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Bhumi is one of India’s largest independent youth volunteer non-profit organisations. Bhumi serves as a platform for all socially conscious individuals to contribute to the society in their own capacity. The following is an excerpt from the interview of Ms.Vaishnavi Srinivasan, the Executive Director of the organization. She was the proud recipient of the “Youth Volunteer of the year – 2011” award.
1. Tell me about Bhumi and the work that you do in a few words.
#Bhumi is one of India’s largest independent youth volunteer non-profit organisations. Our volunteers work amongst orphaned and underprivileged children in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and New Delhi with the aim of providing children with quality supplementary education and enable them to become responsible and productive citizens of the future. The efforts of our volunteer force consisting of over 1,000 students and young professionals under the age of 30 will benefit over 10,000 children this year.
2. Working with children in orphanages, slums etc. what are the day-to-day challenges that you face?
#Bhumi volunteers get about 4 hours every weekend; and the gap that currently exists between classes challenges the children’s retention of what we teach. To overcome these, apart from recaps, our volunteers try to set up a colourful classroom that would keep the children engaged during the week too; like charts on the walls with small problems to solve, or most frequently used words / sight words etc.
3. There are still parts of India where Bhumi doesn’t have branches. How do you plan on reaching out to even the remote places of the country?
#Bhumi plans to expand to at least 50 more cities in the next 5 years; and we believe this is possible with the incredible support we have already been getting from the youth across the nation. We intend to first establish ourselves in metros, tier 1 and 2 cities before moving to remote locations.
4. How has working with Bhumi helped you evolve on a personal level?
# Our volunteers have been able to nurture their leadership skills through the many situations they have been encountering during this journey of volunteering with Bhumi. From over 14 torchbearers (the highest level of recognition awarded to our volunteers), 6 have quit their lucrative jobs to take up full-time jobs in the education / NGO sector. Such is the change the organization has been able to create at a personal level.
5. The organisation has recently received the vocational excellence for education award and previously the Beacon of Hope award. How have these awards acted as a source of inspiration and motivation?
# Our volunteers keep going with a clear focus of improving what they have to offer these children every year irrespective of what comes our way. Nevertheless, we are deeply grateful to those who understand, appreciate and recognise our work through such awards.
6. Tell me about the volunteers. How do you look about for volunteers and how do they reach you?
# Our volunteers are under the age of 30, comprising students and young professionals. We conduct awareness drives on college campuses, and those interested, sign up with Bhumi. After an orientation, they are inducted into the programme that best suits their interests. Apart from these direct engagements, we also receive a number of registrations through social media (like Facebook).
7. What would you like to tell to the society in general? Your message for today’s youth?
# We strongly believe that the country’s future lies in the hands of the youth; and with a little dedication and focus, every youngster can be a changemaker. We also assure that this journey of volunteering for a few hours in a week can truly transform your life significantly. Sign up with us today to experience the joy!
Change Today … Change Tomorrow