'V' for Volunteering
This month I spent quite some time contributing to Project HOPE (HoursOfPurpose by employees) #MillionHoursOfPurpose that was kicked off by my employer Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), I really feel grateful for being part of something that served some meaningful purpose. Here’s a look back at how the volunteering has made me a better person.
TCS has always been at forefront of Corporate Social Responsibility as it imbibes the Tata value of Responsibility that states “We will integrate environmental and social principles in our businesses, ensuring that what comes from the people goes back to the people many times over.” The TCS Purpose4Life initiative a few years back formalized the societal contribution that we TCSers had been already running through TCS Maitree.
I have been privileged to gain so much from the time I contributed to several CSR initiatives as a volunteer leader for my team. Our team termed the initiative aptly as “Sankalp, a promise to make a difference” and had a huge support and encouragement from our senior leadership. Over years, we have enjoyed our time spent together at orphanages or under schools teaching something to the kids, simply playing games with them, tree plantation activities, sponsoring needy students’ education, painting a government school in a tribal area near Mumbai or simply donating groceries, clothes, school stationary and so on.
One of the highlights was also making of a website to support a women’s group empowered by TCS Maitree to sell jute bags made by them. The countless times we came together as a team to do something for others have been the happiest memories of us working together.
What we have done as volunteer over years may not even make a drop of what happens in the ocean of volunteering, but it has indeed helped us understand life better and connect with people whom we would have never met in our lives otherwise.
I also wanted to give a shout out to the TCS Youth Employment Program team for helping the under privileged but able youth to prepare to enter corporate life through expertise of seasoned industry colleagues. I enjoy the 1-2 hours on my Saturday mornings when I interact with these brilliant young minds, I often end up learning more.
My volunteering experience of Agile Network India in its Mumbai chapter in 2021 and Agile Mumbai conferences of 2021 and 2022 opened so much learning for me, as I interacted with fellow agilists from the industry. It broadened my network and helped me become a better Agilist and a better professional. Similar experience in Agile India 2022 volunteering to meet like minded people, learn and share to grow professionally. Expanding my professional network not just with virtual people connected on LinkedIn, but with people whom I met with or spoke to. It has been a great way to create connections with people.
Coming back to the project HOPE that re-kindled these memories, it has indeed presented us suggestions to make a difference to Health, Environment and Education by giving up plastic, nurturing a house garden, feeding our winged friends, using public transport, donating clothes, groceries, Earth hour and so on. Small steps surely adding to the impact that it brings.
Long live Volunteering!
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
Image credits People illustrations by Storyset