Volunteers – the building blocks of Vibha

This post has been contributed by Alija Sule, a volunteer with Vibha Pune Action Center. During Pragati ’11, she went around talking to some experienced volunteers about their journey with Vibha. Here’s the compilation.

The Vibha Pune action centre was launched in January 2008, with a strong motive of making a difference in the life of an underprivileged child. Almost three years from the date of its launch, most of these set goals are finally seen materialising into reality. The driving force behind this success is the dedicated group of Vibha volunteers. Their determination, enthusiasm and zeal to make a positive difference in society are vital in realising the chalked-out plans. Volunteers from different walks of life bring with them a positive energy, fresh ideas and inspiration. The volunteer force of Vibha Pune has expanded from just three in 2008 to more than 50 currently.

The active participation, resolve and fervour of the volunteers were evident at the recent Pragati ’11 conference held at YMCA House in Pune, from October 1-3. All the project partners of Vibha communicated on a common platform. Every minute detail was planned and executed to perfection by the Vibha Pune volunteers. Right from conducting the ice-breaking session to managing food and hospitality, they did it all.

A few of the volunteers were with Vibha were since the beginning, while a few had started their journey recently. Yet everyone seemed to gel in wonderfully. While the new volunteers were inspired with words of wisdom and experiences of the older volunteers, the older ones picked up on the varied and fresh perspectives of the new ones. Each one had something unique to offer to the rest.

Here’s giving you an insight on what motivated a few of them to become a Vibha volunteer and their journey so far.

Sreekanth Pannala

Sreekanth is the founding trustee and secretary at Vibha India.He started his Vibha journey in 1996 in the U.S. He was often troubled by the inequality against children that existed around him. Initially, the rather shy Shreekant let go because he thought his efforts would be too insignificant in solving a problem so grave and massive in nature. However, later he mustered up courage and made up his mind to make a positive difference in society. Since then he has been actively involved with Vibha. This involvement has helped him come out of his shell and evolve as more confident and determined individual.  Channelizing his energy and skills to bring a smile to someone’s face gives him immense pleasure and satisfaction.

Janardan Prasad

Janardan is a graduate from IIT Kanpur and is currently the Director and Founder of Ubida Solutions Pvt. Ltd. He joined Vibha during one of Vibha’s Dream Mile events in the U.S. He wanted to work with a group that has various centres so that while moving cities/ countries he did not have to move NGOs. Volunteering with Vibha helps Janardan work a dynamic group, one that helps him as well as others grow and impact the society in a positive way. He also learns from people and their experiences. He likes meeting various sets of people because of volunteering. Also it gives him hands-on experience on various skills. Janardan enjoys motivating others or self to work with any compulsion.

Sheetal Venkatesh

Sheetal is currently a senior product manager at Symantec. He joined forces with Janardan when he came to India in 2007. They were pioneers in the launch of the Vibha Pune action centre. At the onset, the two decided not to immediately venture into fund raising, but instead lend support ongoing projects, namely DSS and Rachana. Sheetal wanted to make his own little contribution to the society, which motivated him to become a Vibha volunteer.  Meeting new and varied people, with diverse ideas is what he likes the most about volunteering.

Such an ardent group of self-driven volunteers are indeed an asset to any group that wants to work towards a social cause. Vibha too thrives on single-mindedly focused individuals like these.

Please join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  Volunteers, in US and India could get in touch with me if they wish to have their experiences posted online. It’s a source of inspiration for others.


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