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Thursday , 21 September 2017
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The Good Crusaders – A ray of Hope

In times when humanity is facing its toughest challenges due to rising indifference and intolerance, it’s good to see that there are a few still left that care and are working towards the betterment of the society. It is also heartening to know that responsible corporate entities are pitching in to lend a helping hand to these select few who have committed themselves to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people. Aptly named, ‘The GoodCrusaders‘, the groundbreaking initiative by 100 Pipers India seeks to spread awareness about the great work being done by these Crusaders so that others can contribute to the cause or get the right inspiration and motivation to start their own projects. In times of gloom and darkness, we need more such remarkable individuals who can give a new hope to people and restore faith in humanity.

The Good Crusaders are an eclectic bunch and it’s good to see them on a common platform, from where they can reach out to a global audience. Every Crusader has his own specialty project, towards which they are fully committed and consistently working to raise the bar to take it to the next level. There’s Chetna Gala Sinha helping rural women and farmers via micro finance; Shaheen Mistri enabling education of poor children; Pranik Nair facilitating English language training to youth; and Dr. Ramakanta Panda setting new medical standards for the benefit of heart patients.

There are several other Crusaders working on various social projects, and the one that has impressed me most is the work being done by Good Crusader Rashmi Tiwari. She is an individual who could have easily lived a blissful life working in a corporate setup, but she left her comfort zone and started working for the welfare of tribal women. Rashmi started her career with Associated Chambers of Commerce (ASSOCHAM) and soon after she took the leadership position as a Director at American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in India and then Executive Director at CEO Clubs of India.

Rashmi Tiwari’s life changed, when, on a routine visit to a small village in Orissa for social welfare activities, she noticed the plight of tribal people who faced absolute poverty and misery. It came as a great shock to her when some parents offered their children to her in exchange for money. She came to know that tribal girls were being sold to agents, just like a commodity. She also witnessed utter poverty when she noticed that three children of a family were sharing just one set of clothes between themselves. It was then she realized that she will never be able to ignore this unimaginable human suffering and had to do something about it.

She faced a lot of challenges; from traffickers, local mafia, and even the village children who initially were not that trustful. However, Rashmi persevered and she is now an active anti-trafficking crusader, working to prevent trafficking of tribal girls and for empowerment of tribal women. She has launched the Aahan Tribal Development Foundation that works for sustainable socio-economic development of tribal people. The foundation also focuses on spreading awareness so that tribal people can defend their rights, environment and cultural heritage.

The thing I like most about these Good Crusaders is that these people never gave up despite facing insurmountable challenges. Rashmi Tiwari’s work has moved me since I too have been involved in helping the poor, albeit on a small scale. We need many more such Good Crusaders and even when we may find ourselves incapable of great feats, we can always come out to support these crusaders and spread the word to help eliminate human suffering and promote welfare of people. Great ideas can’t work in silos, and they will always need plentiful support, which can only come from common people like us.

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