When we were as young as Kshirja Raje, we probably wanted to keep all our candies for ourselves, forget about giving it to anyone else. And here is this girl from Mumbai, Kshirja, only 13, who is giving back to society much more than adults usually do. Kshirja runs a small handicrafts business, Kshirja’s Creations, and all the profit she earns from it goes to charity.
She founded the business with her mother, who has been the motivating force behind Kshirja. Her story was recently published on a Facebook page — Humans of Bombay — and the post went viral as soon as it was uploaded. It got around 17k likes and people could not contain their surprise and encouragement after knowing about Kshirja.
“One evening, I was being really fussy with the food made at home, when my mom told me to leave my plate and go with her. She took me to a slum behind my house where I saw little children, my age, maybe younger running towards a truck that distributed food to them every Sunday. I was left in tears — they didn’t even know if they would get to eat for days and here I was complaining. That incident made me desperate to help in any way I could,” Kshirja told Humans of Bombay.
It wasn’t until a few months later when Kshirja had to make a lantern (Qandeel) for a school project that she did anything about the incident. It cost her Rs 2 to make the lantern. She then started making more of those lanterns and sold them off to her friends, family and neighbours for five bucks a week before the diwali of 2012. With all the money she could save, she bought sweets for the slum kids around her colony and that gave her utmost happiness.
Talking to ShethePeople.TV about Kshirja’s first experience of food scarcity in the slum, her mother Ujwala said, “Many times I had observed that some people distributed food to these slum kids. I just thought that if she sees such a thing, she will probably realize the importance of food herself.”
Ujwala is a food technologist and understands the problem of food scarcity around. “It was just a thought in my mind to show her how children of her age or less live and starve for food,” added Ujwala.
After distributing sweets to slum children, Kshrija’s motivation sky-rocketed and she started making other handicraft products with paper quilling technique. This is how she started her business solely to help those in need.
2013 brought another life-changing moment for Kshirja when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. This shook her from inside, but she learnt to value everything she had. Her mother’s ordeal drove her to collect an additional Rs 30,000 for cancer patients.
“Kshirja is very a loving and kind girl. When she was in kindergarten, she used to carry two pencils so that she could share one with anyone who didn’t have one,” said Ujwala.
She went on, “Sharing her tiffin with friends was very normal. So I knew that Kshirja is kind-hearted since childhood.”
“Apart from quilling, Kshirja is very passionate about Kathak. She has also done Praveshika Poorn (3rd exam) of Gandharv Mahavidyalaya. She is fond of drawing and reading. She has a great collection of books. I believe books have been a major source of inspiration for Kshirja,” added Ujwala.
Kshirja is now holding a workshop at the Tata Memorial to help the underprivileged and make them smile yet again on Diwali.