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“Experiencing the greatest kind of joy” – Umang Johri, an Impact Volunteer

Umang- an Impact Volunteer
Umang Johri- an Impact Volunteer

Like lakhs in our country, I’m also an engineer. And like thousands of those engineers, I’m also preparing for my post graduation right now. It’s true that whatever preparations and studies I am doing for post graduation are going to have a fruitful long-term return, but still, hours spent on going through books, thousand pages long, does not feel fully productive. Productive, not in the sense of earning an income but rather earning worthwhile life experiences, which a book on logarithms and theorems seldom provide.

So, I sat contemplating how I could remedy my situation, and soon a thought, long submerged beneath the layers of arduous engineering concepts, resurfaced itself to re-acquaint me with my desire to volunteer and contribute my little share towards the betterment of society and our nation.

With one element that I did not have before to volunteer on my hand, that is time (travelling 120km everyday for college leaves you with little time for anything else), I set forth and typed ‘volunteering in Delhi’ in the search engine. My quest for volunteering opportunities led me to iVolunteer. Thereafter, I was contacted by a representative of iVolunteer, Rubitah Abraham (a pleasant voice on the end of the line) who introduced me to Geeta Mondol, the Director of the Ashish Foundation for the Differently Abled (AFDA), one of the NGOs I had chosen to work with. I remember the day I went to AFDA. It was my first ever NGO visit and I found myself getting a little nervous as I approached the AFDA campus. But once within the premises, the nerves subsided and my meeting with the director went down smoothly. A special educator showed me around the campus, its many classrooms busy with student activities and merriment.

My project for AFDA involved creating an annual report for the NGO for the year 2012-13 and after getting a brief of what Geeta expected of me, it was time to work. By devoting just 2 to 4 hours per week, the report got ready in no time. The creating part was easy and quick (with regular assistance from AFDA staff and volunteers) but it was the editing process that was relatively tedious. However, I was committed to my project and knew that with every feedback it wasn’t just the NGO’s report that was getting better but also my own work, which in a way is a representation of me.

You’ve to take pride in the work you do, no matter whom it is for, an MNC paying you lakhs or an NGO paying you with their gratitude and compliments.

I am proud to say that my very first volunteer project went very well and has motivated me to keep on continuing this venture I have started with iVolunteer. It’s true- the act of giving brings the greatest kind of content and joy and impact projects are one of the easiest ways to experience that joy. Besides this, another good thing about impact projects is that you don’t have to devout all your time, if you can’t, for volunteering. Just a few hours of your commitment are enough to help the helpers of society who without any ulterior motives provide their services to the less privileged.

In the end, to encourage the other potential volunteers out there, I’ll only echo the words of a famous blood donation ad “karke dekho, acha lagta hai!” (Try and see, it feels good!).

Ashish Foundation for The Differently Abled (AFDA) saw their project completed in a short span of one month due to the efforts put in by Umang. The creative and effective visuals brought into the report, as compared to the previous year’s, are below for all to see. 

AFDA Annual Report 2012-13

AFDA Annual Report 2011-12

Feedback from AFDA:

I am so glad we tied up with you under the IMPACT program. Umang was an excellent volunteer. She first came to the centre to see it and get a feel for it. Then she has very proactively helped us do our Annual Report. She has been patient, creative and very very thorough in all the work she did. I am impressed by her commitment and adherence to deadlines. Once again, you guys have aced it with us.” – Geeta, Director, AFDA.

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