Reach out, reach within | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Reach out, reach within

mumbai Updated: Apr 05, 2011 01:37 IST
Unisha Lohade

You can use your summer vacation to make a difference. Put your skills and experience to good use and lend a helping hand to enrich your community and environment. This season, several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are offering volunteering opportunities.

From teaching art, craft and English to underprivileged children, spreading awareness about stray animals, designing and marketing eco-friendly products to NGO management and rural community development projects, there are many options to choose from.

“Volunteering provides vital exposure to grassroots issues,” said Radha Vedantam, project director, Society for Service to Voluntary Agencies. She added that students should keep their skills and strengths in mind and identify where they are required in the community while deciding which issue to volunteer for or which NGO to approach.

“A choreographer could teach dance to underprivileged children. This way it would be fun for the volunteer and the children,” said Vedantam.

Volunteering can also improve job prospects and employability besides providing an edge to an application for admission to a foreign university.

“Young people, through volunteering, get an opportunity to engage in a different atmosphere that helps in understanding a different class of life and different world views. They learn soft skills such as how to engage with people different from them. A lot of multinational companies target markets that have different cultures and these companies require their employees, current or prospective, to have such skills.

“On the education front, students can use the volunteering experience to score brownie points while writing a statement of purpose for applications to international universities,” said Shalabh Sahai, co-founder & director, iVolunteer.

“Volunteering has helped me contribute to society while productively adding to myself. My experience has improved my management skills and increased my confidence.

It has made me realise the importance of responsibility and accountability and dealing with different people has helped me develop a professional attitude,” said Tanmay Arora, a 20-year-old who has been involved in teaching underprivileged children, raising funds for cancer-affected children and vocational training for underprivileged youth for the past four years.