Times of Oman
Mar 25, 2017 Last Updated at 00:56 AST
#OmanPride: Raised in the Sultanate, he learnt the charity lesson well
February 13, 2017 | 9:59 PM
by GautamViswanathan / [email protected]
rvind Raghavan, who currently works for Citibank in Singapore, spent nearly all of his childhood in the Sultanate, attending school here. Photo– Supplied
 
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Muscat: A former resident of Oman, who donated 10 per cent of his annual income to charity, has stressed the importance of looking after those who don’t have the means to look after themselves.

Arvind Raghavan, who currently works in Singapore, spent nearly all of his childhood in the Sultanate, attending school here. Early this year, Arvind, who works for Citibank, donated about OMR2,700 to two charities of his choice.

“These charities are Against Malaria Foundation and Oxfam,” Arvind told the Times of Oman, adding he chose these “because they deliver the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to reducing suffering and extreme poverty in the world.”

“I give about 10 per cent of my income before tax to these two charities each month, and an additional five per cent to some local social justice campaigns, like the mental health campaign and teen shelters,” he said.

Although Arvind does make looking after those in need a priority these days, a penchant for contributing time and resources to charitable causes was inculcated in him when he was a student at the Indian School Muscat.

“My alma mater was, among other things, also a beacon of social responsibility, with its efforts at promoting volunteerism, awareness programmes and charity drives,” he explained. “Most importantly, while at school, I was taught to never rest on one’s laurels or leave room for arrogance, because there is much work in the world yet to be done.”

“I have always been inspired by the culture of philanthropy and zakat that are core to the Omani traditions and Islam,” he added.

“From the affluent donors’ efforts for conservation of Oman’s rich heritage to grassroots community initiatives by those with little, giving back to society is something we were taught growing up in Oman, irrespective of which community we belonged to, and never needed further explanation.”

Although this is the first time he has donated such a significant amount to charity, Arvind plans on doing this every year, even if he finds himself out of work in

the future.

He is currently a member of Effecting Altruism, a global organisation that advocates giving a portion of your income to those who are most in need, every month. Donors can choose which charity to give their money to, and their Singapore chapter opened late last year.

“It’s a no-brainer, although realising I had to make a difference did take some time,” Arvind said. “Until recently, I had no idea that so much good can come from just my meagre contributions alone. I can live just as comfortably on 90 per cent of my income, but for someone else, it means not dying. What held me back earlier was the feeling that my help was a drop in the ocean and can’t make a significant difference.”

“But the movement that I am part of helped me discard my guilt and the feeling of paralysis,” he continued.“I may not do everything I should, but that should not stop me from doing whatever little I can. My own happiness is at stake. We have mountains of research that proves beyond doubt how spending our money accumulating possessions and experiences is a recipe for misery.

“I may as well be smart and spend on something that is going to be a lifelong source of satisfaction and happiness.”


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