Young Hyderabadis are turning events such as weddings and birthdays into a platform for assisting charitable organisations.

You know how a lot of wedding invites come bearing a ‘No gifts please’ tag at the bottom? That seems to be changing these days. A lot of socially conscious youngsters would rather use the special occasion — be it a wedding, a birthday or an anniversary, as an opportunity to do their bit for society, while also encouraging their family and friends to chip in. Take for instance Harshvardhan and Varsha Khemani. When the couple decided to tie the knot, they decided to do things a little differently. Instead of dissuading their guests from giving them gifts, they encouraged their friends and cousins to donate to two NGOs that they closely work with.

“Wedding is a time when people want to gift the couple something nice. In my circle of friends we usually ask the couple what they want or collect money and deposit it in their account, which is great. However, these things are ideal when the couple is going to be setting up their own home and is starting from scratch. In Varsha’s and my case, we were going to continue living with my family so we didn’t really need these things. At the same time we couldn’t blatantly refuse gifts,” says Harshvardhan, the founder of Oye Happy, who got married earlier this year.

“It was a great way to keep our friends and ourselves happy. We managed to raise Rs 30,000 for the charities this way,” he says.

In fact, Harshvardhan is now working with Project 511 to set up a gift registry that people can use for similar causes in the future.

Vishwanathan P, a chartered accountant, did a similar thing at his wedding. “We had always been involved with two charitable organisations – one for educating the rural and tribal children and another for spiritual and religious activities. So when we got married we donated all the gift money to these two equally. None of our guests had any inkling of our plan and we made the announcement and handed over the money at the wedding venue after the ceremony,” he says.

However, charity is not only about monetary donations for these socially aware youngsters. Organ donation too tops their list of causes. According to Lalita Raghuram, country director, Mohan Foundation, which works towards organ donation, they have received several requests by youngsters to be enrolled as organ donors. “We have had a lot of young people come forth to pledge their organs on birthdays and New Year. In the recent past we have also had people invite us to be a part of celebrations like weddings or first birthdays. Only 10 days ago we were invited to set up a kiosk at a couple’s wedding. We managed to enrol several organ donors at the event. On another occasion a couple approached us to speak to their guests at their child’s first birthday. By the end of the evening we had nearly 200 new organ donors,” she explains.

Wider awareness can go a long way in inspiring more youngsters to go that extra mile to do their bit for society.