Today’s youth is perceived to have a bad influence in various aspects. They even give up on their parents and need sensitisation. Yet there is a younger generation working for the welfare of these aged and less fortunate people in the State. PRANALI MANTRI spoke to these youth who are striving to bring a change with their noble contributions towards society.
Venancio Rodrigues from Anjuna who is currently pursuing his studies in Mumbai has volunteered to work for more than 10 NGOs within a span of five years. In his opinion, NGOs play a very important role in the development of individual community or a country as a whole since they deliver and cater to the needs of the people where government cannot reach or address the problems of the people.
“I currently volunteer for Amardeep Charitable Trust from Mangaon-Maharashtra which works in 27 tribal villages. They focus on tribal communities in which they empower women, provide employment opportunities, empower youth and provide free basic education for the adolescents and school dropouts. They also provide facilities like boarding to tribal children,” says Venancio.
He has worked for some of the prominent NGOs such as the ‘I help Foundation’ and ‘India NGO' and has held
many celebrations wherein he along with his team have organised some games and sports and small cultural programmes where the children could showcase their talents. Refreshments are also provided to them.
Venancio now has plans to organise a camp for Adivasi adolescents to build leadership qualities and empower them in the mainstream and in the community as a whole.
“When I first met kids for a birthday of one of the unprivileged children, I was impressed by the smiles on their faces and how they appreciated the tiniest of the things which in return made me grateful for everything in my life ever since I have been a part of this organisation,” recalls Manavi Chandelkar, who is volunteering for a non-profit organisation called Révas Foundation for almost one-and-half-year and is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Don Bosco College, Panaji.
In order to ensure that the purpose is met during these celebrations, the foundation observes the environment of the children so that along with the celebration their basic needs are met too. The recent activity conducted by the foundation was the Christmas celebration for more than 100 kids while celebrating few birthdays as well wherein they had few mascots, a Santa Claus, games, music, and dance and also distributed snacks and gifts to all the kids followed by the cake cutting for those who celebrated their birthday. “In the upcoming year, as a volunteer I would like to devote more time for the unprivileged kids and make sure I attend all their birthdays. This year, many of my friends have joined this organisation and I want to create awareness about the organisation so that more people know about it,” says Manavi.
While some are still pursuing their education, there are youngsters who are volunteering for NGOs even though they are working. Aprajita Mandrekar, currently working as a counsellor for Goa Education Development
Corporation (GEDC) has been volunteering for last seven years. “NGOs work at the grassroot level and I believe that if our roots are strong enough, we can tackle every difficult situation. My goal in life is to reach out to those who are left out. By now I have worked with people living with HIV/AIDS, intravenous drug users, street children besides reaching out to rural women and imparted knowledge about nutrition and family planning to them . I have also worked with adolescents especially in the rural areas imparting them skill education, conducted sessions on reproductive, sexual health and personal hygiene,” states Aprajita.
She has been volunteering for numerous purposes which include reducing harm of HIV/AIDS in Goa, spreading the ill-effects of drug abuse, making youth empowered about their roles and responsibilities and providing quality education to street children. In recent times, Aprajita organised a visit to old age-home at Nachinola on New Year's Eve along with her friends.
“While the entire world was busy celebrating New Year , me and my friends decided to make the day memorable by celebrating the last day of 2019 at the old age-home at Nachinola. We played games, sang songs, danced and interacted with them. The smiles on the innocent faces gave us all the satisfaction. They do not ask for any materialistic things from you. They just want somebody to talk and spend some good time with them. Some of them anxiously wait for their relatives and dear ones. It is sad that with the growing modernising world, the need for old age-homes are also growing,” says Aprajita.
As a volunteer, she wants to spread her knowledge with the needy and would want to continue working with adolescents on their sexual and reproductive health. Aprajita is also a regular blood donor looks forward to motivate many volunteers to come forward to donate blood which will reduce the scarcity of blood in hospitals, which in return will lead to saving lives.
While these youths are volunteering for various NGOs, some of them have formed their own groups in order to work towards a noble cause. Kevin Pinto, a digital marketer and travel blogger by profession have formed a group along with his friends called The Helping Hand. This group was formed in 2016 with the motive to help the needy along with the aim to bring about a change and awareness among today’s youth.
“I’ve formed this group because I feel there are many people in this world who don’t get a chance to be a part of what we are enjoying or having like even the bare necessities like food, shelter and clothing. We have so much with us that we can always lend a part of it to the less fortunate by reaching out to people on streets, orphans and aged,” says Kevin.
He and his team have been celebrating New Year since 2016 and this year visited ASRO, an orphanage for HIV positive children. “We thought of starting the year on a good note. This year we skipped New Year's eve party and visited the orphanage on January 1 and spent time with the less fortunate children. We conducted some activities for them and distributed gifts to them,” recalls Kevin.
The Helping Hand also plans to distribute clothes and food to the homeless in the coming years and hope that more youngsters will join him in this cause in the near future.