A petition to rationalise auto-rickshaw fares on Change.org signed by more than 7,100 people in less than a month was submitted to the Transport Ministry today
Owing to the public pressure from the Change.org petition and the Supreme Court Intervention, the state Government announced new fares for auto rickshaws in Chennai city from 25 August, 2013.
This prompted the call for action among Bhumi volunteers in Trichy, many citizens across other parts of the state where the fares have not been revised since 2007; compelling the petitioner and Chennai resident, Bhumi’s co-founder Dr. Prahalathan to initiate a new petition asking the government to revise fares for other parts of the state on Jan 29, 2014.
He says “We at Bhumi have been able to channelise over 7,100 signatures in less than a month through the campaign initiated on Change.org; a copy of which was submitted to the Transport Minister Thiru. Senthil Balaji on Friday, 28 February 2014. We believe the government will act decisively, the same way it did in rationalising auto-rickshaw fares in Chennai”.
A copy of the petition has also been submitted to the Transport Commissioner and to the Chief Minister’s Special Cell. The Government had announced Rs.25 for the first 1.8km and Rs. 12 per km thereafter as fares for Auto Rickshaws in Chennai City on August 25, 2013.
Show your support for the campaign by signing it at http://bit.ly/AutoTN
Change.org is the world’s largest petition platform, empowering people everywhere to create the change they want to see. More than 40 million users in every country use our tools to transform their communities – locally, nationally and globally.
Among all the projects, Lakshya was the project I could relate to, the most. I feel that as a guide and mentor I would be able to bring out my potential
as a volunteer better. It is personal opinion that life skills are very important for kids in the decision making stage of their life i.e their ninth and tenth grade and I am glad I am doing my mite to help them.
What do you see in – Srividya in the initial days of volunteering and Srividya today.
Initially when I joined Lakshya I was going through an introverted phase in my life; I used to feel very self-conscious and so, I was not as expressive. Now after being a part of Lakshya for 1&1/2 years and getting to meet so many positive and friendly people who have made me feel at home, I find myself to be more confident and articulative than before.
Life before and after Bhumi
Before Lakshya, I was working 9-6 plus excessive daily commute at the expense of my health without any satisfaction in what I was doing. I quit the job and I was more clueless than ever. I took to free lance cad drafting and when my friend suggested that I volunteer for Bhumi, I thought why not; let me give it a try. Only after joining Bhumi did I realize that the joy of interacting with children and other volunteers gave me so much satisfaction that I couldn’t get from my professional work.
Any specific, special moment with the kids you would like to share?
I was mapped to a mentee whom I found very difficult to engage and establish a rapport with initially (possibly my inexperience). Then slowly after many a sessions towards the end of the academic year, he opened up to me telling me about his fear of the future and of his poor academic performance and he told me that he wanted me to specially meet his mother because it would mean a lot to him. At that moment I felt immensely happy knowing that I have inspired enough confidence in him to confide in me and I meant enough to him for inviting me to meet his mother.
Tell us about your personal front
I am a Polymer engineer by qualification and a draftsperson by profession
Your message to fellow volunteers
Thanks to all the volunteers I have interacted with, for making me a better person and volunteer.
Why Bhumi? Why Little Einsteins?
I personally believe that through proper education we can find solution for most of the problems in our country. I came to know about Delhi Bhumi project during Delhi Nakshatra 2012 event. I was pretty impressed the way the event was conducted and registered as volunteer.
And since I felt comfortable with Maths, Little Einsteins was a natural choice.
Tell us about your first day as a volunteer and the initial challenges you faced. Also, how did you overcome them?
On first day, I was scared that how I am going to make a good impression (Since I am not good with Hindi). Once we reached, kids sorrounded us and asked questions like they had met me before and with the help of other volunteers answered the questions. End of the day, I felt the difference in myself
Life before and after Bhumi
It simply changes the way you look at things.
Any specific, special moment with kids you would like to share with us?
I felt really happy, when an other volunteer told me that I have a secret admirer in my kid. Also, any outing with kids is always special and makes our bond stronger.
A note about your personal front.
Education: I am an engineering graduate from St. Joseph’s College Of Engineering,Chennai.
Job: Working as a Software Engineer at CSC India Pvt Ltd.
Hobbies: Playing Ball Badminton game, Reading books, Pencil drawing and currently trying to learn to play Harmonica.
A message to your fellow volunteers.
Be honest to yourself.
iCubed – Ideate, Implement, Inspire is a national level ideation competition organised by Bhumi for young people with the passion to change society as it is and shape a better tomorrow. This biennial event not only recognises the best ideas but also provides an opportunity to implement the ideas supported by Bhumi – financially and through volunteers.
The first edition in 2012, on the theme ‘Children’, saw over 150 participants from across India. Ms. Nirupa Raghavan, SSN College of Engineering, Chennai was adjudged the winner.
The theme for this edition was ‘Environment’ which is closely connected with the vision, mission and values of Bhumi. The event was conducted over a period of four months, from November 2013 – March 2014. The winner was identified through a detailed selection process comprising four rounds from concept evaluation pilot implementation. The ideas are evaluated on the basis of clarity of idea, creativity, potential reach / impact and implementation feasibility. A significant improvement over last edition was the inclusion of pilot implementation as part of the process only to ensure practical feasibility of implementation.
Ideas were invited under the following subthemes:
- Global warming (Including green initiatives & pollution control)
- Preservation of other natural resources such as water & energy
- Protection of wildlife
- Treatment of waste including recycling (physical / e-waste)
- Other environment related initiatives
‘Click for a Cause’ is a unique online photo contest that is intended to create awareness on environment issues through photography. The competition, that was a prelude to the main event iCubed, was conducted between Nov 3, 2013 and Dec 8, 2013. We received an overwhelming response of 232 entries. The event was judged by eminent professional photographers Mr.Bhagath of Makka Studios, Chennai and Mr.Amirtharaj Stephen. The winners of the photo contest are as below:
First Prize: Puranjit Gangopadhyay
Second Prize: Gaurav Singh Bawa
Third Prize: Vamsee Krishna
Social Media (most-liked): David Raja
The main event (social entrepreneurship competition) witnessed an overwhelming response of 429 entries. A snapshot on the profile of the entries received can be viewed below:
The preliminary round of concept submission was evaluated by Mr. Manas Srivastava, a Gandhi Fellow. The final jury includes:
- Mr. Kumar Deepak, Environmentalist at UNDP
- Mr. Nikhil Nair, Senior Manager Business Development at SELCO Solar
- Mr. Nityanand Jayaraman, Environmental Journalist and Activist
- Dr. K K Prahalathan, Co-founder – Bhumi
|KarmaCompany||Dare2Compete.com||ISIC – International Students Identity Card|
|CCD, ChennaiSpoonbill, Chennai||IIM Indore, Navi Mumbai CampusGlobal Entrepreneurship Week (GEW)National Youth Foundation (NYF)|
- Bhavya Sharma – Lucknow
- Lakshmi & Jude Rohit – Loyola College of Engineering
- Lokesh Agarwal – Mahindra Research Valley
- Madhavi Vijayan – University of Hong Kong
- Sriram D S, NMIMS Mumbai & Upasana Samaddar, Chennai
- Uma Shanmuganathan, Shainika Moorthy & Varsha – Spaces
The Grand Finale has been scheduled on Mar 8, 2014 from 9:30AM to 1PM. During the day, the finalists will be presenting their business case to the jury. Apart from the finalists, around 50 Bhumi volunteers and students of the hosting college are expected to attend the event.
As part of the Grand Finale event, a panel discussion, among the jury members, has been organised on the topic ‘Going Green Everyday’ that shall include:
- Ideas or activities that can be done as part of day to day life towards environment protection
- Role of youth and children in environmental protection and building green economy
- Challenges in promoting green products and services
Spotlight on Children’s Education as LetzChange Foundation Boosts Bhumi with Donation Match Campaign
Just days after UNESCO’s latest report revealed India to have the largest population of illiterate adults in the world, the education prospects of some of the most disadvantaged children in the country have received a boost.
Startup portal LetzChange.org has launched a “Spotlight Campaign” to literally shine the spotlight on the high-impact work of Bhumi – an NGO providing education and mentoring to disadvantaged children from orphanages and slum communities across India.
For a limited time only, all funds raised on Letzchange.org for Bhumi will be matched by LetzChange sister organisation LetzDream Foundation.
Vikrant Bhargava, founder of LetzChange Foundation, said, “We have made it easy for anyone in India to donate any small or big amount to their favorites causes.” LetzChange promotes online giving in India and allows donors to donate amounts as small as INR 50 to over one-hundred vetted and verified NGO projects listed on LetzChange.org.
The donation match campaign seeks to raise money for two of Bhumi’s projects on LetzChange:
- Sponsor the education of a child in need
- Sponsor children at the national inter-orphanage talent festival – Nakshatra
Bhumi Co-Founder Dr. Prahalathan said, “Bhumi believes that every under-privileged child deserves quality education. We have transformed this conviction into a volunteering opportunity for India’s youth, launching a snowball effect of talent nurturing talent on the path to an educated, poverty-free India. We are delighted that LetzChange are supporting us with their donation match campaign.”
To participate in the Spotlight Campaign, simply select from the above projects and make an online donation on LetzChange.org. LetzDream Foundation will instantly match your donation ensuring Bhumi receives double the amount you donated.
About LetzChange Foundation: LetzChange is a nonprofit online giving platform, registered under Section 25 of the Companies Act, that enables you to discover and donate to vetted and verified Indian NGO projects.
About LetzDream Foundation: LetzDream Foundation is a Non-profit, grantmaking organization which funds nonprofits to enable them to adapt more efficient and impact-driven models of development and execute social interventions which bring about lasting change.
Bhumi will be expanding to five more cities this year and we want to reach out to 3,000 more children. We need to reach out to at least 10,000 young people to get the required 1,000 volunteers. Refer your friends and get certified by Bhumi* and you could also win Rs.2,500 worth Flipkart gift voucher from Gudville!**
All you have to do is visit Bhumi’s Gudville page, show your support and share your personalised link with your friends.
How to get certified by Bhumi?
Step 1. Visit Bhumi’s Gudville page, show your support
Step 2. Share your personalised link via FB, Twitter, Linked In, Email etc
Step 3. Track your Impact
If you ‘influence’ at least twenty friends to sign up, fill up this form to get certified as a volunteer recruiter. You can also get a certificate mentioning number of hours contributed. Detailed Steps below
Step 4. How to get Rs.2,500 Gift voucher from Flipkart?
- Influence at least 100 friends to Sign up, to become a Gudville Star
- If Bhumi gets at least 2,000 supporters, Bhumi could win up to Rs. 1,00,000
- The Top 3 Gudville Stars will receive Rs.2,500 gift voucher by Gudville!
Contact us at mail [AT] bhumi.org.in for clarifications
Volunteers around the world contribute billions of dollars, worth of work and millions of man hours, every year. Right from the likes of UNICEF to the grassroots organizations across the globe, there are plethoras of dedicated volunteers utilizing their free time for a cause they believe in, and facilitating the work of the organizations they support.
Volunteers are indispensable to NGOs. They enable organizations to rise above their capacity and achieve more than they would otherwise. Right from fundraising, legal affairs, administration and field work; volunteers bring in their wealth of skills to the NGOs, allowing them to benefit communities, and work towards creating a better world.
Volunteering is not something restricted to the youth brigade or the retirees. Though they form a major chunk of volunteers, it is the group of skilled and experienced people that we need to persuade into volunteering. These are people with good experiences in their workplaces, which can be interpolated and transferred into the NGOs. NGOs are usually run like businesses, and when people, i.e. volunteers, bring in such skills on the table, it helps the NGOs to save money and be better able to support the cause.
Imagine a world where every person volunteered for just a few hours a week? Where every one of us dedicated just a small proportion of our time to supporting people in need. How many lives could we change? How much better could we make the world for every single one of us? The idea doesn’t just sound great, but can make a massive difference to the world we live in.
To help inspire you to volunteer, we’ve created a list of the top ten reasons why you should volunteer now and in the future!
1. Make a difference: It is easy to talk about some charitable causes and the wonderful work they are doing. But, wouldn’t it be much more awesome if you actually do something about it? Yes, Volunteering can make you that person who makes a difference that helps to change lives for the better.
2. Enjoy yourself: Volunteering can be an amazing experience full of laughter, new experiences and new friends. You will get to see and do things that you may not have the chance to otherwise. Volunteer and you’ll create memories that will last you a lifetime.
3. Improve your health: Yes, you heard it right! Recent studies have suggested that volunteering makes a measurable positive difference on individuals overall happiness and mental well-being. No more flushing in money into the gyms.
4. Develop new skills: Volunteering often pushes people to develop new skills and new ways of thinking. Just being in a different environment where people work differently can help you to develop lifelong skills that help you in every part of your life.
5. Give your career a boost: Volunteering is one of the most respected ways of gaining experience according to employers. You will not just gain the extra skills during your volunteering time, but the experience looks great on your cv, and gives you an edge while going for your dream job.
6. Be inspired: Most NGOs are full of interesting people, who have the most amazing, inspiring stories to share. Whether you are being regaled with stories from the past by an elderly couple or a young child is showing you all the different ways to look at the world, often you can’t help but be inspired!
7. Give something back: Most of us are fortunate. We take for granted what would be a luxury for a huge majority of people. There is unimaginable suffering taking place in almost every country in the world. Isn’t it our duty to be thankful for what we have, and give something back to the world?
8. Be part of something big: Though we would be able to donate a very small amount of time each week, think of what many of us could do collectively. Your actions could just be the one brick needed to ensure the building is complete. Powerful work is made up of thousands of actions from any number of people who come together to build something better.
9. Change lives: Many volunteering roles offer you the chance to contribute to people’s lives directly. Whether you are helping out in an old people’s home or at a center for disabled people, you can go and make personal connections while volunteering. Sometimes all it takes is a smile and a pleasant conversation to brighten up someone’s day. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
10. Use your skills: Often referred to as pro bono support, this type of volunteering involves donating your professional skills to a charitable organization. Whether you are an accountant, lawyer, nurse, teacher, manager, mechanic or almost any other profession, you can find an organization that has a role for your skills.
Do you volunteer? What are you experiences? Should people volunteer throughout their lives? Let us know in the Do you comments.
When we started Bhumi in 2006, education was one of the many things we did. Over the next 2 years we realized that the few of us could focus only on a few things and do it well, so we ended up channeling all our efforts into education of children.
Our educational projects are now consistent and focused to create impact over the years to come; we currently engage only a small group (yes, 1,000 is small now ;)) of young volunteers with long term commitment in our projects.
What about the thousands of others knocking on Bhumi’s portals?
What about the hundreds of leaders we churn out every year?
What about the tens of ideas our volunteers come up with?
It’s time to REFRESH!
Bhumi’s projects will now get grouped under two broad verticals
Education – Children
- Kanini – Computers
- Lakshya – Life skills & mentorship
- Little Einsteins – Mathematics
- Little Einsteins – Science
- Nakshatra Reach Out – Talent Development – Arts
- Nakshatra Reach Out – Talent Development – Sports
- Speak Out – English
REFRESH – Others
- REcruitment – HR drives at colleges, companies to promote volunteerism and get more people volunteering for causes through initiatives like Hi5 Club
- FundRaising – Decentralised volunteer driven fundraising – both online and real-world, corporate engagement, Joy to the World etc.
- Environment – Think Green programme to be revived
- SHort term volunteering opportunities – for example
- Nakshatra – Talent Fest – A dedicated team will coordinate Nakshatra through the year and throughout the country, while most volunteers can commit for just 2 months
- Voter Registration Drive – Bhumi has tied up with Janaagraha and TOI to drive registration of new voters across the country during Feb-March 2014
Each of the above components of the REFRESH team will function as independent projects like the existing educational projects for children. There will be dedicated National Facilitators, support teams and city coordinators to independently drive each of these and other ideas to come.
Bhumi will be able to engage more volunteers who can commit for short periods of time through the REFRESH platform. Maybe the volunteers don’t have to be young and could be everyone who is just young at heart and has the passion to contribute to the society.
Change Today … Change Tomorrow