Internet and social media have empowered millions across the globe. The virtual freedom and access to information and resources within seconds is a powerful combination in the hands of the common man. He can start movements that shake governments or altogether bring about a change in the world. “Our World Our Initiative” is one such movement, started by a Kolkata student on Facebook in the belief that she can help the homeless.
Little did Sufia Khatoon know, that evening, as she was coming out of Haldirams that her life would find meaning soon. Having completed her college assignment, she was waiting for her bus when her eyes fell upon an old woman sitting on the pavement. At first, Sufia mistook her to be a beggar but on closer examination, she saw the old woman was actually selling fries. Disturbed with this, Sufia approached the old woman to know about her story.
After a chat and a snap, Sufia returned home to share the story with her friends on Facebook. Within a day, there was a huge response with everybody wanting to help that old woman, who is 83 year old Shila Ghosh making a living by selling homemade fries. Thus sprang the idea of ‘Our World Our Initiative’ to Sufia. She along with her friends bought all of Shila Mashi’s fries as the first assignment!
“God says you take one step to do good work, thousands will join you, all you have to do is call and do the right thing. So I kept going because I had actually brought out the good in people again”,said Sufia, when asked about what motivated her to start this campaign.
Sufia’s choice of Facebook arises not only from a solid awareness of its potential but also from her own experience. Earlier, Sufia had posted about her paper quilling works and sketches, in the hope to gain recognition. However, it did not work so much. She has also seen a similar response with others who tried to launch their business or products or showcased their talents online. But when she started a social cause, the story spread far and wide with Facebook acting as the perfect medium of communication with the youth.
“I feel Facebook did help me in spreading the story to the people. Social networking sites, if used properly, can access huge response and sometimes great change in my case”.
Now her Social Page, Our World Our Initiative is on Facebook, so those who want to help can easily have access to her and become a part of the cause. Many NGO’s had shown the desire to help her in improving the cause. In fact they asked her to collaborate with them, so keeping in mind the people and their background, Sufia approaches NGO’s with the motive to help more people like Shila Mashi.
Sufia hasn’t stopped at that. She is now trying to help those artists who do not get to showcase their art to the world because they live in poverty-stricken areas. “I want to gather as many artists as I can and hold an exhibition for them. I would request the readers if you know anyone who is excellent but lacks a source so do contact me on this Facebook page or you can contact me in Our World Our Initiative also”.
For someone as young as Sufia and having initiated a social change, what would be her advice to other youngsters active on Facebook? Well, Sufia advises the active Facebook generation or any other social networking site to use their time to do what they want. Time is very precious. Most of us have a habit of sitting on the net for hours doing nothing but commenting on friends’ profiles.
“We have been blessed with an age where one connect with anyone on the globe in seconds with the help of technology and internet. Do what your heart tells you. I am not saying that you should help people blindly but help responsibly because I would not want undeserving people cheating on you. See if they are for real and then go ahead”.
Those who want to join her group or even report about needy people like Shila Mashi, can contact her in Our World Our Initiative page.
“So many people those who joined the movement had shared with me instances that they had helped people in need after getting inspired by me. The best part was that I had been able to motivate people and earned their respect and love in the end”.