Volunteer Den – Vaishnavi Srinivasan

Vaishnavi has been a volunteer with Bhumi since 2007, currently leading the School Transformation Programme impacting over 5,000 children. Vaishnavi Srinivasan was one of the finalists at the iVolunteer Awards!

Tell us a little about yourself!
I volunteer full-time with Bhumi, and currently manage the whole school transformation programme. I enjoy connecting with people, travelling and cooking. Happily married and settled in Chennai with two dogs.

How did volunteering with Bhumi happen? 
In 2007, I got an email inviting volunteers to teach Computers at an orphanage in Thiruvanmiyur. After my first visit, I expressed interest to start teaching at another orphanage, much closer to home. The team welcomed the idea, and since then, there has been no looking back.

Share your experience in the event that you have been actively participating in.
In Bhumi’s Whole School Transformation Programme, our full-time facilitators work directly with teachers and school leaders (HMs) to create an eco-system that puts the child’s holistic development at the centre. The facilitators work on building a shared vision and efficient leadership practices, improving pedagogical practices and increasing teacher involvement. Systemic change is a core area that I have always wanted to work in, and I find this journey with those who are directly involved in impacting the lives of children challenging and exciting.

What change did these experiences bring in your life? How has Bhumi altered you, personally?
Bhumi has given me the space to experiment with ideas, learn by doing and build my skills. Interacting with students, professionals, and the like-minded has given me the opportunity to widen my perspectives about the world. From a quiet observer, I have transformed into an assertive participant, most often voicing my thoughts, anchoring sessions and steering action. Bhumi has undoubtedly flipped me inside out, and I believe this journey will continue to influence me to be better.

Tell us about one Bhumian, who has been an inspiration.
11 years of volunteering has given me the opportunity to interact with many, many Bhumians. I have drawn so much energy, positivity, and learning from some incredible people who have been more than just volunteers to the organisations – teachers, mentors, ideators, activators, and change leaders – putting down one name as an inspiration wouldn’t do justice. I salute every volunteer who has helped me transform into who I am today.

Any specific, special moment with kids or volunteers you would like to share with us?
Nakshatra is one of my favourite events; and the first will always be my most treasured memory with Bhumi. It was pouring cats and dogs, and frantic calls were being made to decide if we could go ahead. But we realised that the enthusiasm and excitement was too much and calling it off was just not an option. A few hours later, over 750 children were seen singing and dancing along with the chief guest like there was no tomorrow! The frenzy I witnessed at the inaugural was worth every minute of turmoil, and instilled great confidence in our volunteering team’s potential and commitment!

A message to every volunteer at Bhumi:
Bhumi believes that every citizen has the potential to change the status quo. With just an ounce of commitment and passion, a volunteer can provide meaningful experiences while transforming the self. Many volunteers have piloted ideas that are now successful programmes in Bhumi – use the platform and be the change you wish to see!

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