Daan Utsav



DaanUtsav (earlier called the Joy of Giving Week) is India's "festival of giving"! Launched in 2009, the festival is celebrated every year, in the week including Gandhi Jayanti, i.e., October 2-8, and brings together Indians from all walks of life, to celebrate "giving".

From auto drivers to CEOs, school children to celebrities, homemakers to opinion leaders, millions of people give their time, money, resources or skills back to society- by creating or participating in "events" of their choice. A giving event could be as simple as a family taking out the maid's children for an ice-cream party, or as large as Gift Compassion that had 10,000+ school children across India making and exchanging gifts with their peers from different socio-economic backgrounds.

Events are organised by individuals, social groups, schools, colleges, NGOs, corporates, media houses and others. 2 million+ people participated in 900+ events across 80+ cities in DaanUtsav 2013, raising several tens of crores in money and resources donated, and millions of volunteer hours.

Several people have come together on this idea, and it is impossible to attribute ownership to anyone! Internationally, CAF in UK celebrated National Giving Week for 3 years. Australia, Canada and several other countries have piloted Giving Days or Weeks. The US has had a "Giving Tuesday" in the first week of December, since 2009.

Jeroninio Almeida, founder of iCongo and then at ActionAid conceptualised a World Social Giving Day and campaigns titled "Karma Mitra" and "Joy of Giving". A meeting in 2005 between the CEOs of CRY, GiveIndia, Helpage and others brainstormed on the idea of a National Philanthropy Week. 

Finally, between Nov 2008 and Feb 2009, several individuals, NGO leaders and others got together and decided to launch an "India Giving Week", that would be an open platform encouraging everyone in India to give back. Specific events were identified, such as Riverside School's Design for Change contest, Goonj's Vastrasamman Campaign, Toofles' Style for Smiles CEO Ramp Walk event, JAM Magazine's college Joyfest, the Battle of the Buffet in Chennai, etc. The advertising agency, EuroRSCG India, on a pro bono basis, created the "Joy of Giving Week" brand identity in March 2009, and in 2014, volunteers renamed it "DaanUtsav".

No one owns DaanUtsav. It is designed as a festival of giving, and like Diwali or Dussera, the plan is for it to eventually have no owners! However, in the initial formative years, to give it a sense of shape, a group of core volunteers manages the DaanUtsav campaign, defines guidelines for participation and evangelises the effort.

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