Wednesday, September 28, 2016

FTS SUCCESS! (Held on September 25th, 2016)

This experience has been greater than I imagined in my head. Though I was very passionate about this fundraiser/event, the passion I felt during the actual preparation was above what I thought. The 6 days (5 days of raising funds and the last day of actually feeding the dogs) has been something I would like to treasure for ever. And though it is mostly a sense of love and the strong willingness to "give" is what I have felt, there were moments that got me annoyed, a bit sad, and "neutral" if that is even a real feeling/state of mind that a person can have.

The raising funds process:
Overall though the process was monotonous - going to each door and repeating almost the same sentences - it was fun. The process tested my communication skills, persuasion skills, and even helped me learn to be more patient and tolerable with people who have different opinions than mine. Mostly people were either really verbally supportive or just said "Alright, I'll get the money, hold on one second." but a few (5 to be exact. Yes, I counted) were pretty ignorant to say the least. I got a few weird expressions and remarks like "why do you even want to do this?". I even spent a few minutes explaining the purpose and debunking 'myths' people believed in but I eventually realized I cannot change the way everyone thinks and had to move on to the next door. However, let's not make the few bad incidents the highlight of this whole event. People who praised me and supported the cause were the ones that made my day and I am so thankful to everyone who donated money. The important thing is that I was able to carry out this smoothly and I can proudly say that a lot of people in this world are willing to help and make a difference. Even if the difference is a small one. In total we raised Rs. 8000 which may not seem like a lot but the event was very small-scale and the fund raising took place only in the building complex i live in (and a couple of my school-mates as well). What I decide to give importance to is the outcome of and not the numerical value of the funds raised. 
The forms showing all the people who helped raise more than 8000 rupees. (Last names, numbers and signatures are pix-elated to keep identities private)

We worked from 11 am to 8 pm and I'd really like to thank Amisha for helping me the entire day! You can go visit Amisha's blog at:
We prepared the food (from 11 am till the afternoon): We cut the fruits and vegetables; picked up 150 flat Indian breads from the place i had ordered it from; bought a few things in the morning; cut hard boiled eggs; baked, peeled and mashed potatoes; prepared the meals in zip-lock bags, etc.
My volunteers and I preparing food for our furry friends!

The preparation part took longer than we expected (as it was only two of us in the morning) and we ended up starting the 'drive' at around 3:30 pm. We prepared the first batch to satisfy 50 stray dogs and went back and prepared another batch to feed 50-70 more.

The "feeding drive":
In total we covered approximately 2 - 4 km2 area. We took a little break in between and then continued to walk and stopped to feed stray dogs as and when we saw them.
An approximation of the area we covered. Most area names are pix-elated for security reasons.

A few people suggested that we should also feed the homeless children and I said 'why not?'. So we did. Thanks to my 4 extremely helpful volunteers, we fed 115+ dogs and over 50+ children as well! A change of plan in the fundraiser which made a difference to even more beings!
The poor stray dogs were so hungry they'd finish half of the food before my volunteer, Amisha, could even take a snap!
It was a long day but it was very rewarding to do this whole event. Along with helping stray dogs, our two younger volunteers also benefited by learning how to act in front of aggressive stray dogs (i.e. importance of dominance and ways to prevent being bitten by an aggressive or frightened dog).

Images of most of the dogs we fed on the streets. Unfortunately some of the image files got corrupted but we have most of the pictures up here :)

As I mentioned above, we fed at least 50+ homeless and poverty-stricken kids. We gave them fruits, vegetables, boiled eggs, Indian flat bread, etc.

The whole day got me really exhausted but I can genuinely say that every second was worth it. I really appreciate everyone's role in this event - whether it was donating funds or helping carry heavy bags filled with food or even just mashing potatoes. I am so glad I could come up with this project that helped me put my passion and love for animals to provide a really positive outcome. If time had permitted, and if I didn't have such a busy schedule, I would've definitely done this on a larger scale. I am looking forward to do such events in the future as well. :)
Niharika Shinde.

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