As a child I used to see my mother help people in whatever way possible. Be it by feeding them or donating, even though we, ourselves, had limited means. She always looked after the staff’s needs and health, sometimes more than ours. She never did anything for publicity and that is what I have grown up with.
An MBA by profession, Archana Gaggar still gets the biggest satisfaction by bringing a smile to another person’s face and that’s one of her biggest learnings from her late mother. Till recently, she was working along with her brother in his business and handling the entire North India market. But after her second child, Archana decided to take a break and take care of her two kids. For Archana, profession has taken a break, but not passion… helping others is an ongoing passion for her and she ensures to take time out despite being a full-time hands-on mother and an upcoming Vegan Home Chef. Her younger child is lactose-intolerant and thus has special dietary requirements.
In fact, when she got married, Archana had carried her passion into her marriage and was overwhelmed when she and her husband, Gaurav, got an opportunity to join Round Table India/Ladies Circle India (RT/LC INDIA) Currently, she is North India Head of Ladies Circle India.
Profession is something you work for to earn a living and is based on what you are good at, what are the available opportunities and whether you are qualified to undertake them. Passion is like your life goal, something you really enjoy pursuing irrespective of results. It is the desire to make a difference. When we can combine profession with passion, the results are astounding.
RT/LC INDIA is a non-profit organisation founded with the primary motto of “Freedom through Education”. Till date, RT/LC INDIA has helped educate more than 7 million children across India by raising money for building new schools or improving facilities within existing schools such as toilets, libraries or simply the roof over a classroom.
The fact that her husband and his side of family also believe in helping people, so both, Gaurav and her, look at this association with RT/LC INDIA as their small contribution towards education for the underprivileged. And that’s not all, Archana and her family were quite active during lockdown as well. They fed 1000s of people in the pandemic, donated masks, and sanitizers to policemen, supplied medicines to elderly and cancer patients, fed animals. For all this, they worked tirelessly – raising awareness and raising money. They also got lot of support from family, friends as well as neighbours and noble people around for the societal cause.
We have had an amazing response to all our projects. Be it the food drive for migrant families during the pandemic or for distributing masks and sanitizers for the frontline Delhi police people. People have been generous and contributed with open hearts. But I must say, there is so much we can do for the world as there are so many people around who can do with a little help. It is never enough and there is always scope for more.
The pandemic has been an eye opener for Archana. On one hand, while there have been people who were not financially strong but still always ready to help and just a phone call away, there have also been people who are well-off themselves but refused to pay even their own employees citing that there was no work or no earnings. She still remembers how a policeman from Ghaziabad organised the ration to be picked up and went personally to distribute it to a group of over 200 migrant labourers without food when the pandemic lockdown started. They didn’t know the policeman from earlier on but still he helped.
Being the North India of Head of LC INDIA, Archana was able to organize these donation drives with the help of her family and other well-wishers. The group tries and support the people in need in whatever way possible. Currently, they trying to raise money through a movement called Poker for a Cause (pokerhigh), whereby people play poker and part of their winnings get donated to a charity of their choice.
Archana’s tryst with social work never stops. Just the priorities change as per the requirement of people and time, but one cause that is very close to her heart is helping underprivileged children afflicted with cancer
After losing her mother to the dreaded disease, Archana realised what family members have to go through when their dear one gets cancer. And this situation gets even more dire when the family cannot afford the treatment.
Cankids is one organization which is making a significant contribution towards this cause. They help underprivileged cancer afflicted children stay with them, give them nourishment and medicines and look after them. Archana really likes working with them. Whenever possible, she and her family organize food drive and feed people outside AIIMS and Safdurjung Hospital.
I also work with “Hair for Hope”, whereby healthy people can donate hair for cancer patients. My daughter Ayaana donated her hair when she was 9 years old. I was very touched by her gesture and felt proud of my upbringing.
Archana was touched most by the fact that her daughter did this on her own despite being very fond of her hair. This happened di to the general conversations at home. Nothing was ever said to her. This made her realise that there is a need to increase awareness and talk about such issues.
I don’t have any hesitation in asking anyone for donation for a worthy cause and the only way to be able to do so is to raise awareness to publicize the need and cause.
A lot of people want to contribute but don’t how to, where to and doubt the trustworthiness of such initiatives and if their help will reach the ultimate beneficiaries. It is about time when transparency and truth should be brought to fore about the need and contribution required so more and more people can participate and contribute. It is never enough.