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Purposeful philanthropy preferable to charity

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Frank Islam

In February 2017, I went to India from the United State of America to dedicate the Frank and Debbie Islam Management Complex at my Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) alma mater. At the dedication of that complex, I said: “While the bricks and mortar are important, far more important is what will go on in this setting. It will be a place for sharing of information and imparting and development of knowledge. It will be a place where faculty and students can collaborate on innovative projects. It will be an educational empowerment zone.”

In those dedication remarks, I was sharing my perspective on what I call “purposeful philanthropy”. I look at my contributions to AMU and the numerous other organisations, groups and individuals that I contribute to in India and in the US not as charity but as investments.

Those philanthropic investments are directed at helping to make a difference in pivot point areas that matter to the future of society. The returns on those investments are positive changes to problematic conditions and/or the creation of individuals who will become the agents of change.

As an example, in my comments at AMU I predicted: “From this management complex will come the future leaders who will make the world a better place.” I felt completely comfortable in making that prediction because in addition to giving the financial support to construct the management building at AMU my wife Debbie and I also provided funding for an endowed chair on Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the management school. That ensured the human element would be brought into play as part of the educational equation.

The distinction between purposeful philanthropy and charity is a critical one. The focus in charity is to provide a handout; the focus in purposeful philanthropy is to provide a heads-up.

There certainly must be charitable support and assistance to address problem areas and the needs of the socially and economically disadvantaged. The handout approach, however, has serious limitations. It does not get at the root cause nor change the underlying reason for the need for the charity.

By contrast, purposeful philanthropy concentrates on improving circumstances and conditions. This hand-up approach can take a wide range of forms, ranging from eliminating contaminated water that poisons those who drink or bathe in it to enhancing the safety of working conditions to developing the requisite knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes and behaviours for a person to be successful in life.

The pivot point areas — areas that can be leveraged and effectively addressed to effectuate change and achieve positive outcomes — for purposeful philanthropy are virtually endless. My priority areas are education, arts, world peace and civic engagement.

I have chosen those areas because they are important to me and because I know that improvement in them can make a substantial difference. The short reasons for my picking and investing in them are:

Education is the great equaliser and opportunity creator. It moves people up the ladder and to help others climb the ladder with them. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
As President John F. Kennedy said: “Art nourishes the roots of a culture.” It connects and inspires citizens and communities. It has a unifying and healing power.
We are living in an increasingly dangerous world and times. World peace is essential for the future of this planet. There is a deadly conflict now and threats of it around the globe which must be controlled.

India and the United States of America are the world’s two largest democracies. Civic engagement is essential to keep those democracies vibrant and vital.

I name these pivot point areas for illustration purposes only. Each citizen must choose an area or areas that matters to them for their purposeful philanthropy.

The essential thing is to make that choice and to invest. The size of that investment isn’t what counts. The act of investment not only of money, but also of time and talent is what does.

In closing, I would be remiss if I did not identify one final approach to charity. That is “hands-off”. The hands-off approach is really self-aggrandizement masquerading as a charitable contribution.

This approach is driven by what I call an “edifice complex” — the desire to get one’s name on a building such as a temple or mosque with little concern for what is being done there to improve the lot of the community or citizens in which it resides. India needs and deserves better than that.

Purposeful philanthropy accomplishes this. It provides the platform for maximizing a citizen’s participation and contribution to enabling India to achieve its full potential. It is a pivotal idea whose time has come.

(Frank Islam is an Indian American entrepreneur, civic and thought leader. The views expressed are personal. His web site is www.Frankislam.com)

Lifestyle

A check list before your road trip starts

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Road trip holiday travel

New Delhi, May 18: Before you set out for the adventurous road trip on your holidays, it is imperative to carry certain things to make your life easier. A grooming kit, adequate liquids and insurance are the most important, suggest experts.

Saunak Ghosh, Chief Marketing Officer at OneAssist Consumer Solutions Pvt Ltd, and Akshali Shah, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Sales and Marketing, Parag Milk Foods Ltd, have listed a few must-haves.

* Backpack: When you’re constantly tossing bags in and out of the car, they better be able to handle plenty of abuse. Certain bags available in the market are made in such a way that they sustain in all kind of weathers and situations.

* Personal care kit: It takes extra amount of care to keep yourself well-groomed and hygienic. Always stay hygienic and carry the essential personal care kit on your road trip.

* Hydration: Road trips in summer bring a lot of excitement and a need to keep our bodies energised and hydrated. Summer is the perfect time to try out different hydration drinks. Flavoured milk or buttermilk can be your helpful companions on the journey as it keeps you away from dehydration and gives instant energy, without compromising on the taste.

* Insurance: Insuring your travel is something you would feel is unnecessary but you never know that taking a chance on it might become the biggest mistake committed.

It is also advisable to insure your priced possessions like your phone, laptop, wallet, debit/credit/ATM cards. Usually taking insurance creates an image of a tedious office, hours of wait and long queues. But with protection and assistance services platforms you can do it within no time and insure all your possessions.

* Spare chargers and powerbanks: Always arm yourself with spare chargers and powerbanks for worst case scenarios.

* Emergency and first aid kit: Always have a first aid kit in your car. Also, keep a check on everything which is inside the first aid box and upgrade whenever you see the necessity.

An emergency kit should contain battery booster cables, two light sticks, reflective vest, emergency rain poncho, warning triangle, whistle, tyre pressure gauge and window breaker.

IANS

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Lifestyle

Indians taking more spiritual trips this summer: Study

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varanasi temple

New Delhi, May 17: Spiritually motivated tourism has emerged as one of the most vital components of India’s tourism industry with places like Puri, Varanasi, Tirupati and Shirdi topping the list, says a study conducted by travel marketplace ixigo.

According to the study, more and more Indians are travelling to connect with their religious roots. With a rise in spiritual tourism, popular pilgrimages, such as Varanasi and Puri are witnessing higher hotel bookings than other cities this summer.

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Puri Jagannath Temple

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The Great Ganges Ghats of Varanasi

The study reveals that there has been a month-on-month growth of 60 per cent for Puri, 48 per cent for Varanasi, 34 per cent for Tirupati and 19 per cent growth for Shirdi in the hotel bookings, said a statement.

Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala, Tirupati

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Sai Baba Temple, Shirdi

Travellers plan a short-stay of an average two days during their visit to religious destinations. Also, Indians prefer to keep a low hotel stay budget. Around 82 per cent tourists prefer budget hotels in Varanasi, followed by 78 per cent, 68 per cent and 73 per cent in Shirdi, Tirupati and Puri respectively. Only 32 per cent Indians prefer 4/5 star hotel while visiting Tirupati followed by 27 per cent for Puri.

Commenting on the findings Aloke Bajpai, ixigo CEO and Co-founder said: “Looking at the spike in bookings, it’s safe to say that spiritual travel is now being considered as one of the offbeat travel trends in India. It is fascinating to see that young adults are showing quite a high inclination towards exploring indigenous cultural experiences in our country.”

IANS

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Get gorgeous summer skin with activated charcoal

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Charcoal mask

New Delhi, May 16: Summer is one of the hardest seasons for skin care. Scorching heat, pollution and sweat makes it impossible for one to keep their skin clean and glowing so a rescue potion is activated bamboo charcoal.

During the hot days of summer, your skin also absorbs impurities from surroundings hence causing blemishes and blackheads so to prevent your skin from these damages, Vanlalmuanpuii from green trends Unisex Hair & Style Salon and Bina NG, Salon Director from Page 3 Luxury Salon & Makeover Studio, shares ways in which activated charcoal can be infused into your everyday skin care routine:

* Scrub: Developing a skin care routine is important because it helps the skin maintain the elasticity while strengthening and paving way to clear, beautiful and smooth skin. With a plethora of products available in the market, it is important to add a basic face wash and scrub with activate charcoal to cleanse and exfoliate one’s face regularly.

Activated charcoal scrub helps to remove impurities, gently exfoliates, balances oily skin and shrinks the appearance of pores.

* Facial: A bi-monthly facial infused with activated bamboo charcoal will keep your skin free from toxins, impurities, dirt and blemishes. The creams and peel off masks used as part of facials, help in keeping one’s skin well hydrated and reduce the puffiness.

* Mask: Activated charcoal draws bacteria, poisons, chemicals, impurities and other micro-particles to the surface of skin, helping you achieve flawless complexion. A DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Charcoal mask by blending activated bamboo charcoal, aloe vera gel, jojoba oil, tea tree oil and fuller’s earth is the perfect anti-aging solution that your skin deserves.

* Deep cleansing: With your skin exposed to harsh sun rays and pollution, pores in your skin get clogged with toxins leaving your skin dull and lifeless. This in turn affects the overall complexion of the skin during summer. A strong remedy for this is infusing activated bamboo charcoal in a deep cleansing technique, which opens the pores and clears toxins, dirt and protects the skin for acne breakouts as well.

* Peel off mask: Activated bamboo charcoal peel off masks is one of the soothing ways to help beautify and better one’s skin. The mask is one of the powerful ways to clear the skin of toxins, dirt, impurities and blemishes. Not to forget, charcoal peel off mask is also one of the quickest ways to see immediate results.

IANS

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