Ask anyone what they love most about Tata Volunteering Weeks, and they’ll tell you that it’s the freedom they get to try out something completely new – the break from routine.
The diverse set of activities hosted through this edition, as always, gave ample opportunities to the volunteers from Tata Motors to volunteer for the causes they love, some looped in their family members too. Many have stories of how they now think differently after sharing their time and effort, by taking their turn to volunteer.
“I have realised that whatever I have learned and executed, during my 14+ years stint at Tata Motors, can be applied in our personal life to make it better. That’s why I have decided to volunteer”, said Bishnu Kedia, who works with the Kaizen Department of CVBU Jamshedpur. But it’s the memories of shared effort that really leave a mark in his mind “During the tree plantation we had a lot of fun and really let go. This helped us de-stress to some extent. Also it fostered team spirit among us which, in later stage of the project, helped us to execute more effectively, and well within stipulated time-lines. We learned while we volunteered.”
But, Bishnu isn’t the only one who’s all praise of volunteering having personally impacted him. Juhi, another Tata Motors employee, has been drawn to volunteering from a very early age – especially when it comes to serving the under privileged and working with homes for the aged & orphanages. “I know there thousands of other problems faced in society but for some reason I am most strongly attracted to these causes in particular, I really don’t have answer for this. Perhaps it’s just ‘a calling’”, she says. So it was no surprise that she jumped at the opportunity to work for this cause during TVW8 too. “My activity was to interact with the elderly. I went and spent time with old grandfathers and grandmothers. We had touching conversations, and they naturally started opening up. Talking took them far from their sorrow and misery. I would like to express my sincere thanks to those who run these old age homes, or those who are directly or indirectly involved, in this beautiful cause. It really feels good to know that people are very dedicated to serving the elderly, as much as they’d serve their family member.”
While for some inspiration comes as a calling, or from camaraderie and a chance to bond with the team, for others inspiration comes from their loved ones who’ve volunteered with them. Sandeep Dike, ERC Proto – stamping tool design for Tata Motors, had a memorable experience with his son, while volunteering at the Nachiket Bal Ashram. “The thought of doing something different was always on my mind. Which is why we decided to celebrate my son Devarsh’s birthday a little differently this month. We spent time at an orphanage in Akurdi, Pune. We arranged for a day’s lunch for the children, followed by a fun cake cutting and distribution of chocolates.” What truly touched Sandeep was his son’s takeaway from the whole experience, “ He asked me why these children were staying where they are, and where are their parents were. I had no words…”, but what’s most important is that Sandeep and his son brought a little sunshine to the lives of these children who always look forward to such magical celebrations.
As Jacqueline Novogratz, author of The Blue Sweater, once said “How you see where you are always depends on where you’ve been.” These three volunteers took their turn to step up and go where they’ve not been before – live a passion, celebrate camaraderie, try something new.