A Parsi boy affiliated to the XYZ hands a pair of slippers to a visitor. Photo: Special Arrangement

A Parsi boy affiliated to the XYZ hands a pair of slippers to a visitor. Photo: Special Arrangement

  • In three hours, 100 children tap 21 Parsi colonies, collect more than 12,000 shoes for underprivileged kids

A few days ago, 100 Parsi children between the ages of 5 and 15 set out to make a difference to the lives of underprivileged people in the city, and in the process, set an example of giving.

The children, affiliated to Xtremely Young Zoroastrians (XYZ), a voluntary organisation, collected old and unused shoes from homes in 21 Parsi colonies across the city, from Colaba to Goregaon. Between 9.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m., they collected 12,199 pairs of shoes, which were given to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Hamara Footpath, Goonj, Angel Xpress Foundation, Oscar Foundation and others, to be distributed to those in need.

“We are a small community, but wanted to make a big impact on the city,” says Hoshaang Gotla, founder of XYZ Foundation.

The collection drive was termed ‘XYZ Stepping Forward’, under the organisation’s MAD (Make A Difference) initiative. Apart from the shoes, the drive also included collecting money from Parsi residents, which will go towards buying football stockings and studs for the Organisation for Social Change Awareness and Responsibility (OSCAR) Foundation. The NGO addresses community issues in the Ambedkar Nagar slum through football.

XYZ also plans to raise money for the Jaipur Foot. It aims to donate at least 10 to 20 prosthetic legs to those in need.

The rationale for the event was simple. “All it takes is one pair of shoes to make a difference. A lot of people suffer foot illnesses or have no footwear, whereas the middle and upper middle classes have at least one or two extra pairs at home,” says Mr. Gotla. The idea was for the Parsis to initially tap into their own homes for shoes, as this would be relatively easier to start with.

The drive involved running an advertising campaign in the community newspaper, Parsi Times, which gave XYZ the space for free. The campaign had three components. The first was ‘Donate’, which spelt out details such as where, when, and to whom the shoes could be given. Children from the community also made posters which they stuck in their respective housing societies. Messages were also sent on social media.

The second component was ‘Recycle’, which urged families to give away shoes they were not using, while the third was ‘Boot Aapo’, which translates from Gujarati to ‘give your shoes’.

Once the shoes were collected, they were sorted by volunteers into categories like, ‘male,’ ‘female’ and ‘child’, and packed into bags along with labels indicating the number of shoes in each category. These were then transported through tempos to various NGOs, and where the numbers were large, to the godown of NGO, Goonj, in Mira Road. The response was so overwhelming that storage became an issue. “We had to hire a second godown, and two more tempos,” says Mr. Gotla.Goonj, for instance, needed the shoes for distribution all over the city, and has told XYZ it can handle larger numbers for use across the country.

The drive also faced some obstacles. Children tire easily, plus this was exam season. The result was that only 100 children came out with their parents and friends to take the drive forward. But those who did, say it was transformative. The experience made 13-year-old Riyan Karbhari “very happy”. When he went out to collect shoes from seven buildings at the Salsette Parsi Colony in Andheri with his friends, there were the odd residents who slammed the door in their face or simply refused to part with shoes or money. “We did feel bad, but we didn’t let that spoil our mood,” says Riyan. His mother Nazneen, was happy about the leadership qualities the drive had instilled in her son and the other children. “During the conversation back at home, the children were saying things like, ‘Every time I want a new pair of shoes I’ll stop to think about whether I need to buy it’.”

The children also had to do a good bit of planning and execution in the stipulated three hours. “They had the opportunity to interact with various types of people and age groups, which gave them a different perspective.”

Pakzin Khodaiji, 13, who was also involved in the drive, said she had spread the word among her friends in school. “I feel very nice that I am helping someone lead a better life,” she said.

This may just be the beginning, though. Under phase-II of the drive, XYZ has set itself a target of nearly 60,000 shoes. On December 17 this year, XYZ will have children, parents and volunteers fan out to 60 schools across the city, and aim to collect at least 1,000 pairs from each school. And if it’s shoes this year, XYZ will look at extending the ‘giving’ to one new item in every successive year for people in need.

It’s not difficult, says Mr. Gotla.“This is not an XYZ initiative only. We want to be a catalyst for change. It just takes a little effort. People have not just shoes, but blankets, soaps and even umbrellas to spare. All they need to do is reach out.”


XYZ Stepping Forward – An Appeal

An Appeal…

Dear members of the community,

Our organisation – XYZ is organising a MAD Initiative (Making A Difference) called XYZ STEPPING FORWARD which is a Shoe Collection Drive on Sunday, 2nd October 2016.

Our Xtremely Young Zoroastrians along with friends, family and well-wishers will be going to 21 different colonies and baugs in the city only between 9:30 am and 12:30 pm to collect all types of footwear, i.e. shoes, slippers, sandals etc. which are in wearable condition. If you do not have anything to donate, we are also accepting donations of Rs. 200 for a new pair of shoes for the needy.

These shoes will then be sorted and sent to NGOs like Hamara Footath, Greensole, Angel Xpress Foundation, Oscar Foundation and others to be distributed to people in need and improve their lives.

We at XYZ are overjoyed that so many baugs, colonies, gymkhanas and associations are helping this cause and also appreciates the support of the Scout Groups and other organisations. We especially thank the PARSI TIMES for spreading the message to all their readers over the last month. We hope that the children of our small community bind us together and work as one to make a huge difference to the people in need.

While reading this message, we want you to know that you can also help in any of the 3 following ways:

    Please give as many pairs of shoes as you can. Please tie the shoes with a rubber band or string and hand it over to the kids or drop it off at the collection centers.

A donation in cash or cheque can also be made for new shoes.

    Make the conscious decision to come down to your colony and help with the collection process for only 1 or 2 hours.

    If you are unable to do the above, we still hope that you can forward this message to others in the community and Make A Difference.

This may be an XYZ Initiative but we hope that every Zoroastrian comes together and makes a change as you too are an Xtremely Young Zoroastrian within. This is not about your social or civic responsibility. This is about Being Better Parsis.

Warm Regards,

Hoshaang Gotla
Founder, XYZ


Volunteers needed

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Mumbai’s famed music institution, The Mehli Mehta Music Foundation, in association with Furtados, kicks off crowdfunder to gift Rs 68 lakh grand Steinway piano to its students; donors can sponsor individual keys for Rs 76,000 each

MMMF piano students play on a Steinway grand piano. The smaller Model S is currently 
at Furtados’ warehouse. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi
Music patrons in the city and across the country are in for a rare opportunity where they can sponsor, not an entire grand piano, but just a key from it. The cost? Just Rs 76,000.
Inline image 2
A representative pic of a Steinway grand piano, with the middle C key held down. The Mehli Mehta Foundation has donated this key the first that a child learns which costs Rs 1.4 lakh in the 88 Keys Programme
In a first in the country, the Steinway 88 Keys Programme was launched last week by the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation (MMMF), named after Western classical maestro Zubin Mehta’s late father and instituted by classical musician Mehroo Jeejeebhoy. MMMF has its eyes on an instrument from the world’s leading piano manufacturers, Steinway and Sons (also known as Steinway). While it is the smallest model of grand pianos made by Steinway, it comes at a whopping pricetag of Rs 68 lakh, a cost that the non-profit music foundation cannot afford. “We want to raise the quality of Western classical music education in the country and this grand piano from Steinway, known to be one of the best makes in the world, is a step towards that goal,” says Jeejeebhoy, at the Cumballa Hill school.
Inline image 3
The Steinway grand piano Model S, also called ‘the city grand’
On a suggestion from Kalbadevi’s reputed music instruments store, Furtados, MMMF initiated this fundraiser, allowing people to crowdfund the piano, key by key. Moreover, the actual price of the piano is upward of Rs 71 lakh (based on currency fluctuations) but being offered at a preferential rate of Rs 68 lakh by Furtados for the school’s philanthropic agenda.
Inline image 4
Anthony Gomes
Out of 88 keys, 85 come at Rs 76,000 per key; the remaining cost more: the middle C — the first key learnt by a child — costs Rs 1.4 lakh, and the keys of the highest and lowest notes come at Rs 1 lakh each. “This is just a strategy for funding this piano. It is not possible for one donor to contribute entirely,” explains Jeejeebhoy.
Inline image 5
Mehroo Jeejeebhoy. Pic/Nimesh Dave

The innovative crowd-funding model, which has been occasionally implemented across other countries, is explained on the Steinway website and sometimes even borrowed by pianos of other makes. This time around, the fundraiser is a collaborative effort between MMMF and Furtados, which has the Model S, measuring 5 feet one inch, stored in their warehouse. Anthony Gomes, director of Furtados, says, “We hope that the ask from donors in the Western classical community is not perceived as a substantial one. This is not so much a purchase as much as an acquisition for the school; it has been an aspiration for the school, which has regrettably remained unfulfilled for long due to funding reasons,” he adds. Jeebhoy also says, “When we can spend lakhs on a motorcar, we can do the same for an educational tool of good quality. A Steinway piano is not a luxury.”

As a precedent, the 21-year-old non-profit Foundation has purchased the middle C while Furtados has donated the F, the store’s first letter.

Both Furtados and MMMF testify to the legendary stature of the handcrafted Steinway grand piano, which have been developed over 160 years. “Steinway has an artiste roster of about 1,600 top pianists [including Cole Porter and Billy Joel]. To become a Steinway artiste, there is only one precondition: an artiste must believe in the brand and therefore, own a Steinway piano. Unlike other brand endorsements, Steinway works differently. You must invest in a piano before you can endorse it,” he says.

Jeejeebhoy, an accomplished pianist, owns a Steinway that she has been playing on for the last 40 years. “It is a fine instrument and gives you many years of good service. I wouldn’t like to compare it with other brands, since not everyone can afford a Steinway,” she says.

The model S is made of carefully selected woods, one of which is Sitka spruce wood from Alaska for the soundboard. The wood selection and construction are such that the sound created by the piano should potentially reach the end of a concert hall without the use of a mic. The science behind the piano, says Jeejeebhoy, should allow students to learn the nuances of controlling the sound and the touch of the keys. Once the piano finds its 88 donors, it will have to be kept in temperate conditions with regulated humidity, tasks MMMF will look into in the future.

The school has currently enrolled 640 students, who start at the age of one-and-a-half and learn instruments around the age of 7 till they reach their late teens. MMMF also does an outreach music lessons for 884 students from low-income communities in BMC schools. “Students will not begin training on a Steinway; it is only in their later years that they will perfect their skills on it. While we help students from low income communities to learn on the violin and cello, it is difficult to train on a piano, since it requires you to have an instrument at home,” says Jeejeebhoy. The Model S will be an addition to the school’s existing seven pianos (among which are two Bostons, also Steinway makes), on which both students learn and teachers practice.

The fundraiser was announced last night at The Singing Tree choral concert of over 180 students from the MMMF, held at the National Centre Performing Arts.

The acquisition of this Steinway is the first step for MMMF to become an All-Steinway School in the coming years, a position held by reputed schools such as the Royal College of Music, London. However, the Steinway association is not without its share of criticism, right from its demand for exclusivity and the “monoculture” of sound it has bred. The pianist Garrick Ohlsson, for instance, was banned in the 1970s from using Steinway after he praised Bösendorfer, another piano manufacturer, in public. Furthermore, will there be those who question the need for a Steinway — the Rolls Royce among pianos — in a music school?

But, both MMMF and Furtados are unfazed by these instances. “This is a chance to create awareness about Western classical music through our junior conservatory. We want our students, whether they are learning or playing it at a concert, to know that they are using a special instrument,” says Jeejeebhoy.

By Benita Fernando | Sunday Mid-Day, 04-Sep-2016

Free Schooling for deserving Parsi Children

The management of S M Batha High School, Panchgani has decided to admit Parsi Zoroastrian deserving children free of charge. They will provide boarding lodging, uniform, books and even extra coaching in academic and train them in different sports.
Admission in all classes from junior K G to std X.
Contact details: 9820262632 or 02223686325

Medical Aid for the needy

🙏 If Any one needs MEDICAL FINANCIAL HELP contact following trusts…ma

🙏Sir Ratan Tata Trust Bombay House, Homi Mody Street, Mumbai 400 001 Call: 022-66658282

🙏Reliance Foundation (Previously Ambani Public Charitable Trust) 222 Maker Chambers IV, 3rd Floor, Nariman Point, Mumbai – 400021 Call: 022-44770000, 022-30325000

🙏Amirilal Ghelabhai Charitable Trust 71, Gitanjali, 73 / 75, Walkeshwar Road, Mumbai – 400006

🙏Asha Kiran Charitable Trust C/o Radium Keysoft Solutions Ltd, Call: 022-26358290 101, Raigad Darshan, Opposite Indian oil Colony J.P. Road, Andheri (w) Mumbai 400 053

🙏Aspee Charitable Trust C/o Americal Spring and Pressing Works Pvt. Ltd P.O. Box No. 7602, Adarsha Housing Soc. Road, Malad (w), Mumbai 400 064 ,

🙏Aured Charitable Trust 1-B-1 Giriraj, Altamount Road Mumbai 400 026, Call: 022-23821452, 022-24926721

🙏B. Arunkumar & Co. 1616, Prasad Chambers, Opera House, Mumbai – 400004

🙏B D Bangur Trust C/o Carbon Everflow Ltd. Bakhawar, 2nd Floor, Nariman Point Mumbai 400021

🙏Bombay Community Public Trust (BCPT) 5th Floor Regent Chambers, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400021, Call: 022-22845928 / 022-22836672

🙏Burhani Foundation 276 Dr. D. N. Road Lawrence & Mayo House Fort Mumbai-400001

🙏Century Seva Trust Century Bazar, Worli, Mumbai – 400025

🙏Centre for Research & Development Shreyas Chambers,Ground Floor, 175-Dr. D.N. Road, Fort, Mumbai – 400 001

🙏Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, Government of Maharashtra Mantralaya, 6th Floor Nariman Point, Mumbai – 400020

🙏Damodar Anandji Charity Trust 66, Vaju Kotak Marg, Near G.P.O, Mumbai -400001

🙏Diamond Jubliee Trust Aga hall, Nesbit Road, Opp. St. Mary’s High School Mumbai 400010, Call: 022-23775294, 022-23778923

🙏Dharma Vijay Trust C/O Kilachand Devchand & Co. New Great Insurance Bldg., 7, Jamshedji Tata Road, Mumbai – 400020

🙏Dharamdas Trikamdas Kapoorwala 46, Ridge Road, Rekha No.2, 4th Floor, Mumbai – 400006

🙏Dhirubhai Ambani Foundation Reliance Industries Limited Reliance Centre, 19, Walchand Hirachand Marg, Ballard Estate, Mumbai 400 038. Tel : 022-30327000

🙏Dhirajlal Talkchand Charitable Trust Shailesh Niwas, Subhash Lane Daftary Road, Malad (E), Mumbai – 400097

🙏Dhirajlal Morarji Ajmera Charity Trust 37 – A, Sarang Street, Mumbai – 400003

🙏Dipchand Gardi Charitable Trust Usha Kiran, 2nd Floor, Altamount Road, Mumbai – 400006

🙏Divaliben Mohanlal Charitable Trust Khatau Mansion, 1st Floor, 95-K. Omer Park, Bhulabhai Desai Road, Mumbai 400 026

🙏Ekta Charitable Trust 4/444, PanchRatna, Opera House, Mumbai -400004

🙏Eskay Charitable Trust C/O Caprihans India Ltd., Shivsagar Estate, ‘D’ Block, 2nd Floor, Dr. A. B. Road, Worli, Mumbai – 400018

🙏Excel Process Pvt. Ltd. Charitable Trust 117 / 118, Mathurdas Vasanji Road, Chakala, Andheri (E), Mumbai – 400093

🙏Fazalbhoy Charitable Trust Near Liberty Cinema, Marine Lines, Mumbai -400020

🙏Gala Foundation Behind Vakola Municipal Market, Nehru Road, Vakola, Santacruz(E) Mumbai

🙏Garware Foundation Trust Chowpatty Chambers, Mumbai – 400007

🙏Gokak Foundation Forbes Bldg., Forbes Street, Mumbai – 400023

🙏Goodlass Nerolac Paints Ltd. (Trust) Nerolac House, A. G. Kadam Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai – 400013

🙏Govind Dattatraya Gokhale Charitable Trust Kalpataru Heritage, 5th Floor, 129, M.G. Road Mumbai 400 023, Call: 022-22673831

🙏Harendra Dave Memorial Trust C/O Janmabhoomi, 3rd Floor, Janmbhoomi Marg Mumbai 400 001

🙏Helping Hand Charitable Trust 3, Vidarbha Samrat Co-op Hsg. Society 93-c, V.P.Road, Vile Parle (West) Mumbai – 400 056 Tel: 022-6147448

🙏Hiranandani Foundation Charitable Trust Olympia, Central Avenue, Hiranandani Business Park Powai, Mumbai 400076
🙏Herdillia Charitable Foundation Air India Building, 13th Floor Nariman Point Mumbai 400 031, Call: 022-22024224

🙏Hirachand Govardhandas 222, Maker Chambers 1V 3rd Floor, Nariman Point Mumbai 400 021

🙏H. M. Mehta Charity Trust Mehta House, 4 th Floor, Apollo Street, Khushru Dubhash Marg, Mumbai – 400001

🙏H. S. C. Trust Ready Money Mansion, Veer Nariman Road, Mumbai – 400023

🙏Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation Bajaj Bhavan 2nd Floor, Jamnalal Bajaj Marg, 226 Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021, Call: 022-22023626

🙏Shree Siddhivinayak Temple Trust Prabhadevi, Mumbai – 400 028, Tel. 022-24373626 : Medical Ad Form is available on the Web.
Please see their Web site for details.

This man’s idea to crowdsource food now touches 2,500 lives

Khushroo Poacha wanted to feed kin of the poor in hospitals. The result was an initiative that now spans 7 cities.

Khushroo Poacha, 38, holds a regular job with the Central Railways in its commercial department in Nagpur. Married and blessed with a young girl child, there is one thing that makes him stand out. An idea that he conceived two years back has now come to fruition and feeds around 2,500 people every week.

“My mother was then hospitalised in Nagpur for a surgery. I saw a lot of people sitting outside the hospital, cooking chappatis on a brick kiln to make ends meet,” shares Poacha. His mother suggested that if he was so touched by their plight then he should do something for them.

“My mother passed away two months later, but I wanted to follow up on her suggestion. I called a friend, Amit, who came to the hospital the following Sundayand distributed 25 packets of food,” Poacha says.

That was the start of Seva kitchen. Next week he himself joined in and realised that cooking at home would allow them to feed more people at the same cost. Soon more people joined in and Poacha assumed the role of a coordinator.

What started as an initiative that was done once a week in two hospitals in Nagpur spread across cities. “On Fridays, I coordinate with different groups. There are some hospitals where the relatives are provided meals every day and not just onSundays,” Poacha explains.

Two years since it started, the initiative has spread to seven cities – Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and New Delhi.

There are a few ground rules Poacha sticks to. No one is allowed to contribute money. Everyone brings food cooked at home and distributes it. Also, there will be no discrimination based on caste, gender, creed or colour.

“Once a lady from Hyderabad was distributing food in her area and a friend visiting from Australia wanted to contribute. We refused to accept money so he now orders bananas online, that is distributed every Sunday,” Poacha shares.

Those contacting him include both young and old alike. While Poacha wanted to feed relatives of those in hospitals, there are young volunteers from Mumbai and Navi Mumbai who have taken to feeding the homeless and those living on the streets every week.

Today, the Seva initiative provides 2,500 meals every week, touching as many lives.

“You don’t need a lot of money to do good work, you just need a lot of passion,” signs off Poacha.

# Those wanting to join the initiative can contact Khushroo Poacha at09561011264 or check the Fb page of Seva kitchen.

Mumbai: This man’s idea to crowdsource food now touches 2,500 lives – Khushroo Poacha wanted to feed kin of the poor in hospitals. The result was an initiative that now spans 7 cities.


173 year old Historic Agiary needs your support

Restore the originality & grandeur of the past!

sardar agry 2

In order to restore the Agiary premises to its former regal glory, a major restoration program has been recently undertaken by the current Trustees.
The first phase of restoration is nearly complete with the exterior facade being restored to its original grandeur.
The Trustees are now keen to commence the second phase of restoration, comprising of the Main Hall, Baaj Room and Muktad Rooms and they need the community’s support.
Come help make a difference & be part of history!

sardar agry