Even as India grapples with the containment
of the COVID-19 pandemic, that has wrecked havoc in the lives of people and
caused job losses to millions, Bhumi, one of the country’s largest independent
and youth volunteer non-profit organization has helped over 14 thousand daily
wage workers with direct account transfers and monetary help to over 5000
children in 80 shelter hopes.
In an interview to crowdteck.com, Dr
Prahalathan KK, Co-founder and an ophthalmologist by profession, shares his
experiences while the NGO stood at the forefront in battling the menace of
Q. Tell us more about NGO Bhumi..
A. Bhumi was founded in 2006 and is today
one of India’s largest youth volunteering organizations. Every year, we enable
over 25,000 volunteers across India for Sustainable Development Goals. We
believe that our approach to education and volunteerism gets stronger and
better with every stride we proactively take. We have over a decade’s
experience in education and are currently working with over 25,000 children.
Bhumi is also a leader in Volunteer Engagement, consistently contributing over 3
lakh hours of volunteering nationally. Our vision is to help build a more
influential, equal and socially-conscious society.
Q. How is your organization coming forth to
help the community during the time of lockdown?
A. In an effort to help the daily wagers,
our helpline volunteers worked day and night to verify their details and
support them with fund transfers. With consistent efforts of our COVID Support
Team, we have managed to help 14,104 daily wagers with direct fund transfers and
5,085 children in 80 shelter homes with grocery supplies. Our education program
teams were also quick to adapt and reinvent themselves with the support of
volunteers. We have managed to initiate online classes for all our projects,
thereby benefiting 1,310 children from 106 shelter homes across India, engaging
around 705 volunteers. Bhumi’s corporate volunteering engagements were also
hugely impacted ‘Work from Home’ being the new norm in this COVID situation. We
have engaged 21 corporates and are organizing close to 60 events with 1,151
Q. What were the challenges faced by your
teams and volunteers when they were on the ground and helping people?
A. With virtual volunteering being the
dominant feature, a lot of our challenges revolved around the use of
technology. The shelter homes, where we wanted to conduct online classes, usually
had little or no access to the internet and computer systems. Even places where
they had access, we had to educate them on online tools like Zoom, Google Meet
etc extensively. Another major challenge was lack of a human touch in these
virtual volunteering initiatives while we were delivering a curriculum or an
activity. It was difficult to understand the emotions and feelings of beneficiaries.
For on-ground volunteering like grocery deliveries and support, fears of
contacting COVID, infrastructural difficulties like transport etc were also
Q. Did your NGO collaborate with any
Corporates for CSR based activities during the outbreak to help the affected?
A. Our Corporate partners Cognizant, Mckinsey and NTT DATA supported us with funds. Others like IBM, Oracle, CGI, DXC Technology, PayPal, Flex, Aspire Systems, BNP Paribas and Global Mantra Innovations helped us in effectively managing our helpline and delivering groceries to people in need through Corporate volunteering.
By: Nawal Mukadam
Email Id: M@crowdteck.com