In Conversation With Dhruv Shah on Project Smira and how they are promoting sustainability
Updated: Aug 8
Dhruv Shah, professional athlete, world record-holder, and co-founder of Project Smira is building a team where individuals connect, educate, grow together, and give back to the world.
Project Smira is a youth-led organization focused on providing second-hand clothing to individuals, organizations, orphanage homes, and non-profits; promoting sustainability. Started in August 2021 by Varsha Purohit and Naomi Vyas, the other half of the co-founding team, the organization has led monthly clothes drives and impacted over 23,000 lives. We had a conversation with Dhruv Shah to find out more about Project Smira, promoting sustainability, and how his impact journey began.
One out of ten people on this globe live without proper clothing. To Dhruv, the importance of recycling clothes cannot be overemphasized. The gap between people who leave unworn clothes in their cupboards simply because they are out of trend and those who have almost no clothing is jarring. The biases of some non-profit organizations which help only those that are already involved with them while leaving the homeless without much is also an issue. Project Smira works to close this gap and provide clothes to those in need, through donations to organizations and to the homeless.
Project Smira also goes beyond simply donating clothes to those in need. With fast fashion on the rise and its effects on the environment, clothes often end up in landfills in India where they are burnt. This in turn causes pollution.
Beyond saving the world, however, the Project Smira team has faced some bumps along the way. Dhruv tells us about some of the setbacks faced by Project Smira at the beginning of their journey and how they overcame them.
I would say enrollment and causing effective teamwork were some of the issues we faced before we expanded to Mumbai. How would we get the right amount of clothes? What's in for the volunteers?
In creating a volunteer team truly passionate about Project Smira, the core team worked to determine the goals of each volunteer and place them in roles where they could pursue these passions. A volunteer who was passionate about marketing was placed in a communications role while a volunteer who was pursuing an MBA was put in charge of a team. These are some of the little things they do to ensure that each volunteer connects with the Smira vision and leaves with a fulfilling experience.
After all the hardships and indifferences they faced, Dhruv shared his successes with us; the impact SMIRA had on peoples’ lives as well as their volunteers. Such successes have pushed their greatest and most notable successes, expanding to newer states such as Mumbai and even to a whole new country on another continent, Nigeria. Soon, Project Smira will be impacting lives in Brazil!
Having the vision to go out of our own country, India, and face challenges in other countries is interesting. Solving the challenges we face, that's one of the fun parts.
To Dhruv though, one of the most important things for Project Smira is helping people and seeing the smile on the face of a person who would otherwise not have had access to a basic and seemingly forgotten amenity such as clothes. Dhruv shared one of his own heartfelt stories with us which undoubtedly showed us what drives him to bring joy and warmth to people who need it every day.
A moment that touched me was when I gave clothes to a man. He did not just smile back but also held my hand. Such experiences, bring fulfilment, motivate you to do more, contribute more, and it just makes you happy.
Smira means smile and the project is living up to its name. Ultimately, Dhruv wants to continue to change the world and leave it better than he found it. Project Smira's vision is truly 'tailor-made' to make an impact.
Check out Dhruv's recommendations below.
Connect with Dhruv
Learn more about Project Smira
Atoshi is a writer, travel enthusiast, and self-proclaimed photographer currently studying in 10th grade in Bangladesh. Atoshi is passionate about listening and telling stories of people, and changemakers all over the world. She loves to meet and connect with new people since she believes there is no better way to learn about other people's lifestyles and cultures other than that. She finds moments of peace in her day-to-day life through street photography and occasional binge-watching movies.
Zulu is a writer, self-proclaimed bibliophile, lawyer and international development passionate about social impact and showing people how they can create change in their communities. Zulu Uwolloh is a lawyer and international development professional. She is also the founder of Kurerie, a digital platform and community that amplifies the voices of youth making an impact in their communities. Kurerie educates young people on how they can become active stakeholders in the achievement of the SDGs. She is passionate about showing young people that they can change the world with the smallest actions.
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