What would you do if a random person gave you $10 with a bright smile on his/her face? If I was the recipient of this gift, I would smile back and shake hands. But how would you feel if the person told you that the only condition to be able to enjoy this gift was to spend it on someone who needed it more than you did? I guess I'd feel happilly surprised at this random act of kindness. Wouldn't you?
At Manav Sadhna, one of the founders found himself in a position in which after receiving a significant donation from a family in the UK, and having covered the expenses of what the contribution was meant for, he still had some spare money. He decided to try a kindness experiment with over 350 kids aged 11-13 who live in the Ashramshala and in the slums. As the Diwali festivity was approaching and the kids were getting excited about this time of the year in which Hindu families celebrate the New Year, kids were told that they would receive 50 rupees each (around USD 0.80). There was only one condition, though: the money could not be spent on them, but on people who needed it more than them.
One must bear in mind that this money was given to kids who live in the Gandhi ashram and in the slums in which Manav Sadhna is planting seeds. All of the kids living in the Ashramshala (Gandhi ashram) come from an "untouchable" background and Manav Sadhna provides them with a home, with value based education and with nutrition, something that wouldn't be possible if they stayed with their families. The aim of Manav Sadhna, just like Gandhi himself wished, is for these kids to be better equipped and prepared for their future so as not to undertake the most humiliating cleaning jobs in India as their parents do in order to survive; and more importantly to break with the "untouchability" stigma. These kids are able to go back to their villages during festivities and holidays to visit their loved ones, but most of their time is spent at the ashram.
A couple of days before heading to their villages to celebrate Diwali, boys and girls were broken down into groups of 10 with one teacher per group keeping them company. The objective was to go out to the streets from 3pm to 6:30pm and simply walk wherever they felt it was right to go and use the money collectively in order to perform an act of kindness. They were told that they could use the money to share it with kids, blind people, elders or animals living out in the streets.