THE RAINCOAT PROJECT: Keeping Mumbai’s Street kids dry and safe

Written by: Samara Doshi

The beauty of crowdfunding amplifies the collective interest to make a difference. An example of this is the resounding success of The Raincoat Project through which 21 children from different schools impacted over 7000 underprivileged children.

What Is The Raincoat Project?

THE RAINCOAT PROJECT is an initiative that aims at providing superior quality raincoats to MUMBAI’S underprivileged street children and young adults in partnership with the NGO – ACE. A few students decided to support this initiative through a crowdfunding campaign and have in a very short period raised INR 35 LAKHS to support over 7000 students.

The Raincoat Project is the brainchild of 14-year-old Avantika Swali, studying in Bombay International School. A core team was formed, this consisted of the following students:

AVANTIKA SWALI, SAIRA SINGH, MYSHA JAVERI, DIYA BAFNA, SANAH SHAH, VISHWAROOP CHABARIA, VEER SUMAYA, YOHAN ZUBIN DUBASH, ARJUN SOMANI, MIRAYA DALMIA, VIDHUSHI KARNANI, SHAWN AGA, SIDDHARTH SHAH, VIANAH KOTHARI, SAMARA SUJAN,  AJINKYA DANGE, ARJUN DOSHI, YASH ASUDANI, MUSTAFA FURNITUREWALA, ARIAAN BAJAJ.

Why?

450,000. That’s the approximate number of children below the age of five that die each year from diarrhoea- which is becoming increasingly prevalent in India during the rains. The looming threat of Cyclone Nisarga amplified this issue. While most adults would say with utmost confidence, that the only resolution to alleviate this would be to build better large-scale drainage systems or to provide better housing. A group of young leaders of change came up with a far more plausible solution. They had a simple yet focused objective: provide children with good quality raincoats, to protect them from the harsh monsoon weather.

14-year-old Avantika Swali started helping children in Dharavi Schools at a very young age. The looming threat of Cyclone Nisarga amplified this problem. She took it upon herself to design a raincoat prototype that was trendy & wearable with the help of her mother. While producing the raincoats, she ensured that each raincoat would cost just INR 500 – whilst still maintaining its superior quality. In her words, ‘A cool hoodie will ensure that the head is protected and the wearer feels empowered.’  A core team was made and the initiative was called The Raincoat Project to help at least a 1000 children.  Ms Priya Aga, (her son Shawn is also doing the campaign), introduced Avantika and her mother to Fueladream.com. Through the campaign, they intended to create ripples but they made waves across Mumbai.

Overjoyed children clad in their new raincoats.

When asked what her initial apprehensions were, Avantika was honest when she told me that she didn’t believe many people would support her project in its preliminary stages. Little did she know that her relatively small aspiration to help about a thousand children would quickly transform into a project that did nearly seven times the amount! Avantika’s success story is just one of the many examples showcasing the benefits of crowdfunding, and the impact that it can have on a single life.

There was one thing this story taught me in particular- a small initiative can go such a long way, so long as you remain unceasingly passionate, motivated and have the perseverance to see it through.

And as icing on the cake, they even got featured in a newspaper article in the Free Press Journal, click the link below to read on:

https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/cyclone-nisarga-aftermath-how-these-mumbai-schoolkids-started-a-raincoat-distribution-service-for-homeless-children

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