Providing donations is considered a philanthropic act. Donations can be of different types including providing monetary support or volunteering in different community services. Goals of donors may differ from one donor to another. Some donors donate to generally assist the less fortunate, by writing a cheque/donation some feel they have done their part and do not want to be further implicated. However, some donate due to cultural practices or religious teachings, other donors simply derive sense of fulfillment when they donate. As for most of our donors, their donation is based on improving the lives of the less fortunate.
The Other Side Foundation, a non-profit, depends entirely on public donations now. Prior to 2019, their sole donor Mr. Daniel Sigaud was funding this project; he agreed to fund the project for 10 years which came to an end 3 years ago.
Regardless of the reason for donating, recipient organizations should focus on meeting the donors’ expectations while ensuring the final recipient who is the beneficiary receives 100% of the full amount donated. TOSF is very transparent in its operations; it ensures the entire donations go to the rightful beneficiaries.
One such prominent philanthropist is Mr. and Mrs. Subramanian Umapathy and his wife Sundari, from Upakaar Initiatives, a non-profit based in Lusaka, Zambia. The couple have been extremely helpful for the last 2 years to TOSF’s grassroots outreach program in George compound, an impoverished area in the outskirts of the capital city. Their efforts can never go unrecognized hence the media team from TOSF School took time this month to find out what really prompted this couple to partner with us and their views from the time they started rendering help to our organization.
When asked to tell us first about himself, Mr Subra as he is famously called, said, he was born on 14th October 1951 in India and came to Zambia in 1980 and his 2 children were born here in Zambia. When asked about when he started his charity work and who inspired him. Mr. Subra said he is not coming from a family background that used to do charity work, but it is something he chose to do when he was inspired by his friend who lives in South Africa. This gentleman gave the same education to his son and his maid’s son. He further sponsored the maid’s son up to university level where both his son and the maid’s, studied medicine. Mr. Subra was so touched by his friend’s gesture of kindness and that really inspired him to start helping the needy. The other person who inspired him is our Founder and Director Mrs. Leela Champ who helps the vulnerable and despite being thousands of miles away from Zambia is able to remotely and efficiently run a free school for orphans and vulnerable children and also render aid to the community.
However, it will be interesting to mention that TOSF School is not the only organization he helps. Apart from feeding 450 TOSF school children and our bursars 3 times a week, Mr. Subra feeds about 40 deaf and dumb children from Munali Secondary school in Lusaka and he is also sponsoring 800 children of female prisoners and wishes to extend this number further. During COVID-19, Mr. Subra supplied testing kits to many Zambian hospitals. When doing that he also observed that the maternity wards needed incubators for newborn babies, which he will be donating.
This gentleman and his supportive wife also extend their help to children with autism in India. He decided to do that because he came to discover that autism is a very expensive condition to manage especially for those that are not financially stable. He has been helping these children so that none of them should be deprived from basic necessities due to lack of financial support. So far it has worked well. However, he also wants to extend this help for autistic children here in Zambia although there does not seem to be as many as in India.
When asked how he ensured each dollar donated goes to the right beneficiary, Mr. Subra made mention to say, he always ensures that he visits the place of donation and observes that whatever is in that place is for the intended purpose to the recipients and when the organization is not responding to his expectations, he immediately cuts off the sponsorship. When asked to evaluate TOSF from the time he partnered with us, he really appreciates the work culture at The Other Side Foundation and Mrs. Subra commended us for being hardworking and responsible staff and for the discipline and good values we have inculcated in our learners.
It is always said that behind every successful man is a woman, Mr. Subra’s lovely wife was asked to share on how she has supported her husband in doing charity work. She said, “We have been doing this together and that is why the work has been so much easier to go about”. It was at this juncture that Mr. Subra interrupted by saying that “In fact whenever I told her that I wanted to help some people, she would not say no but she would encourage me to do more”. According to Mr. Subra, women compared to men, by nature are observers. Therefore, wherever they go to render help she will discover another need and she would bring it to his attention.
Mr. Subra expressed that there is a need to come with a lasting solution for the vulnerable especially the grade 7 and 9 school dropouts. His plan is to set up a skills center for these dropouts so that they can learn a skill.
His final words to people who would be reading this article, is “Helping others is more valuable than helping yourself or a member of your family. If you able to impact even a single person’s life, that will be the greatest achievement for a human being”. He hopes that whatever he is doing will inspire others to follow suit or even do more. He further encouraged Zambians and other foreign companies to come on board by using 2% of their profit, as a cooperate social responsibility to any charitable organization of their choice, which is now a law in India.
Since you have heard it for yourself from the “horse’s mouth” – We at The Other Side Foundation School for OVC, walk the talk, hence with full confidence do come on board and partner with us, feeling rest assured that 100% of your donation will serve the said purpose and the rightful beneficiary.
Remember, Booker. T. Washington once said, “THOSE WHO ARE HAPPIEST ARE THOSE WHO DO THE MOST FOR OTHERS”.