Giving their precious time

Silent service

Giving their precious time

Vikram Rai used to be a techie with a multinational company (IBM) who regularly gave up his Saturday mornings to teach computers to underprivileged children at a social welfare organisation called Dream a Dream. “Some of my friends were into volunteer work and I joined in factoring the teaching programme into my weekends. It was extremely satisfying on so many levels. I learnt patience, planning and ways to cope with unexpected situations,” he says.

Vikram made the transition from a techie to working full time as a consultant with NGOs due to the inspiration he received from his volunteer work. To make this task easier, there are organisations like iVolunteer in the City that help you channel your energies and resources into the right project if you wish to give your time and resources.

“Volunteer work is not about changing the world, or accomplishing the impossible, but rather, bringing some joy, comfort and education into another person’s life and enriching your own,” says Prarthana Unkalkar, head of iVolunteer centres in Bangalore. “You may be a teenager, a working professional, home-maker or a senior citizen having two hours of free time on a single weekend or six hours over three months. You may want to teach underprivileged children or help in the administration of an NGO working for animals — it’s your choice. You decide the social cause you want to support, the time you can contribute and what work you wish to do — and we will match you to that perfect volunteer opportunity,” she adds.

As a part of Joy of Giving Week, iVolunteer has teamed up with Ramaiah Hospitals to reach out to the old age homes across the City. Volunteers will help with check-ups, provide emotional support and take care of certain requirements of the elderly along with teams of doctors. “We need lots of people to chip in and help and we plan to carry this on after the week is over,” says Prarthana.

Sushil Sharma is a 29-year-old financial consultant who volunteers at a Hospice once a week. “It has been a life-altering experience for me and I feel I have received so much more than I have given. Helping people come to terms with death and make peace with themselves and their loved ones helps me realise and take stock of what’s really important in life,” he says.

Shareen Smyth, a New Zealander living in London is a web designer, who has taken a year off to do volunteer work and has found her niche in Bangalore. “I looked around for a suitable place to volunteer my time and found that I really enjoyed interacting with children at Dream a Dream, teaching them arts and crafts and spending quality time there,” she says.

“Each project has different goals and objectives so it is important to remember that compromise and patience is necessary, especially while working in a different culture and environment. An attitude of service and cooperation along with a desire to share your skills and your talents can go a long way in helping others,” says Vishal Talreja of Dream a Dream.

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