CHENNAI: The annual week- long celebration of giving, Daan Utsav, will be bigger and better this year when it kicks off on October 1, with the organisers bringing in newer activities and eyeing larger targets.
Entering its seventh edition, Daan Utsav, earlier called the Joy of Giving week, will see the participation of over 2 million people from 100-plus cities in a series of events, fundraisers and activities across the country.
In Chennai, the week will see its customary start with the Battle of the Buffet, the brainchild of Oriental Cuisines Managing Director and founder of the Chennai Mission M Mahadevan.
“We will be bigger this year. The BoB works on getting NGOs the complete proceeds from this fundraiser. In 2009, when we started, we raised Rs 80 lakh. Last year, the figure went up to more than Rs 2 crore. We are aiming to cross the Rs 4-crore mark this year,” he said. The event will see several hotels vying to provide the perfect buffet, and also boast of a light music show by singer Hariharan.
“We have 52 NGOs participating this year and have received 39 project proposals. The coupons for the event, which the NGOs will sell and the proceeds of which will go to them, will be at Rs 7500,” he added. This year also has two paintings by artist Thota Tharani, which will be up for auction, said Mahadevan.
The BoB is only the kick off of the week and the next seven days will see many activities from several other participants. Some of the initiatives will see donations of shoes and sporting equipment going to the districts.
Uniquely, this year will also see the Down Syndrome Federation of India (DSFI) reaching out to underprivileged children to see what they can give to others. “We would also like children with special needs to appreciate and give back to those who care for them,” said Rekha Ramachandran, president of DSFI. The sports equipment will be sourced through O2 centres where individuals can donate shoes and other sports wear. Other activities include a newspaper donation drive through Paperman, a social enterprise that facilitates collection of waste paper through its network of waste paper marts. “All you need to do is give us your old newspapers. We’ll come and pick it up and the proceeds of the paper will go directly to a cause or an NGO,” said Mathew Jose, Paperman’s founder.
AIM for Seva will conduct two seperate events — Seva Mela and Seva Holiday — in 108 locations in 15 States. Under Seva Mela, rural and tribal children will come up with ideas to improve their surroundings, conduct awareness programmes on the ills of alcoholism, etc., while under Seva Holiday, urban families will be able to spend a few days in one of the rural and tribal schools. Bharat Matrimony, which is a new entrant among the participants this year, will open 190 retail branches across the country as collection centres for a Toy/Book drive, according to its founder and CEO Murugavel Janakiraman.