5 Unique Ways You Can Give Back To Society
Image: Vidyanand Kamat
It helps bring together volunteers and NGOs that need help and provides a range of programmes in India and abroad. It already links 10,000 volunteers and 300 NGOs. While the focus is on individuals, iVolunteer also has customised programmes for group and corporate volunteering. Depending on your time and commitment levels, you could choose, for example, from reading for a couple of hours to a blind person on the weekend, working a few days every month for a rural business or take on a two-year assignment in another country.
How you can help: Pick a cause close to your heart and register at iVolunteer.in
Wada Na Todo Abhiyan
This is possibly the largest campaign on governance accountability in India. They use the Internet to connect more than 3,000 civil society groups across the country in an effort to ensure that the central and state governments fulfil promises made in their election manifestos. They also work with the Planning Commission, with feedback on preparing five-year plans. The NGO has launched a ‘people’s
audit’ of basic delivery areas (such as health and education) to bring about changes.
How you can help: Participate in audits by monitoring government programmes at wadanatodo.net
This organisation aims to tap the skills of senior corporate leaders and managers. And this is how it works: Voluntary organisations in India are usually registered under various trust Acts, which require them to be governed by a board. Often, these board members are there more out of goodwill for the cause or the organisation’s founder and are unaware of the line that separates governance from day-to-day operations. Governance Counts helps NGOs get access to competent people who can be constructive board members.
How you can help: If you have management experience, login at governancecounts.org.in
Habitat for Humanity
Born in the USA, this organisation has been active in India since 1983 and seeks to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Ever since the construction of its first house in the Asia-Pacific region — at Khammam, Andhra Pradesh — 1.65 lakh people have benefited from more than 33,000 houses that Habitat has built or repaired.
How you can help: If you’re over 14 and can hold a hammer or a bucket or a paint brush, you can be part of a team that picks projects at various sites and works there. Individuals can also volunteer to work in Habitat offices and serve on the board. More at habitatindia.in
The Bicycle Project
The brainchild of Hemant and Sangeeta Chhabra and their friend Simona Terron, this NGO was started in 2008 and gives new meaning to the word ‘recycling’. It collects old bicycles, overhauls them and distributes them to children in villages outside Mumbai. These kids have to walk between 2 km and 7 km to school and can use the bicycles instead. The Project has collection centres coming up in Delhi and Pune. It has also inspired others to replicate the idea.
How you can help: Organise collections in your building or neighbourhood, or start a bicycle project of your own. Find the Project at thebicycleproject.blogspot.com
(Text: Cuckoo Paul, with inputs from GiveIndia and IndianNGOs.com)