Bollywood actress Gul Panag will soon be off to Toronto to meet members of Irish rock band U2 and convince them to perform in India in order to spread awareness regarding her online programme SOAP – Social Outreach and Accreditation Programme.
Through SOAP, Gul hopes to encourage a culture of volunteerism in India where accredited NGOs, corporate houses and people who wish to volunteer can find a common and fruitful meeting ground.
“I’m a huge U2 fan and it is one band that cuts across age barriers. For us, it is clearly to raise awareness about SOAP because today it is sad that no one is really interested to know about a social cause. But if it is attached with something exciting, it grabs attention,” Gul told IANS.
Gul has started a drive that will culminate with her attendance at the U2 concert in Toronto July 11. She has launched a petition that allows U2 fans across India to sign up names and messages to the band that Gul hopes to hand-deliver when she visits Toronto to watch the band.
“We have got a phenomenal response for the campaign. We are trying to reach about 10 lakh people so that we can convince U2 that we have a big market in India and they agree to come and perform for us and take up this cause. I have written to everyone from the band and will meet their management when I go for the concert in July,” she revealed.
The actress, who has worked in films like “Dor”, “Dhoop”, “Manorama Six Feet Under” and “Hello”, says that a system of credits for volunteer work has been installed to encourage individual sign-ups.
“The credits are defined by a matrix that takes into account your abilities, skill and the time you give to a cause. It is quantifiable across educational institutions and corporates. We have already partnered with Essar Group, HSBC and Standard Chartered among others.
“Anyone who will earn these credits will be given weightage during their job interviews or appraisals. The idea is to give people an incentive to volunteer so that it is interesting for them too,” said the 32-year-old actress.