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In Hubli, she is a messiah for the homeless

For Nahid Dhanebag, this Mother Teresa quote has been the biggest inspiration in her life, prompting her to do multiple charity things. A practising architect in Hubli in Karnataka, Nahid is also into poetry and other artist-y things. If this is not enough, you can check her out on YouTube!

Such is her passion, rather conviction, that during weekends when the world is partying or busy doing silly things, she travels to rural areas in nearby districts, distributing books to underprivileged children or roll out blankets to homeless people who sleep on pavements.

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For a girl born into a middle-class family, it was tough for her to go out of the town for her charity work.

“I have always wished to spread joy around me from my childhood. Family and friends called me crazy when I showed interest in such activities. It all began when I associated myself with an NGO while pursuing my architecture course. The NGO was distributing blankets to the homeless who were forced to sleep in the open even during harsh winter.

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During festivals, Nahid and her friends celebrate at slums so that they too became part of the festivities.

“I was overwhelmed by the whole experience. Apart from social work, they also organised trips which were so lively. Being a travel freak, I have learnt many things just by discovering new places. After I completed my graduation, I started selling paintings with the idea of starting my own NGO. Frankly, it was tough to arrange funds,” says Nahid.

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Apart from painting, she is also a poet who has won few awards for poetry. Some of her videos reciting her poems can be found on Youtube. Her paintings were recently displayed at two major painting exhibition. Currently, she is working on an installation made with plastic waste.

“My main aim in life is to build low- cost houses for the homeless. Proper and hygienic washrooms, especially for women, will be another focus area,” says Nahid.

Nahid is also part of two other NGOs, Hubli for Humanity and Revolution Mind.

So what’s her motto? Comes the answer in a flash. “A shed to all.”

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A tete-a-tete with NAHID

As part of your travel, you must have come across many homeless people. How miserable are their lives? Can you offer a peek into their lives?

In a country like India homelessness is one of the main issues. Home is not just four walls or s roof over their head, but lack of finances, lack of culture, lack of security….the list is long. As per a recent estimate, there are 1.77 million homeless people in India. Due to floods and other extreme climatic conditions, extreme weather in summer, many people lose lives every year. In a country where women are not safe, you can’t even imagine the state of people living on the streets. People face health issues due to poor sanitation.

Any unforgettable experience?

One incident I can’t forget happened during the execution of a master plan of beautifying the city. Slums were being razed, and many people, especially the elderly, were screaming and crying in utter helplessness. It shook my soul.

How do you find a balance between your job, hobbies like painting and art, and travel for charity? What’s the magic behind such energy?

Well, as I said earlier, I am a crazy girl with a lot of energy and a bit of insomnia! After finishing my work, I somehow find time at night to work on my hobbies and the best part is I get to reveal my emotions in form of paintings and poetry.

A shed to all, is your motto. How are you planning to make your dream a reality?

When I was in the second year of architecture, I started working on this project. It will basically be a common shed with two partitions for males and females along with the washroom. Materials used here will be of low cost and affordable. It will be an open hall for anyone who is looking for shelter.

To build low-cost homes, are you in touch with any experts?

Yes, I believe my teachers from GIT college are experts because they have guided me in such a way that the sparkle within me has lightened up and the plan is almost ready to be executed

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What has been the response from your parents, relatives and friends?

I must say they are the most supportive people on the planet. When I try to explain to them my ideas, plans, and goals, each time they come up with something better, something much practical than what I really thought. I am indebted to them.

What are those habits of yours which, as per you, have helped you reach where you are currently?

  • My trust in humanity, my trust in God, the love of my parents and the confidence within myself is the base. I get a kick out of it every time I try something new.
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