Moumita is a software professional and has been working in the IT industry as a Project Manager and Business Analyst for the past 15 years. Always having an interest in the social development sector, she finally took the decision of furthering this interest, quit her job last year and decided to work with NGOs.
Since she was fairly new to this sector and wanted to learn and understand the different areas that NGOs work in, before committing herself to a specific role or job, she thought that volunteering with NGOs would help her gain knowledge and gather experience.
She signed up as a volunteer with iVolunteer to get access to different kinds of volunteering opportunities and within a couple of days opportunities started rolling in with varied assignments ranging from teaching, designing, documentation, office-work etc.
The assignment that appealed the most to her was that of making an Annual Report for SHIELD Foundation, an NGO based in Dharavi. This NGO focusses on providing holistic care for the elderly, providing them free medical services and counselling, eradication of malnourishment, job skills training for needy women etc.
She met Swati Ingole, the founder of SHIELD Foundation at their Dharavi centre who explained to her about their work, the beginnings of SHIELD Foundation, their achievements over the years and the challenges they face. Moumita was most impressed with Swati’s own story of how she thought of establishing this organisation and found it really commendable that even with meagre resources available, they have managed to help so many elderly people in the community and have provided training and jobs to needy women.
Moumita was given the task of creating their previous year’s Annual report and give it an interesting layout and content. She listened to Swati’s experiences in conducting the programs, asked her several questions about their work, prepared the content and suitable introductions to present the outcomes of their interventions.
She also brought in an eye-catching template, organised the information into separate topics, added relevant photographs and created a professional looking annual report. In the process she visited their Dharavi centre a few times to talk to the other field-workers about what work they had done in the previous year and gathered stories from them about specific beneficiaries whose life was altered because of SHIELD’s intervention.
She spun these stories into heart-warming case studies, which brought out the real successes of their programs. A bit of research was also done to understand the various Government schemes which were mentioned in their programs which gave her a wealth of information about the ICDS facilities, Anganwaadis, terminologies used in malnutrition assessment, etc.
What she liked the most about this assignment was that while she would visit Swati for their discussions, she would see right in front of her eyes, many women approaching Swati for help who would patiently and expertly handle their concerns and guide them towards a solution in spite of being so busy.
“I realized that working in an NGO means always being available for the beneficiaries and that there are no strict compartmentalized responsibilities for the staff; one has to be available for all kinds of tasks at all times, as the situation demands” says Moumita. “I developed a warm rapport with Swati over the course of our talks and realised that people from my kind of corporate background could get priceless lessons in selflessness, humility and compassion from these interactions”
Moumita hopes to take back useful learnings about the social development sector and continue to lend her expertise and skills to many more such NGOs. “Thank you, iVolunteer for giving me access to so many meaningful opportunities and for giving me a chance to help such organisations” she says signing off.