Giving Back is the New Black

"Boys Dreaming" by Vicky Roy. Taken at Saalam Baalak Trust.

Giving back is sexy. It’s the new black in fact.

Whether you live next door to Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum (Hello Mr. Ambani) or across the world from it, you can no longer ignore “it”. The “it” in this case is the increasing visibility of Indians in media, business, fashion and entertainment and the contrasting poverty that continues to exist side by side.

Slumdog Millionaire recently brought this to international attention, but it was Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay (1988) that first documented the street children of Mumbai. (If you haven’t seen it, add it to your netflix queue now.)

But how to know where and to whom to give? After all, you work hard for your money and you want to track it and make sure it has an impact.

We recently spent time on the ground in Mumbai and between sourcing fashion, people, film and the like, we came across the most Indo-cool project around – the Salaam Balak Trust (SBT). Started as a result of the film Salaam Bombay, the SBT focuses on street kids, and in 20 years has impacted the lives of thousands of children. In 2009, they won the award for NGO of the year and continue to work every day with the most needy children in India.

We think that’s pretty awesome.

If you’re inclined to forgo a week of lattes or that new pair of shoes, you can support Salaam Baalak’s work here or give to a vetted NGO of your choice at www.giveindia.com.

Oh and by the way, January 24th is National Girl Child Day in India. A good time for us to think outside our privileged lives. We’re just saying.

See more images from photographer Vicky Roy, who at 11 lived on a railway platform in Delhi and worked as a rag picker. He was rescued by the Saalam Baalak Trust.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

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