Archana Suresh – Making People Smile Through Her Initiative ‘Bring A Smile’. :)
9 November 2017
‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’, means One World Family. When we view the world as our family, we realise that there is more to life than just our biological ties and bonds. And Archana Suresh understands the meaning of life in her beautiful uniqueness.
The founder and doer of Bring a Smile, Archana Suresh began building a platform in 2012 to help the needy in any way possible. The intent was to make a difference in the community.
The inspiration to start Bring a Smile came from Archana’s late mother, Renu Merani Suresh. Archana says, “My mother sowed the seeds of this initiative in my mind. She always said, “People want to help. They just don’t know how to.”
Her mother mentioned how every household has items which are no longer in use but which could be a necessity to someone else. Archana soon realized that she could gather and collect these items from households and distribute them to the ones in need.
Archana printed pamphlets asking residents in her apartment community to donate whatever they were willing to, and to her surprise the response was tremendous. Forty households came forward and donated clothes, toys, footwear, utensils and other items of everyday use. Archana and a few like-minded friends then distributed the items to the underprivileged.
Archana mentiones, “Start somewhere, but start. You have to take that first step without overthinking. We complicate our life thinking of the ifs and buts. When in fact if we take those little steps, the big picture will take care of itself.”
Archana’s initiative has grown to the extent where more than 200 people have come forward and helped more than 6500 needy and underprivileged people. She was also invited to speak on a TED X platform.
She extensively leverages social media and believes that it’s a valuable tool because it brings people together.
There’s mention of an incident in December 2016, when Bring a Smile was able to raise Rs. 40,000 through a Facebook post that went viral. All that money went to buy blankets for the homeless who slept on pavements in Hyderabad, Belgaum and Delhi in the punishing winter.
Social media gave Archana credibility as well as instilled in her a sense of accountability where people who donated got a series of legitimate community causes and were informed of where their donations were being used.
The team behind Bring a Smile is made of selfless souls.
Archana recalls her week’s stay in a hospital in September 2017, when she was down with a severe case of Swine Flu.
During that period, two patients in Bangalore were in need of financial assistance as they were to undergo neurosurgeries. Lying on a hospital bed herself and typing away feverishly (pun unintended!), Archana’s team, came to the patients’ rescue. Three days is all it took for members to step up and raise Rs. 90,000/- amongst themselves. The two patients in Bangalore made a full recovery and needless to add were overwhelmed by gratitude to Team Bring a Smile.
When more people join in the effort, then the sky is the limit. Archana and her team are paving a great way for all those in need.
Archana Suresh is a Woman of Courage because she is energetic and enthusiastic to make a difference in someone’s life. Her attitude of viewing the world with compassion is contagious and will hopefully see this Team spread more smiles in the times to come.
Archana’s TED X Talk can be found here –
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