There is a world without the IPhones we use, the i10s we drive and even without the squared walls we live inside. There is this world which probably doesn’t even know what a school is, what clean water means; a world which doesn’t know how it feels to live inside a concrete house, or what bathrooms and toilets are like. But seldom do we even spend a minute to give a thought to things like these, because we are always busy with our own lives; too busy to care about the millions out there who don’t even get the chance to live a life atleast 10% as good as ours, but deserve the same as we do. And what are we doing about this? Probably nothing.
I was lucky that thoughts like these crossed my mind quite a few times, and they motivated me to join LEAF as a Social Media Management and Marketing Intern in 2014. I knew I didn’t have the time or the resource to join LEAF as an on-ground intern; hence I started working from home. Initially it felt like a trivial task, and it made me feel as if I wasn’t doing enough to make a difference, but gradually as I started getting more and more involved in the work, I started realising its real value. I came to know about the importance of promoting the organisation through the social media. I realised that reaching out to the people and making them know about the organisation was also an equally important task as the others. Gradually I started shifting my focus to designing too. I started designing posters and infographics for LEAF.
It was really a great experience to work here at LEAF because it enabled me to gain insight into the social sector and help make an impact at the same time.
The work here is challenging, but very meaningful. LEAF works at the very grassroot level, educating the rural people, especially the children on the topics of proper sanitation, health and hygiene, child protection, and so on, to bring changes in their society, making their little world a better place to live in. Every day or the other we get stories from the on-ground workers saying that some child has filed an RTI on his own, or some parents have not agreed to pay dowry, or some girl has taken a stand against child marriage, or that some families in a village have joined hands to build toilets for themselves and clean their locality. Getting the first hand opportunity to know these stories, and sharing them with people really makes me feel that I am a part of something I believe in, a part of an organisation that is doing something good for the people who really deserve a change in their lives, but don’t have access to the appropriate resources to do it by themselves.
Sharing LEAF’s work with the outside world, letting people know the work that LEAF is doing, and seeing people appreciate it is what makes me even happier because that’s where I know my work has played a part. And when some blessed soul comes forward to donate for LEAF’s work, or to volunteer to be a part of LEAF and work with us, there is no feeling of success better than that. Moreover, here there is every opportunity to let your inner talents shine. People at LEAF love proactive volunteers who show some initiative, and take their tasks a notch further. Working among a community of motivated workers is another plus point here, because without inner belief and strong motivation to make a difference, no one can survive in LEAF, rather in any non-profit for that matter. So you can make sure that if you are a part of LEAF, you will be a part of a motivated team, who always strive to make the organisation and its work better in every aspect. The work here also puts on you a lot of responsibilities. I have realised that here I have more responsibility and authority than what I would have as a part of the corporate world. This has helped me not only to improve my skillset, but also to make myself a better and more responsible human being. So, if you want to develop and prepare yourself for the outside world, this is a great place to gain that experience and acquire the required skillset that would later on help you to thrive in your career. Last but not the least, the work here requires you to be responsive, take quick decisions, and act on them immediately. You never know what situation might arise, which co-worker might not be available, or what event may occur that might need a short change in your routine, and ask you to manage the situation accordingly. In all, I must say that the work here has not only helped me make contributions to LEAF, but also helped me develop myself into a better person, and a better professional.
But now the obvious question comes up- who has that much amount of time to devote to this work? Practically no one has; and yes, that’s why it’s not a very easy task. But who wants an easy task? Unless and until you have something challenging, would you get the motivation to work on it? Once you are a part of LEAF, all you need to do is manage your time. Even devoting 45mins to 1 hour a day is more than enough for working here. Everyone has other work to do. Someone has to study for exams, while someone has work at office; but still being able to give a little bit of time for a cause that you believe in, and help people, is what makes the difference, and gives you the self satisfaction that hardly any other thing can. You don’t need to run the entire organisation on your own, but even being a small cog in the bigger wheel is as important as the entire system itself. It’s not as difficult to run the wheel, as it is to get it started. Taking that step to work for a cause is already halfway to the destination.
So, before you toss that 1 rupee coin in the palm of the little girl, look into her eyes and try to see the amount of miles she had to walk in the morning and the number of hours she had to wait in the queue under the scorching sun to get a bucket of water from the well, or maybe the amount of work she had to do washing utensils, or serve food to the people in the roadside restaurant, and ask yourself- Does she deserve a better life? Am I doing enough to make it happen?
This was an entry sent in by our most recent volunteer, Spandan Choudhary. He studies at NIT and is quite the overachiever.