The Barabati stadium, Odisha’s lone cricket test match and one day international centre, is all set to get a major facelift as a World class sports campus with its seating capacity being significantly expanded to accommodate 60,000 spectators.
Beyond Cricket, Cricketer Shikhar Dhawan has been involved with a lot of charity works. He is set to launch the ‘Shikhar Dhawan Foundation’ and organised Blood Donation camps. As the world observes Blood Donation Day today, the cricketer talks about his Foundation Exclusively to The Statesman
1) Tell us about your association with this blood donation camp you organised recently?
This blood donation camp brought many people together for a noble cause and the blood bank successfully received a valuable amount of blood. But apart from that our focus was also on creating awareness amongst people and the community on their responsibility towards blood donation. Our objective is to convert more and more people to donate blood. And that’s what our foundation plans to do ahead as we will regularly do such blood donation drives across Delhi and mobilise people towards this responsibility. In terms of this too, India must become self-sufficient.
2) How long has the foundation been working and why did you plan to start your own foundation?
You see…I have been blessed by a lot of love and support from my fans, the cricket fraternity, and the country at large. I felt now was the time to give back to society and do my bit towards improving the lives of the lesser privileged. Also, I have been doing various social initiatives for a long, but now I want to take that to a greater level where we can create a deeper and more sustainable impact. That’s why I planned to start the foundation. It has been a few months since we started in March, and we are already nearing 10 campaigns. Our educational and sports campaign Youngistaan has already impacted more than 2100 children and youth across 10 schools and NGOs. And we will continue to get bigger and reach out to many less privileged people and contribute to changing their lives for good.
3) How much you are involved with the foundation and What are the plans to take it forward?
I am actively involved with the foundation ensuring that the show keeps going. One should have a dependable team which owns their work and I’m glad that I have one. We have regular review meetings where I take all the updates and stock of things and we brainstorm on our future work and build a roadmap for that. That’s how we make it work. About going forward we plan to build more collaborations, run more campaigns and programs, take up more and more causes untouched so far and impact as many lives as we can. We will also soon work with various NGOs through our adoption program which will pan India across a lot of areas and causes.
4) How things have changed from the start till now?
Things have definitely changed till now with a number of collaborations on the rise and back-to-back execution of campaigns that are impacting society at large. We would like to express gratitude to each and every partner of ours, for being so supportive throughout. We have a lot to grow and we are working hard on it. The foundation is continuously working on different sets of campaigns and activities to create more impact, reach more people and take up different causes and social problems.
5) How helpful are these camps, and would these be organised regularly in future?
As I mentioned earlier, we believe in sensitizing the people of India towards developing social responsibilities and setting up a culture of blood donation. It is indeed the way to solve the problem of blood shortage in India which is pretty severe. At our foundation, we are always committed to the welfare of the society and nation at large. This campaign gives me happiness and relief that we are stepping towards saving someone’s life and bringing change to society
6) What are the plans for the future of the Shikhar Dhawan Foundation?
We have a few more health campaigns in the pipeline celebrating the month of June with a health boon for all. Our association with Maatri-Nexus HealthTech Private Limited will bring a revolutionary healthcare solution for mothers and children. Our campaign, ‘Doctors for You’, will provide support for the last mile problems faced by cancer patients and raise the rate of successful recovery. Our NGOs adoption program will also start soon where we will work with 11 NGOs across India to support and build them through mentorship, guidance, domain knowledge, and technological support. We also have a campaign coming soon cantered around digital education support for underprivileged children in Delhi.