Meet the 10 year old twins who are making the world a better place.
The ubiquitous lockdown has much to answer for. When it started, all of us were caught unawares and oh, so unhappy! There are memes, blogs, posts, poster, pictures and forwards about how difficult, boring, unproductive, and divisive it was. Children especially complained of being bored at home and harassed parents threw up their hands and rolled their eyes. The world struggled to find a new narrative and doomsday predictions abounded.
Ayaan and Vihaan Mantri are ten year old twins who were also affected by the lockdown. Restrictive as the lockdown was, it was the suffering of others that moved them. They too pestered their parents but it was not out of boredom. The images in the news, the constant conversation about the homeless, the migrants, the less fortunate preyed on their young minds. They were safe in the comfort of their home; safety net in place. But what of those with no safety net? They asked incessant questions about who needed help, what would happen, how it would help etc. Ritesh and Gayatri Mantri answered these questions, but it was when the twins came to them after seeing a waste picker in the lane outside, asking why no one was helping, that Ritesh turned it around by asking them what they could do to help.
“It gave them pause as they realized that they could help” he says. Exploring avenues to help, they hit upon the idea to make a video appealing for help. But who could they reach out to? Who needed the help? Haunted by the image of the waste picker who was working while most others stayed at home, they picked Kashtakari Panchayat, an organisation that helps the urban poor and marginalized waste pickers with health, wellness, livelihoods etc.
They wrote a mail not knowing what the response would be or if there would be a response at all. “They were not sure an offer of help from 10 year olds would be taken seriously’ says Ritesh. To their joy, the mail got a very personal and warm response. Excited, they sought permission to gather groceries from willing donors. However with the Covid norms in place, that was not possible. Not ones to give up, they decided to put the appeal on you tube. “By then we knew they were serious about this and we decide to step in with a little help. Ritesh helped them put up a web page. However knowing that it should not be limited to Covid alone, they decided to name it ‘One world one blood’. They view the world as one and want to help everyone they can reach”, smiles their mother Gayatri.
So successful was their appeal that friends, neighbours and others chipped in. Some donors gave money, while others donated in kind. Grain, daal, wheat and even jaggery were among the donated items. So inspired was a little six year old with the idea, he broke his piggy bank and delivered a kilo of jaggery for his part. “It is not about the amount that came in” says the spokesperson at KP ”It is about determination and spirit. It is about wanting to make a difference and following through. In a world darkened by Covid, when many adults are unsure about where to start, this was a thing of joy. It motivates and inspires us to do more”.
Like other 10 year olds, Ayaan and Vihaan love cricket and sports, play the guitar and collect rocks .Their favourite players are Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli and their dream is to emulate their icons. What sets them apart is their determination to walk the talk and putting their empathy for others to productive use. They prove that age is just a number, and that if everyone does their bit, the one world we have will be a better place for all! We wish them every success!
To donate to the cause of waste pickers call – 9765999500.