Archana is a software engineer at a leading multinational corporation in Bengaluru. One Friday, she received an email. It was an internal one sent across the organisation, one from its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team. She had only been at the company for four months, and this was the first such email she received. She clicked on the link – her world was about to change.
It was a call for volunteers to help with an online workshop on spoken English through Makkala Jagriti. Archana had been wondering for quite a while about how children – especially from under-resourced communities – were getting access to education during the pandemic. Going through Makkala Jagriti’s website, Archana learned more about what the organization does in ensuring equitable access to education. She wrote back to her CS our team immediately, confirming her willingness to volunteer.
Santhosh is a student at a liberal arts college in the outskirts of Bangalore. Being in the final year, he had fewer classroom hours and more time for research. He found that he had a few hours to spare every week, which he wished to use productively and responsibly. While searching for the “best NGO in Bangalore to volunteer”, he hit the first link that he saw. It was Makkala Jagriti’s website. Fascinated by what he read about the organisation, Santhosh entered his email address in the place calling for volunteers. He didn’t know what he was going to do at Makkala Jagriti, but he knew that the experience would be enriching for him and the children with whom he would work.
These are but a handful of stories of several hundred persons who have spent time with us at Makkala Jagriti. Volunteering for Makkala Jagriti has been more than just about the completion of tasks – it has been about the sharing of experiences, knowledge, and lives. After all, this is the hallmark of Makkala Jagriti’s mission of creating and fostering a social movement. Having more hands and minds working together is always beneficial in ensuring a wider reach to children and under-resourced communities. This social movement comes alive when more people outside the organization are aware of the impact of the work done by Makkala Jagriti and actively involve themselves in it.
On the one hand, our children and communities gain significant exposure from interacting with volunteers from various backgrounds. On the other hand, volunteers get to know of challenges faced by our communities. They can propagate the story further, talking about what more can be done to improve situations.
Makkala Jagriti has been fortunate to have volunteers from different backgrounds for nearly two decades now. Volunteers with varying skill sets can provide valuable input to cater to any project’s needs. Some events and workshops require the demonstration of specific skills, and this is where volunteers come in. For instance, a group of volunteers with a strong background in science will be able to conduct educational workshops in science experiments for children, thereby increasing the interest children would have in the sciences while exposing them to a world beyond their textbooks.
The team at Makkala Jagriti, too, has benefited tremendously thanks to our volunteer community. Volunteers from different specialisations have helped build the organisation’s capabilities in these same specialisations. A significant example of this was on display when the lockdown began owing to the pandemic. With face-to-face teaching coming to a halt, several teachers and facilitators had to quickly adapt to technological means to reach out to children, particularly through platforms like Zoom, WhatsApp, and YouTube. It was undoubtedly a challenging prospect. It was thanks to the volunteers who contributed their time to teaching our teachers and facilitators the basics of using a phone to communicate effectively, send messages, log into and use online meeting platforms, edit instructional videos, and so much more. Well over a year later, our teachers and facilitators are conducting their activities online with boundless confidence and aplomb, and this in great measure has been thanks to our volunteer community.
Makkala Jagriti’s core organisation, too, has significantly gained through volunteer experience. Through their know-how of best practices in organisations, volunteers have helped the organisation create internal policies to ensure smooth functioning. For NGOs like ours, volunteers have formulated human resource policies, financial management policies, procurement policies, and the like.
From teaching children how to make a baking soda volcano to painting a lovely mural on the wall of an Anganwadi, volunteers have gone above and beyond to help us make education fun and accessible to our children. They are the very embodiment of the social movement that is Makkala Jagriti.
If you’d like to know more about how you can volunteer and be a part of our movement, we’d love to hear from you – so write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org