in Mumbai. Though she grew up in the city, she loves the village life and would aspire to settle in some quaint little village in the Himalayas someday.
Roshni lives with her mom, sisters and brother. Leads a simple normal city life. Educational Qualification: B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology. While studying in college, she was attracted to the word “tribe” and was intrigued to know about their way of life.
Her Tryst with life
To support her family financially, she took up a job immediately after graduation. For 10 long years, she dragged herself in shaping and fulfilling the dreams of the employers/corporates she worked for; ignoring her own dreams / interests. Corporate jobs never made her happy. It was merely an income generating source as it didn’t add any purpose to her life.
The Saturation Point
After working for so long, Roshni reached a saturation point and one fine day, she took a bold step- she resigned from work, with absolutely no backup plans at all. Many want to do this, but do not have the strength or willpower to actually take the step and fulfil their aspirations.
Turning Point of Roshni D’ Souza
This was the turning point in her life. She gave up a comfortable job and good salary to follow her passion of reaching out to humanity.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu
Roshni’s contribution at societal level
She had time on her hand. This period also opened up opportunities to work in the NGO space.
During this phase, she worked with Wildlife Conservation Trust, Mumbai, for a year.
Then she joined the Dakshin Foundation, Bangalore, for 2 years.
Next was Samavesh in Panna, Madhya Pradesh, for 2 years.
At Samavesh, Roshni was working as centre-in charge in Panna where she worked with a team of 25 members in the education sector in 25 villages situated in the buffer zone of Panna Tiger Reserve. Panna is one of the most backward districts of Madhya Pradesh. While working there, the first thing that hit her was poverty and many other social taboos like caste system, untouchability, unemployment, illiteracy, etc. She felt as if she was living in the pre-Independence era. She realized she had to do something to bring about a change.
Her work involved liaising with various stakeholders such as the government. officials (district collector, district education department,), SMC (School management committee), the village communities, village panchayat, and of course the kids at school. While interacting with children in schools, what she observed was children did not have the basic necessities i.e. stationery. While she spoke to the parents about it, it was poverty that demanded something else. Acute poverty demanded more food in the stomach than a book in the hand.
That is what hit her really hard. She had to arrange what was required. She put up a request on her Facebook wall. The response she received was overwhelming. She had strictly mentioned NO MONEY, but her close friends credited her account with some money to be used for the said purpose. She received a lot of stationery. Amazon, which was never heard of in that little town, made their deliveries frequently at Samavesh office. The money that she received was used in the purchase of more stationery for the following year. One simple, honest Facebook post helped almost 700 kids in 25+ schools for 2 years.
Panna, India, a place in India has an extreme climate. While in summers, the mercury touches 49-50 degrees, and winters get very chilly at 4-5 degrees. That year (2017), winter had just set in. In every village that she visited, she noticed children busy studying sitting in the sun in their school compound. Moved by this plight, she thought of arranging sweaters for the children.
As Christmas was just around the corner
, she thought it was a perfect time to gift sweaters as Christmas gifts to the kids – wrapping them with our love and warmth. She started a Secret Santa initiative and posted it on her Facebook wall. And yet again she received an overwhelming response. She managed to gift 153 sweaters to kids from 3 most deprived villages.
Since then Roshni has been taking up the Secret Santa initiative Secret Santa – Wikipedia to reach out to those in dire need, not just in Panna but in other places as well.
In 2019, 516 children from 2 schools in Majuli Island, Assam were gifted with sweaters.
In 2020, 695 sweaters in 6 villages in Panna, & 250 pairs of socks in 4 villages in Bastar, Chhattisgarh were distributed.
In 2021, COVID Care – Food Distribution in Panna, so far 70 families have been provided with dry ration kits.
Watch Food Donation by team Nomadlawyer:
During her stay in Panna, Roshni realised that there was a dire need for a middle school in one of the villages that she worked in. With just 1 primary school in existence since over 2 decades, children after 5th std. were forced to drop out as the nearest middle school was 8 kms away through the dense forest. Thanks to the support and cooperation from the Collector, the District education in-charge, the forest department, Roshni and her team could manage to open a middle school with 17 children on roll. No Ngo or organization help was taken. This is a huge feat.
Meal Donation during Covid:
Year 2021: COVID Care – Food Distribution in Panna. So far ration kit distributed to 57 families out of 75 families listed. Total funds collected Rs.1,08,000/-.
Her to do list:
“Chehak: a play area for kids in villages. I wish to make this play area with recycled Tyres and other materials where children will learn while playing.
A library, an activity centre and ice skating rink for kids in a small village in Ladakh.
This is just the beginning for Roshni. Many such millennials are doing great work from their homes, working online, during ‘work from home’ situations. My aim was to highlight Roshni’s story to inspire such people to find their Ikigai, come out of their comfort zone, and at least take a few steps towards their ultimate goal. Join Roshni and more people like her, to make the world a better place to live in.
“To those who stay put, the world is but an imaginary place. But to the movers, the makers, and the shakers, the world is all around, an endless invitation.” – Unknown .
If you wish to reach out to Roshni, here is her email id-
Team NomadLawyer, salutes Rohsni D’ Souza!