Express News Service
It had been a long time coming. “Since I was a kid, I have loved drawing and creating things. And I don’t know, but I really like making people happy and trying to help out. I somehow thought those two things should go together but I was not sure how,” recalls Shirin Batra.
It was last year, while back home in Delhi from college that the 19-year-old found clarity. “I still remember the date. It was July 07, and I had found out that a friend’s younger brother’s cancer had returned for the third time. I felt so bad and wanted to just help in any way that I could, and suddenly it clicked. I thought why not sell my artwork and whatever money it raised I could give towards his treatment.”
And so Heart (Instagram: @heartbyshirinbatra), Batra’s one-woman passion project was born. After managing to sell off her work within a month and contributing the entire amount (Rs 22,000) to the boy’s treatment, Batra began looking for another worthy cause. “I don’t have an agenda when it comes to choosing organisations or people to help. And I don’t set myself any limits. Like, if I cannot raise the amount I had hoped for within a month, I give myself another month. And even if the amounts I raise are not that large in the big picture, I am just glad to have helped in whatever little way I could.”
Apart from donating amounts to a couple of other cancer patients, Batra turned to her own circle to find out how she can help. “A friend’s father was in the armed forces, and I asked her if there were any worthy charities associated with the military whom I could raise money for. She suggested the Army Wives Welfare Association, which contributes towards the welfare of the next of kin of our armed forces and so I thought that would be a great cause to help towards,” she explains.
She also contributed towards a food and nutrition drive for a city orphanage as well as a reusable sanitary napkin distribution and awareness drive in a West Delhi slum, which held classes of awareness on menstrual hygiene and distributed reusable sanitary napkins to the women and girls there. “My college (Christ University, Bengaluru) has this society, Center for Social Action, whose Community Development Program I raised money for,” she says
Speaking of college, “I really hope I can go back there soon. We have been having online classes and all, but I miss my friends and the whole college experience.” While the BBA student still is not sure about what career she’s going to follow just yet (“Human Resources is on my shortlist because I love working with people”), one thing remains certain. “Whatever career I pick, I will always do Heart on the side for the rest of my life,” she signs off.