Updated: Sep 28, 2021
Myself Saifunnisa S.K, a budding Psychologist from Kannur, Kerala. In future, I want to become a Community Psychologist. I believe that the development must begin from community level. So I love to work for the community development. As a psychology student, I always prefer to volunteer in the field of mental health. And my second preference area is providing sex education in community level. I started my volunteering journey in 2010 through Bulbul. After that I volunteered in many organisation and communities and different areas. All these experiences are so special for me. Because it all made me a social volunteer and teach me the real volunteering lessons. Through this volunteering journey, I got my field of interest in volunteering. My dream is to start an organisation where I want to provide proper sex education in community level and empowering sexually abused victims.
I started my volunteering journey from my 5th standard through Bulbul, through community services like road cleaning, planting, visiting & interacting with humans on old age homes etc. Then I joined Bharat Scout & Guide, where I engaged in a lot of social service activities like teaching school students, palliative visits, organising medical camps, farming, proving first-aids to needy people, traffic duty, food distribution and coordinating all events in school. I received Dwitiya Sopan, tritiya Sopan, Rajya Puraskar and Rashtrapati Award for social service. The experience in Bharat Scout & Guide had motivated me to join the National Service Scheme where I engaged in camps and other social activities. Inspired by the experience in school, I joined the NSS unit of my college; from where I took my volunteering to another phase. I began engage in undertaking social campaigns for child-women protection against sexual abuse and to promote the importance of Mental Health. Later I joined Psychological First-Aid under Kannur District and started volunteering for communities to provide psychological support during Kerala Flood 2018 and coordinated the initiative - Together We Can, which aims to provide written-note books to those who lost their books at the period of flood . During Kerala Flood 2019, I volunteered to rebuild a library in Malappuram. Then I joined Team Incubation and volunteered to spread awareness on Autism. Later I joined The Gulmohar Foundation and had coordinated in developing TGF Listening Community, which aims to promote mental health and active listening. I was also part of TGF Readers and Writers Community and is working to create a magazine. I had created a good network of friends from TGF, which led my way to #justiceforhashtags; a youth community which aim to advocate and protect women-child rights. Where I started to coordinate events for the organisation for the benefit of the community. Through this community we start providing sex education to the childrens and parents, providing defence training to the students through online, legal support and mental health support to the sexually abused victims and various social awarness campaigns. During the lockdown of COVID-19 Pandemic, along with my friends we started an initiative called Isolation Thoughts, which aims to provide mental health support to the childrens and educate them through fun/entertainment sessions and tasks. This is my small volunteering story.
I have been volunteering since 2010, when I was in 5th standard I start my volunteering journey with Bulbul. That experience motivated me to continue as a volunteer. After that I joined many organizations and communities as a volunteer. From each place I got lots of experiences and learnings which helped me to change my perception about volunteering. The happiness while helping others, connecting with new people, creating new changes inspired me to volunteer.
VOLUNTEERING FOR ME
For me volunteering is about sharing smile and love with others, connecting with people, learning new things through experiences, moulding myself and bring the necessary and sustainable changes in the community.
Promoting Mental Health and Active Listening.
Isolation Thoughts, The Gulmohar Foundation, Mhat, Team Incubation, Psychological First Aid (PFA) under Kannur District, Greater resilience Intervention Team (Grit), Kerala Listening Community.
MISSION & VISSION
My aim was to promote mental health, motivate the youth to be active listeners in their community and provide necessary first hand help for the people who are facing mental health issues. The vision of the project is to promote mental health in the community, create awareness among youth on the importance of Mental Health and active listening, providing them proper knowledge and make them able to provide mental health support to their community.
Being a budding psychologist, Mental Health was one of my fields of interest. I saw that people are not giving much importance to their mental health and others also. And still the society had lots of misunderstanding and stigma about mental health. Because of all these reasons as a psychology aspirant I decided to volunteer in the field of mental health. I had studied, researched and taken initiatives along with my friends and organisations to promote the importance of Mental Health.
- During the time of the Kerala Flood, I volunteered with the Psychological First Aid District Mental Health team. I travelled to the flood affected areas of Kannur district and provided psychological support in the community for 3 days. I aim to examine and record the mental state of the affected community people, reporting the situation to the District Mental Health Inspector.
- During the time of COVID pandemic, along with my friends I started an initiative called
Isolation Thoughts, which aims to provide mental health support to the children's and educate them through fun/entertainment sessions and tasks through online assignments. The project lasted for 50 days, providing 50 specially designed tasks for children below 15 years of age. More than 100 children had actively participated and engaged in these assignments during the lockdown period. It helps them to engage and use the pandemic period productively, helping them to reduce stress and to learn new things. It also helped parents to handle their children effectively during lockdown period
- While volunteering with The Gulmohar Foundation, I have been a part of developing the TGF Listening Community, which aims to promote mental health and active listening. It is one of the active communities of TGF with more than 75 volunteers. Weekly discussion of mental health issues, online sessions, awareness posters, challenges for mental health improvement were introduced by the community.
- I had volunteered and took sessions for Mhat which is a Mental Health promoting organisation.
- Under the supervision of my lecturer, I provide mental health support to the needy people in the community. Based on their need, I refer them to experts in the field. I normally spend a minimum of 10hours in a week with clients.
- As a part of Tribal Development project I volunteered with Legal Assistance Team to provide mental health support to the tribal students.
- Supporting and training LD students for learning at the time of Covid 19 pandemic.
LENGTH OF SERVICE
I have been actively volunteering in this field for the past 3 year under different organisations and communities. I spent a minimum of 10 hours weekly interacting with clients, providing them mental health support and connecting them with experts.
ROLE IN PROJECT
My role was to promote mental health, by the knowledge I gained through my learnings and experiences. I created awareness and designed initiatives for organisations to engage volunteers in the Mental Health field. I volunteered in different organisations and communities as programme coordinator, project coordinator, content writer, session handling person etc. I used my listening writing, communication, presentation, coordinating skill etc for promoting mental health in community level. I promote active listening and spent time with clients to hear and support them. These projects helped me to develop as an individual, learn new things, improve my leadership quality and coordinating skills. I believe this experience will help me to grow as Community Psychologist.
IMPACT OF PROJECT
The project became a helping hand to many people in the community. It helps to spread the importance of mental health and active listening to more people, especially youth in the community. And through this project we try to make them able provide mental health support to their community. It helps many people to spend time with others more productively and helps to reduce stress. It increased hope and positiveness among people, those who are suffering loneliness. Isolation thoughts started at the time where childrens have no online classes. So the parents are worried about their childrens study time and how to handle them in the whole day. So this project helped the childrens and parents to improve their mental health in covid period and it also help them for easy learning. It helped parents to handle their child in covid time and also helped to reduce parent's stresses about their children's study. Active listening through telephone at the time of covid become an helping hand for the people those who are facing mental health problems. Through this project we provide mental health support and also referred people who are facing major mental health issues. Through PFA volunteering we provide mental health support to the flood affected people. Through all these projects I am trying to promote mental health in the community. And the future plan is to create a community where people give equal importance to mental health and physical health.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Personally I believe that the changes occured in the community and peoples perception about different social issues through my work is the biggest achievement in my volunteering journey. The achievement of each project is the positive comments from the target people. In that way I can assure my both projects are successful. Other than that I got Rajya Puraskar Award in 2014 and Rashtrapati Award in 2015 for social service. In 2020 the Delhi based news paper Dainik Jagran featured my volunteering story in mental health field.
My future plan is to become a Community Psychologist and I want to work for the community development. I am planning to start an organisation where I want to provide proper sex education in community level and empowering sexually abused victims. For making this dream to be a reality I need mentorship, guidance, and volunteer support from your organisation and Institution.
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