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Sruthy S - Primary Short-listed Nominee - Social Volunteer Awards 2021

Myself, Sruthy S, just completed my Masters in Social Work with Rural and Urban Community Development Specialisation from Thrissur, Kerala. Awarded Best Social Work Student 2021 by Kerala Association of Professional Social Workers. Leading a community called "BUTTERFLIES" through which creating a platform where the talents of children with special needs are shared and made known to the society. A platform to motivate and promote the skills of Persons with Disabilities. Other than this, leading a community ""Velicham"" for Women with Visual Impairment and Co-founder of another community ""AIM-Awareness In Mental Health"" for promoting Mental Health Awareness among Common people. Currently Volunteering in the Covid-19 awareness campaign ""I_AcTT"" led by Engender Health and the YP Foundation and supported by WHO & MoHFW. I was an Intern at Prajaahita Foundation, Kozhikode, Youthology International Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, Attappadi Aadivasi Development Initiative. Also Volunteering with KITES Foundation, The Gulmohar Foundation, WINGS Kerala.


VOLUNTEERING FOR ME

Volunteering helps to figure out my strength and weakness. Through volunteering, I am trying hard to be the change that I wish to see in this World. The feeling, the experience, the learning that I gain each time is the inspiration to do more and more. Each time I could see a very small degree of growth or change in my personality or in my perspectives towards myself, towards others and towards life, all these inspire me to volunteer further.


VOLUNTEERING JOURNEY

Since 2014 onwards, I am doing all those things that I could do for the surrounding people, who are left behind by their loved ones. The feeling, the experience, the learning that I gain each time is the inspiration to do more and more. Each time I could see a very small degree of growth or change in my personality or in my perspectives towards myself, towards others and towards life, all these inspire me to volunteer further.


VOLUNTEERING STORY

When I was in 10th standard, I received "Best Social" Award for raising the highest fund in my school by Ashraya Charitable Society, Kollam. Actually I even don't know whether it was fund-raising, but I did as I came to know that it is for their charity works. But that unexpected appreciation from them, from my school, shown me the hidden social service mind within me. Later on when I joined for higher secondary, I came to know about an old age home near to my school. Everything begins from there. I started to visit there whenever I wish, I started to celebrate all my special days with them. Then later on as I completed my higher secondary education I started to do many more things by planning more seriously and started to find more old age homes and visiting there too. During 2018 Kerala Flood I raised a huge amount through my social media networks and collected more than 1000 educational tools for children and handed over to the flood relief material collection point of a Charitable Trust called "Our Ijk" which is workings based on irinjalakuda, Thrissur, Kerala. They have given me a huge appreciation, and it was shared in social media platforms. Then I received more appreciations and support from many strangers from thrissur and outsiders too. Then I joined "Our Ijk" Charitable Trust as a volunteer. Same year I was chosen as their Road Safety Campaign Student Ambassador and distributed around 1000 awareness books at different schools within Thrissur District, Kerala and also given awareness on road safety for the school students. As part of it, organised an awareness programme at my own school in the rememberance of my best friend whom I lost by an accident. Next year I raised fund and distributed toys for the kids in "Anganwadis" Near to Irinjalakuda Municipality through "our ijk " Charitable Trust. Another year raised fund and distributed educational tools and toys for the kids in Malappuram who lost their schools by the hill slide last year. Distributed to around 50 kids. In 2019,honoured by "Snehadhara Charitable Trust" for my excellence in social Service and taken me as their student member too. During 2020 May lock downtime initiated a group name "BUTTERFLIES" for the children with special needs in Kerala mainly for promoting their talents and skills through social media platforms and create an awareness and to up bring them. Also started a group with two other friends called "AIM-Awareness In Mental Health for promoting mental health awareness among common people. Got shortlisted and received special mention for Social Volunteer Awards by Institute of Social Volunteering and The Gulmohar Foundation. Later this year, started a group for women with visual impairment. Recently received award for BUTTERFLIES initiative as Best Social Work Student 2021


PROJECT BUTTERFLIES🦋-let them fly high


ORGANISATION

Community (not yet registered as an organisation)


MISSION & VISION

  • To promote talents of children with special needs and shared and made known to the society.

  • A platform to motivate and promote the skills of Differently abled individuals

  • To provide psychological support and to facilitate the needs of parents of Special Children


PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Created a platform where the talents of children with special needs are shared and made known to the society. A platform to motivate and promote their skills. All of us are aware that every individual is unique. Special children are just the same. Unique. Their perception of the world is unique. Rather than isolating them and turning blind eye to their skills, it is time to promote them. To let them spread their wings. Everything is special and beautiful when it comes to them. As a part of this, created a Community (Family) "BUTTERFLIES" with parents of children with special needs to share their child's activities, skills and talents. This is not only just for the children but also for the parents too. To create beautiful moments and memories with them. It's not just a Community, but it's an initiative to create a family. It's an effort to bring small change to these children, to their life. It is impossible to understand mind no matter how advanced the world become because it is just so fascinating. Sometimes even the simplest thing could bring so many changes. It is a dream that I kept within me for long, but I think it's the time to act. It is just a small effort within my hundreds of limitations, to bring some changes, no matter how small, into their life. I wish, to be a reason for their happiness. Butterflies can't see their wings. They can't see how truly beautiful they are, but we can. Now Successfully running with 54 special children and 23 Volunteers


LENGTH OF SERVICE

Since 10th May 2020. Every day minimum 2hrs will be taken for BUTTERFLIES


ROLE IN PROJECT

It was my long time wish to do something for the children with special needs. And during this pandemic, I decided to make utilize this time doing something special for them. I make use of my social media networks and get to meet Influential personalities especially person with disabilities who achieved success beyond their disabilities and also completed one and a half month internship at Prajaahita Foundation which is working for the people with disabilities in Kozhikode, also attended webinars and workshops for learning more about volunteering and about the community of people with disabilities. Always i am thinking and working on how could i bring inclusivity for them ,how can i empower them.Working on this project ,is increasing my level of knowledge about this community people and changing my perspectives towards this people,towards life and world too. I am able to learn more about the attitudes of society towards them, the problems facing by their parents and the awareness level among the parents about the disability that their children is having and also the way they are fighting back and the positive mind that they posses within them is beyound the words.


IMPACT OF PROJECT

When these children perform in a stage, then based on sympathy may be they will receive some appreciation and Will be remembered for some time then nothing more. I wish, they should be considered and appropriate appreciation, acceptance and support should be given so through this project,Created a platform where the talents of children with special needs of Kerala are shared and made known to the society. A platform to motivate and promote their skills. All of us are aware that every individual is unique. And to spread the awareness or the reality that special children are just the same. Through this project they are getting a platform to showcase their talents, to improve their skills and parents also being connected with other parents who are going through the same phase. Providing opportunities and also educating the parents who are not that much aware about how to look after their special children and also sharing various updates of scholarships and vocational trainings opportunities etc. Upcoming programme HOPESTORES will be opened for differently abled women of age 25 and above.There transwomen will also be included. This is going to be a great platform for these people during this pandemic time for selling their handmade products.Thus i hope slowly i could include and support many more people with disabilities of our state through variety of programmes under BUTTERFLIES.Later this whole team will be registered as an NGO.


SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

  • GOAL 5: Gender Equality

  • GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality

  • GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions


ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Received Best Social Worker award from Ashraya Charitable Society,Kollam in 2014 as part of their helping hands project.

  • Received an award for my excellence in social service from Snehadhara Charitable Trust,Thrissur in 2019

  • Shortlisted and recieved special mention in Social Volunteer Awards 2020 by Institute of Social Volunteering and The Gulmohar Foundation

  • Best Social Work Student Award 2021 by Kerala Association of Professional Social Workers

FUTURE PLANS

Definitely,I will be registering this whole team of BUTTERFLIES as a NGO to reach out more people and to bring about the inclusivity in our society. The last year final phase interview of Social Volunteer Award and the Workshop that i had attended on "Understanding Volunteerism and Opportunities" of TGF and ISV had given a set of new learnings and made me to think and plan many new things for BUTTERFLIES. I think The Gulmohar Foundation and Institute of Social Volunteering could help me by Providing such beautiful opportunities through which I could gain more knowledge and could built-up networks which facilitates my volunteering more effective.


REFERENCE:



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