Meera Gandhi has been honored with the SOUTH ASIAN WOMEN EMPOWERMENT AWARD for outstanding service towards women empowerment. Here’s excerpt from an interaction with Meera.
Meera, please tell us about ‘The Giving Back Foundation’. How did everything start for you?
Meera: I have been doing charity work and helping others since I was very young. I have tutored the kids of my parents’ staff at the age of 13. When I was 16, I started going to Mother Teresa’s Asha Dan in Mumbai and got the opportunity to meet Mother Teresa on several occasions. Back in New York, I was helping the New York City Ballet and Asia society to raise money for their causes and was co-chairing almost 6 to 7 major benefits in New York per year. Then, I decided to start ‘The Giving Back Foundation’ so that I could directly impact the lives of people I want to help. I like being able to be in direct contact with my beneficiaries, as it makes the journey so much more real. Hence, I decided to start my own foundation in 2010 while we were still living in Hong Kong. Now we are back in the USA and my organization has only grown in all these years.
You have a charity focused scent and that is one brilliant idea to raise money for the foundation. How did that come to your mind?
Meera: As the name suggests, it is all about giving back to society. The idea behind it is to ensure that people should donate with an open heart, but at the same time receive an amazing world-class product. “Giving” fragrance has a sole intent to exude strength, courage, and femininity. Hundred percent proceeds from this campaign go to the foundation.
Which person has always inspired you to commit to the acts of philanthropy?
Meera: Mother Teresa has always been my inspiration. Meeting her and interacting with her really impacted me at a young and impressionable age.
What’s the smallest act of kindness you have ever seen a person do? How did it inspire you?
Meera: There have been many incidents of that sort. I can’t really pick one. It’s not fair. I am grateful to every one of those people who displayed this virtue ever in their life. This constantly inspires and reminds me that we can shift ANY situation into a better space at ANY time
What’s the main objective of ‘The Giving back Foundation’?
Meera: The main motto of the foundation is, “We are to the universe only as much as we give back to it.” It works as a not-for-profit organization. The foundation directly assists the education of women and children, addressing illness, poverty, hunger, and suffering. Its beneficiaries are carefully selected existing charities around the world, with special emphasis on women and children in need. The foundation is also a platform for debate and discussion, as philanthropic activities continue to evolve around the world.