The Zarine Manchanda Foundation is now one of the most talked about and prolific charity NGOs in India. The Foundation, led by its young, glamorous, inspirational and charismatic Founder and CEO Zarine Manchanda, has been praised in coverage by virtually every influential and respected media outlet in India. And its dedicated, relentless efforts in helping Mumbai’s and India’s poorest residents have resulted in numerous prestigious awards for Zarine as philanthropist and social activist, confirming her status as a rising media star and celebrity. This includes her receiving the Nelson Mandela Peace Award, which conferred a doctorate degree for Zarine, as well as two National Awards, one of which was presented by the Governor of Maharashtra.
Honored with Doctorate degree for social activist at Nelson Mandela Awards
For Zarine, these accomplishments are testament to her bold vision for her Foundation, which she opened three years ago. “The progress has been amazing; it has far exceeded my expectations. We have grown so quickly. And it is gratifying to know that our efforts have led to multiple awards and such extensive media coverage. How does Zarine Manchanda explain this extraordinary success? “As CEO, it’s always about the past, the present, and the future. The past shapes the present; and the present guides the future.”
Taking a look back, Zarine opened the Foundation in 2019. As the daughter of a prominent minister in Himachal Pradesh, Zarine has her own political ambitions, and thus decided that establishing a charity NGO to serve the poor would be the strongest way to raise her profile and build a political base. Explains Zarine: “I left the Princess Life” in Himachal to move to Mumbai to pursue my dream of cracking into Bollywood. Despite my best efforts, success was elusive. At my lowest point I made a dynamic life and career change and opened my NGO as I have my own political aspirations.”
Zarine Manchanda, CEO of Zarine Manchanda Foundation (ZMF)
The Foundation’s office is in Aarey Colony and initially ZMF focused its efforts on the slum cells and even the remote tribal areas of Aarey, regularly administering food and clothing donation programs. ZMF’s website shows thousands of photos and videos of such programs, showing Zarine’s rock star status amidst throngs of people, mainly mother and children. Says Zarine: “Yes, I am humbled at the love and affection I received at each program. My goal is to reciprocate those feelings for those who need help the most. That is my life’s mission and purpose”
She goes on to explain, “We held over 100 programs in Aarey but then COVID struck, and we were prevented from hosting such large gatherings. So, we changed course and after some time we started programs in Andheri, even using the parking lot of my society building to host programs.” Zarine and her staff had to coordinate those efforts with Mumbai Police, as sometimes the crowd was too large. “I even had to deal with complaints from neighbors, but I was determined to carry on and help the poor” who stood in long queues for food, milk, juices and other donated items.
This steadfast commitment caught the eye of the media in 2020, and soon Zarine and her Foundation were media darlings not only for their focus on continuing to programs despite COVID, but also for other newsworthy compassionate acts of kindness. This included ZMF purchasing a special computer for a school for blind children in Uttar Pradesh that answered faraway prayers for help.
By March 2021, Zarine was a media celebrity. In commemoration of International Women’s Day, FEMINA magazine featured a profile on Zarine. In recognition of her privileged upbringing and her relentless focus on helping the poor, Zarine was dubbed “Princess of the Poor, poised to be India’s Mother of Millions” – in homage to her inspirations: Princess Diana and Mother Teresa.
Zarine Manchanda helping needy people with her regular programmes
At present, the Foundation continues to administer regular programs in Andheri and Aarey. In December, ZMF received its 80g certificate, which now allows the Foundation to receive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) donations from profitable Indian companies, as required by law. Says Zarine: “We are delighted to now have 80g status and are grateful for the efforts of the Charity Commissioners Office in arranging the same for us on an expedited basis.”
As to the future, then, Zarine explains: “I believe in my heart that the Foundation will grow to be one of the biggest in the world. Now, with 80g in place and a queue of companies ready to donate CSR funding, we can immediately pursue our plans to ramp up operations and expand our footprint. Through mobile medical clinics, free medicines for the poor, operating a canteen to provide free food to those who are most in need. Plus, old age homes, schools, orphanages and hospitals.” I want these undertakings to bring state of the art facilities to those who cry for help, for those who only have hope or have lost hope. We as a society must do better to treat the poor with compassion and dignity, to provide meaningful opportunities to help train and educate the poor, to provide life’s basics that the rest of us sometimes take for granted. This is my goal until my last breath.”
To know more about Zarine Manchanda Foundation,
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