Author: Arun Raghav
Birthdays are an important occasion for everyone. While some believe in spending that special day with their close family, friends and relatives only, there are others who want to engage more and more people in their cause of celebration. It does not matter whether your birthday bash is a lavish affair or a small get together party with your close ones, what actually matters are the people who are the part of your celebrations?
You have celebrated numerous birthday occasions with your near and dear ones, so why not to make this upcoming birthday celebration different this time? Here is a quick account of the famous celebrities around the world who celebrate their birthdays for a good social cause. You can choose to follow their footsteps to give a special message on your special day.
Mr. Narendra Modi – The current Prime Minister of India and the longest serving Chief Minister of Gujarat, is known to be the tough decision maker and a person who focuses on result oriented goals. Taking inspiration from the numerous social services and welfare programs of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Mr. Modi has a penchant to contribute in social causes and has given his support for numerous campaigns through his official Twitter account, which is the second most followed in the world.
He recently celebrated his 66th birthday on 17th September among the tribals and “divyangs” or differently abled persons in his home state of Gujarat. The Prime Minister decided to bring the changes in the lives of tribals in the Dahod district by inaugurating an irrigation project and addressing a public rally on the eve of his birthday. Mr. Modi will inaugurate the Kadana-Hafeshwar irrigation project which is aimed at providing water to various remote villages of the district. The global leader also distributed special hearing kits and aides to “divyangs” or specially abled persons.
Previously also, the Prime Minister designated Mr. Modi donated Rs. 21 lakhs from his personal savings for the welfare of the daughters of the drivers and peons that are employed with the State Government before making his final departure to Delhi from Gujarat. He also initiated the Kanya Kelavani campaign in Gujarat for the girl child education and upliftment. The dynamic BJP leader and RSS pracharak has further featured on the various internationally acclaimed magazines such as Time, Forbes, Fortune and others due to his social, political and administrative contribution.
Leonardo DiCaprio – The academy award winning actor for “The Revenant” movie, Leonardo DiCaprio is an acting as well as philanthropy powerhouse. The phenomenal actor turned his 39th birthday celebration into a huge fundraising event for the environmental charity organization called, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. The event generated a lot of donations to support the noble cause of environment protection.
The talented actor has previously donated around $1 million for the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Russia’s tiger summit in November, 2010.
He further made a contribution of $61,000 to GLAAD, an organization which works to improve the public image of LGBT people in media.
Sachin Tendulkar- The “Master Blaster” needs no introduction today when it comes to the gentleman’s game of cricket. He is a living legend in himself and his contribution to the game has earned him the label of “God of Cricket”.
No doubt, he has won millions and billions of hearts with his game but his charming, humble and generous nature also spoke a lot about his persona. He is known to help people and contribute to the social causes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Women empowerment, Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, child education and other pressing issues from time to time.
The actor last year celebrated his 43rd birthday which falls on 24th April with his family members and the kids of the “Make-A-Wish India” foundation which is an NGO in Mumbai. The batting maestro also spent the time while playing cricket with the kids and provided them useful inputs about the game. Make-A-Wish India foundation is part of the global arm of the Make-A-Wish International which was formed in the year 1993 to grant the wishes of children that are affected with life threatening diseases.
The sportsperson is also known to support Mumbai based NGO called Apnalaya, which helps underprivileged children and has also raised funds for numerous other social causes.
Sting – With real name Gordon Matthew Thomas Summer and professionally known as Sting, is a great English singer, songwriter and actor. The legendary singer and the member of “The Police” is known for a wide range of philanthropic activities.
To add a social cause to his 60th birthday celebrations, the singer held a special charity concert at the New York City’s Beacon Theatre on his birth date of 1st October.
The singer was joined by many famous global personalities such as Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, Herbie, Hancock, Robert Downey Jr, Vince Gill, will.i.am, Billy Joel, Rufus Wainwright, Branford Marsalis and Chris Botti for the musical charity performance. The collections from the concert was then donated to the Robin Hood Foundation, an NGO which is working towards social causes like poverty, education and other economic issues.
Lillian Dube- A nationally acclaimed multiple award winning South African actress and producer, Lillian Dube celebrated her 70th birthday with a social cause by launching the Celebrities for Good Causes Foundation. She decided to ask an “entrance fee” from her guests in the form of four pairs of school shoes for her birthday celebrations.
Her foundation partnered with IFA, which is a division of Clientele Life to donate 70,000 pairs of school shoes to children from communities in all the 9 provinces of South Africa.
Apart from providing school shoes to the needy people, the foundation also aims to support a wide range of issues like Women Abuse, Substance Abuse, Suicide & Depression, Gender Equality, Cancer and HIV/AIDS in the coming years of its services.
Rajinikanth – Rajinikanth whose real name is Shivaji Rao Gaekwad is a mega south superstar who is known for his superb acting, simple demeanor and amazing style moves. He is an acting legend and sensation in the south film industry and his stardom spreads across various continents, regions and time zones. The actor is known to have a “heart of gold” and has involved in a number of social initiatives from a long time. He is known to lend a helping hand to people at the time of distress and he again showed his soft side when he postponed his birthday celebrations.
The megastar who turned 65 on 12th December, 2015 requested his fans not to celebrate his birthday which is a special event for his die-hard fans around the world. The actor took this decision to help out the Chennai flood-hit families due to heavy rainfall and instead urged his well-wishers to donate generously for the massive relief work. The superstar has also been known to organize blood donation and eye donation camps through his fan associations.
Anna Hazare- A well-known social activist, anti-corruption crusader and an active supporter of Jan Lokpal Bill, Anna Hazare choose to celebrate his 75th birthday in a simple manner. The social activist spent the day with hundreds of children at a rehabilitation centre in Ahmednagar which is around 40 km from his hometown of Ralegan Siddhi.
Anna Hazare chose to spend the day with the children of an NGO called Snehalaya that runs the rehabilitation centre for HIV-positive patients. He also laid the foundation stone of an English medium school in Ahmednagar. This proposed school will ensure free education to underprivileged and differently-abled children.
The NGO Snehalaya also runs various rehabilitation projects for prostitutes, their children, orphans and other underprivileged children. The NGO also organized the “Amrut Mahotsav” ceremony on the birthday celebration of Anna Hazare.
Lata Mangeshkar- The name of Lata Mangeshkar needs no introduction in Indian film and music industry. The veteran singer turned 87 on 28th September, 2016 but choose not to celebrate her birthday with fanfare. The Bharat Ratna Awardee has involved in a number of social welfare and philanthropic activities in the past. She established a 500 bedded hospital named as Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital which is spread over an area of 6 acres through her Lata Mangeshkar foundation. The state-of-the-art hospital consists of all the modern medical facilities with a blood bank and cancer research institute.
The legendary singer further made a contribution to the Army Welfare Battle Casualties fund and appealed to her fans not to send flowers, gifts, sweets, greeting cards, cakes and other items on her birthday. Instead, she encouraged her well-wishers to donate generously for the brave Indian soldiers who safeguard their motherland from enemies.
Taylor Swift- Acclaimed American singer and songwriter is not just known for her melodious voice but also for her golden heart. Taylor Alison Swift aka Taylor Swift began her musical journey in the small age of 14 years and has since then won numerous Grammy Awards and other such recognitions. The amazing singer showed that she has knack for social service and good cause when she donated $ 100,000 to the Nashville Symphony on her 24th birthday. The Nashville Symphony is an American symphony orchestra which is based on Nashville, Tennessee and performs 140 concerts annually.
The singer has been hailed and recognized by Do Something Awards and the Tennessee Disaster Services for her social services. She also donated $ 100,000 to the Red Cross society to help out the 2008 Iowa flood victims. Besides this, the singer has consistently donated for natural calamities such as Louisiana flood relief, Dolly Parton Fire Fund and other such organizations.
Rithvik Dhanjani- One of the most dapper hunk of Indian TV industry, Rithvik Dhanjani is not blessed with just good looks but he has also got a golden heart too. He has acted, participated and hosted a number of television shows such as Pavitra Rishta, Nach Baliye, Dare 2 Dance, India’s Best Dramebaaz, Yeh Hai Aashiqui, V Distraction and others.
The actor who turned 28 on 5th November, 2016 decided to add a social message to his birthday celebrations. He inaugurated the project by a social welfare organization on the Carter Road, Bandra that works in areas like health and sanitation for the poor people.
So, take a cue from the birthday celebrations of these famous celebrities around the world and celebrate your birthday in a unique way. The “joy of giving and spreading smiles among needy” will definitely make your birthday celebrations a memorable event. So, why to be monotonous with those old style birthday celebrations with beautiful flowers, birthday gifts and cakes? It is time to spend your important day with people who are usually ignored by most of the people around.