Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Giving in India

The topic on the Twestival page read “Volunteering as an option of Giving - Giving time, energy and efforts”, but for me it was “Giving Time, Hope and Money”. I have been working in a school part time as a part of a Hyderabad based NGO. We aim at teaching the Basic English to junior classes, apart from career mentoring and evoking interest in computers.

When I started working for this organization (one day a week), I was not sure whether I would be able to make an impact and there will be sufficient time to take this into my busy schedule. A lot of us in Hyderabad are IT and Consulting professionals with life running round the clock. Heavy schedule and cut throat competition makes us inept to think like humans some time i.e. beyond 3 AM in night and with family life coming into picture it’s all the more difficult. Still a try was not bad and so I did.

I was dumbstruck at the ground work which is being done by Indian NGOs for the children. I met a lot of people here- those who were being taught, the ones who were teaching and those who were silent spectators. Of the many I have met the common point among them was their determination to bring about a positive change. Radhika- a house wife and a feminist, is devoted to the school totally, she does all the works from teaching to sometimes cleaning. Radika comes from a rich family; she wore short flowing skirts and was Angrezi to the core. I had to ask her and so I did, “It just feels that you don’t belong here, what’s the reason?” I was candid because that’s how I am. She said “If you mean my clothes, my red hair and accent then they are the last things you should look for at least in me; I resigned from the Top American Advertising firm and came back here. And No this is not the only thing I do, nor I have plans to enter politics but yes, this is what I look forward to when I wake up in the morning. This is essentially what gives me the strength to stand proudly for the country which is undergoing the fastest change in the world; Anitha – when I looked at her there she was, as small as she could be and as poor as I could see. She said “madam, this is what helped me to pass my 12th board and I want to extend it to whatever level I can.” ; and then there was Begum Madam, I don’t know her exact name because that’s what she is called in the school. She has not done her schooling, has always lived in an arena of 4 kms around her house and spent most of her time inside the 4 walls. She is 73 years of age and the happiest living creature I have ever seen. Madam sits with the kids in the class and learns with them. After her morning class of English she cooks the midday meal served to the children by the school and sweeps the arena for children to play. Her petite figure, growing age and educational background are no hindrances to her routine. She says “I did not know the meaning of life before I came here, the learning is mutual and I was so happy when I came to know that we call an elephant - an elephant in English. It’s very important for girls to learn about their rights and hygiene, I want them to know that this country has a system called court and yes, we have the right to go to court”. These are simply awesome people whom I have met; I have no word other than awesome. Volunteering today is not limited to status, money and show off, it’s become a responsibility. To give back to the people and country who somehow have contributed to our success, the AC car, the Versace dress, the visits to restaurants and everything else.

On the donation aspect, it would be rightful to thank the Indian Media be it any mode of communication-Advertising, Bollywood, Blogs, Radios. In the past few years there have been many social events with mass scale advertising for fund raising and people have gone out and supported the cause. The striking element here is that these events don’t portray the donation as the main activity but the involvement of people ate grass root level with social causes. Once you are ready to spend time, the affordable money comes from the pocket to donate. Donations have reached a level where people will not hesitate before giving 100 Rs. thinking it’s a small amount. The notion “Every penny counts” is flowing through the country. It is a mutual symbiosis to lessen the gap between rich and poor, literate and illiterate, females and males.

And as Santa Singh said to Banta Singh “ Hain, you never told me that you donated money to charity. I always thought the Paisa from our bet went to the buttenchicken’s treat. Tabhi main Kenda, Ki chicken da accident kab hua?”

I am a blogger and initiatives such as below are helping me do my share, Will you want to do the same. THANKS Twestival India for conducting this, it is not an event it’s a gesture.

For what it is: My Twestival, My Chance

For Twestival Guys: I want the grant from this blogpost to be donated to ‘Aashayein Foundation’.


  1. I am impressed with your 100% dedication and consistency from past few days. This is the milestone post. Please continue the good work!

  2. Thanks Buddy, I feel more alive than ever before :)

  3. Well written! keep writing. All the best

  4. good read.
    esp about Radhika..
    keep writing.

  5. Nice post .. esp about varied descriptions of other volunteers.

  6. I found this post through Twestival. Perhaps you will be interested in this initiative as well:
    The FAQ section will give more information. This is a post ( ) written during Gandhi Jayanti last year to promote the cause. One cool thing about this initiative is that the donor need not 'spend 'any money, since all our support is in the form of 'investments' and that too with a near-100% repayment rate ! It will be great if you could spread the word about this initiative.

  7. Hi Poorvi, I sent you an email. Looking for your reply to the same. I would like to join hands to educate children.

  8. Hi Swathi , I replied back to your email .. :)