I started my career in the field of journalism and then I took on to academics and finished my Ph.D. in International Politics from JNU. I’ve written a couple of books, used to travel the world attending conferences and basically did what I enjoyed doing. But I felt that little streak of satisfaction missing in my endeavor, which you get while doing something for others. The seed for social work was planted in early childhood when I used to visit schools for the visually impaired with my family during my birthday.
During one such visit, a child asked me a question regarding his birthday, and for some reason, the feelings exchanged during that conversation stuck with me for many years. We realized that we as privileged individuals take our birthdays for granted. Years later, in 2014 when I went back to the same school, the children wanted to play Holi. I pooled in some money with a few of my colleagues and arranged a holiday party for the children. The happiness that I experienced then was life-altering, and that was my first tryst with social work, and since then I have continued down this path
An ambiguous mix of excitement and nervousness is what I recall being the overwhelming sentiment when I first established Wishes and Blessings in April 2014. A decision taken completely from my heart at the cost of leaving a successful career and raised eyebrows from loved ones; this step was the foundation towards making a childhood dream come true. Wishes and Blessings is based on a very simple philosophy. Many of us have some unfulfilled wishes in our life, and some of us are more blessed in terms of helping others fulfill their wishes and what we get in return are blessings; hence the name Wishes & Blessings. The world is divided into people who need help and people who can help. This help could be of any kind – medical assistance, financial aid, nutritional support, rehabilitation, etc. but in times of emergencies, these people may not really know where to go or whom to approach for assistance. Many times, because of this lack of knowledge on their part and lack of exposure to resources, they may suffer even greater losses. On the other end of the spectrum there are people competent and blessed enough to help others, and often these people do not know how to connect with those who genuinely need assistance. They may also be a bit averse because they aren’t sure if the money is going to the right hands. So, this is where Wishes & Blessings as a platform connects the help seekers with the help givers. We are a forum to oversee the connection between the donors and beneficiaries and makes sure that this connection is sustainable.
Most NGOs focus only on a couple of focal areas – education or health and sanitation or environment, etc. Wishes & Blessings, on the other hand does not restrict itself to any single cause or beneficiary type. Anybody who needs help and who can help is a member of the Wishes & Blessings family. We have never said no to anybody who has come to us for any aid and to people who want to help others. We also keep on designing new projects and customize bespoke projects depending on the wishes of both the beneficiaries and the donors. Going by this mode, we currently work on 9 causes – education, vocational training, health and hygiene, food program, a unique infrastructural program called Build A Dream, customization of bespoke projects and finally we have a very interesting cause that we work on called happiness. A lot of people say that it cannot be a cause, it can be an end, but for us, happiness is something that we work for. Our flagship project is called Birthday Manao, which is a monthly celebration with visually impaired children. Apart from this we have the Daily Meal Initiative, sponsor a childhood program, Journey to a New Class, etc.
Recently, we have launched our first old age home for women, Mann ka Tilak, which we want to make into a home away from home and not an ashram. We aim to give people who come there a life full of dignity and respect. We plan to accommodate 15 people right now, gain experience in this area and then expand to a chain of homes pan-India.
Dr. Geetanjali Chopra | Founder Wishes and Blessings