We all nurture a passion but few translate it into action. A passion left unanswered results in a dry life; an act driven by passion can transform lives. This defines the journey of Rashi Anand and the dream she nurtures.
Rashi is the founder of Lakshyam, an NGO working for street and underprivileged children in Delhi. The idea behind the noble venture was the sheer number of street children in Delhi that totals over alakh. What are these vulnerable kids falling prey to? Drugs, beggary,pick-pocketing and prostitution to name a few. Rashi discovered a zeal among these children to do something meaningful in their lives; they only needed support.
Today, Lakshyam has a school in the name of Sakshyam located in Vasant Kunj in a slum area where 200 children are provided necessities such as education and taught crafts. The organization also conducts workshops with street children under the flyovers, in the red light areas and at the railway stations to aware them against drug addiction and tobacco intakes.
Within a span of a year and a half, Rashi’s efforts have taken Lakshyam to such heights that it has a presence across six states namely Jharkhand, Delhi , Bangalore, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Rashi can recall vividly a scene of a group of street children playing enthusiastically, cheering and chirping. But what did they play with? Discarded tires, empty plastic bottles and stones. She compared the picture with kids more privileged who are blessed with real toys and play inside swanky homes. This instigated her to start a campaign named Lakshyam Toy Library in under which huge boxes were placed in 12 esteemed schools of Delhi and students were motivated to donate their toys. The response was surprisingly huge with a collection of over 60,000 toys and books in the boxes. These were distributed to street children in Delhi. As the number was massive, Lakshyam tied up with organizations in different states as a result of which toys were sent to rural villages ofBihar, Kurnool village, Theni district and Refugee camps in Dharamshala to name a few.
At the age of 18, Rashi was the board member of Lakshya, an NGO founded by her mother Poonam Anand who has worked for tribal women, against naxalismand in the red belt area in the state of Jharkhand.
She has opened an orphanage in Ranchi city. Also, she has worked for three years with blind, deaf and dumb children.
Rashi considers her mother as her idol and fondly recalls all the trips she made with her as a child to rural and tribal villages. Her travels have made her sensitive to the problems of the underprivileged. “I feel blessed that even at a young age of 25, I have been able to touch the lives of at least 7381 people, making a difference – small or big – in those lives,” she says.
Rashi’s aim is to see every woman stand on her feet and every kid enjoy a normal childhood. She feels that every one of us must give back to the society in any way possible, be it voluntary or monetary services. She says that if we go into theses hunned areas and have a first-hand experience of the lives the dwellers lead, we’ll know how valuable our lives are.