Date : 31 Oct 2021
While the Coronavirus pandemic has presented a unique challenge for everyone, it has also provided an opportunity to more deeply reflect on societal problems and ways to alleviate them. Recognizing this, the ‘CommUnity for Society’ movement, organized by Chinmaya Mission Niagara under the guidance of Shri Vivek Gupta, has worked consistently over the past 18 months to support a variety of pertinent social causes. The movement – which began in April 2020 and culminated in October 2021 – has raised both awareness and funds for a diverse range of charitable endeavors across the world.
In total, ‘CommUnity for Society’ included 10 charitable initiatives. The most recent of these were ‘The Yoga Challenge’ and ‘Elevate HERstory’. ‘The Yoga Challenge’ – a 21-week campaign (from 22 May 2021 to 15 October 2021) wherein participants committed to donating $5 a day to a cause of their choice – raised over $40,000 towards various education-focused initiatives. These included ‘Teaching With Tech,’ an effort by Chinmaya Mission Trinidad to equip its students and teachers with smart technology, and the ‘Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Fund’, a programme that provides direct support to over 40 indigenous-led charities across Canada. The ‘Elevate HERstory’ campaign – a long-term effort centered around women’s empowerment – also culminated on 15 October 2021 and raised over $40,000 for ‘Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development (CORD)’, Sidhbari, which implements several programmes designed to provide rural women with personal and financial independence.
Apart from these two initiatives, other ‘CommUnity for Society’ efforts included the ‘May Day’ initiative, which raised around $110,000 towards various COVID relief charities; the November 2020 ‘Elevate HERstory’ campaign, which raised over $33,000 for three prominent women’s shelters in Canada; the ‘100-Day Giving Challenge’, which raised over $28,000 towards a range of social justice-focused charities; and the ‘Healing with Hanuman’ campaign, which raised around $105,000 for Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, a university dedicated to cultivating civic-minded and socially conscious students by integrating Indian knowledge systems with contemporary coursework.
As of October 2021, ‘CommUnity for Society’ has contributed over $500,000 towards a wide variety of charitable causes at local and global levels. Through this endeavor, Chinmaya Mission Niagara has further cultivated an attitude of giving that will enable members to keep serving society long after the pandemic is over.
Report by Krishnapriya Thirumala