Volunteer Spotlight – Vivek Sharma

Vivek started his non-profit journey in 1997 and worked with multiple NGO’s until 2005. In 2005 when he moved to California with his wife, Vibha was looking for a finance manager to handle accounts. It was serendipitous, after working for so many years with NGOs in India, he had this great opportunity to continue his non-profit journey in the U.S. as well.

Born in a small village in rural Himachal Pradesh in the late 70’s, with scarce money, limited resources, and access to quality education being almost non-existent, Vivek’s experience of primary education was not a pleasant. Private schools were too far and too expensive for his family. A local government school was his only option. The school consisted of a single classroom where all the students from the 1st through the 5th grades sat together on the floor, carrying their own mats from home. There was only one teacher who taught all the grades together. He was frequently absent, and the days he was present, his ways were very authoritarian. Thankfully, things started changing in middle school with better teachers. Vivek went on to get his graduate degree in Finance.

Like Vivek, thousands of children till date don’t have access to quality education and most of them have not been fortunate enough to change their lives. Vivek brings a deep understanding of this and empathy in his work at Vibha.  Over past 15 years, his involvement with Vibha has been intense and varied. When he joined Vibha, he helped with its transition from its predecessor organization CRY.  With legalese, accounting and any organizational shift of this size, there was a lot of paperwork to deal with, and a dire need for streamlined accounting and administrative processes. Vivek was instrumental when this shift happened. He became heavily involved with the Projects team to help them narrow their focus in order to scale up Vibha’s impact. On the tech side of things, he was involved in assessing and setting up database systems, CRM tools and payment processing platforms to manage our projects, campaigns and patrons so that as an organization the team was able to design personalized communications and process donations at speed. With all these process and tech improvements, Vivek has been the key person to bring transparency and compliance in Vibha’s operations and is very well respected for his opinion and work all across the organization.

“What inspires me about Vibha is its volunteers. I’ve had the privilege of connecting with hundreds of volunteers in the last 15 years, each of whom brings something unique with an intense dedication – they spend so much time and effort to achieve Vibha’s mission. This dedication inspires me daily. In fact, during these last few months of COVID-19, the volunteers did not miss a beat, and instead went on to transform their fundraising and community efforts from offline events to creative online activities. I was proud to be able to offer my services as a Yoga instructor to help our community manage the impact of sheltering-in-place” describes Vivek as he recounts how Vibha functions as a volunteer-driven organization.

Vivek is also the founder of Yogi Onsite. He  is an experienced teacher (RYT 500, YACEP)  as well as a life-long student of yoga. He started his yoga journey as a child growing up in the foothills of the Himalayas, learning chanting, yogic principles and spiritual teachings from his grandfather. Apart from deepening his yoga practice, he also worked with rural Himalayan communities promoting sustainability and economic empowerment. His approach to yoga is to focus on building sensitivity, strength and mental clarity through creating awareness of one’s breathing and movement. 

“While Vibha’s volunteers inspire me, it is the organization’s aspirations for the future of public education that excites me. It takes persistence, focus and dedication to create change and see transformation. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this journey, especially given my experience with early public education. I look forward to Vibha achieving its next milestone – ensuring quality public education for 10 million children over the next 5 years” notes Vivek as he reflects on more than 15 years of his service to Vibha.

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