Friday 18 August 2017 News Updated at 03:08 AM IST
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Tirunelveli's wall of kindness - Deccan Herald
Tirunelveli's wall of kindness
R Sathyanarayana in Chennai,
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A view of the Wall of Kindness in Tirunelveli Collectorate office.
A 12-year old boy asked his father to stop the car at the collectorate office in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu. After the car came to a halt, the boy entered the collector office compound and placed a toy on the "Wall of Kindness”, the place where people leave clothes, books, toys and footwear for use by poor.

Wall of Kindness is a first of its kind initiative by Tirunelveli Collector Sandeep Nanduri. The novel idea is getting tremendous response from people.

"When I took charge as the collector of Tirunelveli, I used to get lots of petitions from people requesting various kinds of help. Then, I thought of an idea to set up a wall that could attract people to donate articles,” Sandeep said.

Now, the wall inside the collectorate office compound has turned into Wall of Kindness and people can donate and collect 24x7. "This donation concept was first tried in north-eastern Iran to support underprivileged people following difficult economic situation,” Sandeep pointed out.

The haves would walk in and leave whatever they wanted to donate at the wall. The have-nots would visit the place and collect articles that would be useful to them. "Just placing a box next to the compound will not attract donors. Therefore, I consulted a designer to paint attractive image on the wall,” Sandeep said.

He has a justification for preferring collector office for setting up the wall. "It is a place where lots of people come for different kinds of work. People from all walks of life come to get their work done. So, I thought it is the right place to start the initiative,” the collector said.

The wall has a message written on it in Tamil: "Donate, if you do not require it! Take it, if you need!” People can even leave consumables if they are in good condition and can be eaten by those in need.

The wall has been tastefully done and has beautiful hanging pegs in the form of flowers. Called 'Anbusuvar’ (Wall of Kindness) clothes are hung on these pegs instead of being dumped in a box.

The items will be placed on the shelves on the wall. Shirts and clothes will be hung on the hangers. Sandeep says consciously it has been decided not to have security personnel near the wall. "Poor are conscious and cautious and they will not come to pick up articles if the place is guarded,” he said.

Launching the project this month, the collector himself donated a couple of his shirts by placing them on the Wall of Kindness. Even the assistant collector, the district revenue officer and divisional revenue official also chipped in by donating some items. Thereafter, people have started coming regularly to either donate or collect articles.

As a next step, the collector said that he and other officials want to create awareness among children in educational institutions. "We will be sending letters urging students to bring their unused items that could help the poor to the Wall of Kindness.

"I donated my few dhotis and shirts which I was not using,” 65-year-old Ramarajan said. He said he will tell his whole family, including his son who is in the US, to leave their unused belongings on the Wall of Kindness.

Similarly, 32-year-old Bhuvaneshwari, a self-employed person who donated a few saris, said that she would make sure that she would contribute whatever she can in the future. "If my neighbours have a problem in coming to the collector office for donation, I will collect them and place them on the Wall of Kindness,” she said.

Manikkam, a fisherman, travelled more than 40 km from his coastal area to the collectorate to donate a few clothes. "If it is in my area, more people from my community could donate,” he added.

The collector has won accolades and praises have started pouring in from different parts of the state. People have expressed their willingness to make the initiative a grand success. Many are giving suggestions to improve and make the project more meaningful, Sandeep said.

Enthused by the response for the initiative, which is just in its second week, the collector is planning similar walls in railway station, bus stand and important junctions where people gather in large numbers.

"We plan to tie-up with various NGOs to expand the project,” Sandeep said. As part of the improvement, among other things, a huge rain shelter and drinking water facility will be added at the Wall of Kindness.

There are suggestions that the initiative should start in other districts and respective collectors should be approached to take up project in their jurisdictional areas.
"The officials are also planning to get a post box number so that people could make donations through parcel service,” an official at the collector office said.