“On a late night and much delayed flight from Kolkata to Delhi, Harish Motwani, a seasoned entrepreneur and a marketer, had nothing much to do, so picked up the scraped newspaper from the nearby vacant seat and starting reading it purely for the sake of killing time. The article was on how social sector in India is expected to play a role in development of our nation. The article also carried details of the scale of over 3 million NGOs in 26 Indian states and another 1 Lakh in seven union territories, and how a country like India couldn’t have asked for more to achieve social responsibility and welfare. Wondering, because it statistically translated to one NGO for every 400 people and that was almost double the number of schools in India which stands at 15 lakhs and almost double the total strength of 17.3 lakh police personnel in India.
Harish pondered over the subject and developed more interest and after much research and deliberations decided to jump in and do his bit to make a difference and collaborated with a long time school friend Mamta Sehgal, an accomplished author & an academician and a business colleague – Sumit Chandna to make a difference with Joy Story Foundation.
The social sector in India is a heavily dominated space but lacks trust of an ordinary Indian. And this belief has reasons. Look around, there’s still so much of hunger, naked kids, health related sufferings, lack of education infrastructure, that it becomes difficult to comprehend if any work has been done or if done has failed to reach effectively to the deprived that it was targeted to. “We wanted to operate in a space where everyone else was either not reaching or was not effective or was perhaps not interested in solving such a small problem” says Harish Motwani, the founder of Joy Story Foundation. The non-profit started in December 2019 and established an online model of crowd funding. In the first nine months of operation, Joy story foundation registered as a section-8 Non-profit organization.
When asked about the impact made by Joy Story, they enumerate numerous examples of their joy spreading success starting with a rape abuse poor victim in Bengaluru’s suburb village who was scared to use open toilets in fields for the fear that accompanied. “We paid and helped construct a small toilet in her own small home. It made a world of difference for the three women in their home” tells Mamta. This not only provided her security but also to the girls/women living near by, who craved for an access to the safer facility.
Another instance when they got to know of an elderly Christian lady who was thrown out of her home by her two educated sons and their wives citing interference in their lives. “It was a shock for us and we reacted immediately and paid for her annual residential fees in a Church run facility in her town” she explains.
Another example is of a barber who lost his job in a saloon which was shut down. A mere Rs.5000 help and counselling made him a Barber-On-Call and today her earns five times his last salary. And there are numerous such examples, where Joy Story’s timely interventions helped critical medical needs, education, generating employment and providing skill sets for a better future
The Covid pandemic immediately after their inception threw more challenges at them as poor daily wagers were left without jobs and basic amenities. They were quick to respond and fed over One lakh meals both in cooked format and dry ration forms. “It was an unprecedented challenge and we rose upto it. Our small set of donors honored our word when we told them we wanted to make a difference” proudly shares Harish. “It was very gradual and step by step people started recognizing our work and the donor-base kept on multiplying” adds Mamta. Their efforts effectively reached as far as the rustic villages of Bihar, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh during the pandemic
There are many such stories which have been created and many such people Joy Story Foundation has extended a helping hand to support and make sure people lead a life of dignity. You can see the chemistry between the three founders, when they resonate while sharing their thoughts, plans and action items for future. The team shares their work on fifteen different causes that include feeding the poor, elderly care, women, health, sanitation, educating the poor, distribution of sanitary pads, and many more.
We asked them about how they were different from over 3 million NGOs and why the effort of creating a new non-profit? Harish smiles at our question and goes about explaining. “Firstly, we are more transparent, each rupee of money collected and donor count is reported to all in real-time as it happens. That gives the donor the confidence that his/her money is visible till it reaches the last mile. Secondly, we don’t have overhead costs. Our 95% of the work is done by corporate volunteers, technology partners and financial auditors who don’t charge us a single penny. That is their way of contributing to this gigantic effort. Infact, you will be surprised to know that we don’t have any employees at Joy Story. We double up as co-founders and accountant, fund raisers and operational controllers.”
‘We intend to bring more proximity and be more integrated with the idea of `The Joy of Giving’ and the happiness it brings when we make a change to a deprived life. We intend to involve society’s influential people to engage with us in this process and make people aware of the joys around them, and associate these joys with the ‘Joy of Giving’. We must understand that our happiness multiplies when we share it with others. The positivity that we spread surely comes back. So along with the happiness of the receiver we also care about the happiness of the donor’, says Mamta Sehgal.
Through their beautiful initiative, Joy Story Foundation aims to multiply and expand this virtuous cycle of happiness to more and more people and bring smiles on faces of the poor and the needy and create an atmosphere of happy living.”
Website : joy story foundation
Instagram : joystoryfoundation
*The views expressed in the above article are of the writer and not Winged Club.