Niveditta Balachandran is the Project Coordinator of DeStep in Mumbai
A little about yourself (origin, education, past work experiences)
I hail from Chennai, and after completing Biomedical Engineering, I have been pursuing my Masters in Mumbai for the past couple of years. I currently work with Cox and Kings as HR. I have always believed that meeting new people and interacting with them, serves to be the best form of learning.The best we educated people can do is share this outpouring knowledge with others. Besides, I have learnt music and am a table tennis player.
How did volunteering with Bhumi happen (including beginning, which project you volunteered for)?
During my graduation, I saw Bhumi volunteers were distributing pamphlets at college as a part of their volunteer engagement drive. Curiosity drove me to explore this opportunity for me to try and be a part of something good, so without any second thoughts, I registered myself as a volunteer with Bhumi. My first ever encounter with Bhumi was the orientation which was held on June 5, 2011. It was the start to a memorable journey. Initially I was a Speak Out Volunteer with ICCW, Chennai and held this position for a year and a half. Later, after a break, and after moving to Mumbai, I wanted to start the Dance project at Mumbai, and after much efforts identifying centers and finding volunteers, and with the support of my Mumbai Team, the dance project finally kickstarted at Mumbai.
What change did these experiences bring in your life? How has Bhumi altered you, personally?
Volunteering with Bhumi brought great changes within me.It is one such thing, that helps keep negativity away from your mind. Your perspective gradually tends to broaden when volunteering. It makes you a more idealistic and strong person. These are the changes that developed within me with time and no doubt this positivity was a result of joining Bhumi. Besides, the joy of working as a team, with a common motive – driving towards something better, is a unique experience in its own. Volunteering is the one thing, I would suggest each and everyone to do in life, at some point of time or the other. It is a wonderful thing that will teach you that sometimes you will be rewarded even without actually receiving rewards.
One most memorable incident in your life as a Bhumian.
Every class held was memorable, the fun with kids, the way they imitate my teaching, the various celebrations at the centers,and not to forget the Nakshatra volunteering experiences, have all been memorable. In 2012, for Nakshatra, I was a home specific volunteer. On the way from the home to the venue, I was engaging the kids by singing their favorite songs. The following year, in 2013, the same home had come for Nakshatra, and there was this little girl, who ran up to me and said “ I remember you. You are the one who sang my favorite song in the bus last year”. These are the moments, that answer it all, for why I chose to volunteer
Tell us about one Bhumian, who you think is a very good inspiration for you.
From the day I have been a part of Bhumi, Doc has been an inspiration to me, and also someone whom I have looked up to for humility, and his achievements at such a young age. Ganapathy is another person, whom I have admired for his knowledge and great insight about things, a bit of which I have happened to see during the days I had worked with him for Icubed.
Any specific, special moment with kids or volunteers you would like to share with us?
That time in the year 2013, when the girl remembered me as the one who sang her favorite song, was a magical moment for me.
A message to every volunteer at Bhumi?
To do something towards your society and to bring the change that you wish to see, there is no right time or opportunity, you just have to start practicing and living the change you wish to see. You might not be able to see the fruits of your efforts grow around, but then, it will definitely happen someday. It is more of a responsibility than pride.