International Day of Charity is observed in the memory of Mother Teresa on her death anniversary on September 5. The objective of the day, according to the United Nations, is “sensitizing and mobilizing people, NGOs, and stakeholders all around the world to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities”. Actor turned humanitarian Somy Ali talks about what charity means to her, the charitable causes she supports, running her own NGO, No More Tears (NMT) and how essential it is to generate funds for the same to keep up the good work.
“Charity is my life. It is my purpose to breathe and what’s a man without a purpose and what’s a better purpose than to fix broken adults and damaged children. If we get the children out of the horror they endure on a daily basis and show them what is normal not what their normal has been, there is a huge chance they will grow up to be healthy and successful adults. And the same goes with the adults. Cognitive therapy heals them and getting them out of the abusive homes into safe housing makes a complete 180 degrees change to their lives and their mindset. I support and always will till I can support No More Tears. It gave me a purpose as I refuse to be a victim and decided to initiate it in 2007,” she says.
For the uninitiated, Somy is a former survivor and it helps her understand and help other survivors. She cites the example of a former drug addict, who is now a drug counsellor helping others quit and knows exactly what to say and do to help them lead a drug free life, to explain her point.
“One can empathize more if one has been in that predicament themselves,” she continues about NMT, “We have several ways to fundraise and that department is completely for our board of directors and our phenomenal event committee. If it weren’t for these two departments, we would not sustain. We also have several monthly recurring donors that help us save lives. It’s these three ingredients that are responsible for No More Tears to stay alive,” she says.
Somy also shares about severe happy hours at various venues, where donors donate a certain amount to get tickets. “But our biggest fundraising component is the board making financial contributions monthly and our annual gala which is organised by thirty committee members. This year as always October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, thus we have our kickoff event on October 6 and the actual gala is in Miami at a very ostentatious venue on Thursday, November 10,” she adds.
In January, which is Human Trafficking Awareness month, NMT will organise an event where donors will come to listen to a survivor share their story after they have been rescued by No More Tears. All proceeds from that event will go towards saving more lives considering NMT is a salary-free NGO.
“Throughout the year, big or small, we have fundraisers and now that we have a chapter in Los Angeles it has opened many more doors for us. We are already assisting six human trafficking victims in LA, and since California ranks as the number one state statistically when it comes to sex and labour trafficking, my guess is that I will be working with many more victims during my time here. NMT is officially bi-coastal now as I will be travelling back and forth between Miami and LA to work with the police and the FBI. We are and have grown exponentially and it’s solely because of our board of directors, the donors, our event committee and all our supporters. There is no looking back as we are out to get the bad guys and we will not stop at any cost,” she ends.