For Sreepriya S, carrying a pail around her university, asking her college mates for donations to help the needy is not a cause for shame. This final-year BA Sanskrit Vedanta student at Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit at Kalady managed to collect a sum of `25,000 that provided solace to an old woman, her mentally ill daughter and two children living in a rented house.
“Many people appreciate social work, but not all like to do it themselves. I encountered heavy criticism from all quarters when I set out on this endeavour, as I am a girl. If I get proper education, good food and livelihood, I want it to reach others who are deprived of it too. I am obliged to society and want to give it something, as long as I am able to do it,” says Sreepriya. She says her interest in social work began in her school days; it was simply what she loved to do. She celebrates her birthday and festivals with children in orphanages, sharing some happy moments with them.
Sreepriya has been able to convince a relative of hers to sponsor a school child. Six months ago, she joined her friend’s charitable organisation where she is involved in a number of activities. Food distribution to old age homes, and sponsoring 10 mentally-challenged children are some of them. She is also into part-time counselling for school children, and chooses socially relevant topics and takes awareness classes for them. She also got an opportunity to meet noted social activist Daya Bai (originally Mercy Mathew), who lives in a village in Madhya Pradesh and is known for her work for the uplift of tribals. She says that meeting inspired her a lot. Sreepriya is also part of a fundraising activity for treatment of a cancer patient. Of late, Sreepriya and her team have been collecting money and offering financial aid to 10 poor families with `5000 each per month. After completing her degree, she wishes to pursue Master of Social Work and continue her work at a professional level.