This is what one of our new volunteers, Srinivas Raju had to say about his experience of working with Sankalp. For the record, Srinivas is academically the most qualified volunteer of Sankalp :). he is currently pursuing his PhD.
I once heard a talk by an eminent civil servant about the fact that “Our world is not flat”. He clearly highlighted the social and economical inequalities prevalent in our country and how this prevents the unprivileged ones from living a life of dignity and self respect. Until that day, little did I realize that many in this country did not have the opportunities that I was privileged to have. For millions, elementary education and basic health care for example, are luxuries which they cannot afford (forget about these being of good quality). So, we the “privileged ones” might want to do something to make this world a little more flat. Before I write about my experience with Sankalp I wish to share another simple thought. From dawn till dusk, all the activities that we get into, are predominantly aimed at satisfying our personal needs. From brushing our teeth to watching a late night movie...we can hardly think of anything that we deliberately do for others. In my opinion those who can willingly spare some time for the well-being of others are true Heroes.
I consider myself extremely privileged to be able to work with a small bunch of such heroes.
First thing that struck me when I met them was the age group of the members. Majority of them are undergraduates doing their B. Tech. in an engineering college. Putting myself in their shoes, I could not imagine myself managing the hectic schedule of classes, labs, exams and still find time to work for Sankalp. For example, one young guy (most probably finished his 12th class a couple of years ago) is predominantly responsible for the publicity of the statewide blood availability helpline. After sitting through the boring classes in the morning this guy finds time and most importantly the energy to go to several hospitals in Bangalore, talk to the medical superintendents and make them aware of the life saving helpline. This guy is one such hero I was talking about. There are many more... I do not have the space in this article to write about all of them.
The founder of a Bangalore based NGO, working for urban reforms has this to say...“In India, the total number of employees in all the NGOs put together is larger than that in the Indian Railways.” Obviously there are many people trying to do many good things. Looking at the way I was drifting away from academics my boss (read mentor) once gave me a long lecture about staying away from spurious NGOs. I am clear that by working with Sankalp I am with the best set of men and women. Reason?...their efficiency!!! I once got associated with a disaster relief activity organized by students of a prestigious academic institution. We pooled in good amount of money and did a reasonably good job. But, at the end of this adventure I was a little dissatisfied with the way we went about doing things. Without giving many details, I should say that we seriously lacked planning, organization and most importantly leadership. In my opinion, Sankalp's biggest asset is their leadership. Every single activity is well planned by the leader of the group and then extensively scrutinized by the rest of us for any possible loopholes. After we complete the planned activity we have a feedback session where, we critically look at the work we did and suggest possible improvements. Members of Sankalp are very open to criticism because we believe this helps us personally and also the organization. This way, Sankalp is moving towards perfection at a very good pace.
Though, I do not wish to elaborate on the various activities of Sankalp, I cannot help but write about one of their initiatives. We call it “Rakta Kranthi – Schools”. The major hurdle in voluntary blood donation is the inhibition, fear and lack of information about the process of blood donation. Even well educated men and women are apprehensive about blood donation. By providing school kids with loads of facts about blood donation and the much needed inspiration, a small set of volunteers in Sankalp are making sure that school kids grow up to become responsible citizens. I think I am not wrong in assuming that these school kids will be more aware and confidant about blood donation than their parents.
Sankalp is a relatively small group of volunteers. I thought I will have to fill some forms before I become a member of Sankalp. Surprisingly, all I had to do was attend the Sunday meeting...look at various activities of Sankalp, choose the area that suited my interests and then get started. That’s it!!!
It was a great feeling to have worked with these heroes. I look forward to many more such experiences in the future.