In a world where income inequality is rampant, the act of charity holds a special significance for alleviation of social evils.
It’s a challenge for most charitable institutions to spread awareness and uproot social misery by constantly engaging the mass through newer, quirkier and more innovative ways.
One such organization has been successful in aiding several social causes across the country through a clever combination of celebrities, fan-bases and a common man’s dreams.
Fankind was born out of a humble observation of the immense love and admiration people have for celebrities and influencers across all categories. Founded by Anshula Kapoor, the platform “brings fans, celebrities, and charities together.”
This idea was brought to life in the summer of 2019 with a 'simple and heartfelt impulse – to put a smile on the faces of fans that shower unconditional love on the celebrities they care about.' They successfully achieved this on the basis of three pointers — ‘First, pick an experience with a celebrity, then donate for a chance to win the experience and finally while that one lucky fan enjoys the dream experience, all the proceeds go to charity.'
A campaign promoting an activity with a celebrity is made live on the Fankind website for a period of 30-45 days. Once it is live, anyone residing in India, who wishes to meet the celebrity can choose to participate with a fee of Rs 200. For every Rs. 200 donated, the participant’s name is entered into the campaign one time following a random chance of being picked up as the winner. However, participants can choose to purchase multiple entries, to increase their chance of winning.
It all started with the launch of the first campaign with Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan on August 5, whose coming on-board brought about a change in the way India perceives fandom and gave this movement the momentum it needs to flourish.
Varun made the situation feel so comfortable with his winner from Hyderabad, Amitesh Kulkarni, that he found himself thinking, “It feels like I am playing paintball with my college friend, doesn’t feel like its Varun Dhawan whom I have idealised for so long.”
Other than providing such a life-long memory, Varun’s campaign also raised a fund of nearly 9 lacs, which was transferred to Manavlok. It is an organization which works towards the betterment of marginal farmers, landless laborers and women. The foundation has been helping to improve the lives of over 30,000 families in more than 150 villages across several districts.
“Every celebrity, believe it or not has a cause that they have been supporting it for years. Some of them from the time before they even became celebrities,” says Anshula.
The foundation shares a strategic tie-up with GiveIndia, a philanthropy platform that assists them in curating the NGOs matching the causes of the stars for which they want to work for.
All stars have their causes to fight for, while Varun’s is ManavLok, Alia’s is World for All (WFA), a charity that helps street animals with shelter, medical care, and strives to find them a permanent home.
Sonakshi Sinha’s campaign is committed to raise funding for the ‘Little Hearts Program’ a subset of ‘Being Human’, a fund raising platform founded by her Dabaang co-star Salman Khan. Under the program, free treatment is provided to underprivileged children with congenital heart diseases.
Similar follows for YouTuber Prajakta Kohli (aka Mostly Sane), whose donation is aimed at The Banyan, a Chennai based NGO, which provides medical, psychiatric and psychological care to homeless and destitute people.
“So the cause is something that they give me even if they don’t give me an NGO. So in Karan Johar’s case he wanted to help an NGO that works across the country on education of children. So, when GiveIndia gave us a list of NGOs that have been 3 decades and work across within the educational sector of India, Karan chose his charity. Sometimes it comes from them, sometimes it comes from us, but it’s always about a cause they are very very passionate about,” added Anshula.
For Ananya Pandey, daughter of Bollywood veteran Chunkey Pandey, she already knew that she wanted to help Hotel Foundation and do something for the acid attack survivors. Ananya’s mother has been a great supporter of the cause and she too wanted to extend her aid for a long time.
“Karan and Ananya, both are helping two causes which are close to my heart as well,” she added.
According to her, in the northern parts of a country, where acid is sold for as little Rs 20- Rs 30, there happens to be no law that penalizes one for throwing acids. The only ways an acid attack survivor can reclaim their life and restore their body is by “something called skin donation.”
Hence, what these celebrities are doing with their campaigns not only help children, acid attack survivors, farmers etc seize their rights and privileges in the society but also try to mitigate all other factors that are creating hindrances at the first place.
In the short while it has been in existence, Fankind has successfully made its mark upon the Indian populace. The huge response bestowed upon them by the fans have not been in vain, as they have been promoting charity work across several social evils.
As Anshula says, “All these small things, which we take for granted, are so deeply-rooted in our country. I am so glad that this is giving me an opportunity to understand them and do my part to alleviate them.”