This US-based Professional Raised over a Million to Help | Milaap

This US-based Professional Raised over a Million to Help Farmers in India

It Began With Volunteering

How he began working with social causes 15 years ago was not very dramatic, he says. “I would react to things around me. I would ask myself what I could do. That’s how I began volunteering at CRY.” There, Suresh found himself drawn to agricultural issues. “If farming can be made viable, it will lead to education and better lives in rural India,” he says.

India has 248 million people dependent on agriculture and times are only getting harder. The first half of the year alone saw over 600 farmer suicides in the country. Suresh began by raising money for the families of such farmers who killed themselves. He came up with the catchy ‘Indian Farmers League’ as he watched the Indian Premier League. Every donor would nominate 11 other people, like a cricket team, who would further contribute to kisscartoon.

“I nominated my friends, who all pulled in their friends and it became bigger than we thought. We made sure to send regular updates and made short videos from the ground that really involved the community of donors,” he recalls. This campaign raised over Rs 10 lakhs and was used to provide seed money for farming and education.

The Larger Campaign is Creating Awareness

In the pipeline are plans to create a media platform for the farmer to share his/her problems and investing in making effective farmers’ cooperatives. To do this will need more support which can be garnered by creating awareness of the farmer’s plight. Raising money to help the farmer does not solve the problem. Spreading the information does.

“The problem is that the farmer, who puts the food on our tables is too socially removed. I have seen that once people know what farmers go through, they want to help. So our strategy is aimed at making engaging content to get people to listen. People can take the cause and make it their own,” he says.

Suresh’s strategy to effect change by informing has so far met good results. He has worked with his field partner Kishore Tiwari from Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samithi, to disburse the funds and create short videos of the beneficiaries. He is campaigning now to give interest free loans to the deserving farmers in Telangana to set them back on their feet for the next agricultural cycle. He believes that agriculture is a viable, sustainable sector which can flourish, given the right political will and infrastructure.

Passing on the privilege

Despite achieving these fairly large goals, Suresh is clear about who the credit goes to. “All that I have is because my parents were in a position to educate me well and make me self-reliant. It amounts to nothing if I cannot do the same for another person,” he says. His credo is using his privilege to create opportunities for others, who can, he hopes, pass it on to others.

To help bring a positive change to many more farmers, this time in Telangana, please contribute to his campaign.