#DaanUtsav (earlier called the Joy of Giving Week) is India’s ‘festival of giving’. Launched in 2009, the festival is celebrated every year – commencing on Gandhi Jayanti – from October 2 to 8.
From auto rickshaw drivers to CEOs, school children to celebrities, homemakers to opinion leaders and media personnel, millions of people from all walks of life come together during this week to give their time, money, resources, or skills back to society. They do this by creating or participating in events of their choice.
A giving event could be as simple as a family taking out their maid’s children for an ice cream party, or as large as a ‘Gift Compassion’. The latter is an event that has over 10,000 schoolchildren across India making and exchanging gifts with their peers from different socio-economic backgrounds every year.
In 2016, millions of people participated in more than 1,500 events across 200 cities across the country by raising several tens of crores in money and material donations and by giving countless volunteer hours.
Several people around the world have, time and again, come together on the idea of giving back to society. It is impossible to attribute ownership to anyone for these, or likewise for #DaanUtsav!
Between November 2008 and February 2009, several individuals and NGO leaders got together and decided to launch an ‘India Giving Week’. Riverside School in Gujarat came up with a ‘Design for Change’ contest. Goonj, an NGO based in Delhi, launched the ‘Vastrasamman Campaign’. Toofles, a cause-agnostic fundraising platform, organised a ‘Style for Smiles CEO Ramp Walk’. In Chennai, a Battle of the Buffet was run. These were just some of the events; there were many more organised in the year.
The advertising agency, EuroRSCG India created the ‘Joy of Giving Week’ brand identity in March 2009. Between 2009 and 2013, as the festival grew in scale and reached all socio-economic strata and geographies of India, it became apparent that the festival needed a name that was easily understood by people across the length and breadth of the country. Thus, in February 2014, volunteers renamed the festival ‘#DaanUtsav’, based on feedback received from several people living in various parts of India.
No one owns #DaanUtsav! Like Diwali, Id, Christmas, Father’s Day or Mother’s Day, anyone around the world can celebrate the festival! However, in its formative years, to give it shape, a group of core volunteers managed the #DaanUtsav campaign, defined guidelines for participation, and evangelized the effort. But you are the most important part of making this festival bigger.
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