Volunteering and community service are more important during a crisis than at any other time. The COVID–19 pandemic has devastated communities but has created a shared sense of togetherness as we battle this virus. If your child was deliberating about getting more involved in the community, there is no better time for them to engage in these activities and learn how they can make a real impact in the world.
For many students, community service is a part of their school curriculum. Added to this, colleges like to see well-rounded applicants with a good mix of grades and extracurricular activities. However, given that we are in lockdown, what options are open to your child? They can’t step out of the house. They can’t visit hospitals, old age homes or municipal schools. So, should that be an excuse to give up? Or should we encourage them to rise to the challenge, get creative and go above and beyond?
Worldwide, communities are coming together, supporting one another and finding practical solutions to unprecedented problems daily. Adversity brings people together, creating new ways to connect and offer support. Here are a few examples of what students around the country have done in the past few months to spark your child’s imagination:
- Students from prestigious educational institutions, such as IITs, NITs and IIMs, have come together to launch an initiative called Sahyog to bridge the communication gap between stranded migrant workers and relief agencies. People can call a toll-free helpline for help after which the team will coordinate with NGOs to see that their requirement is fulfilled.
- NSS, an established volunteering organisation, is reaching out to students from colleges and universities to engage in community service activities. Each student from NSS Pune has been asked to adopt 10 families and is responsible for surveying their requirements. With the help of government bodies and the police, they ensure that their adopted families access essential services. The aim is to reach out to nearly six lakh families in need in Pune, Ahmednagar and Nasik.
- Students are volunteering with Yuva (Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action), a non-profit in Mumbai, for their online fundraising campaign to provide daily needs, including food and groceries, to over 2,000 families.
- Many NGOs around the country are working towards helping those in need. Goonj, United Way Mumbai, Give India, Khushiyaan Foundation, Youth Feed India – SAFA, Swiggy-COVID, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, Uttishtha Foundation and Uday Foundation are just some institutions with which your child can work. They are engaged in various activities such as establishing skill-training centres for migrant workers, raising funds for food parcels, meals or rations for daily wage-earners and making face masks, among other activities.
There are several small steps that your child can take on their own to make a significant contribution. If they are a social media warrior, they can promote awareness about the virus and what citizens can do to stop its spread. They can take inspiration from videos created by NGOs and industry experts like Volunteering Hygiene Recommendation Video and How to wash your hands the right way.
If your child is interested in music or art, they can teach these skills online. You might also have come across campaigns hosted by middle and high school students for raising funds online with the help of their building community and personal networks for local NGOs to support frontline and daily wage workers.
There are also many platforms, organisations and apps where your child can avail of online skill-based volunteering opportunities to help society. One such organisation is TribesforGood. They help students work on virtual volunteering programmes for a cause about which they are passionate.
With so many opportunities for your child to get involved, they just have to get creative and show initiative. If you are looking for other ways to keep your child motivated and learning during this pandemic, read this article. For more ideas on how to use this time productively, get in touch with us.