Volunteer Interview – Yaswanth

Hi, Yaswanth; can you tell us about yourself and brief us on how you joined Bhumi?

Hi I am Yaswanth from Anna Nagar, Chennai; I’m an inventory coordinator of Lakshya Project in Kolathur centre. I’m working in TCS Chennai; and I was introduced to Bhumi by my College NSS Unit friends who are active volunteers of Bhumi. Then just as every other person I attended an orientation and stuff; and I have been in Bhumi for past 2-3 months.Yaswanth

 

So in this 2-3 months journey with Bhumi what do u like about it?

The organizational structure; a non-profit N.G.O. with such a well planned structure made me like it. The strategizing perspective is awesome; even being simple Group Activities in centers are well planned in pre-planning sessions including the inventories; and the final documentation.

And the Commitment of other volunteers; all these together become a motivational factor encouraging fellow volunteers. Even after these days the dedication of the founder and old volunteers is very good.

 

Is there any particular volunteer (No Restrictions) who has inspired you? If yes, who is that and what trait in the person was the reason?

Yes. It is Raghu. Being an anchor he organizes the whole team well. He is very compassionate and resorts to ask all volunteers their opinions on howsoever small the issue may be. That and the socializing attitude of Raghu and Sri Vidya towards the kids and fellow volunteers is a motivational factor for me and I feel I have to improve a bit on the socializing factor; so that way they inspire me.

 

In that case; do you have any memorable moments as a volunteer? If so, can you share it with us?    

A lot; I remember the smiles of the kids back home; which is one big memorable moment for me. If you ask moments with the volunteers; we had a planning session in Valluvar Kottam Park and then later joined for a chat in a nearby juice shop. There are a few facebook moments too. Some funny stories on how inventories were collected in the past etc… I miss Nakshatra and the mentor training session too much. Because I was not available on Sunday; and since the training couldn’t be made on Saturday and Sunday; as per my request; I had to attend only the online version of it. Yet I miss those times a lot. But making the kids happy is the most memorable moment.

 

Just like that Request; do you have any Suggestions, opinions, appreciations you want to share with Bhumi as a whole?       

All that I want to share is as a Lakshya volunteer of Kolathur centre; I have got an opportunity to speak with only those volunteers who have visited my centre; either to conduct sessions or watch them. Since I missed Nakshatra and I haven’t visited the other centers. We in our centre are planning for a help from the speak-out team in conducting English classes. So my suggestion would be a better inter communication platform for volunteers across projects; even across lakshyans.

 

Have you heard of Ripples? If yes, do you read it?

Yes I do. I even sent an article for ripples and it is yet not published. I just dunno why?

 

Since we get more than required articles for a particular month we put on hold a few articles and it just takes some time in getting published. I hope your article will soon adorn our pages. Do you have any suggestions for ripples?

Actually why doesn’t Ripples have a facebook group or something to get these feedback from us. One such group will also increase the communication factor said earlier. We will also respond there and have constructive discussions on the newsletter.

 

Well there are few closed facebook groups for the inter-volunteer communication purpose and all are welcome to communicate anything related to the projects, anytime. We have a dedicated discussion forum for ripples-team; as with the feedbacks you can always send them to the ripples team via the dedicated link provided; if you any doubts; you can feel free to contact the team anytime. So it is only in the way you choose to respond. This is just a fact I felt sharing and it was great time speaking with you Thank you.

(A hearty laugh) Thank you. I just got what you meant. So I now understand that a closed group alone could not serve the purpose. It was great time talking to you too. Bye.

 (P.S. – Had you not said that you are from Anna Nagar; I would have concluded that you don’t know Tamil. Your accent was like that of a North-Indian. 🙂 )       

 

Lakshya Mentor Training – 2013

Lakshya Mentor Training 2013

Mentor training is conducted every year in Lakshya for all the Lakshyans interested in taking up mentoring.This year, the training was conducted in all the chapters of Lakshya, i.e, Chennai, Trichy and Bangalore. And some volunteers have shared their experience at the training this year:

Collage

Chennai:

29th September 2013. I was really looking forward to this day. The reason? I was curious as to what was going to happen during the mentor session and how is it that we were to be “trained” to mentor kids. I believed that it was a skill picked up over time and not something that can be taught. But little did I know Mrs Saras Bhaskar had a huge surprise in store for us. Right from the word go, she made us come up with multiple questions about mentoring and had us come up with the answers too. It was a whopping experience of collaborative learning. The veteran Lakshyans sharing their experiences over the years mentoring kids, with Ms Saras giving her insight about human psychology in general helped people who were with Lakshya for the first time understand the general mindset of the kids we would be dealing with. The activities used to build camaraderie within the team and the case studies presented to assist us in understanding in full the takeaways from the session instilled creativity and innovation within the volunteers. I would have to say it was a day well spent or rather a day well invested in making us all better mentors.
~ Akilesh

 

Trichy:

22 September, 2013. The most awaited day by all passionate volunteers in lakshaya trichy; a day for which everyone waited to be get sealed as a trained mentor. Thereby, came the day with the presence of all awesome lakshayans on behalf of one of the leading psychologists in Chennai, Mrs. Saras Bhaskar. Everyone got introduced by unusual way, a unique way by saying their names with the personalities by syncing them with same characters as those personalities have, by which she encountered all. She started the session with the characteristics needed for a mentor and continued with Do’s and Dont’s.  She moulded us to give her attention through interesting activities and surprising debates. We won’t forget one interesting debate on “the fellow who commits suicide is the bravest/cowardice”, where every volunteer gave his/her contribution to make their points strong. The session got into serious when she asked “why you people are here when the others in your age spending their weekends with theatres, malls, shopping, etc.?”  Every volunteer answered with different words and stories but the thing i found in common was “I had been suffered, i want no one to be so, and so I’m here”. Those touching moments and stories were still placed in the hearts of all volunteers!! As Lady Gaga sings “live for the applause..”, She gave applause for whatever that had been happening there. She asked us to give a big applause for all from the man who changed the projector properly to the volunteers who came late, which was quite interesting and motivated all. The activities conducted and the assessments made by her through the tests, made the session great and created a lot of self-awareness of the volunteers. The session’s conclusion was made up to the mark by presenting what we had learnt the whole day through solving and presenting the problem statements given by her. The day was ended with a click of this troop in lens of cameras which made all volunteers’ cover photos. Everyone was satisfied completely with that day and went home with a seal of ‘trained mentor’.

  ~ Srinivasan N.

Bangalore:

Sometimes we really don’t know how wonderful the things are unless and until we just experience it. Same thing just happened to all of us at the mentor training in Bangalore on 1st  September 2013. Before the session definitely weare had own perceptions about what would be mentoring like but definitely we knew so little about all this. I can say it was not just a session but it widened our perspective of how to build a healthy mentor- mentee relationships.Each and every hour just led to new horizons of understanding our role as a mentor much deeper. To be a mentor is definitely not a very easy role. It requires the good understanding and how we deal the situations coming on our way. The most strange part of the training was that none of us felt sleepy in all the 8 hour.yeah that doesn’t actually happen during training!!!:P.Infact we just wanted lot and lots more of this kind to happen always.The lesson we got back was abundance .May be we generally knew what to do in mentoring but also also learnt what not to do in mentoring. So all these small pieces of knowledge was really helpful for us to start the mentoring of kids.

                                                                                                                                                                                 ~ Swetha

Flash mob@Trichy

It was an idea which sparkled in the neurons of one of the volunteers that was made beyond the expectations of all; which stopped the people moving in the Chatram bus stand, just to look exclaimed! Yeah..!! It was a flash mob made by the crew of bhumi volunteers along with three professional dancers with loud speakers and peppy songs blowing over it. The objective was to get the attraction of the crowd to open their eyes about shelter less people living under flyovers, platforms, bus stands, railway stations, etc. across the city; to get a good home for them and to get rid of the problems they face during natural calamities. After the flash mob, the rally would star from the busstand and extend till Ibrahim park.

While we heard the word flash mob, we started to lookout for expert dancers. Within a day, we got three professional dancers and few more interested volunteers joined for a dance with them. The experts gave a day of practice to 15 volunteers and it was fun being a part of the practice sessions. As it was a public performance, there were some rules and restrictions. After taking everything into the legs, those volunteers went with lot of excitement.

The very next day  surrounded by police force, with lot of curiosity in the eyes of the volunteers, the flashmob started to the music on the speakers. It was an amazing moment to make the crowd to turn by the surprising, sudden dance moves of our volunteers.  Not to miss the cute steps of some unpracticed volunteers which were also caught in cams by dedicated photographers.  The volunteers who danced in such a crowded bus stand made the people standstill.  After the dance; Abdul, a bold volunteer, took over the microphone and addressed the crowd with awesome phrases and quotes. After his speech, the rally started.

The response we got from the people filled our hearts with emotions for the efforts that we put in!!

~ Srinivasan.N

Trichy

Shreyas the duffer

Shreyas was walking home crestfallen and scared. He had failed in maths again. His mom was sure to scold him or even beat him. He decided that he should hide the paper from his mom. He put on an extra cheerful face and greeted his mother with false enthusiasm. His mom smelled something fishy. She was sceptical yet chose to ignore it for now.

The next day Shreyas’ mother got a call from school saying not only has Shreyas not got his parent’s signature in his answer sheets but also failed in all the subjects and miserably failed with a single digit score in math. The class teacher wanted to meet her. When she came in, the class teacher called for Shreyas. His mother had to control herself from scolding Shreyas in front of the teacher. Shreyas was asked to explain why he scored so less in all the subjects and failed miserably in math. He explained that he couldn’t understand what was being taught at school; his mother couldn’t control herself anymore. She started hitting Shreyas in front of the teacher and his friends. She explained saying, “No matter what I do, nothing enters his thick skull. He is such a duffer”. Though his friends were taken aback when Shreyas’ mom hit him, they were finding the scene funny. The name ‘Shreyas the duffer’ stuck on.

Another day, his teacher asked Shreyas to solve a simple math problem on the board. He did not know how but still tried his level best to solve it. All his friends burst out laughing at the gibberish he had written on the board. Feeling ashamed of himself he ran back to his seat and was waiting for the day to get over and run the earliest. But then he was also unwanted even at home. He wanted to somehow drown his sorrow. He wanted to shut his friends’ mouths somehow.

After the last hour he caught hold of the lanky bespectacled Ramu who was sitting beside him and asked him why he too ridiculed him when he was his friend. Ramu laughed and told Shreyas, “Its only your belief that you are my friend. I don’t think I’d wanna to be friends with a duffer.” Shreyas got wild with anger and started punching Ramu hard and relentlessly venting out all his pent up anger unawares that Ramu’s nose was bleeding and his specs flew askew. Seeing the blood in his hands Shreyas stopped his punching. Horrified by what he had done, scared to the end of his wits he ran out of the class leaving behind all his belongings. He ran past the gates and unthinkingly ran across the road. Suddenly he heard a loud horn and thats the last he heard.

The story could have ended differently if Shreyas had someone to lend him a listening ear, someone to help him deal with his friends who ridiculed him, someone to pick him up when he felt low, someone to guide and mentor him.

~ Srividya

Chennai

Kid’s Interview

Kid’s Interview

An interview of the kid with regular attendance for motivation ended up in a small chat with 3 enthusiastic kids. Their original and translated responses are in a dialogue form to instil the innocence in the words.

Me:  Vijay Unna Pathi sollu?

Vijay: En per D.Vijay Kumar Nan Thiruverambur Kulathur melnilai pallila Ninth padikuren

Me: Vijay Tell Me about you?

Vijay: My name is D.Vijay Kumar I’m studying Ninth standard in Thiruverambur Kulathur Melnilai Palli. (Thiruverambur Kulathur Higher Secondary School)

 

Me: Unakku enna pudikkum?

Vijay: Enakku vilayatu, Padippu, Vilayada pudikkum.

Me: What is Your Passion?

Vijay: I like Sports, Learning. I like playing.

 

Me: Enna Vilayada pudikkum?

Vijay: Enakku Kabadi, Cricket, co-co, kaal pandu , kai pandu….

Me: What Do you like to play?

Vijay: I like playing Kabadi, Cricket, CO-CO, Football, and Handball.

 

Me: Ithu ellam vilayaduviya illa Vilayada pudikuma?

Vijay: Ellame vilayaduven; kathukuten

Me: Do you know to play all these or you like them?

Vijay: I play all of them; I learnt.

 

Me: Seri Bhumi’lerundu edo nanga lakshya’kku varom appudina odane enna pannuvomnu nenaicha?

Vijay: Ungalta irundu nalla vilyatu approm ungalterundu eppudilam muneranumnu kathukalamnu irunthen.

Me: Ok! When you heard that a few guys from Bhumi are gonna come for something called ‘Lakshya’ what were you expecting?

Vijay: I was expecting good games; I was eager to learn how to get better in life from you people.

 

Me: Vera enna therinjukalamnu nenaicha?

Vijay: Ungalterundu suthatha Pathi therinjukalamnu irunden, Padippu vishyam edavuthu solli kudupinganu nenaichen

approm enga ellarukkum English kathu taruvinganu nenaichom.

Me: What else were you expecting to learn?

Vijay: I wanted to learn about cleanliness and hygiene from you; I thought you will teach something academic oriented I thought you would teach us English.

 

Me: Unakku padippu school’la soli Taranga ana entha edathulayume solli tarathadu unaku pudichathu edavathu ne kathukanumnu yosichu irukiya, apudi yethavathu…

(A howling sound followed by Vivek saying nanga Thana and Vignesh added engaltayum ethavathu kelunga)

Vijay: ivungaltaye kelunga

Vignesh: Enakku English olunga varathu athanala katukanumnu aasiya irukku.

Me: You are learning academics in schools, what other co- curricular activities did you want to learn?

(A howling sound followed by Vivek saying Its just us and Vignesh added Ask something to us also.)

Vijay: Ask to these people also.

Vignesh: I don’t speak good English so I wanted to learn that from you.

 

Me: ippodaikku konjam teriyala avalothan kathukudutha vandrum vera edavathu.

Vignesh: neenga eldurathaye vera madri kathu kuduthinga athunpudichirundudu.

Me: As of now your English has to be made better but what else do you wanna learn?

Vignesh:  You made us write a normal test in an innovative way I liked that.

 

Me: Unnakku?

Vivek: Enakku aeroplane pakkum bothu atha ota kathukanumnu aasai irukku.

Me: How about you?

Vivek: Whenever I see an aero plane I wanna learn how to drive it.

 

Me: Atha pathi yartayavathu keturukiya ena therinju irukka atha pathi?

Vivek: Athuku Konjam control machine correct’ah use pananum; payanaligala yethitu vandu correct time’la erakanum; Neraya per iruntha rumba valaika kudathu; adu abathana vela than

Me: Have you enquired about that to people what do you know about it?

Vivek: Yea we need to user control systems correctly for that; Depending on the persons you should turn; if there are a lot of passengers you should not drift much. It’s pretty much a dangerous job

 

Me: abathuna…

Vivek: Eninakku abathulam toosi madri na.

Me: Dangerous in the sense…

Vivek: Dangerous tasks are like dust before me…

 

Me: Ungulukku intha madri aasai …

Vignesh: Kovil’la hindi karangala pakum bothu hindi pesa kathukanumnu aasai irukku.Neraya mozhi kathukanumnu aasai irukku.

Vijay:Enakku train otanumnu aasai irukku.

Me: Do you guys have some wish like this…

Vignesh: When I see Hindi people worshiping in temple; I have yearned to learn the language. I basically wanna learn a lot of languages.

Vijay: I have wished to drive a train.

 

Me: Seri ithana lakshya session’la ethu unnakku tak’nu gyabagam irukku yosikama sollu?

Vignesh: thopiya mati mati potom’la antha velayatu gyabagam irukku.

Me: Well can you tell me which Lakshya session you could remember instantaneously?

Vignesh: the one in which we exchanged caps by passing it over to nearer ones…

 

Me: Enna kathukutanu  gyabagam irukka?

Vignesh: Naama padichu inoruthanta sonna avan poi innorthanta solluvan ipudiye padichu padichu muneruvom.

Me: What did you understand in that?

Vignesh: If we learn something and share it with a person then he would share it with a few more and thus we would all get better together.

 

Me: Lakshya’la Enna pudichirukku?

Vignesh: Enakku valkaila muneranumnu oru vilayatu solli thandenga adu pudichirundudu ippo nenga panra madri nanum oru amaippu arambichu ellarukkum solli taranumnu irkkuren na.Nanum English kathukutu yellarukkum solli taruven.

Vivek:  oru study group maadri aarambichu pasangalukku solli taralamnu irukkom.

Vijay: college ponadhuku approm.

Me: what do you like in Lakshya?

Vignesh: You taught me a game about getting better in life I remember that. When I grow up I too want to start an organization like this and teach people like you. I will learn English and teach people. 

Vivek: We would like to start a study group and teach people

Vijay: After going to college.  

 

(This is where that beautiful chat ended still thinking if I could just go and have another chat with them like this)

Group Activity Session@Manavar Illam

Lakshya GA sessions-an insider’s recount

Lakshya – a name which few months back would have made me think about Hrithik Roshan’s dance moves in the blockbuster movie with the same name. But now it is synonymous with a warm glow that swells in my heart when a kid explains what he has learnt through a Group Activity session.
Talking about the sessions we started off Lakshya 2013 at manavar illam on 30-06-2013 with a handful of volunteers and a heart full of hope and confidence. The slight jitter that one may have had about interacting with kids who were complete strangers was dispelled the moment the kids assembled in the hall. Without any prodding, the kids started interacting with the volunteers pulling their legs with puns.
By the second session, the kids had gelled well with the volunteers and they responded enthusiastically to the volunteer’s requests. They even nicknamed a few volunteers (self was named “comedy piece”). The kids also started opening up beautifully at the post group activity (GA) discussions. Soon, the theme of the GA activities was correctly understood and expressed by the kids themselves without any push from the volunteers. Now the kids and volunteers are part of the same team i.e., LAKSHYA working towards the same goal –“a developed INDIA”

~ Vivek Rajan

Manavar Illam, Trichy

Design For Change-2013

A Dream For Change (DFC)

A Design-for-change from a dream for change..!!

The complete change of the Maanavar Illam, Trichy, was felt after the tremendous process with kids in two days with a theme of “cleanliness” . As a Tamil proverb states “sutham soru podum”, we made the kids start something for a clean and a green environment. Cleaning the ground, planting saplings in available spaces, and allocating spaces for playing, better washing area, etc. were the phases of the change. At first, it was a little bit of a challenge to imagine the environment from sick old to a healthy new one. But later, we jumped into the field with each and every volunteer managing a team of 4-5 kids namely inventory, space management, waste management, planting saplings and cleaning.
The kids showed a lot of interest and played every role to enhance their existing surroundings to a clean area despite their exams the following day. The plan was discussed and meticulously carried out. Creating pathways for the waste water to prevent its stagnancy was the first step in our DFC. Simultaneously, the other teams started their respective work like planting seeds and fencing. Gardening was a great process and led to a success with the help of all the kids. And the day ended with a little clean and green look with some work still pending in the list.

Our DFC went on a second week voyage and we planned for half-a-day to finish all those pending works. The kids never ceased to inspire us. They chlorinated the wash area of the home without our help that just awed us more. They chose the places for planting vegetables and cleaned a stage filled with wooden logs on that day with us lending a few hands. And at last we made a volley ball court for the kids to put their skills on the ground for test. DFC ended successfully with things getting captured across devices and with our idea of having National Anthem to show the patriotism after the project getting through. It was really awesome to be a part of DFC at Maanavar Illam.

I hope each volunteer enjoyed a lot even while blending their sweat with blood during the project. They were very well aware of all the things and experienced in creating a plan and to establish it successfully by thinking out of the box. We learnt a lot from each kid like how to use the tools like stone and a simple iron wire for fencing. Finally, a clean and green environment was made for the kids and by the kids. DFC went with more than just satisfaction in our hearts.

~ Srinivasavan

Manavar Illam, Trichy

Nakshatra Experience@Trichy

“We don’t have to be great to start, we have to start to be great…!!!”

I lived and felt these favourite lines of mine on 18th August 2013…!!! The first Nakshatra for me having not even completed a year in Bhumi, there Gana Anna and Lakshmi Anna believing in me, gave on these fresh hands of mine the major, top, basic thing for nakshatra to be co-ordinated by me..!!! Yes,… They believed me & allowed to co-ordinate the Venue management of nakshatra 2013…!!! This made, me march to many people, who are the complete strangers and one word introduced and spoke well about me to them was BHUMI. Many times, not knowing the reference point, I had made many mistakes in the matter of currency numbers… But, Mayuran Anna, used to push me, giving me great experiences…!!! Planned at every nakshatra meet… Nirmal Anna, Raghavan Anna, Ramki Anna, used to sit around and used to list out the things they missed last year at Nakshtra !!! And Nirmal Anna was very surely quoting on that, U WILL BE GETTING ALOT OF SURPRISES, and only thing, was going on in me was, I should not have even a single thing from the things they missed last year. The day before the nakshatra, there at venue, checked, and having found, problems in number of events happening in rooms, changed the whole thing in such a way, that, every event and room suits with the number of kids participating. There went in the rescheduling on the Venue !!!… Change of classrooms. Vinoth Anna, helped alot…!!! On the day, Ashwin, made it a point to share every work of mine equally… And he and 3 of his friends did it..!!! Before the nakshatra could get over, Shyamla having insisted me to start on the work of rearranging the venue, many security volunteers by Robin, helped a lot…!!! Nakshatra..!!! the Motto, DREAM DISCOVER DAZZLE, exactly suits the volunteers work too..!!! A reason for a child’s smile…!! A reason for the labourers who work there for stage and speaker and cleaning works..!!! A reason for a volunteers’ satisfaction..!!! Wahh.. Even though the body was tired,… The soul shouted up a Yiiipppeeee when we finally had a Cheesy smiling photo !!!… Only after this day, I realised MY life..!!! It seems like, every soul around me is an angel sent by God to show me the right path !!!…. I am sure till such supportive people are around me, I will keep moving on my right path safely being a part if BHUMI family always !!!!

~

Arshath, City co-ordinator, Lakshya Trichy