We all love Melas. Who doesn’t? The shopping stalls, games and a host of other fun activities are a sure shot way to lift your spirits, even as the mercury drops to nearly zero degrees. But the Shop4Good – an NGO Mela organised by OneStage at Palam Triangle, Gurugram was shopping carnival with a twist. It had a higher purpose. The initiative aims to bring together different NGOs committed for driving social change in our community and give wings to the dreams of many, who would otherwise not have an opportunity.

Shop4Good started a week before Christmas — marking the beginning of the holiday season. The Mela not only provided an urban platform to artisans and NGOs coming from remote, rural India and showcase their products but also gave an opportunity to urban population to buy eco-friendly products painstakingly made by the poor artisans. The Mela also had a nursery, and an organic farmer.

EcoKarma, a Dehradun based firm, too showcased biodegradable products that promote sustainable living, such as, newspaper pencils, bamboo toothbrushes, bamboo and wheat straws. The products are sourced from women Self Help Groups (SHGs). Even though EcoKarma it’s not a registered NGO, its working dedicatedly towards sustainability, empowering women. Apart from this, 50 percent of their profits go towards animal welfare (especially dogs).

Every stall had a story. The handcrafted garments at the stall by Urmool Rural Health Research and Development Trust, for instance hid stories of several marginalised women and children, who everyday brave all odds to make a living in the arid deserts of Rajasthan.

At the Read India stall, woollen apparels made by marginalised women, were on display. READ India connects with local partners and corporate organizations to provide training programs in vocational skills, as well as introduce efforts to educate and economically empower villagers, and teach them to use technology to enhance their standard of living.

Keeping the ambience serene were the scents from the stall by Aaruhi Enterprise. They sold incense sticks, dhoop, idols of Ganesha and other decorative items made out of discarded flowers collected from temples.

Other NGOs — Aadi India, TYCIA Foundation, Ropio Foundation, Literacy India, Centre for Appropriate Technology & Development (CADT), Sadhna, Organic Farmers, Energinee — had beautiful handcrafted garments, jewelry, and home décor on display.

Ritika Sadana, Founder of EcoKarma thanked OneStage for inviting them to this event. “We will be happy to register with OneStage and also participate in such events organized by OneStage in future,” she said.

Christmas carols, the lights, the colourful banners – all of them contributed to create such a cosy ambience that we could not feel the mercury plummeting. It was the warmth of sharing and goodness, which drove us all at the NGO Mela.


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