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My Superhero: 'Woman With A Golden Heart'

By PARAS SEJPAL
March 02, 2022 12:54 IST
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We'd asked you, Dear Readers, to tell us who your everyday superhero is and share stories about the extraordinary women you know and admire.
Paras Sejpal tells us about a social work contributor who inspired him.

Anushka Basantani

IMAGE: Anushka Basantani is the founder of Spreading Smiles of Joy. Photograph: Kind courtesy Paras Sejpal

I met Anushka Basantani in June 2019 when her team organised a blood donation camp in my office building in Bandra (north west Mumbai).

I noticed that the team comprised entirely of women.

Out of curiosity, I asked them about their organisation. One of the volunteers briefed me about Spreading Smiles of Joy.

It is led by Anushka Basantani, a teacher and the founder of of Joykidz. She is 44 years old and lives in Bandra.

 

Spreading Smiles of Joy is an eight-year-old volunteer-driven group that reaches out to those in need.

It has adopted close to 30 NGOs that deal with different causes and supports these organisations in varied ways. Ms Basatani advocates being personally involved with these causes through events, teaching plans, music clubs, festive celebrations and various other initiatives.

Her team -- which is predominantly female -- consists of approximately 350 members based all over the globe.

They work with orphanages, old age homes, cancer patients, thalassemia fighters, those with physical and/or mental challenges and many more.

When I heard about the work they did, I offered to help.

Ms Basantani suggested that I join their WhatsApp group. She also said if I didn't like, I could leave.

I have been a part of Spreading Smiles of Joy since June 2019. I have visited NGOs to celebrate Diwali and on World Cancer Day. I am actively involved in volunteering, purchasing stationery, etc, on behalf of the organisation.

During the pandemic's two major waves, her team supported more than 5,000 underprivileged families. It sponsored many community kitchens and provided digital gadgets to kids in need so that their studies don't get affected.

PPE kits, sanitisers, disposable bedsheets and masks were also provided to various hospitals and frontline workers including the police, BMC and other departments.

In the past two years, Ms Basantani and her foundation has taught me love and compassion. It gives us a lot of happiness and satisfaction when we become the reason for someone else's smile and happiness.

If I have to describe her in a few words, I'd say she's a woman with a golden heart.

What I liked the most about the foundation is that it is a true example of women's empowerment where 97 per cent members and volunteers are women.

I am sharing her story because I feel this is the best way to celebrate International Women's Day where we salute and express gratitude towards the wonderful women of the foundation.


This International Women's Day, celebrate the Extraordinary Women in your life.

Share her story with us and tell us what Life Lessons you have learnt from her.

Send us their stories (at least 100 words), their photographs, their videos if you like, to getahead@rediff.co.in (Subjectline: The Woman I Admire). Do include their name, age and location.

Don't forget to mention your name and location. We'll feature the best responses right here on Rediff.com.

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PARAS SEJPAL