Where charity begins..
Disillusioned with teaching methods in mainstream college in the 90’s, Fiona took a break when her kids were toddlers. As they grew up, she took up volunteering work at Akanksha Foundation in Mumbai where she taught and mentored school kids of 10th grade and college kids. She took a break to pursue her passion for singing and moved on to work with the NGO’s SNEHA and Muktangan and developed a program of teaching sex education to adolescent kids in schools all over Mumbai. She still contributes her time to the Akanksha Foundation through their annual art exhibition.
With mother in voluntary teaching and father into cut throat financial deal making, Miranda household dinner talks have been a concoction of capitalism and philanthropy. “I would often talk about the stories of the children I met during the day, my experiences, challenges and frustrations of not being able to do more for the non government organizations (NGOs) I volunteered” says Fiona. If she was excited and thrilled about her day, so were her kids. They would often see her spending time with domestic maids to help them overcome their health and personal problems.
Such an environment in our house sent a strong message to the kids, says the money savvy mom. They would willingly join her for annual days, prize distribution ceremonies or just to spend weekends being part of the activities at the NGO.As they grew up, they started supporting other NGOs as well, talked about it in their schools and encouraged other kids as well.
So when Mirandas decided to spend three weeks in Ladakh, their teenagers didn’t raise an eyebrow. It was about spending time with the school kids in Hanley and Turtuk, the remote villages in Ladakh that witness extreme winter conditions. These schools as well as many more in the Ladakh are supported by an NGO, 17000 ft foundation. That summer holiday, Fiona says, changed her teenagers’ mindset completely, especially her shy son who engaged with small kids in these schools and demonstrated science experiments. Her daughter who is currently taking a gap year after school to pursue dance, is planning to revisit and spend more time in Ladakh with 17000 ft Foundation this summer.