Vinoth has been a Bhumian, as well as a Goonj fellow. Read further to learn more about his experiences at both Bhumi, as well as the Goonj Fellowship (click here to know more about the fellowship).
Tell us a little about yourself!
Hi, my name is Vinoth R, I studied B.E Electronics & Instrumentation Engineering at Jayaram College of Engineering and Technology, Trichy. I worked as an Electrical & Instrumentation Engineer at Kaleesuwari Refineries Private Limited for around 2 years, though I loved my job, I couldn’t stay long because of the problems we face daily & most of the time we even forget about, such as climate change, sanitation, pollution, education, bothers me alot. Especially after having a look at the rest of our country through Jagriti Yatra 2017, almost 40% of India’s population doesn’t have access to the basic needs such as a place to live, education, clean water, nutritious food, etc. So I decided to quit my engineering job & joined as a Goonj Fellow.
How did volunteering with Bhumi happen?
Since my childhood, I inherently had a thirst of doing my part for the community’s betterment. I joined my college’s Rotaract club in my 2nd year. Through them, I attended “Rotary Youth Leadership Awards” where I got a friend who was a Bhumi, Trichy who volunteer, introduced me to Bhumi. I loved the ideology of working for children’s education & it was also not far from my college hostel. I chose Lakshya – mentoring programme & also started other initiatives on green practices along with my team, in the shelter home Arulagam, Ponmalaipatti, Trichy. I also worked for two Nakshatras as well. And yeah that is how it started 🙂
How did the Goonj fellowship happen? Was there a trigger?
Through the train journey of Jagriti Yatra, first time out South India, getting to know the different perspectives of our country, I decided to be an engineer who should be working on the real-time problems than in a well-established system. While visiting Goonj, their idea of making urban discards as a tool for rural development intrigued me! I felt the work of Goonj was so up to my personal beliefs – be frugal, reuse and be environment-friendly, also respecting the dignity of the so-called last person of the economic pyramid. This was the trigger.
How did the volunteering experience at Bhumi help you stand out as a Goonj fellow?
While volunteering with Bhumi, the space I had to be myself taught me to think, ideate, propose, discuss and act with my team, made me give my 100% whether it was Lakshya or Nakshatra. Whereas the same attitude continues here I have the basic prerequisite knowledge on how to approach new initiatives, talk, collaborate, follow-up, and also work on myself whenever needed.
Share an interesting experience each at Bhumi & the Goonj fellowship.
Bhumi: During the second Nakshatra sports, I was the Venue Coordinator, which was a huge responsibility. Not only that, working on other verticals as Food, Volunteer Management, Fundraising, taught me a lot of life skills which I didn’t learn during my school or college.
Goonj: In my last engineering job, I had distinct targets focusing generating/increasing the revenue for the company. But in Goonj, for the 1st time, I work for human feelings, which is the dignity of the receiver, progress in their livelihood, being welcomed by them with a smile, this is great and this is where my heart lies 🙂
What change did these experiences bring in your life? How has Bhumi / Goonj altered you, personally?
Collectively from the experiences overall: I individually planted 400 trees in my village. Started being more empathetic and believing in local & traditional wisdom. I am more mindful in daily life that makes things very easy for me & my family. I don’t hesitate to learn new things, and self-explore more.
Any specific, special moment with kids or volunteers you would like to share with us?
You should talk to a 4 year old sometimes to understand life again. It worked for me. Trust me, it can work for you too!
A message to every Bhumi volunteer:
Put your 100% in whatever you do. Yeah, things won’t be of your favour all the time. It’s okay to make mistakes. That is how we learn & grow. Never stop being a good person, go beyond the limits, don’t forget your roots.
The Goonj Fellowship is now accepting applications, apply right away.