Asif Ali VM - Champion - Social Volunteer Awards 2020
Updated: Sep 25, 2021
I’m strong believer of conversations and dialogues which brings human connections. I would like to bring positive changes in people and in society by right actions. I have done my graduation in sociology and master's in social work. I’m a former Gandhi fellow, placed in thane municipal corporation schools in Maharashtra. Also, I’m a former international citizen service volunteer. That was a 3 month volunteering program funded by UK government with an aim of alleviating poverty. I have volunteered with different organizations across India. I’m former NSS volunteer and NGC (national green corps) volunteer. I’ve been volunteering and working in the field of education for more than 4 years. I’ve worked on special education project in different district in Kerala. I also got selected for international youth volunteer project (one year) in Poland which I consider it as a great achievement.
I think I started my volunteering in formal way is with National Service Scheme when I was in school. Since then I’m enjoying this. Going to typical tribal colony away from home for 7 days and helping them to construct home was a newly experience. I really enjoyed every seconds I spend their, though staying away from home is too difficult for me.
Later on I have been serving every year in my own home town by giving food materials to the needful people. My family used to do this and I also got the opportunity to be part of the entire process which was really satisfactory and it helped to the make person I’m.
During my social work studies, I used to visit lot of organizations which works in the social sector. Though it was my mandatory field work, I sometimes take the time out to voluntarily visit and serve different organizations in Pondicherry. One was, an organization working for the disabled children, me and my friends organized a cultural program for them. I think that is one of the best moments in my life. I believe if you could bring smile on someone’s face is the gift you can give to that person. Even our faculties in the department appreciated our small attempt. Later on, we have done the same in other places as well. During the Chennai flood, we (friends) took the initiative ‘skip a meal’ campaign in Pondicherry university. There were more than 10 hostels in our campus at that time, and the campaign turned out to be a great success due to huge participation of students community. I’m a former ICS (international citizen service) volunteer. And I was placed in rural part of Maharashtra along with international and national volunteers. I think that is one of the best volunteering experience I have ever had in my life. Basically we were working with 4 different tribal villages on women empowerment. We did worked among the tribal women of all the villages particularly. We spend lot of time in the community, conducted SHG meetings, we went to each houses multiple times every day, worked with the local people to understand the community and problems they are facing. As a result we strengthened few SHGs (self-help groups) and also made 5 new SHGs in the villages. Not just that, we actually made them raise voice against the injustice. Speaking to a group of people, convincing them, and make them understand was a big challenge for me before. But I have done all of that despite of the barriers. Whatever changes we have made in those communities are sustainable. This journey has taught me to think everything critically, have patience and be positive. I also got the opportunity to work with slum children in Mumbai and worked with other non-profit organizations which engaged with educational programs in India so far. Volunteered in Calicut during the first flood in Kerala. I’m really grateful for all the volunteering opportunities that comes to me from different parts. All of these experience is actually making me more grateful for who I’m and what I’m. These experiences has taught me some amazing lessons and values in life which I will carry it further.
Well, I started volunteering since my childhood. But I was not aware I was doing volunteering. My family showed me the importance of giving to the needful people what we have and we should feel grateful for what we have. And from there only I learned the process of giving and making changes in people’s lives. I experienced the joy, happiness, and change that has been brought by the small actions of mine. I truly believe we all have the potential to make changes in people and society if we are here to use what we have. The results of my actions is making me volunteer again and again, because I could see there is a huge difference between doing nothing and doing something.
VOLUNTEERING FOR ME
Volunteering is the one thing in my life which brings me immense happiness by giving. Its an amazing tool to bring change in ourselves and people around us. Volunteering made me realise the joy of living is in giving. Whenever I go for that, I could possibly put all my heart in to it. Doing things without expecting anything other than happiness is volunteering for me.