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SevaYatra - Experience

Bain & Company Community Day 2012

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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 Gurgaon – Literacy India:


260 employees from Bain’s Gurgaon offices spent a day at Literacy India, working with 200+ kids from the NGO.  Literacy India focuses on underprivileged children and women to bring 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, the group was split into 2 sub-groups – one that stayed at the playground while the other that headed to the school building.  The ones at the playground white-washed the boundary walls of the big playground and also painted fun sports murals on the boundary walls. 


The other group at the school participated in various educational activities with the kids.  Some volunteers taught the children how to use search engines and prepare PowerPoint presentations. Individual volunteer-student pairs were given educational topics on which the students had to finally present to the remaining class.   Another group of volunteers worked on and helped the students make different science models from scratch while still another helped prepare educational aids for the school by painting wall maps of India and the world. 


After all the hard work put in by the volunteers, it was time to wrap-up on a fun note!  All the 260 volunteers as well as the 200+ kids participated as mixed teams in various sports races like: lemon & spoon race, relay race and tug-of-war.  The winners of the games were awarded with some fun prizes and the entire day ended on a high of having spent a meaningful day creating value for an NGO and having fun with the children!

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UNT - 14 days voluntourism trip to India




11 students and 1 faculty member from the University of North Texas (UNT) visited3 metropolitan cities in North India: Delhi, Agra & Jaipurfor 11 days.  The focus of the trip was to get an understandinginto India’s social sector with a specific emphasis on Disaster Management and Emergency Response.  The trip included various visits to and projects with social enterprises and Non-profit organizations, peer interactions, talks by experts and thought-leaders.  The group also visited a number of tourist locations and heritage sites in these cities including the TajMahalin Agra.


UNT students visited several non-profits and gained insight into their work:

•          City walk conducted by kids providing an insight into the lives of street children

•          Visit to a landfill site and meeting with scrap dealers and a non-profit which works with them

•          “River Yamuna Walk” with a youth-focused non-profit engaged in issues relating to the environment and social development

•          Water conservation service learning project

•          Visit with a non-profit which works with communities of “Rickshaw-drivers” and their families. 

•          Service project and beneficiary interaction with a non-profit that works with destitute and homeless children

•          Interactive session with one of the largest Diaspora philanthropy organizations focused on India.


Specific to the focus on Disaster Management, the group had the following interactions:

•       Met with associates of a governmental agency that deals specifically with disaster management and recovery issues

•       Visit and interactive session with a non-profit that seeks to protect the lives and livelihoods to people exposed to natural disasters


The group also participated in a number of peer-learning sessions:

•       Interactive session at one of India’s oldest and leading social work schools

•       Visit to a local university with a non-profit focused on addressing social issues through youth citizenship action

•       Peer learning session at a business school where there was information exchange with local students as well as presentations on disaster preparedness across various sectors


Also included in the trip:

•       Pre-departure and in-country orientation, providing social and cultural information on India

•       Sightseeing and guided tours to a number of heritage sites across Delhi, Jaipur and Agra

•       Cultural visit to and dinner at “Chokhi Dhani”, a replication of an ethnic Rajasthani village, offering local flavors of food, music, dance and hospitality

•       Farewell dinner, including reflection of the trip experience

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How we learn everyday!



I met with the group at 930am at their hotel and did a 40mins orientation on the terrace.  Was a good interaction and guess I managed to break ice with them right away. 


After that, on the bus as well, I spoke to them about the day-of and broke them into teams so that there's less chaos at the NGO.  We walked to meet our guides for the city walk and had an interesting 2 hour walk.. quite interactive and intersting in the typical SBT style. 


For lunch we walked back to CP and got them to experience some chaat, albeit in a hygienic environment of Haldirams.  They all loved the chaat, chole bhature and some tried the thali.  We got back to SBT at 230 to do a 2 hours service project with the kids there.  It's amazing how some of the kids recognised me and instantly said "areh didi, aap last week bhi aaye the na"!  Anyway, we started with some ice-breakers and did a name tag activity after that.  Soon after, we made 5 kids each to join the group of 3 volunteers each and gave them different educational and fun topics to draw and colour.  It's amazing how most kids came up with drawing an Indian flag, no matter what topic they were given to draw.  One of the most goose-bumpy experiences I went through was when a volunteer asked a child to draw a family and the child looked right into my eye and asked "didi.. family kya hoti hai".  Just made me realise, yet again, how we take everything around us for granted!  Another heart-tugging experience was when one child just before leaving asked me "didi.. aap next week phir aaoge na"!  


Anyway, after the paint activity got over at 4pm, we got each of the groups to come up and present and share with everyone about what they had drawn.   Each of the kid was then given candies as treats for their drawing.. was tooooo cute I must say!  At the end, the kids sang 'we shall overcome' and said a big thank you to everyone.  And the group in turn sang "Twinkle twinkle little star' to the kids!   Finally, after the kids left, I did a long reflection session with the group.   It was interesting to see some honest emotionals flow through the eyes and some of the words that the volunteers used.  It ended after that with the President and Raj particularly really thankful about having spent the day the way it was!


One thing I must share with you all is that the common sentiment across most of these kids was how thankful they feel with the resources or with whatever God has given them already.  I'm sure this experience will make that small difference of making them thankful of their life and perhaps, atleast some of them will engage in future activities and be those change agents in their communities!


How we learn and how life gives us a chance to become a better person every single day!