The Gamadia Boys Hostel is a students’ hostel for Parsi Boys, located in Gamadia Colony, Tardeo area in Mumbai, which is owned, operated and managed by the Bombay Parsi Panchayat. Over the last few years, several ex-residents of the hostel had come forward to contribute towards its refurbishing – including the painting and renovation work of the hostel, in addition to the generous donations of Jal Sethna, Merzee Kerawala and Kersi Randeria. The total funds of approximately 70 lakhs were earlier employed in the repair and strengthening of the building structure, as also the renovation of the three floors of the hostel.
However, the earlier renovation drive was unable to complete work on the third floor of the hostel, due to shortage of funds. Seeing the state of the third floor of the hostel that was underfunded and unsupported for several years, thirty-eight of the Old Gamadia Boys Hostel Alumnus – who resided in the hostel between 1987 to 1994 and are now settled in different parts of the world, ranging from Australia, Canada, USA, Dubai and India – came forward to create the ‘Give Back to Gamadia Boys Hostel’ initiative.
This fund collection drive was ably led by Zubin Jall (ex-resident, 1988 to 1994), currently Executive Director for World Trade Center; and administered by entrepreneur Filly Bapuna (ex-resident), presently heading ‘Filboy’ and other social initiatives including the ‘Clean Up Udvada Village’ project.
In addition to painting and renovating the resident third floor rooms and the spacious hostel dormitory, two washing machines were also donated to the hostel for the convenience of student residents. The funds were also used to paint fans, replace window accessories and repair and paint furniture in the dining area.
An anonymous donor living abroad informed the fund-raising team that what drives him forward to make enough income every year is to be able to set a portion of it aside and simply give back some of what he has been fortunate enough to receive. What a noble thought indeed!
Speaking with Parsi Times, Filly Bapuna shares, “It has been a joy to speak with so many donors who came forward, each with their own story of how to give back, which has not only touched the hearts of all the existing students who are the beneficiaries of this initiative, but also all the people who actively come in contact with the existing residents of the hostel. Clearly, the message is loud and clear for the entire Parsi community: Be the change you want to see!”