My name is Ridhima Gupta, I am from Kanpur, and I come from a middle-class family consisting of my parents and myself.
My father has been through a lot in his life. He taught throughout his teenage years to earn money, and then completed his education (B.Com. 1987). He took on the responsibility of handling his family's finances at a young age. In 1985, he started his business by tutoring students.
Mom has always been so supportive and understanding of our family, enduring the highs and lows. Her cheerful attitude infuses our home with a warm atmosphere. She has stood by Dad like a steadfast pillar in every life situation.
My dad always tried to give us more than his pocket allowed. I learnt a lot from his life struggles, and my parents have taught me, "To extend your hand for support, not to take."
During my time at Amity University Noida College, I used to notice poor children begging for food and money, often sleeping on the streets.
Since I've faced difficulties in my life, I learned it's better to focus on finding solutions rather than just thinking about problems. So, every time I saw those poor children, I gave them something to eat.
I once asked them, "Do you want to study?" Even though they initially denied it, I understood their reasons. Every day after college, I spent an hour or two teaching them under the shelter of a foot-over bridge.
Eventually, they began to enjoy learning, and whenever they saw me, they were excited about what new things we would explore.
My friends appreciated my efforts, and some of them also started teaching in their free time. Later, I found out that many people were taking the initiative to offer homes, food, and basic education.
So, I started helping children learn art and craft. AI organised classes for homeless children, those from NGOs, in slum areas, and even for LGBT+ youth. I conducted classes on the streets, under bridges, and at NGO centres.
Now, they have some hope for the future. I felt that it was part of basic education and a basic right for every child, no matter how poor or rich. I spent my own money to help them buy art supplies and learn something new.
In 2017, I began teaching in areas such as Delhi, Noida, and more recently, in Kanpur. Some individuals are sustaining their households through earnings from arts and crafts like lippan art, mural art, tie and dye, mehendi classes, etc.
After joining the bank post-college, I observed a significant lack of basic banking knowledge among the customers and individuals I encountered. This realisation ignited a passion within me to make a difference beyond my role as a bank employee.
With a heart for social work, I took it upon myself to extend my reach beyond the bank's walls. I started actively educating people in underserved areas and at local NGO centres about the fundamentals of banking.
These efforts were beyond transactions and accounts; they were about financial empowerment.
By imparting essential banking knowledge, I aimed to enable these individuals to navigate the financial world with confidence and independence. It was a gratifying journey, combining my banking career with my passion for community outreach. I felt privileged to contribute to the financial literacy of my community.
I'm currently raising awareness about banking as many people lack sufficient knowledge in this area.
My efforts are focused on educating people about basic banking awareness so that they have some understanding before they visit a bank.
This education aims to help individuals grasp essential banking concepts and processes, making their experiences at the bank smoother and more informed. This initiative has helped people step away from begging and find employment for themselves.
Additionally, I am actively involved in supporting the LGBTQIA+ community in Kanpur, I want to help them get the recognition and the support they deserve.
We also stood by and supported Kanpur's first Pride Parade for LGBTQIA+ rights as an ally. We operate with an unwavering principle: zero funding.