‘’Great teachers emanate from knowledge, passion and compassion”– A.P.J Abdul Kalam
Such is the passion of young Sree Nandhini, a dynamic volunteer from our Kalapatti center, Coimbatore. An MBA and a fashion designer, Sree Nandhini, is one of the group of young women who initiated the start of the 1st NGO Deepam center in Coimbatore. Sree Nandhini says, “Volunteering for me is addictive”. Read on to find out more from her interview.
What motivated you to take up volunteering work and why Deepam?
I was looking to take up volunteering since school, when I realized I have been offered a great spread of education and all the necessary entities as a student and a woman.On the other hand children from government schools do not necessarily have that upper hand.
How long have you been associated with Deepam and how has this association impacted your life and your thought process?
I have been in Deepam for about a year now right from when they started in Coimbatore. Deepam , for me ,is not just an NGO where a group of like minded people come together to teach the kids something.It is about spreading the joy of not just teaching subjects, but teaching them good values and life lessons.When we tell them something they have heard for the first time, the excitement and the positive shock on their faces lights our own souls and make us want to give even more. I realized, after joining Deepam Kalapatti center and preparing weekly syllabus for them, how education was a liberty for me and I got nothing less than the best.It pains me to realize that even if they do get knowledge in schools, some kids do not have everything that they require to realize their dreams.That is where, we as Deepam volunteers would like to stand.Teach them more on life lessons and bridge the gap to inundate them with knowledge of the opportunities there are available and that nothing is impossible.
Talk about any particular instance that made a huge impact on you, at Deepam
There is not just one, but so many countless incidents.One happy moment that I would love to recall over and over is when I walk every Saturday and see them, right before the class starts, they go crazy, shout my name, give hi fives and just start hugging me.Their happiness on seeing me, the excitement in the air,hoping I would create an impact big or small that will help them every week, makes my soul light.
.What was the biggest challenge you faced during your volunteering? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for me was to make them sit quietly and listen to whatever the volunteers has to say.Depending on the volunteer that is coming in, they usually are more lethargic or disciplined , respectively. Then we had the idea of separating them in groups and making them work as a competition setup , so that it will not just boost them to be good, but also understand working in teams and other important team values.I am sure this way, they have learnt a lot.
Tell us more about the volunteer work at your center – what difference has the Deepam Center made to the school? what do the teachers say?
In our center at Kalapatti, the teachers are extremely supportive and encouraging.We teach English to the kids, based on the syllabus that they are following but with a lot of fun activities and games that will enable the kids to be more attentive.The teachers give their inputs and ideas too, as they know the children better.We work on these ideas and try to deliver the best content.
How are you able to volunteer regularly? Tell us about the methods you follow to be regular at Deepam sessions.
Volunteering regularly is indeed taxing, due to personal situations and other circumstances.We, at deepam, always make sure each of us spend at least 15 minutes daily to brainstorm the ideas for the upcoming session.This way, we will be ready and also come up with a plethora of ideas and suggestions to work on.At Deepam, we also try to make sure that the volunteers turn up for at least 3 out of 4 classes per month.We also maintain a separate attendance sheet for the volunteers and the students as well.From this, we will distribute certificates and medals to the regular attenders, at the end of the academic year.
What advice would you give to those who wish to take up volunteering?
Volunteering for me is very addictive.The reason being, whether we make a big or a small impact, we will be the reason for some positive change in the person’s life.Volunteering is more about giving, it surely is; but some do forget that the volunteers in turn receive a wholesome share of experiencing sharing happiness and spreading joy. Nothing can compare to this feeling in the world.I hope every volunteer should experience this beautiful feeling, in how much ever time he or she can spend for a cause.