Serve India

Serve India is an initiative of Team Everest. Serve India is my brain child! Serve India is not a different team. It is just yet another initiative of Team Everest. But, we are planning to make this initiative a big way!

“I have a dream where all Indians volunteer atleast once a month for a cause. The solution for many of our current problems is not in the hands of the Government or someone else. It is in our hands. It is in the hands of every one of us.

When Everest started supporting Maraimalai Adigal Govt. Hr Sec School, Pallavaram, Chennai in 2009, the school pass percentage was only 42% in twelfth std. Because of the efforts by Everest volunteers and support from school teachers, the school scored 64% in 2010. The voluntary time made all the difference!

Our Everest volunteer Manikanda, reaches out to as many schools as possible to conduct “Maths is fun” sessions, so that children lose their fear of Maths. He is an IT professional who spares his weekends for the society, which has become his hobby!

There are so many examples which I can cite to explain the power of volunteerism. Dr. Kalam says that. “An Ignited soul is the most powerful resource in this world”. It’s true. That’s why volunteers who are ignited by their passion are also the most powerful resource in this world.

The power of volunteerism is immeasurable. Serve India initiative has been started 4 years after we started Team Everest. Throughout the memorable journey with Team Everest, I’ve had many valuable experiences and enriching lessons. Serve India is the result of the lessons I have learnt. The focus of Serve India is on four lessons which I learnt through Team Everest activities:

Creating awareness on importance of volunteerism:

One day, when I invited my friend to teach a kid in a school, he asked me ‘Why should I volunteer?’. I don’t know what to reply to him. I just stared at him and said, “You just volunteer once, and you will understand why you should volunteer!”. Today, many of us don’t understand why he/she should volunteer. The power of volunteerism is immeasurable. It can create wonders both for the receivers and for the givers! Hence, I decided that through Team Everest we should create awareness on why a person should volunteer. Through Serve India we are planning to create awareness by showing the real life stories where a positive change has happened because of volunteers.

12/365 – Motivating people to volunteer at least once in a month:

When I spoke with my friends and colleagues, many of them told that they volunteered during school or college days or they will refer to a contribution made towards a charity music show. Many of them referred only to the monetary donation that he/she made. No one talked about giving their time. This made me think how frequent a person should volunteer to bring in a difference. That’s when we thought — volunteering at least once in a month is an effective way of giving back to our society. 12 days out of 365 days in a year can definitely make a difference. Isn’t it? We call this concept as 12/365! That is 353 days for you and 12 days for India!

Social service without money:

Whenever I meet school or college students, they use to wish me that we are doing a great job and they will start volunteering once they grow up and have a great career. The primary reason behind this mind set is that, still many in India thinks social service is just donating money. Since school or college goers are still dependent on their parents for money in India, they feel that they can only help others once they get a job. But, school and college goers can make a difference with their time. An 8th grade student can teach a 2nd grade student, addition and subtraction and it makes a world of difference to the beneficiary!

Donating money is just one more way of helping for a good cause. But I feel nothing matches giving your time. We helped a school by donating blackboards, tables etc. But during a clash outside the school, 3 of the school students were arrested by police. That is when I realized that change should not happen around them. It should happen within them. For the change to happen within them we need to spend time with them. That’s why Serve India will focus more on spending time rather than donating money.

No age bar for social service:

When I started Team Everest in 2006, one of my colleagues sitting near me use to ask me this: “Why are you doing all this at this young age? Do you want to become a beggar? It seems, you are going mad!”

I came to know about a 76 years old guy Ayyasamy who didn’t undergo any formal education and is a farmer in a remote village in Tamilnadu, India. When he came to know about global warming in 1984 through a Radio program, he started planting trees and till date he has planted 3000 trees!

I also know a college student who takes evening tuitions free of cost for economically poor students near her home. These incidents clearly show that there is no age bar for social service!

Tell me now. Can we Serve India?