Employee Volunteering · Impact Volunteering · Volunteering · Volunteering in India

They made my day and gave me strength to fight back – says Gunja Vasant

Today we share with you special volunteering reflection… Gunja Vasant, Asst. Manager at Godrej Properties Ltd. She takes interest in conducting workshops, interacting with children. She comes with a reach experience; feedback on her ways has been very impressive Here she shares her experiences as a volunteer…

Your role as a volunteer?

I was suppose to interact with kids of various age group starting from 5 years – 13 years and find out what exactly should I do so that they derive optimum benefit from my volunteering. After interacting with them I realized they were not having enough confidence to put forward their points or their strengths because they were too shy or haven’t got enough exposure except their own surroundings.

So I started my volunteering by some ice breaking activity where in I helped them do their daily studies or homework. I taught them mathematics which they were not very good at, kids narrated poems and some basic English terminology like who is a Mason, plumber etc along with its spelling.

After that I had organized a drawing competition on the Independence Day theme. For which all the kids were very excited. I also gave them a small background about how did we get independence from British and narrated our history in a story form. Which I asked them to remember and asked them several questions on it on my next visit. And to my surprise each and every small point was also covered by the kids and they remembered the minute’s details of the story which I narrated.

After attending few sessions I realized that there were groups among them and they would always stay in their group and not interact with others. So to break this notion I played with them some group driven activities. And all of them enjoyed it so much that they wanted to play the games in my next visit also. So now they started mixing more and helping each other more than before.

After this I initiated some craft related activities. Wherein whatever the kids knew they had to teach each other that stuff. It started with making a paper house which a girl called Sunita was very good at. She stood up and demonstrated how to make a paper house. And rest all of them followed her and now everyone learnt how to make a house out of paper. And it gave the girl more confidence to stand up in front of a group and speak or talk like a leader. This was a point where I feel that the next generation should get this opportunity to come in front and talk. These kids are so bright and sharp that they pick up things immediately. Their brains are also so sharp that if they get the correct guidance along with good opportunities they can come out as bright future for our country.

How has volunteering helped you as an Individual?

Kids are always a source of learning, right from the way they interact with strangers till they become friends with them and then they start sharing their true self with you.

At times I was surprised at the way these kids can react to certain instances. And these bright kids can give back to our country so well even though they come from an under privileged background.

For me the biggest take away was no matter what is the situation if you are happy then u can make the world around you smile.

A small example was when these kids were not talking to each other and were constrained to their set of friends. And after they had some group activities, they all came up with same wish that they want to play a certain game which may be few of them never wanted but just because majority of them wanted they all agreed to play together. These are the small things which we have forgotten while staying in this big corporate world.

Be a human first and help each and every person to rise, all are not equal few are very strong while others need some help to come up to that level and as a group all the hurdles can be crossed and the targets can be achieved.

What did you love about your project?

The thing that I loved about my project was interacting with the kids. They made my day and gave me strength to fight back no matter what and taught me to look at things from different perspective.

Share one incident which was the highlight of your volunteering experience

There are so many instances when I was taken back with but would like to share 2 of them.

  1. After attending 2 sessions when I couldn’t go for the 3rd session which was not scheduled, but I used to visit once a week, so the kids were expecting me. Again when I went in the 4th week they asked me why dint I visit them last week they were waiting for me. Made me realize that the kids can get attached so easily and they can accept new people and things so fast may be faster than we can even think of.
  2. These kids from under privileged background may not have access to many basic requirements of life but still their minds are so bright and sharp that they can learn anything so easily that if they will get correct guidance and some support they can come out as very bright individuals.

On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend volunteering to a colleague/friend?

10 – Everybody should be involved in this kind of project in one or other way.

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