A short write-up about Balaji from Prasanna (Center head for KBM)
“Balaji has been a regular volunteer ever since we started our KBM center. He has gone one step further from just being a regular volunteer and be a inspiration for all others. His level of interaction and involvement with the kids is always amazing. Never have I heard the word NO / NOT POSSIBLE from him, always willing to do anything and everything for the smooth functioning of the class. Has been a pleasure having him @ KBM and hope he inspires more volunteers in the years to come.”
Volunteering is a bit of a selfish act. At least, it is that way for me. Most people perceive it to be some altruistic service that we offer others, typically to some subset of a society who have not been as fortunate as us. However, it is so further from the truth that I am taking this chance to set the story right.
I only gain whenever I go to Deepam, and gain tremendously.
First – the warmth. The effect of a simple 2 hour interaction with a bunch of mischievous and innocent children is nothing short of therapy to an otherwise crafty corporate week that just spun past. The noise and giggles are music departed from the clicking keypads and obtrusive phone rings. Have no doubt – the welcome we get and the good mornings that we receive are as genuine as it gets. Soak it in.
Then, we learn. We understand the disparity that exists in our society and the tribulations of children thrust into situations for no fault of theirs. We get to realize how fortunate are to have been gifted the parentage, upbringing, education and resources that we enjoy and very often take for granted – and it puts a lot of our pains and complains in perspective.
We feel good. Especially when you see a kid who you have been guiding, construct a full sentence in English, read off a book, participate in plays and talk back in confidence, the enveloping feeling is massively rewarding. If the soul needs soup, this is the best kitchen in town.
Finally, it’s fun! Tremendous joy. The volunteers at VRS are, downright and mildly speaking, a crazy bunch of people who get along like a house on fire.
We sure come to Deepam to help and teach the kids, and we certainly hope they benefit, but I go back home having gained a whole lot more than I gave.
Emotions were running high amongs the kids as it brought back tearful happy memories of the school and Deepam; while Ajay’s grandmother was really proud of his achievement – joyous trinkets down her cheek showing all that the small token meant to them. It was a proud day for every parent present there.
If one side presents the past, the other side of the coin is our current Deepam kids. Flanked by their seniors on one side, and volunteers and parents from the other 3 sides, the wondrous children were all attention to every word, cheer and tear. Though some might have even been overwhelmed, it was as joyous an occasion for them as well. Many of them recognized their ‘annas’ and ‘akkas’, applauding incessantly with tiny hands when they received their awards. Grand promises were made by them to emulate their seniors and be ‘big little stars’ like them.
As we were about to say “phew, what a morning!”, we have RR Sir bringing a red envelope to the front and announcing with his usual finesse an award for Praveen Kumar for being nominated Volunteer of the Month a few months back. A delightful icing on the cake !!
Volunteers, as always were cheering from the sidelines, pouncing on a rare opportunity to express satisfaction and happiness.
And, so we have six new stars in the Deepam sky …
Another first, this year at Deepam. We are formally publishing a yearly report on Deepam’s work and Am very excited to share the Deepam Annual Report 2012-13.
We have attempted to give a true picture of the work done by the volunteer team and yet, keep the format simple. This report was possible only because of the work done by all volunteers over the year. Special thanks to Abhishek, Sugumaran, Prasanna, Vedavalli, Praveen, RR Sir, Anu and Janavi in helping put this report together!
Thanks for supporting Deepam and look forward to your continued support !