It is often misinterpreted that a person should only establish a venture which blooms monetary benefits as its petals. But we forget that the greatest deal one can afford is to help others, if one has the heart to help someone; no position in the corporate can equate with the satisfaction at heart as when you are helping others you definitely are helping yourself too. This time we bring to you the story of a foundation that laid its base on extending its hand for help to ‘host the new India’; Vrikshit Foundation.
Vrikshit Foundation is a non-governmental organization that was started by Mr. Shankar Singh in May 2019. Vrikshit Foundation is India’s fastest growing foundation, empowered by students working for the healthier emergence of a new India. Mr. Singh started the foundation in May 2019. A friend of Mr. Singh showed him a post on Instagram which showcased a Mumbaikar cleaning Versova Beach in Mumbai. This certain act gave Mr. Singh a deep thought that if Mumbaikars can work for the betterment of their surroundings, why can’t Delhiites work for the transformation of Yamuna river, the holy river which has been surfaced with grime for a long time now. They started working to clean the river and since it was this drive that initiated their process, it was first named ‘Clean Yamuna Initiative’. Yamuna river is as sacred as the Ganges, but it is also one of the most polluted rivers in the country. Cleaning Yamuna gave Mr. Singh the thought that cleaning the heart of India should mean that they should proceed towards the rectification and enhancement of the nation as a whole as well. This gave birth to the divine name of the foundation Vrikshit, which is a Sanskrit term meaning a better environment.
Initially, even before starting with Vrikshit in May 2019, Mr. Singh had approached M.C.D. and the government to seek support for the same. But all to avail, as they never said a ‘no’ but neither did they take a step ahead. Mr. Singh expressed his thoughts with his childhood friend who above all assured that his friends are there with him when he starts something to tackle the issue. Thus, Vrikshit Foundation came into the picture because of the negligence of the government.
At present, there are over 1500 volunteers working for Vrikshit across the nation and around 650 volunteers in Delhi alone! Vrikshit Foundation function in various cities like Chhindwara (M.P.), Ajmer, Jaipur, Bhilwara, Bikaner, Patna, Aurangabad (Bihar), Gurgaon, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi which is further managed by 15 teams. The foundation was definitely initiated due to the negligence of the government but later on, support was showered upon Vrikshit Foundation by the government too as it is truly said that life is a boomerang, what you give you get. The team works for cleaning rivers, beaches, ‘Education For All’ in Kerala along with the government, wall painting in government schools, feeding animals (6.5 lakh animals have been fed till date), sex education, and population control awareness in a government school, good touch and bad touch. All this work was noticed by the government and honorable Chief Minister of Delhi Mr. Arvind Kejriwal himself expressed a token of appreciation for the work done by Vrikshit Foundation in his direct message on Instagram to their account. Gradually, MLAs, MPs, and the government in total started motivating them and supporting their work.
Mr. Singh says that it’s just a matter of realizing our responsibility towards the society we live in as the day we decide to take our command to clean our surroundings, India will become a clean and better nation and won’t be needing any campaign or foundation to achieve that milestone. Whenever they used to conduct cleanliness drive, people often used to ask, “why do you clean it, it will get spoilt again”. To which the only question Mr. Singh used to ask was, “have you ever tried to clean it yourself?”. The citizens of India need to realize that it will be their own home for which they will be working. Seeing them work many at times residents used to join in to work with them too; seeing them work for someone else without any profit.
There was a time when the foundation was conducting a cleanliness drive in Shakarpur, Rohini, CA Block Shalimar Bagh, Delhi. At that time, there were only 15-20 volunteers to work and it would have taken 3-4 months to clean that area; that was the intensity of materialistic chaos in that area. But when the residents saw a third person cleaning their area for their betterment, they decided to help. The group which started with merely 15 members was now a team of 60-70 members. Such is the power of oneness and belongingness; it can bring everyone together. The team always collects a minimum token amount like Re. 1/-, purchases chocolates from the token amount collected, and distributes it amongst the children of that now clean locality. It is the concept which Vrikshit Foundation follows every time, ‘their love is distributed amongst them only, again’.
The journey of a hero is never as beautiful if it isn’t with scars. When the team used to clean lakes (e.g. Haiderpur Canal, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi), every second day it used to get dirty again, and again they had to clean it from the beginning. It used to be a bit discouraging as they used to travel hours and put in all their effort to clean the place and the people there used to consider it as a natural habit and pull back the entire place back to square one. Even start-ups used to approach them for help in monetary terms, but all they ever wanted was just support. Nobody desired to make money but rather wished to just contribute. They have their one policy which makes it clear that they won’t accept big monetary donations but rather volunteers, tools, gloves, and support. The start was an abrupt one as there wasn’t optimum awareness and social media presence. But as every night is followed by a bright sunny day, they were supported by some celebrities and the government! The team also participated in the ‘Champion Challenge’ organized by YouTuber Mr. Dhruv Rathee and won Rs. 1 lakh for the same.
Their current goal is to plant 10,000 trees and so far, they have covered 8k plus. The government has supported their tree plantation campaign financially as well as not even a single penny has been spent by any volunteer in this plantation campaign. They had cleaned Azheekal beach in Kerala and the communist government there recognized their work for the state and appreciated it. All these volunteers are either college-going students or working professionals who have integrated Vrikshit Foundation in their life as a lifestyle and manage to dedicate few hours daily for the foundation.
We definitely can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone. The chain of ‘someone’ is more than enough to conquer any adversity, if we are in it together. It is never too late to start somewhere. We just need to realize, that all of us can start.
A personal message from Mr. Shankar Singh, “those who want to bring a change and think where to start, start somewhere and things will gradually fall into place. Do hard work and things will turn in your favor one day”.
Find Vrikshit Foundation on the following social media platforms: