The Bhumi Universe
Footprints Vijayalaksmi (Viji akka) has left on the sands of time for us.
She has inspired mostly everyone in the first meet thereby standing as an epitome of the anecdote: ” First Impression is always the best impression” ; Just as time wishes to take you a bit farther (Chennai is just 5 hours from here :P) away from us we would like to take a look on the memories that you have left behind with us as a token of love.
Words of a few Volunteers:
Arshath: On The very first day her presence in the home; an hour before schedule showed her true love and interest. Unfortunately on the very same day, I was a quarter hour late….!! On the very first day, in spite of me being late, she started calling me THAMBI…!! And then on, whenever I address her, she used to say, SOLLUDA THAMBI….. And the main thing which inspired us a lot was that, she came for PUDHUKOTTAI, travelling an hour and half for session every week. Her experience with life, has always been a lesson to both volunteers, and the kids…!! She as a Brave woman, Patriotic Indian, Loving sister, caring friend, Banging initiator and a strong, enthusiastic leading volunteer, has always inspired us…!!! Today, if Lakshya team in Trichy stands strong in volunteer bonding, then, it is only because of this sister of mine…!!!… Sorry… it’s our Sister…!!!… She is not too old….. She has just got her course completion certificate in under graduation….!!!… Yep….It is our Vijayalakshmi (VIJI – YA LAKSHYAN) akka…!!!…..
Kavitha: She is the best sister I have come across in my life. She is that one determined woman who is firm and confident. That was how I met her; in our first meet I offered her a ride back from session; we went to collect a few parcels on our way. We were made to juggle between two dispatch centers based on misleading information. On losing our temper; we had an argument with the staff; that incident clearly showed her confidence level. I was inspired by her from that moment on. She is just too caring and compassionate a person. Her dedication is simply clear every time she travels such a long distance for every session. She never ceases to inspire me.
Ashwin: A person who is just caring on anybody who is in her circle. Her life experiences shared during various moments just push us to set up more goals in life and struggle to reach them. She has created a benchmark for us to move past not achieve because she has achieved it already. She accommodates on her fellows so much. She is such a sport to be with. We would miss you a lot. Just as her grandfather’s words inspired her; her acts inspire us.
Hi, Yaswanth; can you tell us about yourself and brief us on how you joined Bhumi?
Hi I am Yaswanth from Anna Nagar, Chennai; I’m an inventory coordinator of Lakshya Project in Kolathur centre. I’m working in TCS Chennai; and I was introduced to Bhumi by my College NSS Unit friends who are active volunteers of Bhumi. Then just as every other person I attended an orientation and stuff; and I have been in Bhumi for past 2-3 months.
So in this 2-3 months journey with Bhumi what do u like about it?
The organizational structure; a non-profit N.G.O. with such a well planned structure made me like it. The strategizing perspective is awesome; even being simple Group Activities in centers are well planned in pre-planning sessions including the inventories; and the final documentation.
And the Commitment of other volunteers; all these together become a motivational factor encouraging fellow volunteers. Even after these days the dedication of the founder and old volunteers is very good.
Is there any particular volunteer (No Restrictions) who has inspired you? If yes, who is that and what trait in the person was the reason?
Yes. It is Raghu. Being an anchor he organizes the whole team well. He is very compassionate and resorts to ask all volunteers their opinions on howsoever small the issue may be. That and the socializing attitude of Raghu and Sri Vidya towards the kids and fellow volunteers is a motivational factor for me and I feel I have to improve a bit on the socializing factor; so that way they inspire me.
In that case; do you have any memorable moments as a volunteer? If so, can you share it with us?
A lot; I remember the smiles of the kids back home; which is one big memorable moment for me. If you ask moments with the volunteers; we had a planning session in Valluvar Kottam Park and then later joined for a chat in a nearby juice shop. There are a few facebook moments too. Some funny stories on how inventories were collected in the past etc… I miss Nakshatra and the mentor training session too much. Because I was not available on Sunday; and since the training couldn’t be made on Saturday and Sunday; as per my request; I had to attend only the online version of it. Yet I miss those times a lot. But making the kids happy is the most memorable moment.
Just like that Request; do you have any Suggestions, opinions, appreciations you want to share with Bhumi as a whole?
All that I want to share is as a Lakshya volunteer of Kolathur centre; I have got an opportunity to speak with only those volunteers who have visited my centre; either to conduct sessions or watch them. Since I missed Nakshatra and I haven’t visited the other centers. We in our centre are planning for a help from the speak-out team in conducting English classes. So my suggestion would be a better inter communication platform for volunteers across projects; even across lakshyans.
Have you heard of Ripples? If yes, do you read it?
Yes I do. I even sent an article for ripples and it is yet not published. I just dunno why?
Since we get more than required articles for a particular month we put on hold a few articles and it just takes some time in getting published. I hope your article will soon adorn our pages. Do you have any suggestions for ripples?
Actually why doesn’t Ripples have a facebook group or something to get these feedback from us. One such group will also increase the communication factor said earlier. We will also respond there and have constructive discussions on the newsletter.
Well there are few closed facebook groups for the inter-volunteer communication purpose and all are welcome to communicate anything related to the projects, anytime. We have a dedicated discussion forum for ripples-team; as with the feedbacks you can always send them to the ripples team via the dedicated link provided; if you any doubts; you can feel free to contact the team anytime. So it is only in the way you choose to respond. This is just a fact I felt sharing and it was great time speaking with you Thank you.
(A hearty laugh) Thank you. I just got what you meant. So I now understand that a closed group alone could not serve the purpose. It was great time talking to you too. Bye.
(P.S. – Had you not said that you are from Anna Nagar; I would have concluded that you don’t know Tamil. Your accent was like that of a North-Indian. 🙂 )
Lakshya Mentor Training 2013
Mentor training is conducted every year in Lakshya for all the Lakshyans interested in taking up mentoring.This year, the training was conducted in all the chapters of Lakshya, i.e, Chennai, Trichy and Bangalore. And some volunteers have shared their experience at the training this year:
29th September 2013. I was really looking forward to this day. The reason? I was curious as to what was going to happen during the mentor session and how is it that we were to be “trained” to mentor kids. I believed that it was a skill picked up over time and not something that can be taught. But little did I know Mrs Saras Bhaskar had a huge surprise in store for us. Right from the word go, she made us come up with multiple questions about mentoring and had us come up with the answers too. It was a whopping experience of collaborative learning. The veteran Lakshyans sharing their experiences over the years mentoring kids, with Ms Saras giving her insight about human psychology in general helped people who were with Lakshya for the first time understand the general mindset of the kids we would be dealing with. The activities used to build camaraderie within the team and the case studies presented to assist us in understanding in full the takeaways from the session instilled creativity and innovation within the volunteers. I would have to say it was a day well spent or rather a day well invested in making us all better mentors.
22 September, 2013. The most awaited day by all passionate volunteers in lakshaya trichy; a day for which everyone waited to be get sealed as a trained mentor. Thereby, came the day with the presence of all awesome lakshayans on behalf of one of the leading psychologists in Chennai, Mrs. Saras Bhaskar. Everyone got introduced by unusual way, a unique way by saying their names with the personalities by syncing them with same characters as those personalities have, by which she encountered all. She started the session with the characteristics needed for a mentor and continued with Do’s and Dont’s. She moulded us to give her attention through interesting activities and surprising debates. We won’t forget one interesting debate on “the fellow who commits suicide is the bravest/cowardice”, where every volunteer gave his/her contribution to make their points strong. The session got into serious when she asked “why you people are here when the others in your age spending their weekends with theatres, malls, shopping, etc.?” Every volunteer answered with different words and stories but the thing i found in common was “I had been suffered, i want no one to be so, and so I’m here”. Those touching moments and stories were still placed in the hearts of all volunteers!! As Lady Gaga sings “live for the applause..”, She gave applause for whatever that had been happening there. She asked us to give a big applause for all from the man who changed the projector properly to the volunteers who came late, which was quite interesting and motivated all. The activities conducted and the assessments made by her through the tests, made the session great and created a lot of self-awareness of the volunteers. The session’s conclusion was made up to the mark by presenting what we had learnt the whole day through solving and presenting the problem statements given by her. The day was ended with a click of this troop in lens of cameras which made all volunteers’ cover photos. Everyone was satisfied completely with that day and went home with a seal of ‘trained mentor’.
~ Srinivasan N.
Sometimes we really don’t know how wonderful the things are unless and until we just experience it. Same thing just happened to all of us at the mentor training in Bangalore on 1st September 2013. Before the session definitely weare had own perceptions about what would be mentoring like but definitely we knew so little about all this. I can say it was not just a session but it widened our perspective of how to build a healthy mentor- mentee relationships.Each and every hour just led to new horizons of understanding our role as a mentor much deeper. To be a mentor is definitely not a very easy role. It requires the good understanding and how we deal the situations coming on our way. The most strange part of the training was that none of us felt sleepy in all the 8 hour.yeah that doesn’t actually happen during training!!!:P.Infact we just wanted lot and lots more of this kind to happen always.The lesson we got back was abundance .May be we generally knew what to do in mentoring but also also learnt what not to do in mentoring. So all these small pieces of knowledge was really helpful for us to start the mentoring of kids.
It was an idea which sparkled in the neurons of one of the volunteers that was made beyond the expectations of all; which stopped the people moving in the Chatram bus stand, just to look exclaimed! Yeah..!! It was a flash mob made by the crew of bhumi volunteers along with three professional dancers with loud speakers and peppy songs blowing over it. The objective was to get the attraction of the crowd to open their eyes about shelter less people living under flyovers, platforms, bus stands, railway stations, etc. across the city; to get a good home for them and to get rid of the problems they face during natural calamities. After the flash mob, the rally would star from the busstand and extend till Ibrahim park.
While we heard the word flash mob, we started to lookout for expert dancers. Within a day, we got three professional dancers and few more interested volunteers joined for a dance with them. The experts gave a day of practice to 15 volunteers and it was fun being a part of the practice sessions. As it was a public performance, there were some rules and restrictions. After taking everything into the legs, those volunteers went with lot of excitement.
The very next day surrounded by police force, with lot of curiosity in the eyes of the volunteers, the flashmob started to the music on the speakers. It was an amazing moment to make the crowd to turn by the surprising, sudden dance moves of our volunteers. Not to miss the cute steps of some unpracticed volunteers which were also caught in cams by dedicated photographers. The volunteers who danced in such a crowded bus stand made the people standstill. After the dance; Abdul, a bold volunteer, took over the microphone and addressed the crowd with awesome phrases and quotes. After his speech, the rally started.
The response we got from the people filled our hearts with emotions for the efforts that we put in!!