SevaYatra - Experience
Skillsoft Volunteering Day – 7th August, 2012
Skillsoft is a leading provider of elearning and performance support solutions for global enterprises, government, education and small to medium-sized businesses. Skillsoft enables business organizations to maximize business performance through a combination of comprehensive elearning content, online information resources, flexible learning technologies and support services.
As a part of Skillsoft’s Asia Business Review for 2 days in Gurgaon, the management decided that all the participating 20 employees from different Asia offices would participate in a half-day engaging service project with a local NGO in Gurgaon. Skillsoft also put aside an amount towards donation for the NGO.
Volunteering Day at Government Primary School:
As a part of their CSR, Skillsoft donated 20 desks & benches to the Government Primary School. On the day-of, 20 employees from different Asia offices spent half-day at a local Government Primary School, interacting with 20 kids from the NGO. The School is aided by an NGO Literacy India that focuses on underprivileged children thereby bringing a qualitative change in their lives through education including a variety of skills in performing arts, science, computer literacy and vocational activities.
After a quick orientation and welcome from SevaYatra and the school, the Asia Director at Skillsoft formally cut the ribbon and inaugurated the furniture that Skillsoft donated to the School that will be used for the Class XI students. After the inauguration, the group was split into 4 sub-groups with equal number of children paired with them. They played some fun games together that helped them break the ice between the diverse groups as well as created some team-building.
After some fun games, the group planted saplings in the school garden. Each volunteer alongwith a child was responsible for planting a sapling and exchange thoughts on the importance of conserving the environment.
Post the planting exercise, each volunteer was assigned a child to draw-up educational charts on different topics, but largely focusing on English grammar and constitutional rights and duties of an Indian citizen. It was interesting to see the group interact with eachother, beyond the language barriers. As much as the children benefitted from the interactions and the exercise, I would say the volunteers ended up learning much more than just a few words of spoken Hindi and I’m sure would agree that it was a day well spent!
10 volunteers, including 2 kids and 2 young adults, came together on this Saturday morning to work alongwith the children at SBT, to help create beautiful story-boards at one of the walls at the NGO.
Once we all gathered, and after a quick orientation on the service day as well as info about the NGO, it was time to break into some fun with ice-breakers and games between the children at the NGO and our volunteers. SevaYatra also narrated 2 stories to the group that then needed to be drawn using pictures and call-outs on the NGO's wall.
Soon after the warm-up, the children and the volunteers were seen mixing paints and got to work painting the tw0 pre-drawn skethces of the story-boards. The two stories, one in Hindi and one in English, were stories that had a moral for the children to relate with everyday life. While one story had the moral 'Ignorance is blindness', the other was 'Sweet are the fruits of labour'. Both the stories teach basic lessons of life on the importance of education and hardwork to reap the benefits that life has to offer.
What transpired in those 2 hours of the activity was beyond just painting the wall. The children from the NGO were getting friendlier with the volunteers, the team-work that one could see and just the ease at which they all blended to achieve that one common goal. And the results, well, those were worth all the effort and the sweat put in on an otherwise hot sunny May afternoon :)
Bain & Co. organizes a company-wide Community Day every year, wherein its employees participate in service projects with NGOs within their local communities. For the past 2 years, SevaYatra has acted as Bain’s partner in this endeavor – from conceptualizing and planning to implementing this project. This year, Bain’s Community Day was scheduled for March 30, 2012 across both Bain locations in India – viz: Delhi (NCR) & Mumbai. Employees from the Gurgaon offices of Bain volunteered with Literacy India NGO in Gurgaon while those with the Mumbai office spent their day serving at Kherwardi Social Welfare Association (KSWA).
Bain Mumbai – KWSA:
The Bain Mumbai group – 50 employees in all – spent the day working with 50 youth from KSWA. KSWA’s mission is to create opportunities for school dropouts and deprived youth to help lead productive and socially useful lives. The NGO focuses on 4 main areas: vocational / livelihood training, community engagement, industry partnership and placements.
After a quick orientation and the welcome, volunteers were split into three groups to work on different activities with the youth at the NGO. The group largely focused on career planning, interview skills and computer education.
One group of volunteers, paired with the youth, taught them about the importance of setting short and long term career goals, preparation of resumes as well as cover letters and interview skills. Another group of volunteers were paired with a batch of youth to teach them computer skills with applications like MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint – based on the skill level of the student. The third group of volunteers conducted mock interviews with the youth and giving them feedback on the same. They also showcased to the youth on what a good and a bad interview looks like.
After a much engaging first half of learning and sharing, both the Bain volunteers and KWSA youth participated in a fun team building exercise, preparing and enacting skits and plays on topical subjects. The day ended with a room full of volunteers and youth with happy smiles!
Apart from the immense learning, sharing and the fun that transpired through the day, the feeling that each Bain volunteer went back with was sheer contentment! With over 200 man-hours of active service at KWSA, and with cash & kind donations to both the NGOs, the Bain Community Day 2012 was indeed a great success and an excellent way for Bain to engage with their local communities. A project like this not only benefits the participating NGOs, but also proves to be a great bonding exercise and team experience for the Bain volunteers themselves.