Every year, the Vibha Volunteer Conference is held in different action centers for volunteers to share accounts of past events and discuss new plans and strategies for the upcoming year to reach set goals. It is used to update the different coordinators across the nation as well as provide networking opportunities for Vibha volunteers and other non-profit organizations.
The 2016 National Conference celebrating 25 years of Vibha was held in Santa Clara, CA on March 19th and 20th. The event itself was a showcase of the volunteers’ dedication for Vibha by taking time off from family and work and traveling coast to coast to make this conference happen. It was a significant conclave of volunteers, youth and adult, spanning from nine different action centers across the country as well as board members and the executive team.
The conference began with inaugural speech by Kannan Udayarajan, Chief Operating Officer of Vibha. He delivered a presentation on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and reasons behind its importance. Amongst other topics, Kannan spoke about companies interested in funding education and healthcare for society and how Vibha can form a valuable partnership with them by complimenting their strengths and weaknesses.
Ron Victor, the president of Vibha, was next in the speaker line-up. He gave a synopsis of what Vibha is and how it works as well as an in-depth analysis of Vibha’s motto. Then he made his way to an integral part of Vibha’s goal: Vision 2020. Since Vibha’s genesis in 1991, over 300,000 children have reaped the benefits of the projects that Vibha supports. Vision 2020 is the Vibha’s plan for the future implementing all the valuable lessons Vibha learned over the past 25 years.
Ron not only listed potential recourses to reach the objective, he also elaborated ways to do so. He outlined a plan to find stakeholders in the government who play important roles in policy making in pursuance of large-scale implementation of our successful models. This can be done by developing individual relations, through Vibha projects partners and NGOs as well as spreading awareness in the society via social media and the press. We can also reach out to the targeted groups with our success stories and models like Sikshana that can easily be spread to government schools. Familiarizing government agencies with the Vibha structure was also a big point of Victor’s presentation. By inviting key members to Pragati, a bi-yearly training conference, more policy makers will be aware of the benefits of working with non-profits like Vibha.
The annual conference is the best platform for any volunteer to know Vibha better. In this conference, all important aspects ranging from history of Vibha, how/why Vibha works, annual financial reports, information regarding Vibha’s partners and patrons, particulars about different action centers and their fundraisers and other events are covered. Also, speakers like Mr. Nipun Mehta are invited to enlighten and empower the volunteers.
Overall information shared by all the board members is vital for all the volunteers to know. The conference is a medium through which US teams get to meet (virtually) with our team in India which actually works at the grass roots level.
Volunteers who attended the conference were really glad that they could build networking/communication and share ideas with each other. People were inspired by Nipun’s and Prasanna’s talks. The conference is a great medium to recognize remarkable stories from different action centers. Team building activities were highly appreciated.