International Volunteer Day (IVD), is an opportunity for us all to promote volunteerism, encourage governments to support volunteer efforts and recognise volunteer contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local, national and international levels.
On International Volunteers Day, we spoke to some students of Somaiya Vidyavihar who volunteer their time and talent to play a constructive role in their communities. We share their inspiring stories.
Vandana Shastri, TYB.Com
S K Somaiya College of Arts, Science & Commerce
NSS organises various activities throughout the year, I’ve been extremely grateful to be a part of it and to get an opportunity to volunteer as well as to lead.
One of my favourites is Old Age Home Activity where I got to spend an entire day with elderly ones which reminded me of my own grandparents. Distributing Ration to Disabled, Helping Cops during Ganesh Chaturthi, Planting trees, Conducting Blood Donation Drives are a few more activates that I have been a part of.
Volunteering requires nothing but a selfless quality to help others without expecting anything in return! Giving your time and efforts is worth it after seeing that one smile you worked for; or even if there is a single person who is happy because of you!
Spreading happiness and joy into the World, watching their satisfaction brings satisfaction to our soul too. Time is precious really means itself when it comes to volunteering. Even if I inspire a single person to volunteer their time I feel like my I’ve done my job correctly.
Vidhi Shah, Final Year, Bachelor of Physiotherapy
K J Somaiya College of Physiotherapy
My volunteering journey started with being a part of the world’s largest youth organisation, Rotaract.
In the summer of 2019, I decided to take my passion for social service to a global level and applied for an international volunteering opportunity in Ho Chin Minh City, Vietnam. Due to the aftermath faced by the Vietnamese locals because of Agent Orange during the Vietnam war, I realised that there still exists a wide array of children suffering from disabilities and the lack of paucity of medical professionals to help them. The initiative I volunteered in involved working for a local NGO called Green Lion and providing physical therapy to special needs kids for 2 weeks. Our work hours were 7 am to 4 pm, within which we would have the opportunity to plan rehabilitation sessions for the special needs kids that were in vigorous need of physical therapy along with helping out at the hospital through the day with the special needs kids and interacting with the family members and teaching them ergonomic ways of child handling and allowing them a deeper insight into the workings of therapy in context to their child’s condition.
With time, I have realised that volunteering emphasises on traits such as empathy and teamwork and contributing where help is needed the most. International volunteering provided me with an open ended perspective on deeper struggles faced by people that stay miles apart and don’t have a voice but are alike and deserve one.
In my 2 weeks of volunteering, I found myself in the constant company of like-minded people from all around the world. I bonded with physical therapists from Spain and Belgium and planned more productive sessions with them.
While one expects, the act of helping others to be heart-warming, what it really was for me simultaneously was, humbling. Immersing yourself in a different culture, in a different city, with different people becomes easier when you’re volunteering internationally because you realise the shared common ground amongst everyone, which is, making a difference through service.
The medical program that I volunteered for has successfully been providing free healthcare to special needs kids resulting in them having the right medical attention at the right age, allowing them to have a better quality of life and a holistic recovery. Volunteering in this program, helped me use my professional as well as my personal abilities and in the process helped me grow as a person too. The impact of international volunteering is just like the name suggests, making a difference, on a global, larger scale.
Heet N Gandhi
K.J Somaiya College Of Engineering
I have volunteered for various cultural, social and sports activities. One of which was the Versova Beach Clean-up Drive, by Parvaah: the social initiative Of KJSCE.
My experience with the Beach-Clean up was exemplary. Partnering with the renowned lawyer and United Nation Champion Of Earth, Afroz, was a big achievement for our College. Cleaning the beach since the past 2 years, we not only cleaned tonnes of the garbage but also brought back the Olive Ridley Turtles back on the beach after a decade.
I guess this was the greatest achievement and impact anyone could make, bringing back a whole species back to their habitat!
Not only this, but we also made many celebrities such as Amitabh Bachan, Randeep Hooda, Dia Mirza, Amit Trivedi & dignitaries like former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, Vinod Tawde and former MLA Prakash Mehta, sign a pledge stating that they would curb the use of plastic and pledge for a healthier and cleaner future
K J Somaiya College of Arts & Commerce
I volunteered in a collaborative initiative taken by NSS in our college and Dharma Bharti Mission to help the unprivileged children read and write.
My co-volunteers and I went to different municipal schools of vernacular languages to teach English to the students. “Chalo English Sikhae”
It was a great experience helping the students of the Municipal Schools learn English. We also helped them with subjects such as Maths, Science, and Social Studies.
The children were very innocent and enthusiastic. We enjoyed teaching them, and they enjoyed learning from us. This was visible through increased attendance and maximum participation in our sessions
I received the best volunteer award at the end of the mission’s course.
This was my small contibution towards our society in the field of education. It was a great experience and gave me immense pleasure and satisfaction.
Akash Agarwal, MMS Finance, Batch 2018-20
K J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research
The flagship event of SIMSR- MELANGE 2020 kicked off with a CSR event in association with the NGO Voice Vision and Enactus Somaiya Social Cell. The experience of organising such an event has been amazing. Since we had number stakeholders, coordination was really an important part.
During the workshops, we were first sensitised towards the visually impaired followed by developing their ideas from finance, marketing and legal perspective.
The event on 1st December helped us to get a real-world experience of pitching those ideas after working and developing the ideas for about 2 weeks after the workshop.
Change in perspective towards visually challenged has been the biggest takeaway from the event. Working alongside, I realized that they are no different from us.
Also, the entire event helped me develop the entrepreneur within and understand the various aspects of a business.