Volunteering to ignite the young minds through Education – UN Volunteers

Vaishnavi Srinivasan is a volunteer with Bhumi — a youth volunteer non-profit organization providing supplementary education to underprivileged children across India. Growing up in a lower middle class family, a large part of her education was funded through scholarships. This brought the realization in her to give back to the society by donating her time and skills to educate the underprivileged. She believes,
“volunteering is the change that begins within and empowers to bring about a change we want to see”.

It is with this understanding and willingness Vaishnavi registered to volunteer with Bhumi at the Chennai center to spend a couple of hours on the weekends educating children, while pursuing her post-graduation in Financial Economics in 2009. Volunteering in different roles and working with children and volunteers at Bhumi over the last three years, has groomed her and added much value to her life. For her, nothing beats the sense of accomplishment than hearing from her students, “I want to teach children in my area just like you are teaching us”, who are becoming responsible and willing to uplift their communities. It brings immense satisfaction to her to know that in addition to learning various subjects in school, these children are also learning to give back to the society.

UNDP

As a volunteer, Vaishnavi has thoroughly enjoyed her experience – engaging the children in activities, innovating new ways to explain established concepts, evaluating their understanding without intimidating them and becoming one among them. She had the chance to introduce new teaching aids and organize inter-center competitions to expose the talents of these. She also contributed to making the volunteering structure more robust – by providing opportunities to the volunteers at Bhumi to explore other classes and to learn best practices across Bhumi’s other learning centers, Programmes and track progress within centers to ensure quality is maintained.

Addiction to children’s smiles got her started on a new chapter for Bhumi in Bangalore along with a few other volunteers, within just a few months of her relocation from Chennai. In addition to teaching regularly, she has started working on the administrative aspects of volunteer coordination, resource gathering & management, etc. Bhumi, being an entirely youth volunteer based organization, has given her immense freedom to innovate, lead and grow as a person beyond the two hours of volunteering that she signed up for. She has met so many like-minded friends and inspiring people through Bhumi who have changed her life in a positive way.

Though she aspired to join the armed forces in her childhood, she realized over the years that to serve the nation, one does not need the uniform. After joining Bhumi, this idea has grown stronger within her. She had the honour of being awarded the ‘Youth Volunteer of the Year’ Award 2011 at the AIVA, which has further motivated her to contribute with much more vigour and commitment. What was once her leisure time activity has now become a part of her identity.

Case study published in Volunteering in India: Contexts, Perspectives and Discourses by UN Volunteers

Download a Copy | Read Online | Publication page on UN Volunteers

J&K flood relief‬ Material collection drive across India by Goonj

You must be following the news on the worsening floods in Jammu and Kashmir. While we are working in some states already struggling with floods, the J & K floods are taking on the magnitude of Kosi and Uttarakhand floods. The upcoming winters are only going to add to this nationwide calamity. Goonj is trying its best to reach out relief in J & K and other states.

Floods JnK

This is an URGENT APPEAL to join GOONJ for ‘RAHAT FLOODS’We urge you to initiate pan- India campaigns in your offices, schools, colleges and get each one from your network to act..

 

Urgent requirements-

a) Material: Large quantities of good quality blankets, woolens, tarpaulin, basic medicines, utensils, good quality solar torches, buckets, torch and batteries, umbrellas, water purifier tablets, crutches, candles, rope. Also– Old flex banners, mats, contributions for Sanitary pads & Sujnis. Please make sure to send the material to the Goonj offices. Here is the list- http://goonj.org/?page_id=2272

Humble request- NOT to send perishable items, drinking water bottles, cooked food and dirty/damaged or expired material to any of the center please.

Options for transferring contributions

Monetary contributions– for logistics and essential purchases. (All monetary contributions are tax exempted u/s 80G) please click below for the easiest option to transfer the money;

1. For Online- http://goonj.org/?page_id=1656

2.  For Direct transfer – only for Indian Contributions

HDFC Bank, Plot No-9, H & J Block, LSC, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi-110076

Account No.-04801450000130 | Bank Branch Code – 0480

IFSC Code – HDFC0000480

Bank Swift Code – HDFCINBB

Please note- This account will accept the contribution within India only and no foreign transaction is allowed as per guidelines of Ministry of Home & Finance.

3. For Direct transfer- only for Foreign Contribution

Local Bank: YES Bank, Unit 3&4, TDI Centre, Plot No.7 District Centre, Jasola, New Delhi- 110025

Beneficiary Name: GOONJ; Account No: 035093900000069; Local Bank Swift Code- YESBINBB

IFSC Code: YESB0000350

Visit: http://goonj.org/Swift details YES BANK LIMITED.pdf for a list of intermediary banks.

4. Cheque/ Draft:  You can make it in the name of “GOONJ” and send it to J-93, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi- 110076 . Do mention your full name, address, tel. no, for receipt purpose on the back of the cheque/ draft.

Please note- For receipt purpose, please send your name, amount, email ID, tel no. and address topriyanka@goonj.org , with date & mode of transfer, transfer code/ cheque number, Bank’s name and location with last 4 digits of your account number.

c) Logistics support; Material transportation from our offices;Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and the additional collection hubs to the affected areas.

Goonj is also keen to create collection hubs in more cities, if anyone is interested in opening up a temporary centre, do write back to us.

Do spread the word. Use your face book, twitter, e-mail and websites to spread the message..

We will be updating status on www.goonj.org and on our face book page http://www.facebook.com/goonj.org regularly. Do write to us on mail@goonj.org or call 011- 41401216, 26972351 for any further queries.

Goonj Offices

 

J&K flood relief‬ Material collection drive at Chennai

Friends from Chennai please share and contribute!

Floods JnK

a) Material: Large quantities of good quality blankets, woollens, tarpaulin, basic medicines, utensils, good quality solar torches, buckets, torch and batteries, umbrellas, water purifier tablets, crutches, candles, rope. Also- Old flex banners, mats, contributions for Sanitary pads & Sujnis. Please drop the materials at the following addresses

AID India, 45, Pycrofts Road, 1st Street, Royapettah, Chennai – 600 014

reStore, No. 150/3 East Coast Road, Kottivakkam (adjacent to Kun Hyundai and opp. Bharat Petrol bunk).

b) Monetary contributions- for logistics and essential purchases. It would be good if we at Chennai can mobilize contributions so that a lot of the resources can be bought there in Delhi rather than we shipping it from here. Write to Selva at aid.selva@gmail.com (phone : +91-9790951652) for further information.

Online http://goonj.org/?page_id=1656

Do send your full name, address, tel. no, for receipt purpose to priyanka@goonj.org as soon as you transfer the money for the receipt purpose.

How to know when not to volunteer

Volunteering is an act of giving back to the society, to ensure its smooth functioning, and to help shape ourselves as individuals. While active involvement does create a significant impact on the cause we’re working towards, there’s a possibility of over extending ourselves and experiencing a burnout.

Remember, this blog does not intend to discourage you from volunteering. Rather, it explore occasions when volunteering may not be your cup of tea, or when, at the very least, you need to vary your volunteering activities.

1. Don’t volunteer if you face a time constraint. Don’t involve yourself in volunteering if you’re unable to devote the necessary time. Because, your absence or rare presence during key moments or otherwise, may disrupt the smooth functioning of designated activities, and result in other volunteers having to take up additional responsibilities. This is especially important if you have signed up to visit school children or nursing home residents, because, if you’ve met them once or twice, they tend to quickly depend on you and look forward to your visits. As a result, when you don’t show up, they may feel your absence. In essence, it’s better not to offer at all than to let someone down.

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2. Decline if you are already over-committed to volunteering. If you are already on a parent’s board, or helping adults learn English, in addition to working full-time, you may be starting to spread yourself too thin. In such circumstances, don’t feel obliged to take on more responsibilities, even if somebody asks you to. Volunteering overload is not good for you, your family or your work performance, and it certainly isn’t good for the organisation you’re volunteering for, because, they can’t rely on your presence. Instead, inform the organisation (you’re volunteering for) about your packed schedule, and remind them that you are open to volunteering in future, when your current obligations have been met. Then again, you do not owe any explanation whatsoever. You can simply say “I am not available”.

3. Avoid volunteering activities for which you don’t have the temperament for: Don’t become a volunteer fire fighter if you’re afraid of fire or if you lack physical fitness. And, don’t become a health assistant volunteer if you tend to faint at the sight of blood. Instead, take roles that are better suited for you and leave the rest for others to take up. Alternatively, tell the volunteering organisation what your skills are and let them find a position better suited to your aptitude and interests. It’s far more helpful to devote a few hours in doing something that you can do well, rather than volunteering many hours towards something you’re not suited for.

4. Be careful about taking on volunteer work that is “close to home”. What we mean is, ensure that your personal problems and emotions don’t spill over into your volunteer work, in a way that it impacts negatively upon you. For example, if you have been abused yourself and you have decided to help others who are abused, be absolutely certain that you have worked through issues that are likely to be raised in your role as a volunteer. You don’t want to break down when confronted with an issue that is still very raw for you. This is not to say that you shouldn’t find catharsis in facing the issues head-on through volunteering, but it does mean that you must be strong enough to cope up with your emotions as they are likely to be presented back to you by someone else suffering from it.

5. Be aware of the fact that there are certain stages in your life when volunteering may not be a good option for you. Although temporary, there will be periods in your life when you’ll have to step down from volunteering. These may include: death of a family member, exam time, birth of a baby, illness and such. Each of these activities rate highly and you are well within your rights to put all your efforts into seeing yourself and your family through the temporary disruption. In time, you will have recovered or moved on from the hard part and be ready to return to helping others. This is about knowing when to let others help you for a short time. On the other hand, volunteering can sometimes be the only reality you have to hang onto, to provide you with stability, such as when you’re going through a divorce or when you’ve lost your job. Carefully weigh your personal, physical and emotional demands as compared to what energy you may have remaining to expend on others; be honest before overdoing things. You’ll be a better volunteer if you take time out to strengthen yourself first.

6. Avoid volunteering for something just because a friend is volunteering. You must care about the cause that you volunteer for; a reason such as “my friend is doing it, so I should too,” is unsound. By all means, join a friend if both of you are truly keen on the work involved, but if you only do it for your friend’s sake, you may end up resenting the volunteer work and perhaps even your friend. In such circumstances, tell the over-enthusiastic friend that you support him or her, but that your volunteering interests are being placed elsewhere.

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7. Don’t be bullied, coerced or co-opted into volunteering. It is not unusual to be elected at a meeting which you do not attend, or to be pushed along by a crowd unwilling itself to take on a position that a club/school/organisation needs filled. If you are present at such a vote, strongly vocalise your refusal to take up the position. State clearly that you are not in a position to take up such a responsibility at this point in time. If it happens in your absence, send a gently worded letter refusing the position to the board, setting out brief reasons why you do not accept the nomination. Or, simply say you do not accept. You must want to undertake the volunteer work, otherwise you may face challenges pertaining to time management and other commitments.

8. Question authorities who seek to over-rely on volunteers. If you feel that an organisation or school is asking too much of its volunteers, speak up and say that this work ought to be performed by a paid personnel. In such cases, exercise your letter-writing or phoning skills and ask the school principal, the local municipality or your locally elected member why the funding is so low for certain activities. Additionally, ask that paid employment be considered or additional financing be provided to ease the pressure off of over-worked volunteers.

9. Ensure that volunteering does` not sap your time/ energy/ finances/ good will. If you really want to volunteer but you can’t, think of other ways to help out. If you have the money but no time, donate the money. If you have no money, but have the time, donate your time. If you have neither, donate your messages of goodwill and support. Be creative; even writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper to talk about the good deeds being done by others is a great volunteering exercise, often overlooked by many. Thoughtfulness, praise and encouragement for those who are volunteering is the most important contribution of all.

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10. Don’t risk your safety. If you feel unsafe, consult the person in charge and let them know. For example if you are asked to venture into an unfamiliar part of town, late at night and alone, ask that someone go with you. If you are in a building site without a helmet or gloves, ask for safety equipment. Trust your instincts. If you are denied any of the safety precautions you requested, you are within your rights to leave.

11. Be wary of any organization that asks you to pay them in order to volunteer, especially if you are strapped for cash. There are many other worthy organizations out there that do not charge, and will provide more hours for less effort.

12. If you don’t have enough money to get by, then you’re the one who should be benefiting from volunteerism. Some people would rather volunteer than have a job – that’s fine, but if you end up bankrupting family members in order to not have a job, it’s simply unacceptable.

Cross posted from: www.wikihow.com

Daan Utsav 2014 | Notebook Collection Drive | Bengaluru

This Daan Utsav (or Joy of Giving Week) Bhumi’s Bengaluru team is organising a ‘Stationery Collection Drive’. The idea is to collect notebooks, pencils and any kind of stationery that can be given to children of our centers across Bengaluru. Ideas include
1. Placing a donation box in our apartments/colleges/workplaces (If it needs lots of approvals, make it informal).
2. Talking to any retail/food outlets in our locality and see if donation boxes can be placed.
3. If someone wishes to donate money, we accept the money and buy the stuff on their behalf.
If you are interested, please sign up

Daan Utsav 2014 | Pune Events

Hi5Pune2014

Sign up to Volunteer in Pune

Name of Activity

Desription

Corporate Stalls Handmade Bags, Diyas – Blind School & Sparsh Balgram, Hemlkasa, Anandwan
No to Plastic / Paper Bags In School / Orphan – Making of Paper Bags. No to Plastic
Medical Checkup Camps In Orphan / School – Will take Medical Checkup camp
Sanitation & Cleanliness for School Children In Medical Checkup Camp only we will have Sanitation & Cleanliness Video Session
Story Books & Notebook Donation Ask People/ Colleague Donate Story books & Notebooks for underprivileged child’s education
Sports Kit / Toy  Donation Camp Ask Citizens to participate in fulfilling dreams of children
Cloth Donation Camp Any type of cloth/  Any age/ Including Saree / Winter Cloths  for the Marathwada & Vidharbha Orphanage
Each Child Count Survey on education of children in partnership with Door step school
Origami – Craft In Orphanage – session on craft
Drawing  Session In Orphanage – session on drawing
Story Telling Session English Marathi Story Telling Session in schools / Orphanage
English Words Making Activity Making english words with Fun – in schools / Orphanage
Mathematics Activities Playing with Mathematics games – in schools / orphanage
EVS – Ecofriendly Activities Ecofriendly Activities for schools/ Orphanages
History / Geography Activity Awareness & creating enthusiasm among student on Geography / History
Reading & Entertainment Activity for visually challenged & speech impaired Session for reading books
Save Water Awareness campaign for same – Road Activity
Save Girl Child, Protect Women &  Empower Women Rally

Sign up to Volunteer in Pune