In an effort to make a difference in the lives of the poor this winter, current Miss India SA second runner-up, Aishwarya Bedessy (21) has started a clothing collection drive to donate to the needy and homeless people around Durban.

Aishwarya Bedessy

Speaking to the Durban North News, the final year environmental student, Bedessy said, “A few weeks ago on a cold winter’s day, I noticed a street beggar coming up to us with just a thin shirt. After this incident I got the idea of starting an initiative that’s completely different from most – a clothing collection drive for people living on the streets.”

“After some research, I realised that there is absolutely no organisation in Durban that donates directly to people living on the street and therefore the clothes and blankets collected will go directly to people without a roof above their heads and not to shelters. I believe that the 4000 homeless people living in Durban need warmth more than anyone living under a roof. I will personally go out into the areas where most congregate and hand out these items however in order for this initiative to be successful, I need the help of kind members of the community to donate their used and unwanted clothing. I plan to carry out this drive until 23 June and thereafter distribute the items,” said Bedessy.

“There is a general perception about giving money to street vendors because no one knows where this money will go to, but many off us still do this because it is the most convenient way for us to help out a fellow human. The idea of giving warmth to someone in the cold winter months is a much better option and I know that many of us will sleep much better at night knowing that we made a true tangible difference in the lives of many. I believe that it’s so important to pursue your own dreams because you deserve that but also serve mankind so that you leave the world a better place than you found it in,” concluded Bedessy.

Members of the community who wish to assist can contact Aishwarya Bedessy 076 174 6116, email abedessy@yahoo.com or contact her on Facebook.

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