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Nirmala Rawat: Her Journey From NCC to Philanthropy

  • IWB Post
  •  February 20, 2015


Nirmala Rawat avoids being called an NRI. She thinks she is back to India for a mission. Today in her seventies, she is as enthusiastic as a 17 yr old and drives all her energy towards the betterment of women. Inspite of having a strong financial background, she is not willing to help needy women and take all the credit. Why? She has a reason behind. Read he excerpts from our conversation with her and find out:

The beginning

I was in NCC and won the best Cadet award during Republic Day 1962.  When I got married, I had to leave all that behind. Those times were different unlike today. So then I got married and moved to Geneva.  Since there was a hidden urge to work for the society, I opened a small organization called ‘Seva Geneva’. DSC_0104Members from UN, WHO directors, etc were a part of it. We used to hold meetings and also parties to collect funds. And those parties were everything from Bollywood movie premier to a cocktail party to attract more and more donors.  This had gone on for 20 years.

Indian was an eye-opener

When I came to India after almost 2 decades, I was shattered. I suddenly realized the women of my country are not living the quality life they are meant to live. I have seen independent women in other countries, but Indian women weren’t like that, and it made me sad. I realized they are mere maids after marriage.DSC_0112

Indian venture

I had a small argument at home which urged me to do something valuable in life. All that and my concern for people took me to an NGO. The people there showed me a cricket match of blind children. That was my turning point, my empowering moment. I then started working with this NGO. My 1st proud initiative was when I supported Mass-Marriages of handicapped couples in Kota, Indore, Bhopal and Mumbai.DSC_0145


I am the President of the Women Vaishya Samaaj. As soon as I joined, I announced them my intentions that we’re not just going to have kitty parties and play housie. I was determined to unite every member to work for our society. So I encouraged them to save a little bit from their kitchen budgets and contribute it for the needy women of rural areas. Save Rs. 500 from your Rs. 2000 budget. DSC_0142I believe every woman can do it. In our organization, women raise money for women.

Recently we went to a village near Sikar and were shocked to see the living condition there. The women still have to walk down 10 kms to fetch water for cooking and washing. They are in a bad state; I don’t understand where the money allotted by govt. goes. Their kids don’t go to school and their cattle don’t get proper food. It was heart-wrenching when a woman came to me and asked me to buy her gold nose-pin so that she can buy some food for her milking cows.DSC_0133

JWB – You have a hospital that caters to 50 villages. You can still help many without asking for help.

Nirmala – I can. But you know, charity unites people. They have huge bank-balance, to take out a little amount for the unfortunate won’t make any difference. I am just trying to convince such people to unite for a better cause.

JWB – How do you collect funds?DSC_0155

Nirmala – I go to influential people and ask them for money. They say ‘You have enough, why are you coming to us and begging?’ And I tell them ‘Call it whatever, but this will help you witness the truths of life and give you a satisfaction beyond imagination’.

JWB – How do you manage funds?DSC_0160

Nirmala – I manage my own funds and don’t give it in hands of any NGO. I have stopped trusting people in money matters.

JWB – Any future dream?

Nirmala – My family has just bought a land near Kanota, and I want to build a school for blinds there. The people who encouraged me to take my life to a new level.DSC_0171

JWB – Message for our readers?

Nirmala – I strongly believe that every human being is good, they just need direction. Be it a poor man or a rich aristocrat…DSC_0123

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