Lending a Hand to Those in Need - Radhika Tanguturu

It is rightly said that “Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference” and Radhika Tanguturu is the best example of this. She is one of those noble people who lends a hand to those in need not just by giving money, but by going out of her way to ensure that they are happy. The magnanimous lady runs Radhika Charitable Trust and has been doing some applaudable work for the poor in the city ever since she began her organisation in 2010. Unlike many other NGOs, she self-funds her Trust through her own savings, thus allowing her the freedom to choose the cause closest to her heart and giving her the opportunity to work at her own pace.

What started as a women and children welfare organisation has now grown to include other causes like feeding the poor, vaccinating the needy, providing medical aid to many etc. However, the cause closest to Radhika’s heart remains children’s welfare. The benevolent and ambitious lady has adopted 15 underprivileged children from Hyderabad and is taking care of their education and healthcare too. A personal setback in her life a few years ago has made Radhika stronger than ever before and more focused on giving back to society. More power to Radhika!

We chatted with the lady of the hour about her philanthropic work at Radhika Charitable Trust and her wedding décor company Taamara Taamara. Read ahead to get the full scoop.

How and when did you start Radhika Charitable Trust?
I started the Trust on October 4, 2010 with women and children welfare as the aim. I’ve always been a person who loves giving and I never think twice before helping others. Seeing someone suffer is hard for me so every time I see someone in need, I have to help them. For instance, when I was young, every time I would see poor and hungry people on the road, I would go home and take whatever food there was in the fridge and give it to them. My mother used to get annoyed with me because I would distribute the food that she made for the family. But I’ve always been this way; I’m more of a giver than a receiver and I always put others’ needs before mine.

I have been involved in philanthropy for as long as I can remember so I decided to start this Trust and do all the work through it. This way my work is recognised and not gone in vain.

What kind of work do you do at Radhika Charitable Trust? What is your role in the organisation?
Initially we were only into children and women welfare programs. We educated many children, performed family planning operations for women in the slums of Film Nagar and conducted health camps in various areas. But after covid hit, the need of the hour changed so we began distributing food, providing remdesivir free of cost, providing vaccinations to the poor, setting up vaccination drives for transgenders and helping the labour class with food supplies and groceries. I even helped many of my employees and their families. In fact, I organised one of the biggest grocery drives and fed many hungry people. And all this was through my own savings. Many of my friends have wanted to give donations but I haven’t taken any so far. I am however working on a system to accept donations, all in the form of an app so that people can see where their money is going and everything is made transparent. The app is in the process of being built and will be ready by 2023.

I have also done similar charitable work in my village, Vaddiparru in Rajahmundry. I set up health camps wherein 900 people got full body check-ups, including pap smear tests, and did family planning operations for many women. I even did a large scale cleanliness drive and cleaned up my entire village– from the drainage system and sanitation to cleaning the roads etc. I have a huge agenda for the future but I don’t want to talk about it now. I believe in actions rather than words.

Do you have a team working with you or do you do it all by yourself?
I don’t have a team, I do everything on my own. Whenever I get time from my work, I think about what the need of the hour is and then plan what to do. My next plan is to vaccinate1000 children once the vaccine is out.

Your Trust was previously called Amrutha Charitable Trust but then changed to Radhika Charitable Trust. What brought about the change?
I started the trust in 2010 and back then I had always imagined that if I had a daughter I would name her Amrutha and while it was a beautiful thought that was close to my heart, things changed after a personal setback in my life, so with the advice of some important people in my life, I decided to change the name of the Trust to my name as the name Amrutha would lead people to think the Trust was run by someone else and thus create confusion.

You recently adopted four kids who lost their father due to covid. That’s such a noble gesture. Tell us more.
On my birthday, August 29, I adopted four children who lost their father due to covid. I will be taking care of their healthcare and education. Previous to this, I had adopted 11 kids, all of whom are now studying in Nalanda Institute.

Which cause is closest to your heart?
Kids are closest to my heart and I am very emotional when it comes to them. I feel most connected to children.

How has your Trust grown from when it began?
Although my Trust began in 2010, I wasn’t very active with it then due to personal reasons; I was in a different place emotionally. I was however funding other NGOs every year. Now that I am more settled in my personal life, Iam back at working tirelessly with my Trust.

My main aim is to take RCT to the next level, mainly focusing on kids. I plan on doing a lot in Andhra and Telangana but I also plan on extending my work across Kenya and Tanzania. I visited the country a few years ago and was deeply touched by the people so much that I hope I can extend Radhika Charitable Trust there some day.

Do you also collaborate with other NGOs?
No, so far I haven’t, but I have worked with an organisation called Women in Network. That is one organisation that has taught me a lot. Every member is an inspiration and has helped me immensely.

What keeps you going?
My desire to help people in need is what keeps me going. My parents, family and friends have always been very supportive of me and constantly encourage me to do good work. They are proud of me and what I do and that drives me to keep going. I strive to keep up to their expectations. Although it wasn’t easy to explain to my mom about what I was doing in the beginning, now that she sees how strongly I feel for my charitable work, she understands where I came from and ismy biggest support system.

Moving on, let’s talk about your company Taamara Taamara. Since when has the company been in business and what kind of events do you organise?
It started as a passion 10 years ago and has now become aprofession. It all started by chance while I was helping out with the décor for my cousin’s wedding, and before I knew it,
I was working on it full time.

What exactly do you do?
I am majorly into décor. My forte is traditional decor. Over the years, I have received outstanding feedback from my clients for my floral décor.

What does the name mean?
Taamara in Telugu stands for lotus. I connect with it very much because it is beautiful and it’s grandeur stands out irrespective of whether it’s in plain water or mud.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Inspiration is everywhere. I have an eye for detail and I get ideas from my travels. But when I see a place I automatically imagine how it would look with flowers and décor and immediately try to create a vision in my mind.

Of course, we all browse through various sites and apps and get ideas from there too but at the end of the day, it’s what you visualise at the site that matters. Apart from that, the client’s requirements plays a vital role.

How has the event industry been affected post the pandemic?
It has been affected very badly. My employees have been with me for so long that whether or not I had work, I had to take care of them. We didn’t lay off any of our employees and by God’s grace we sustained through the tough days of the pandemic.

What does a typical day in your life consist of?
My day starts at 5 am. I wake up and start working on my drawings and have coffee with my mother. This morning ritual with my mom is very important because post this I get busy on calls and client meetings, and the rest of the day is mad rush. After everything, no matter how late or how tired I am, I make it a point to meet some of my friends. They are like my energy pills.

What do you do in your freetime?
I am a total car fanatic and love biking too. I often go on drives and rides when I get free time. Everyone close to me knows how crazy I am about this. My dream is to own seven sports cars. The city lacks women riding and driving groups and I plan to start that in the future.      --- as told to Niharika