PT: Tell us about ‘XYZ Stepping Forward’.
HG: XYZ is organising a Shoe Collection and Donation Drive across Mumbai with the aim of providing footwear to those who need shoes but are unable to afford it. Stats show that 1.5 billion people worldwide are affected by diseases that could be prevented by wearing proper shoes and over 35 million pairs of shoes land up in landfills every year. Innumerable people in Mumbai don’t have a pair of shoes to wear. Mostly all of us have at a couple of extra pairs which just lie around unused, at home. Donating shoes can greatly help someone else walk comfortably. In 2011, I was a delegate at the Zoroastrian Youth Congress in Vancouver and we had discussed this concept then but it didn’t take off, but now XYZ is going to make it happen. We want our children to realise that we have been given plenty by our parents and it is our turn to give back!
PT: When is the collection drive?
HG: This collection drive will be held on Sunday, 2nd October 2016 from 9:30am to 12:30pm. Being Gandhi Jayanti as well, this is our tribute to the Mahatma, who said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
PT: What can people donate?
HG: Shoes, sandals, slippers and all footwear, preferably in wearable condition. Even if torn shoes are donated, we will have them mended and then donate them. We will also be recycling shoes and turning them into slippers by using the sole of the shoes. Alternatively, those who may not have an old pair of shoes to give, can donate Rs. 200/- for a new pair of sports shoes for children (receipts will be provided)
PT: Where will the collection happen?
HG: We are in the process of finalising permissions from various committees and associations where our XYZ groups conduct meetings. We request all associations to help out by providing space for that day or just with collection of shoes. Specifics will be shared with our Media Partners, Parsi Times.
PT: Who will benefit from this?
HG: XYZ has tied up with numerous organisations and NGOs where these shoes will be donated. XYZ groups will be visiting various orphanages, old age homes, municipal schools etc. and donating the footwear to them. Organisations like Hamaara Footpath, Angel Xpress Foundation and Oscar Foundation have also given us their requirements for shoes for the street children and their family members. We have also tied up with ‘Greensole’, an organisation that collects shoes, recycles them and makes slippers for children who live in the interior villages of Maharashtra and Latur.
PT: How can the rest of us help?
HG: Though this is an XYZ initiative, we invite everyone to participate in the cause. The Senior Citizens group at Dadar has already pledged to help the cause by donating as many shoes as they can through their members. An XYZ parent has graciously lent godown space absolutely free for storage before we disburse them. We would be happy if people help with sponsoring the tempos to transport the shoes from all over the city. Scout groups could help with the collection drive and organisations can help with having drop off boxes for the shoes. People can come on Sunday and help with sorting the shoes or even help the kids transport them from each building. People can also donate towards XYZ and receive 50% Tax Exemption as the Income Tax Department has issued XYZ Foundation with the 80-G Certificate.