NGO success story Community Building educational system Indian Society COVID-19

My Time As A Volunteer In The NGO Wasn’t Satisfactory, But It Ignited A Spark Within Me…

( words)
*For representational purpose only.

For me, my ideology revolves around being honest, staying simple, and dedicating myself to a cause. Throughout my life, I've remained true to who I am without trying to change. While many people and mentors have inspired me; two individuals stand out: MS Dhoni and my teacher. They taught me to be practical and take calculated risks.

Motivation, I believe, is temporary. It might last a day, a week, or a year. 

However, true inspiration stays with you for a lifetime. After finishing 12th grade, I was uncertain about my future. One day, I saw an NGO in action and was intrigued. I contacted a local NGO and started volunteering. That experience opened my eyes to the realities of life. Despite having so little, the people I met were genuinely happy, which made me realise the value of spreading happiness.

My time as a volunteer in the NGO wasn’t that satisfactory, but it ignited a spark within me to start working for a cause. Despite being clueless and facing many questions, I founded the Uttejana Foundation. MS Dhoni's journey with the Indian cricket team, where he rose from being a newcomer to a captain, immensely inspired me.

Our mission at the Uttejana Foundation is to empower communities, individuals, and societies by enhancing their skills and providing support. Our vision is to inspire young people and bring about societal change.  

We believe everyone has the potential to change the world, just as our name, "Uttejana" means to ignite a spark.

The initial days were incredibly tough. Apart from my friend Vaibhav, no one supported me. I wasn't working and had dropped out of my CA program. When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, things became even more challenging. There was no financial support from my family, as they saw this work as something to do part-time, not as a career. But I never backed off. I started working at a multinational company to earn money and support my NGO.

On September 17, 2020, I finally realised my dream and became the founder and president of the Uttejana Foundation. The journey was filled with betrayals and challenges, but what doesn't kill you? makes you stronger. 

Many people joined for certificates or other benefits, but true commitment was rare.

When it comes to social activism or humanitarian work, I'm not doing it to give back to society. I'm doing it because it brings happiness to those who need it. Many NGOs have been around for decades. but real change happens on the ground. We must work directly with the people who need our help. rather than just talking about giving back.

For me, the true inspiration comes from within. Yes, MS Dhoni, Ravi Kalra, and Nidhi Gupta have been outside inspirations, but the drive to make a real difference comes from seeing the actual impact. on the children we educate and support. That's the change we are making, and that's what keeps me going.

After facing a scarcity of resources, I turned to social media to spread the word. Despite initial rejection, I persisted. Beginning with providing meals for 100 people during COVID, I later leveraged social handles, raising 1.5 lakhs to aid in a two-week relief effort. Yet, more support was needed. Studying social work, I trained my team, overcoming challenges and officially registering our efforts. on September 17, 2020.

With determination, I balanced various responsibilities, managing a growing team and family commitments.  

Mindset proved crucial, emphasising patience and humility. Amidst struggles, I found strength, realising the importance of responding to adversity.

The NGO started with Project Chanakya, which was aimed at providing the educational needs of children. While doing so, I saw places in very bad condition. So our dedicated team worked on a mission to bring positive change to the slums. We worked tirelessly to clean the slum areas, ensuring that the residents could live in a cleaner and healthier environment. Our efforts didn't stop there; we also planted trees to create green spaces and improve the air quality of the community. In addition to these activities, we distributed food to those in need, providing much-needed nourishment and support.

One of our most significant projects involved cleaning the Yamuna River. This vital waterway had been heavily polluted, and our team took on the challenge of restoring its natural beauty and health. 

By removing debris and waste, we aimed to protect the local ecosystem and provide a cleaner water source for the people who depend on it.

A turning point came when a contact familiar with my work connected me with an opportunity for corporate social responsibility with MG. Promptly, we organised approvals and meetings, culminating in a successful event within hours.

Reflecting on learning, honesty, and dedication to a cause, I find contentment. Looking ahead, I envision an educational centre offering tuition and extracurricular activities for children, facilitated by collaborative efforts with teachers and students alike.

As the saying goes, “Kisi ki nafrat ka bahana ban gaya hu, Kisi ki hassi ka sahara ban gaya hu toodne. Prunki khwahish hogi puri sahi kehte hain main sitara ho gaya hu.”

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