Folunteering (Fun + Volunteering) · Impact Volunteering · skill-based volunteering · Volunteering · Volunteering in India

Let’s Talk @ Tiljala Shed – Great People, Great Initiatives, Great Moments

Suparna Chakraborty is dedicated and passionate lady. She has done B Sc, BA (eng), PGDBA (finance).  Suparna has 18 years of work experience including initial 3 years in academic field.

She is an avid reader and is passionate about painting, art forms n teaching. She leads teams covering 400 + members across globe. Focus area of work being planning, mentoring and leading global project delivery.

She is also part of Women Empowered (WE) cell for lady associates and Outreach (CSR) group in Cognizant. She is a mother of two n lives in Kolkata. She is also an active supporter of World Vision India’s child sponsorship program

She has joined iVolunteer as Volunteer to impact lives through her skills and time. She shares her recent Volunteering experience. Here you go.

May 14, 2016 would always remain to be a memorable day for me as it was the day I met some real good souls working endlessly towards a greater good touching so many lives in every way possible.

It all started when a dear friend of mine, also an active member of iVolunteer, mentioned to me that if iVolunteer was looking for a motivational speaker to address the teenage girls under the care of  Tiljala Shed (a reputed Kolkata based NGO) to encourage them to continue their education and not give up  mid-way owing to various societal, family pressure and initial failures. She thought I would be a perfect fit and hence based on her conviction of my capabilities for this than my own, I agreed.

The challenge I perceived was whether those little girls would relate to me, a career woman from a different background and esp. since my language prowess is in English and Bengali. But, Tanveer of iVolunteer and Shafqat of Tiljala Shed showed great faith in me and encouraged me that I would still manage well.

I reached Tiljala Shed community center/ library being escorted by one of their core members in the most courteous and patient way as I had lost my way (thanks to mis-directions from some local person or my inability to communicate the landmark). Each turn in the winding ‘kachha’ path and life around made me realize that how rarely we count our blessings from God to have got the basic amenities in life and keep cribbing always.

A room full of smiling and young faces greeted me and the competent members of Tiljala Shed got me settled soon. There I met the founder-member of the TS NGO. The 40+ girls’ crowd gave me fleeting smiles and curious looks. Sofia Abbas, our Special Guest arrived soon and so did Md Tauseef Rahman. We all were felicitated and touched by all the detailed arrangements done in to perfection for the session.

Mr. Shafqat initiated the session with some powerful video clips and powerful quotes to set the context and his research behind the session was clear in every step of the session.

Sofia came out to be a soft yet powerful personality who had fought odds to become a WBCS GradeA Executive coming from humble origins of “Addibagan” and gave a powerful speech on the “how’s” and “why’s” of what she has achieved. Salute the young braveheart who still fathoms to carry on trying for IAS as long as she has the chances left. She dedicates this to her father (who was with us also) who supported her through and through. She urged each of the girls to dare to dream and to plan, to fail in order to succeed and break all barriers to work towards a liberated self and life. I wish we have many more Sofias’ in the coming days.

When it was my turn to speak, I laid my life and my struggles out in open with these girls. In my worst days in late teens when I was struggling with my incorrect HS results, my limited vision and failing health, my mom would tell me often that education is something no can take away from us and even in our darkest hours we can find solace in a book. With my chances of becoming a doctor zero with the marks which I did not think were mine but showed in my results and my falling sick in JEE exam hall, it took me 3 months to realize and decide to stop indulging in self-pity and take chances in proving oneself and forge ahead. I had basic amenities but my self-respect was too high to take help from anyone who disbelieved in my potential and my mother was my sole support/ motivation. Sitting there, I thought of ‘Lukhi’ my girl in the Uttarakhand interiors who has turned 19 now and is in B.Sc 1st year and it’s been a 13 years journey with her with her indomitable spirits to gain education cycling 7 Kms each way to school all through. I tried to instill the hope in these girls.

The girls were strongly advised to come forward with their problem, seek support, do not spend time in frivolous matters and focus on education.

It was heartening when some of them shared their successes and thanked Shafqat for the remarkable mentoring and support he is providing to them. We heard many aspiring to be IPS, teachers etc. Some got emotional and broke down while talking about their journey of life.

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What made my day was when I was hugged by a jovial and spirited young girl and she said she aspires to be like me one day. This was very touching and made me feel good that perhaps some of words did after all strike a chord with some of these girls.

We, the speakers formed a diverse group comprising of a bureaucrat, a politician, a corporate member, 2 students and we can fervently hope we could perhaps inspire them a wee bit at least and we can help Tiljala Shed to continue to capture the interest of these young souls and guide them to completed education, decent livelihood and enhanced lifestyle.

Its difficult to put others interest ahead of oneself but there are people who do it with such ease that one feels inspired to follow suit and lead a more meaningful life.

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I congratulate each member of the Tiljala Shed & iVolunteer for their efforts in making a difference to all these young girls and guiding them towards a better life experience.

Suparna Chakraborty

Kolkata

 

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