It was nothing like what I expected!


I climbed on the bus filled with another 100 joyful volunteers who had no clue of what is going to come their way, something that will change their lives forever and for good. We reached our destination,’Hoskote’ in about one and a half hours with the same enthusiasm when we started the journey. It was so serene, sense of relief swept over me being away from the loud noises of the concrete jungle I lived in. We were quickly briefed about the objective which was to help the villagers celebrate Independence Day and tasks to be completed by our management and seniors. Without wasting any more time, we were distributed to 6 groups, assigned to each village of the area.

I was allocated to the village ‘Uparsana’.  After brainstorming for the acitivites to be held, then came the part I was eagerly waiting for, house visits! I was overwhelmed with the hospitality of the locals in the village; each member greeted us with the widest smile and invited us, strangers into their houses as if we were their own. Being a foreigner, language was a barrier for me. Yet it didn’t stop me from asking what I wanted with the help of my fellow volunteers who were familiar with the language they spoke. What amazed me most is that, even with so little they had, they didn’t hesitate for a minute to share with us what they had. They treated us with a delicious meal. It was food for the soul. We came back to our camp site while it was raining heavily and we faced a number of obstacles, but with the continuous support of our seniors it didn’t affect our moods or our motivation to make Independence Day one to remember for the villagers.

On Independence Day, we reached our respective villages assigned early in the morning and help decorate the school with as many colours we can and organized activities for the women, men and kids if the village. Their smile was worth everything we worked for! We had a superb time celebrating the auspicious day with the great patriotic spirit like I never experienced before, I felt like I belonged to India too.

Our teambuilding sessions were up next, we danced to the latest beats all the volunteers together and we had the CSA dance which helped us in getting to know each other even better. Finally we had the interactive session with Shakunthala Ma’am who is the head of the Community Building Organization (CBO) of the village. She was truly a remarkable woman. I went to the village expecting to see helpless locals, but after getting to know the outstanding work the women of the village had done I felt like the helpless one. What striked me the most is that, with their hard work the people had made 10 Crores from the initial amount of 25 lakhs CSA had donated initially on 2003 when the project was first started in the village. This was a true achievement. It made me believe that if you had the spirit and passion towards achieving a goal, even with so little you can accomplish it no matter how many obstacles that come your way. The camp and the empowered women inspired us to do our part in contributing even more for the betterment of the world we live in.

“Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go”

-Mother Teresa-

Reported by: Umna Luthfee, IPSEco ; Edited by: Priyanka Chakrabarty, IIPSEng

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