This was an initiative of 4 college friends hailing come from Mangaluru. They started an NGO called ‘The Imagine Trust’, which they all juggle along with their corporate jobs. One of the friends, Melisha Noronha joined it full-time, and hence they were able say yes to bigger projects. After this, there was no looking back for them.
While in college, two of the friends, Nitin and Vinod ran a clothing bank for 2 years in Mangaluru. This initiative was a great success as many less-fortunate people were able to benefit from this. When they moved to Bengaluru, they took a break. But the idea was still in their minds. They looked for the perfect opportunity to start over.
The pandemic gave them the perfect opportunity to restart this. Noronha said that her husband and her really felt that it was their calling. They hadn’t been affected by the Covid at all. They felt that it was time for them to find their purpose, something more meaningful. The clothes bank started in Bengaluru on September 12 in a 2-room house near Electronic City. Along with her, the group consists of her husband, Vinod Prem Lobo, her mother Gladys Noronha, and friends Nitin Kumar and Vignesh.
People often tend to buy excess clothing, which they might not even need in the future. Eventually, that clothing is discarded. During this process, we never think about the less fortunate ones, who don’t have enough clothes to keep themselves warm.
The bank aims to give the poor the dignity and right to choose what they want from here. There needs to be a place where people can come in and take the clothes with dignity. They should have various options to choose from. Almost always, when the poor gets clothes, it is not something they want, it is something already discarded. This bank is open for the needy on each Sunday, offering clothes to all age groups.
Each clothing item costs Rs 1. The reason behind this was to uphold the buyer’s dignity, not making it feel like a ‘free charity’ that could make them uncomfortable. The money from this is used by the NGO to fulfil a needy family’s educational / medical needs.
The shop consists of all kinds of clothes and also bedsheets, towels and curtains are available.
All of the items are donated by people. The group has found volunteers from apartment complexes nearby, doing collection drives. They do the needful and send it to them. The drive goes on for the entire year. It was a small group initially but the donations are now coming in from different parts of the city. People outside the country are also interested in the cause. Today, the bank is catering to over 150 families a week.