The more one reads about Shloka Mehta, the more you are likely to fall in love with the daughter-n-law of Mukesh and Nita Ambani. Her philosophy of giving back to society is something, which has become something so scarce in our society. Not too long ago, we had reported on how Shloka actively helped Mumbai’s poor with her friends by regularly distributing meals to the city’s underprivileged. But, it seems distributing meals to the poor isn’t the only charity Shloka believes in.
In an earlier interview, Shloka had beautifully explained the difference between charity of philanthropy. She had said, “The most fundamental learning for me has been that there is a huge difference between philanthropy and charity. Charity is meeting people’s immediate needs while philanthropy seeks to address the causes that result in these needs.”
Shloka, according to the Livemint website, was influenced by her grandfather or dada Arunkumar Ramniklal Mehta, who prompted her to take up philanthropy as part of her career. “My dada actively served on the board of several trusts and projects, and even today, after he has officially resigned, people continue to approach him. He never just signed a cheque but always went deeper and met the beneficiaries, got involved with the organization and its processes,” she was quoted as saying in 2015, long before she married Akash Ambani.
Shloka later joined her family-owned Rosy Blue Foundation and successfully engaged with multiple mentoring organisations. She also went on to co-host the first national mentorship conference in Mumbai. In 2014, Shloka joined a team which conducted programmes for teachers from government-aided schools in the tribal areas of Sanali and Dalpura, Gujarat. She later took charge of ConnectFor, a tech platform to enable effective volunteering.
What advice did she get from her grandfather when she first expressed her desire to work towards charity? Her dada had reportedly told her, “You can get mental satisfaction, but I’m not sure about the financial side.” Arunkumar Ramniklal Mehta, the father of diamond billionaire Russel Mehta, was quoted as saying, “I advise her that please go more in-depth and focus on one or two projects rather than trying to juggle so much. Once that is done successfully, then only think about something else. I think she should expand her work in education, and then continue to healthcare.”
It was her grandfather that changed Shloka’s perception about charity and philanthropy. She said that her perception of charity was that one needed to earn a lot of money before she start giving. In other words, she felt that money was key to charity. “Money is undoubtedly an enabler, but the value of human resource is infinitely greater,” Shloka said after realising that her impression about charity wasn’t correct.
She said that philanthropy was also about solving problems, and this can be as effectively done through the donation of your time and skill. “The skills we develop over our lives are transferrable, and can constantly be refined and developed; they add and receive as much value to the philanthropic field as they would for any other field,” she says.
Mukesh Ambani may have constantly faced criticism for using his political contacts to widen the business interests of Reliance Industries, but Shloka’s approach is bound to earn her countless admirers.