Monday, August 9, 2010

Anniversary Present

Every year, for our parents' wedding anniversary, my brother and I rack our brains trying to come up with an idea for something nice to surprise them with, and almost every year we end up sending them flowers from one website or another - flower arrangements that look nothing like the picture online. Having done this year after year, my brother came up with a new idea this year. Rather than squander money on roses or jewelery (I know, no self-respecting South-Indian woman speaks of jewelery so condescendingly), we decided to donate to charity in our parents' name this year.

Since we're from India and supporting a cause in India is closer to our hearts, we picked the following charities to donate to:
*Sankara Netralaya - A philanthropic eye hospital in Chennai, India that performs thousands of eye surgeries, free of cost every year, for those who cannot afford it. We donated to have a free cataract operation performed the date of our parents' anniversary. What could be a better present than to prevent blindness?
*Akshaya Patra - An NGO in Karnataka, India, that provides free, nutritious mid-day meals for over a million schoolchildren in India so that they don't drop out of school because of hunger.
*Sphoorti - An NGO in Hyderabad, India that helps support basic needs such as education and healthcare for poor, orphaned children.

Our parents greatly approve of our choice of 'anniversary presents' this year. What better feeling than to help a fellow human being, knowing that you could make a difference with even as little as it takes to send flowers or a box of Swiss chocolates? If anyone reading this post is looking for ideas for a good present, well here's one, that's not only a great value for the money, but good for your soul too.


  1. Wow.. that is a nice idea... may be I will steal it for my parent's anniversary :).

  2. There's no doubt that the happiness you can facilitate for others with that money is many X more than what you could buy for yourself or your loved ones :-)

  3. @Tanu: Glad you liked the idea.
    @Anonymous : Agreed. Presents bring only momentary joy, anyway. A good deed lasts much longer.

  4. Also, for general information, someone just asked me how to donate to Sankara Netralaya. Here the details:
    The actual trust that oversees the donations is Opthalmic Mission Trust .
    On the top right is a yellow button that says 'Donate Now'. It takes you to . I donated using my credit card. I believe there are other options too, such as sending a cheque, but I found the credit card option most convenient.

  5. Asha for Education is another NPO that really does a good job. It tries to keep its operational costs as low as possible so as to make the best use of donation amounts.

  6. @Manjusha - Yes, Asha for Education is an excellent organization too. Composed of volunteers and little to no administrative overhead. They currently have the 'Donate an Hour' initiative going on. One can donate here -