After his true act of patriotism, NRI Viveik Patel doesn’t need much introduction. This million-dollar man raised over USD1 million for the families of the jawans who were killed in the Pulwama attack.
It wasn’t an easy road to walk for Patel but he didn’t give up and did something really phenomenal. Facebook Fundraiser Team also played an important role in supporting the real Patriot. The team worked with Viveik to help ensure the money goes to the right place as quickly as possible.
In an exclusive conversation with Connected to India (C to I), Viveik talks about his philanthrophic endeavour. Read on and get inspired!
C to I: Please tell us about your fundraising effort in your words.
Viveik Patel: I've heard about a lot of fundraising campaigns in the past for different causes and on various platforms but never trusted one because I was not able to verify who all are involved in that and what is the ultimate goal. So when I got the news about the Pulwama attack and the plight of their kin, I started searching for the best and most reliable source to donate, which was Bharat ke Veer but it had some limitations to it ie they required a PAN number and all. That was not a 'handy' thing for most NRIs. So I found the best and easiest way to reach maximum people, provide them with a convenient and fast way to donate through Facebook. I provided all the details on the fundraiser page to gain the trust of donors and answered all possible questions and tried to clear their doubts. I was able to provide all the transparency with a constant update of every communication with government official of India, Facebook and Bharat ke Veer.
C to I: When you set up the fundraiser, how much did you expect to raise?
Viveik Patel: I started a fundraiser on February 14 (February 15 in India), a day after the attack, with an initial goal of USD25,000 within the 14 days (end date February 28).
C to I: At the end of the day, you will be satisfied when the cash reaches the families. At what stage is the transfer of funds at currently?
Viveik Patel: My initial goal was to transfer funds to the families of the martyrs and that is still the goal. Fund transfer process has been started and with the help of Indian Consulate general - NYC we are working with American Indian Foundation (AIF) to transfer the funds as soon as possible. Right now, AIF is working with FB to meet legal terms of US and Indian laws.
C to I: What kind of attention are you getting?
Viveik Patel: I'm getting attention from all over the world now. People are calling me a youth leader, role model and some are using fake, scammer words too. People are trying to get in touch with me with positive and supportive words, some are sending messages with threats but I know what I'm doing and with all positive support from our donors, I and my team are heading towards the right direction.
C to I: How is the Indian American community responding to you?
Viveik Patel: NRI community is always ready to stand with our nation and people, which they just proved. We are away from home due to various reasons but we are always thinking about our home back in India.
C to I: How are you dealing with the attention?
Viveik Patel: Now my goal is to complete this fundraiser successfully, I'm getting attention from many local groups and non-profits and I would like to go ahead in this direction and do something for our society and nation. I want to utilise this attention to work for a good cause.
C to I: Which part of India do you come from? For how long have you been in the US and what do you do?
Viveik Patel: I'm from Vadodara, Gujarat and I moved to the USA in 2014 for Graduate studies. I'm working as a Senior Analyst in Richmond, Virginia.
C to I: Last but not least, how has this experience changed you?
Viveik Patel: I recall that my dad always used to tell me that "Be bold for what you stand for"; I saw and realised how one can utilise all the resources (internet, Social Media) available to them, how to maintain 26,000+ people's trust and provide leadership without giving up. I never thought that I can manage something like this or that I had it in me, but now I know one can do anything if he or she has the right attitude and mindset of not giving up. Another thing is that my friends from India used to tell me that "You forget us and your people while in the USA"; now no one asks me this question.
So that was Viveik for you! Hope his story made you smile and gave you some much-needed inspiration.
Feel free to share your views in the comment section below.