Mulund-based eye surgeon Dr Vinod Goyal always believed that “enthusiasm of the young, coupled with the experience of elders, makes for the perfect combination.” It was during one of his chats with his nephew Ashish Goyal, 24-year-old software professional, that the doctor sensed an opportunity to put his belief into practice.
In his capacity as a medical professional, Vinod Goyal has been running a free OPD for poor patients every Saturday at his clinic for the past 13 years. Also, he has been organising free eye camps and awareness camps in civic body-run schools at Bhandup, Mulund, Thane, Powai and Navi Mumbai.
“My nephew said he too wanted to contribute towards the society in some way. So I told him to put his expertise as a software professional to good use, just the way I was putting my medical knowledge to use,” said Goyal, who offered young Ashish complete support if the latter managed to collect some like-minded youngsters and start a charity foundation.
And that’s how Umang Foundation was born. Two years on, the team at Umang Foundation now comprises about 220-odd professionals from various sectors like IT, management and finance. The young volunteers have already organised 141 activities for social welfare. Most volunteers have weekends off and so that is when the activities are conducted.
“Umang aims at doing one activity for the society every week. Be it spending time at a home for the aged or teaching street children or donating blood,” said Ashish Goyal, who has worked with an investment bank for three years. With almost 50% of the volunteers being IT professionals, not surprisingly, internet is the preferred tool of communication for Umang’s network.
“We communicate with each other through e-mails all through the week and decide on one particular event every weekend,” said Sweta Singh, 24, a software professional with Hexaware Technologies Ltd. Singh, a Bhandup-resident, who wanted to do her bit for the society, simply ‘googled’ for ‘NGOs in Mumbai’, and chanced upon Umang’s contacts in July 2009. “I liked the concept and enjoyed the very first activity. We went to three schools in Dombivili and distributed stationary to students,” she said.
“Umang is open to anyone who wants to join, provided he/she is willing to do something good for the society,” said Ashish Goyal, who with his uncle is one of the founder members of Umang. “We have visited urban slums and tribal villages. Since January this year, we have organised blood donation camps, medical camps in slums, clothes distribution drives in Bhivpuri and Kadav villages in Karjat, and also a Mumbai darshan trip for cancer patients,” he said.
Over the next few weekends, Umang plans to organise more blood donation camps and are looking for sponsors to educate gifted poor children. For more information about Umang Foundation and its activities, visit www.umangfoundation.org or write into firstname.lastname@example.org.