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  1. 1. circleof life © www.natzphotography.info BY RANGASHREE SRINIVAS A little boy with a rescued pup at the Chennai Adoption DriveV olunteering time, effort cycle: Maybe you are a volunteer tutor of the benefits he had derived from and resources for a cause is for someone who cannot read, and it. In 2004, he brought together some intrinsic for the welfare of the just last month the Exnora volunteers like-minded friends and set up an NGOhuman ecosystem. Often, volunteerism cleaned up your neighbourhood. DreamIndia, to teach under-privilegedis mistaken as an act of ‘charity’ Volunteering also includes ‘self-help’. So children.towards a less fortunate person. In if you are active in your neighbourhoodfact, when you give yourself to an crime watch, your home gets protected Says Varun, “One Sunday afternoon,effort without expecting any monetary even as you protect your neighbours we were playing with some wonderfulbenefit, you get much much more in homes. When you add your effort to children from a nearby slum. This initialterms of personal growth and learning. the work of others, everyones life tryst led to regular weekend study gets better. sessions with the children. We tookTHE TRUE MEANING OF them out to various places from time toVOLUNTEERISM YOUR SPIRIT EXPANDS time. Suddenly, the weekends seemedInstead of considering volunteering as You are at the pinnacle of your growth the most important part of the week.something that you do for people who curve when you realize that you want I was earning well at work and wasare not as fortunate as yourself, begin to go beyond your own needs to happy; but by doing such activities, Ito think of it as an exchange. the needs of the society, the country experienced pure joy. We had a positive and the Earth. Different people have influence on children, we ensured thatConsider that most people find different motivations before they did not develop bad habits andthemselves in need at some point in they volunteer. that they went to school regularly.”their lives. Today you may be the personwith the ability to help, but tomorrow Varun Rangarajan, a software Today DreamIndia has more than 50you may be the recipient of someone professional, opted for social active volunteers from all walks of lifeelses volunteered effort. Even now you volunteering because he wanted to volunteering to teach underprivilegedmight be on both sides of the service give back to society in gratitude, a part children across the country. One of46 Parent Circle / February 2012
  2. 2. them is Jamuna Rangachari from My daughter and her group of friends Reclaim Our Beaches (ROB) isMumbai. “Three years ago I was enthusiastically went from door to door a youth-led initiative that aimsteaching spoken English to a group of taking pledges for a plastic-free lifestyle. at reclaiming democracy whilegirls from the slum. I had to discontinue They also sold cloth bags made by empowering youth to take informedthis when I moved to another area. rural women, and gave them back the action. They address issues relatingHowever I am still in touch with the proceeds of the sale. This was a win-win to garbage, waste management,girls and am gratified to see them situation for everyone. The children got corporate social responsibility andbloom into confident young adults,” their grades along with a sense of pride consumer ethics. ROB has organizedsays Jamuna. by being socially productive; the rural cleanup drives, waste audits, women could sell their products without symposiums, music concerts and otherDivya Rolla, a Yoga teacher says, “I any intermediaries; and the buyers of related activities. Find them at:was looking for an avenue to teach the bags could purchase good quality www.letsrob.orgYoga to people who really needed it. cloth bags at a very reasonable price atI got the chance through the NGO, their door step.Nalandaway, and I started teachingYoga to the young girls at the Kilpauk CITIZEN VOLUNTEER GROUPSJuvenile Centre for Girls in Chennai. My Greenagers from IIT, Roorkee is an Why Volunteer?experience has been very satisfying; I association of young, green minds who Some of the reasons people haveteach, but I feel that I have much more are reaching out to other youngsters to want to volunteer:to learn from those I teach.” through social media networks. They have a slew of creative projects, like To chase a passionDivya also volunteers with Chennai making people ‘Green Magnets’ who to share a skillVolunteers, an agency that acts will practice and motivate others in the to keep busyas a bridge between NGOs and greening/cleaning of their immediate for recognitionindividuals looking for opportunities environment; the ‘Green da Cafe’ drives to help someoneto volunteer. Several people with where green practices are introduced to learn something newvarying skill sets have signed up with (eg: using eco-friendly plates and to get to know a communityChennai Volunteers. There are various disposal of waste mechanisms); trips to to demonstrate commitment torequirements - from teaching Yoga to green spots and industries near their a cause/beliefpainting walls at an orphanage - for campus. Find Greenagers on Facebook. to gain leadership skillswhich the volunteers can devote as to do your civic dutylittle as an hour a week. Chennai Adoption Drive is a group of to gain satisfaction from passionate people working to increase accomplishmentVOLUNTEERING BY STUDENTS public awareness about Indian strays. freedom from routine schedulesThe recent reforms in Indian education With an aim to reduce the stray dog to be challengedwith the introduction of CCE, has population, they organize monthly to make new friendsmade social work an essential part of adoption drives for Indian puppies and to explore a careerschool curriculum. “This augurs well for educate the public about animal birth as a therapychildren, as they would grow up to be control. The members of this group are for fun!more balanced and sensitive as adults,” animal lovers who rescue strays and for religious reasonssays Divya. abandoned pups, nursing them till they to earn academic credit are fit for adoption. Find them to keep skills alive Says Malathi Rao, on Facebook. to build your resume mother of Shreya Rao to be an agent of change (a class IX student Chennai Volunteers is an online because of personal experience from Bengaluru), “My platform to connect volunteers to with a problem, illness daughter’s school, Sri NGOs. Find them on facebook to find to stand up and be counted Kumaran Children’s the best-suited volunteering activity at uponHome, has integrated the Duke of a convenient time and location, for youEdinburgh Award scheme in their CCE. and your friends. www.parentcircle.in 47