Getting financial assistance in today’s economy is a bit difficult. How can you seek help for a concept like rural development? Let’s meet Farzana Cama Balpande, a social activist and an entrepreneur who created a vision to enrich the lives of the less fortunate across India through the medium of experiences and enjoyment, by incorporating into their lives, activities and experiences from across genres like sport, cinema, arts, theatre and music.
BookASmile (BAS) is an initiative run by Balpande and it’s the leading online ticketing platform by ‘BookMyShow’ (BMS) that works to offer help and grant support for rural development. This initiative operates on a non-profit model. It harnesses its financial strength via the "Power of 1". Rs1 is the basic amount that a customer can donate per ticket purchased on this platform.
BAS tagline reads ‘Creating Smiles for Miles’. “That is what we inspire to do. Over the years we have extended our support to various causes such as differently-abled individuals with special needs, less fortunate children undergoing treatment for cancer, underprivileged children, senior citizens, animal shelters and much more,” says Balpande.
Talking in brief about the initiative, Balpande describes that BAS would like to reach out to a larger geography and make a more pronounced impact. “We want to cross regional borders and extend experiences and opportunities to all. There is a dearth in exposure to the arts, cinema, sport and theatre in the disadvantaged sections of our society. By creating an awareness for the same in these geographies we are educating and opening up their minds to endless positive thought processes and possibilities,” adds Balpande.
It’s heart-rendering to realise that there are several children who cannot afford to go to schools or find ways for it. Apart from education and health support, the organisation is even focusing on entertainment where these children will get an opportunity to have fun-filled days. “The donation will embrace smile in those innocent eyes. We are hoping even to inspire underprivileged children by giving them an opportunity to explore entertainment. This will help to motive the psychological strengthen of these under privileged children in a healthy manner for approaching life and set goals for development as a whole,” adds Balpande.
The organisation is also rendering opportunity to be their part through the ‘Earn and Learn’ initiative young adults get to provide an opportunity to intern with the BMS team at events and shows, thereby opening their minds to meaningful and challenging job opportunities.
“Our employee engagement initiative gives all our volunteering employees the opportunity to reach out to society at large and contributes their time, energy and ideas towards the causes,” proudly states Balpande.
BAS is also going to join ‘The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon’ where ‘Power of Rs1’ will converge the Power of Many, nearly 128 BMS employees will be participating and render pledge for their support and will be raising funds to support special causes.
“We always keep our mandate enriching the lives of the less fortunate through the medium of Experiences and Enjoyment in mind when we pick NGO’s and see if it makes the right fit, matching the pulse and rhythm of the BMS platform,” adds Balpande.