Volunteer Den – Madhumita Raghavan

Project in Bhumi: Speak Out

City: Bengaluru

Volunteering period: Jun 2014- current

Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m a Chennai girl who spent my childhood in Dubai, now a graduate in Computer Science and Engineering. I enjoy teaching and love reading. I am a dreamer and thinker. Once I set my mind on something, I do whatever it takes to see it through. I believe that persistence is the key. I like making people smile.

How did volunteering with Bhumi happen? (Including beginning, which project you volunteered for?)

One of my neighbours volunteered with Bhumi and told me about the weekend classes. I was really excited about it because teaching has always fascinated me and I wanted to use my weekends effectively. I chose Speak Out during my orientation in Chennai and started volunteering at Seva Samajam, Adyar. When I entered the school for the first time, I thought to myself, this is the beginning of something new, exciting and life changing. And it was!

What change did these experiences bring in your life? How has Bhumi altered you, personally?

My perception of life has changed. I realized that we have the best days when we make others happy. One important thing which has become my daily mantra is “Look back and see how far you’ve come, also look ahead to see how much farther you have to go.”

Everyone I’ve met through Bhumi has had something to teach me. I’ve learnt to organise events, juggle several things and articulate my thoughts well. I’m a little more sure footed than I was four years ago.

After taking up a lead role in Bangalore I was awed to see the dedication and efforts of so many more like minded people who strive to make each day better. Seeing them makes me want to do more.

One most memorable incident in your life as a Bhumian:

The Joy to the World gift distributions at Seva Samajam, Chennai and at Thayi Mane, Bangalore, were memorable. Seeing children hug their gifts to their chests with nothing short of euphoria on their faces filled me with warmth. This is priceless; I just couldn’t stop smiling.

Tell us about one Bhumian, who has been an inspiration:

Sastha Krishnan who volunteered with me in Chennai. He is a storm. He commanded respect and awe in the classroom like no one else. “It is what it is, what can we do to make it better?”, he would say. After he relocated, he still made it a point to visit the kids whenever he came to the city and renewed our passion to teach, learn and grow.

Any specific, special moment with kids or volunteers you would like to share with us?

In the aftermath of the Chennai floods of 2015 we gritted our teeth because we had very few classes left to complete the syllabus and organized extra classes on Friday evenings. On one such Friday, Priyanka, one of the 5th standard girls said she couldn’t join the class because she had to do some chores. I said she would definitely have to attend, we had fallen behind. She could do her chores later, I told her. She said with a smile and a hint of hesitance, “No Akka. I have to wash all our uniforms. The younger kids find it difficult and being elder to them, we ought to help them out right? They’re all my brothers and sisters only.” I was speechless. Compassion, for me, became the virtue to be valued.

A message to every volunteer at Bhumi:

Believe strongly in what you do. Remember the story of the Chinese bamboo tree. All it takes is your thought and commitment. Bhumi will help you see it through.

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