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Life After VOLindia

Rahul Sharma:
"After VOLindia, though I haven't been involved with any other voluteership program or associated with any other NGO, I still can say with some degree of conviction that i have become more vigilant towards my responsibility as a citizen of my country. From requesting smokers in buses to crush their cigarettes to petty resolutions like not littering in public places, I think I have become a much better human being than I was before. Morever, I think working with people from so many diverse backgrounds has moulded my point of view towards many social issues for the better. Keeping the spirit of VOLindia alive..."

Mansi Dhanda:
"The moment I saw the VOLindia poster in my college, I somehow knew that I have to be a part of the same. What really made a significant role in my choice for VOLindia was its leadership training along with volunteering opportunities, which makes the whole process more than a mere internship.

One of their projects was setting up the newly launched social enterprise of Swechha - We for Change Foundation called 'Green the Gap' (GtG), which required us to build the brand and make a plan to promote the cause, through the sale of products which were environment friendly and made by people of marginal societies, and hence bridge the gap by giving people an opportunity to go green!

It was a very different project as compared to the regular social work that is associated with NGOs. It required us to think in terms of business functions and that was our role, to take the enterprise forward in terms of visibility of the brand, initiating institutional tie-ups and generating revenue for sustaining livelihoods as well as the enterprise.

Their work interested me enough to continue, even after the volunteering opportunity provided by VOLindia. As a result I joined the organisation as a Program Coordinator in September 2008 (this being my first job experience) while preparing for my MBA entrance exams.

My first day of work was at Jahangirpuri, at the shoot of the new documentary film being made by Swechha. That was the moment when I knew, that there is a lot to look forward to in this organisation, in terms of learning, exposure and even having fun! Even though Green the Gap tends to be the main project wherein I'm required to work, it's not so rigidly defined and restricted to specific projects, as new things keep coming up and we are required to multi-task.

It has been just 2 months and working here has been exciting yet challenging at times. I'm very thankful, firstly to VOLindia for making a program which helped us to do such a project, explore an NGO like this and secondly to Swechha for providing an environment that is helping me grow and making me knowledgeable on various issues."

Pulkit Khanna:
"I am currently the program coordinator at Swechha, for the social enterprise - Green the Gap. I got in touch with Swechha through the Summer Serve 2008 program at VOLindia. My reflections are a testimony to it all, but it really was a great decision for me to work with other volunteers at VOLindia. An opportunity, not only to get a career avenue to my liking, but also to help me "prepare" before hand for all to come. I still use a lot of things I learnt during the program. What I truly appreciate was all the groundwork that goes on leading upto a program. VOLindia did it all perfectly. It was meticulously planned and the projects on offer were varied in terms of their scope and meaning. I was in the "Swechha Team". As with any team I connected with a few people and did not with others, but unlike other times, the Friday sessions helped put things into perspective. Also, the quality of the speakers was fantastic. It was surprising to know that VOLindia had such good speakers for its pilot program. The biggest challenge while working at Swechha was the task at hand. We were to handle a one-stop destination on environment called "Green the Gap". There was a lot of scope and we were so free to do anything we wanted, to test the water and make decisions, whether right or wrong. The tasks involved everything from sales, research and product searches to networking and marketing. It was this scope that made me feel satisfied after we started working for Green the Gap. I was already working on issues pertaining to wildlife and environment, this opportunity just guided me a step further.

At Swechha, I head Green the Gap. I work with another VOLindian, Mansi, and one of the oldest members of Swechha, Sunny. Presently we are working with Barista, PVR, V-customer, a couple of export houses, stores like Tatsat, People Tree, IP College, MDI, JMC, LSR and many other educational institutions. The profile still includes everything it did when I was volunteering but somehow it seems more exciting now! Maybe it's the added responsibility. We recently had a fire at our office during Diwali and lost all of our GtG samples and most of our products. Therefore, we had to develop a whole new range of prroducts. It was like starting the campaign afresh, only with a lot of losses! I am glad to say that we are back on track as far as products are concerned, have networked with totally new producers & have designed new products ourselves. We are undoing all the mistakes we made, learning & moving ahead."

Kriti Kakria:
"I recently got the position of the Chief Social Responsibility Officer(CSRO) of a student group called BINGO (Business Incubation of Global Organisations) - http://www.nusbingo.org/. This organisation concentrates on entrepreneurship amongst youngsters ( entrepreneurship is a big big big thing in Singpaore), while keeping in view social responsibilty. As the CSRO, I get to lead to major charity events. One of which would be a blood donation drive. The other one I get to choose! So I proposed a AIDS awareness campaign. The executive committee members were impressed. YAY! I finally get to do something I started believing in."

Shilpi Sud:
"Coming from a background wherein I had volunteered for a British Council project for more than 2 years, VOLindia was a great platform for me to continue with my work and volunteerism.

As a part of VOlindia, I worked with the child rights project. It was a great learning experience for me as we conceptualised and designed the toolkit as well as the communication material. I got a chance to work on something informative (the toolkit) as well as something creative (the communication material).

Our work still continues! It has been 4 months since the project officially got over but my team and I are still working on it. We managed to find funding for our project and are now working towards printing and dissemination of the material in the near future.

I am now a part of the VOlindia team as a program associate.

We have a long way to go still ..."
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