BENGALURU: Arti Rajan, who works as a community engagement associate at Milaap, started a campaign to raise Rs 10,000 to help a senior citizen turn his life around.
She didn’t expect the response to come at a lightning speed. In three days, she raised Rs 1,000 more than her target.
Seventy-year-old Radhakrishnan sells cigarettes and candies on a footpath near her office. “We go to a coffee shop regularly there,” says Arti. “And we stopped by at his corner to buy a smoke.”
Here she and her friends struck up a conversation with him and realised that he had little to support him. His worldly belongings were mostly the box and around which his wares were scattered, and a broken umbrella to shelter from the rains.
But the umbrella leaks and he told them that he was worried how he would run the business during the monsoon.
“Radhakrishnan has no family, no home and no shop,” reads Arti’s campaign page. He makes Rs 30 to Rs 40 a day, according to her estimate, after restocking for next day’s sales.
With what he earns, he can afford two meals a day. He stays, sleeps, at a temple nearby.
Arti appealed for help to set up a small tuck shop. In a few days, the campaign was closed. “All seven contributors are strangers,” she says.
“He had said he wants Rs 5,000 to set up the shop but we added another Rs 5,000 in our appeal to help him stock up for it,” she says. With the money, now she plans to approach the corporator for permission.
“It would also help if the corporator could tell us how to set up a shop for him,” says Arti. “He can’t move from this place because the temple he sleeps at is nearby.”
BBMP corporator K N Lakshmi Nataraj starts off saying the corporation cannot give him permission.
“We don’t have space for things like that,” she says. On giving it a few more seconds, the corporator says, “We need to see the person and see where he is located, before we can decide.”