One good deed: Start 2018 with some random acts of kindness
Full of New Year optimism? Make it count by volunteering your skills where they’re most neededmumbai Updated: Jan 12, 2018 22:30 IST
New Year goals needn’t be just about spending or eating. Consider using your enthusiasm and motivation making someone else’s life better this time around. You could write a cheque, of course. But to many organisations your time, your skills, your patience and the sweat of your brow is far more precious. Take a look at some non-profits that are looking for the human connection.
Walk a dog
You don’t need a degree in animal training or veterinary sciences to help dogs. At the Welfare for Stray Dogs (WSD) shelter in Mahalaxmi, rescued and abandoned canines need walks to benefit from the exercise and the company. You can sign up to walk the dogs around the centres’ compound so they get used to walking on a leash.
Volunteers are required to give in two hours a week, preferably on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays and Sundays. Abodh Aras, CEO of WSD says it’s also a good way of learning to be responsible for an animal before you get one.
You can approach the animals after some basic lessons in interacting with them. Many volunteers work also end up helping to bathe the dogs.
“You get to meet amazing dogs at the shelter,” Aras says. “We’ve had volunteers who’ve got attached to a specific pooch, and vice versa. We also get parents sending their young kids here to make them understand what it takes to have their own dog.”
To volunteer, email email@example.com, or call 9920954969.
If you have experience with recording and editing audio, think about using it to create awareness about disabilities. Rising Flame is a non-profit founded by visually-impaired activist-comedian, Nidhi Goyal. For two months, until March 8 (International Women’s day), they’re looking for volunteers who can help them produce seven podcasts about disabled women in India.
“The volunteer will document the legacy of women with disabilities in India,” Goyal says. Volunteers can devote one day in a week, and the work is mostly remote. You’ll be expected to do some research, assist in recording and taking over the editing and production responsibilities.
“The volunteers get more sensitized towards diversity. It’s also a first of its kind of series in India, so it can be exciting for people who’re looking to get experience in this field,” Goyal says.
To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farm with a community
Green Souls, a not-for-profit organisation in Mumbai was set up in 2012 to engage communities with sustainable urban farming.
As a volunteer, you can get involved with their community farm at the Tata Hospital in Kharghar. The activities include mixing soil, growing plant beds, transplanting, weeding, mulching and watering.
“Thrice a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) volunteers get together and farm at the kitchen garden,” says Sabita Rajendran, co-founder of Green Souls. All the produce from the garden goes to the food served to cancer patients, including the kids.”
Volunteers end up learning about gardening and biodiversity, Rajendran says. To get started, the volunteers need to attend a workshop that teaches the basics of gardening. These are held once a month.
To volunteer, get in touch over email@example.com or call 9870113541.
Build a website
Amcha Ghar supports orphaned and in-need homeless girls in Mumbai. They need volunteers to help them re-structure their website so it looks more professional.
“We have a domain name, but it costs a lot to get it designed and maintain it well,” says China Thapa, Project Manager at Amcha Ghar. “We’re looking for people who can offer their expertise here and help out with digital marketing.”
Volunteers can also offer their photography skills at the non-profit. “We’re always organising events and activities in schools and communities and need someone to take exciting photos,” Thapa says.
As a volunteer, you can also shoot a short film for them, handle their social media accounts and more. “The volunteers need to just be enthusiastic and hard-working,” Thappa says.
To help, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 8369152710. “Add a small paragraph on hobbies,” says Thapa. “We like to know our volunteer’s interests. It helps us work out the hours and areas to allot them.”