How generous are we?

A Bangalorean urges fellow citizens to contribute more to social causes.

The recent ‘World Giving Index’ published by the Charities Aid Foundation surveyed about 195,000 people living in 153 nations. According to the data, India ranked at 134 with only 14% known to have donated to a charity in the past 12 months, while 12% had offered to volunteer for a cause and 30% had helped strangers. The World Giving Index score of India only counted to 19. This is very poor considering the highest score on the index is 57 and the lowest is 12.

How can India overcome this dismal status and move up the ranking? One answer can be found in the ‘marathons’ which are held every year: the Mumbai marathon, Delhi half-marathon, the Bangalore and Hyderabad world 10K runs. Since the first full marathon, known as the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon held in 2004, over half a million people have joined. Thousands of people have donated to causes and Rs 110+ crore has been raised for non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) and their work from these events in the four cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Bangalore’s response
The event, held annually in Bangalore since 2008, is now known as the TCS World 10K Bangalore (W10K). It is considered the world’s most prestigious 10 km run and ratified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS). The TCS World 10K Bangalore is conducted under the aegis of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) and the Karnataka Amateur Athletics Association (KAAA). The finest distance runners in India and from around the world and over 22,000 citizens participate in this great event.

The TCS World 10K Bangalore is not only a race for prize money and timing. It does much more than keep the city healthy. The occasion is an opportunity for NGO’s working in diverse areas of disability, education, environment, women’s empowerment et al, to create awareness about their work and raise vital resources. According to Bangalore Cares, the official ‘charity partner’ of the event there has been a steady increase in the number of NGO’s that have registered and participated in the W10K to raise funds. In 2008, 51 NG0’s registered, which increased to 84 in 2012. For the current W10K, to be held on 19th May, already 88 NGO’s have registered and are actively fundraising. To support the issues that the NGO’s represent, the number of donors has also increased from a mere 623 in 2008 to 6902 in 2012.

The amount of funds raised is also encouraging. Rs 3.06 crore was raised in 2012 – a big increase from the Rs 41 lakh raised in 2008. The target for this year’s fundraising is Rs 5 crore. It may be achieved considering the number of people signing up to run and support a cause. These funds make it possible for the NGO’s to sustain and expand their services in support of neglected children, adults and the elderly in our society.

Bangalore is on its way to reducing the gap in the World Giving Index and in catching up with other nations. But let us run faster.

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