Have you ever thought of those bouquets, golden shawls and mementoes gifted to guests after functions? Abandoned, in most cases. An initiative by DYFI (Democratic Youth Federation of India) national president AA Rahim to replace these got an overwhelming response as close to 2,000 umbrellas were gifted at a reception for him at his native town Vembayam on Monday.

“People present bouquets, golden shawls or mementoes as a token of their love and respect. However, the bouquets and shawls have no use after one receives them. Many public personalities find it difficult to keep the mementoes, too, due to space issue. Of course, they may not reveal this in public. We must respect the gifts as it comes with an attachment and a price. I received many gifts in a meeting to congratulate me on becoming a member of Parliament earlier this month. This included a lot of mementoes,” Rahim said.

“So, I had a discussion with the organisers of this programme about a substitute and we decided to replace it with umbrellas that can be given to schoolchildren. It may be a help to many parents before schools reopen. The participants of the meeting including many associations and organisations took it in a positive spirit and we received nearly 2,000 umbrellas at the function,” he told News18.com.

The umbrellas will be given away to schoolchildren in Manikkal panchayat. “Priority will be to lower primary students and some prominent persons have told me that they are ready to follow the model,” he added.

Rahim, one of the new CPM members in the Rajya Sabha, is known for such novel ideas. He initiated a programme named ‘Hridayapoorvam’ (from the heart), while he was president of DYFI in Thiruvananthapuram district. Under this programme, food packets are distributed to patients and bystanders at Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. The programme is implemented by volunteers collecting food packets from households in the morning and is extended to most government hospitals across the state.

In another attempt, under an initiative ‘Recycle Kerala’, DYFI transferred Rs 10.95 crore to the chief minister’s distress relief fund when Rahim was the state secretary of the organisation. They had collected recyclable waste material from homes and public places, including 6.5 tonnes of plastic waste from water bodies across the state.

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