Students of India chronicles stories across the country on those who are doing great work in various fields: Art and theatre, acting, music and dance, cuisine, sports, technology, innovation, business, social work, photography etc.

Himanshu Goenka was only 17 when he laid the foundation of  an NGO, ‘Muskurahat. The NGO targets various social issues especially the cause of women.

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Himanshu was the youngest crew member in the production team for Amol Gupte’s film “Hawa Hawai”. While talking about the story behind the NGO, he says, “Back in our school days we had many reasons to attend orphanages, old age homes be it birthdays, school visits, etc. When I came to college it struck me to do something fruitful for people and not just go there for a visit. I want to spread smiles through my work.”

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It’s been two years for Muskurahat now and it runs all over Mumbai with a dedicated team of 50 volunteers. Himanshu also has few interns that handle the content, graphic designs and photography for “Muskurahat” who work for free for the NGO. According to Himanshu, “The biggest challenge for the foundation is to bring out good volunteers who are determined enough to work for society.”

Muskhurahat is completely self-financed and not backed by any organization. Volunteers contribute to the causes through their personal funds.

The most impressive campaign that Muskurahat took was of “Periods of Sharing”. Himanshu was appalled when he learned of the difficult conditions women were living in, especially during their menstrual cycle. The Muskurahat team along with Rotract of Mumbai set up a drive for fundraising. They collected around 25,000 sanitary napkins, 2,000 clothes and toys and reached out to the people of Nareshwadi village of Dahanu.

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They set up a workshop to teach young girls on how to use sanitary napkins as for a long time women in the village had been using unsanitary methods such as unclean pieces of cloth. Muskurahat collaborated with the local hospital and set up a health center for the women. They are provided with free sanitary napkins and can avail of free treatment.

Another great campaign that Muskurahat organised was “Bake and Sell”. It was collaborated with “The Bake collective and Cuddles Foundation.”
The funds collected were donated to the cancer patients.

Himanshu plans to launch a campaign called “Kitaab” that aims to provide quality education to the street children. They plan to adopt 20 street children and sponsor their education. They would train them and work on improving their hard and soft skills. He also plans to get these children admitted into good schools.

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The message that Himanshu wanted to convey is “Social work isn’t about visiting an orphanage and posting pictures on social networking sites just for the sake of it. It needs discipline and complete dedication to the cause. You won’t even realize how many lives are being touched by these little acts of kindness.”

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