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Purnendu

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Bhumi
October 7, 2009

I can be proud to say that I have been a member of Bhumi since the times when it was merely a group of 5-6 youngsters in their final years in college, wanting to do something for the society. There were so few of us and there were even fewer resources. We would meet on weekends in Gandhi Mandapam in Guindy, Chennai and discuss on how to start working. It was in those meetings and some more in a garage that the idea of starting computer education for underprivileged children came, and thus was born Kanini- the first project and later the flagship of Bhumi. We contacted a few orphanages and some of them agreed to let us teach computers to their children. I was a volunteer at one such center along with Vaishnavi. I was very apprehensive as being a shy geek, I had never done any sort of teaching, except some seminars and my unfamiliarity with the local language was another issue. It was Vaishnavi, then new to the organization who took the reigns, never failing to amaze with her dedication and skills, and we managed to hold the classes for 30 girl students with the help of two outdated computers and a laptop. The situation was not very comfortable as the classes were often noisy and hot, but it was the affection of the children and their eagerness to learn which made us put an extra effort into whatever we did. Needless to say we managed to finish the whole course successfully. Although due to my personal commitments I couldn't resume teaching in the Bhumi projects, I remained an active member. Today when I look back, I realize how much Bhumi has grown- from 5-6 in 2006 to more than 1000 volunteers we have really come of age. In my journey with Bhumi, I have come across some extraordinary young men and women who has made a permanent impression on me by their hard work and commitment to Bhumi and society. Bhumi's biggest asset is its huge pool of young volunteers who are willing to work for the society. Together we have shown that given a chance to work, the youth of India can really make a difference..

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The way the underprivileged children in the centers serviced by Bhumi show their confidence with computers and English as a spoken language, something which makes them stand at par with their privileged peers.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I will try to make newer members take the onus of bigger responsibilities and make them realize that they are as much an important stakeholder in Bhumi as any senior member and thus come and lead instead of waiting to be led.

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The undercurrent of young energy which runs through the organization. The realization that the youth are not as impassive towards the society as usually thought. The fact that everyone is equal in Bhumi- total absence of a Hierachy.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

sometimes so extraordinary in their sincerity, friendliness and humbleness that they have influenced me for the life time. A nation which has such young people can't remain poor and weak for long.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Pay for more computers, train more volunteer teachers, open new libraries and adopt more children for financial support to their education. Also, Bhumi could move from children homes to slums and open its own centers for the slum kids.

Ways to make it better...

The management at some of the centers were perceptive to new ideas and had realized the importance of computer and English education

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

The lack of resources. We need a lot of money to pay for the teacher's training, syllabus and new computers. The biggest challenge is to cope up with the speed with which Bhumi is growing and keep the organization homogeneous.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I am not happy with the fact that Bhumi is limited only to Chennai and surrounding areas. We must spread our wings and move to interiors of the state and other parts of the country. Our goal should be to make sure that every kid gets his chance.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & I taught computers to children, helped with the organizational activities.