CHANGING FACE OF VOLUNTEERING
Was “being a volunteer” part of your education?
Those small acts of giving were one of the ways I learned that we are part of an ecosystem that caters to all of us. Those small acts of offering drinking water, or serving food to anyone who comes to eat, or donating toys to the toys library, or sharing of school books these were some of the acts that did become part of my growing up. As I grew it came to teaching other children, helping them in their studies became a part of life. Somehow it became a way of interacting with the environment, somehow respecting what you have gained in life, saying thank you to all those people who made it possible for you. We Indians somehow always find a way to connect to God and I guess this was my way of connecting to him and thanking him for standing by me.
Then came the internet boom and the concept of corporate social responsibility or CSR as popularly known in the corporate jargons and somehow the individual role got lost in the sea of NGOs social care takers and donations. All that started to matter was which organization are you associated with, how much donation did you made. Do you support that cause or you don't? How many NGOs do you enlist in your social profile? We were very happy to sign those cheques or deposit those cash in the donation boxes and felt satisfied on being a socially responsible citizen. Somehow that personal touch, that satisfaction, that peace you get when you do something not for yourself but for that soft smile or that small blessing that you get was lost.
For quite a long time this remained as a once a while hobby of sharing a cup of coffee with a old uncle sitting outside in cold or buying food for someone who had lost his wallet in some bus or train station. Many times felt conned too, felt hurt. But then it was not about the person who received but about me and my peace isn’t it.
I came across “A Heart for China” nothing so great a simple concept, simple goals, simple people, a group of people who took upon themselves to be socially responsible citizens. Many like me foreigners others being Chinese, some speak English, some local language only but somehow loosely bound together. Who are they, why do they do it, it is a matter of self-exploration and am sure that each one of us will find a different meaning a different purpose in it.
Are they different from any of the other big names in the volunteering community, how much donations do they make? If it counts on your list of standards i guess they are way off the list.
What do they do? They bring daily need goods, RICE, OIL, MILK, TOYS BEDDINGS all bought from money pooled within the group. They play with them, enact activities for them and most important.... Give people like me and you the opportunity to spend a few hours to forget one self, hardships, turmoil in your lives. Rediscover yourself in those smiles. In those small activities you can find the child with in you that got lost in the mad rush of who earns how much. They sing for them, dance with them, play games with them and most important we make a big family.
In the last few years, life has changed a lot in china. In the mad rush to earn more then what matter who you are, how much u earn or donate, just be yourself, find your own peace, make friends, and most important be happy with what you are doing. “HAVE A HEART FOR CHINA”.