Bhumi’s Nakshatra 2014 in Chennai

Nakshatra, Bhumi’s annual inter-children’s home talent festival was conducted by Bhumi on Sunday, 13 July 2014 at MCC Higher Secondary School, Chetpet. The sixth edition of the national talent fest is expected to be bigger and better this year with 6,000 children participating in six cities across India.

The guests of honour at the inaugural at the Chennai event were Mr. Shravan (first runner up at Airtel Super Singer) and Mr. Selva Ganapathy (recipient of the Volunteer Hero Award at the iVolunteer awards 2013). Mr. Aadhavan from Aaditya TV was also present to host his show “Konjam Nadinga Boss” with some of the kids. Mr. Subramaniam, President of the Tamil Nadu Astronomical Association introduced the children to the world of ‘Infinite Space’ and showed stars and planets using a telescope.

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The whole event was planned and executed by Bhumi’s young volunteers. Dr.Prahalathan, the co-founder of Bhumi, said “it is definitely a lot of work and there is a framework to be followed, but all this would not be possible without our volunteers”. With more than two months of planning and 200 volunteers, the event steered a crowd of 878 children from 39 shelter homes for 19 different art, literary and cultural competitions like face painting, clay modelling, skit, elocution, story writing etc.

CHE NAK 140713-0174“Being a coordinator has its own blues because of all the last minute changes, but the ecstatic feeling one gets seeing the children happy and witnessing the hard work taking form has no boundaries”, said Aravind Lakshmanan.

While there was lot of excitement rushing throughout the venue, Sonia, a volunteer said “the energy here is coming back like a Frisbee – from the kids to us”, while Ranjani, a volunteer at the help desk said “although I missed the kids performing, all I expect at the end of the day is a smile on their face and a sense of accomplishment within volunteers”.

CHE NAK 140713-2201Who does not like cheering along with the crowd! Boys from Ramakrishna Mission were seen cheering for their team with a drum and trumpet while other kids just danced and supported their teams. Rajkumar, one of the coordinators said “I feel very nostalgic being here, I miss those school days were I experienced that same kind of enthusiasm”.

CHE NAK 140713-1412Nakshatra’s slogan , Dream. Discover. Dazzle. was a motivation for the children while particpating. They were awarded based on performances – while Sevalaya from Thiruninravur was awarded with the Overall Championship Trophy, four other homes including Leo Correya, Siragu, Avvai Home and Indian Council for Child Welfare were awarded trophies for Best Participating home.

 

The event was sponsored by NTT Data, Plintron and LetzChange.

CHE NAK 140713-0837Bhumi is one of India’s largest independent youth volunteer non-profit organisations. Our volunteers work amongst orphaned and underprivileged children in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, New Delhi, Telangana, West Bengal and several other parts of the country. The efforts of our volunteer force consisting of over 1,000 students and young professionals under the age of 30 benefit over 15,000 children every year. To volunteer register on www.bhumi.org.in

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Benefits of Volunteering – Increases chance of getting a job

If you are job hunting, or just looking around for new opportunities, you have probably spent a lot of time recently tending to your LinkedIn profile. Updating your experience. Joining new groups. Building your network. But what if I told you there is something else that you probably aren’t doing which could dramatically increase your odds of getting a job? It’s not about getting a graduate degree, and it’s not even about learning a new skill.

According to the research, the smartest and most often overlooked thing you can do to get ahead in the competitive job market is to start giving back. That’s right. If you want to improve your odds of getting your dream job, it is time to start volunteering.

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Here are the facts.

This summer, researchers at the Corporation for National and Community Service, released new findings that tracked the relationship between volunteering and employment for a group of 70,535 respondents over a ten year period.

According to Dr. Chris Spera, CNCS’s Director of Research & Evaluation and one of the authors of the report Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment, active volunteers were 27% more likely to get a job than non-volunteers. And the relationship held stable across gender, race, ethnicity, age, location, and unemployment rate. That’s a big difference.

Underlying the findings, Spera and his team believe there is a strong relationship between volunteering and the development of social and human capital — key attributes in today’s most desirable candidates.

Linked In 01The findings echo a recent LinkedIn survey of 2,000 professionals which found that 41% of respondents consider volunteer experience to be as important as work experience for job candidates. The survey also found that 20% of hiring managers have offered jobs based on a candidate’s volunteer experience.

So what are you waiting for? If you need some help getting started come visit us at www.bhumi.org.in. And once you’ve found a great place to volunteer add it to your LinkedIn profile and let the job hunting begin.

(Cross posted: Original article by Greg Baldwin,VolunteerMatch on LinkedIn)

Careers: Regional Manager, Projects

Job Description: Regional Manager, Projects

Location: Chennai

This requirement is now closed

The Regional Projects Manager is a position of hands-on leadership for a geographic cluster of Bhumi chapters. Experience in the education sector is essential for this role. Team spirit and the ability to build a good rapport with colleagues, coordinators and volunteers are very important. Main responsibilities would include establishing learning centres, setting up volunteering teams and ensuring smooth day-to-day running of projects across the region – Teaching English, vernacular languages, Computers, Mathematics, Science, Mentorship and Talent development of under-privileged children.

Primary responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Lead and help in the implementation of all the projects across the region
  • Train or identify suitable trainers and provide a continuous support system for the volunteers
  • Ensure project activities comply with the planned objectives
  • Periodic centre visits across the region
  • Monitor project progress on weekly basis
  • Troubleshoot project related problems. Identify and implement creative solutions
  • Conduct project assessments
  • Analyse data, identify trends, prepare and share reports

Other responsibilities include:

  • Identifying learning centres – tie up with orphanages, shelter homes, community centres, government or other low cost schools where children can benefit from Bhumi’s programmes
  • Recruit volunteers – Make presentations in colleges, work places to bring in more volunteers
  • Represent Bhumi – at events, companies, other organisations for partnerships etc.
  • Engage interns and campus ambassadors
  • Facilitating other projects like promoting volunteerism, entrepreneurship, wish fulfillment, events etc.
  • Facilitate and enable volunteers take up leadership roles

Preferred Education Qualification/ Experience:

  • 1-3 years of relevant work experience in the education sector essential
  • Graduate/Post Graduate degree in any discipline
  • Prior experience of working in a NGO setup desirable (preferably in Education)
  • Prior experience of leading a team
  • Prior experience of training others
  • Prior experience of teaching children is desirable

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Fluency in English, Tamil (desirable)
  • Computer skills
  • Excellent Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Excellent organizational and project management skills
  • Creativity and problem solving skills
  • Resourceful, responsible and self-starting
  • Efficient planning and multi tasking skills
  • A proactive learner with a positive attitude
  • Ability to travel extensively – locally, regionally and nationally

Other Information:

  • Reporting to: Projects Director, Chennai
  • Expected Age: Below 35
  • Scope: Full time, willing to work flexible hours six days a week including most weekends
  • Remuneration: based on the candidate’s profile
  • Expected Joining Date: Jun-July 2014

We are looking for a leader who is committed to increasing his/her skills, knowledge and ability, and is committed to the Bhumi team for at least two years. This is not an employment opportunity but a calling to facilitate change!

This requirement is now closed

About Bhumi:

Bhumi is one of India’s largest independent youth volunteer non-profit organisations. We believe that the status quo can be changed by creating youth leaders, improving the education of the next generation Our volunteers work amongst orphaned and underprivileged children in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, New Delhi and other parts of the country with the aim of providing children with quality supplementary education and enable them to become responsible and productive citizens of the future. The efforts of our volunteer force consisting of over 1,000 students and young professionals under the age of 30 will benefit over 12,000 children every year. Details on http://bhumi.org.in/

A little perspective about our programme:
Present  structure:

  • Number of Years: 3-5/subject
  • Target group: Classes 1-9
  • Number of classes per week: 2 classes of two hours each during weekends
  • Number of hours per year: 100-120
  • Number of children per class: 5-10
  • Number of volunteer teachers per class: 1-2
  • Duration of programmes: 9 months
  • Total contact hours per volunteer: 50-60 hours

Expectation from Bhumi volunteers:

  • 1 class of 2 hours each every week
  • 1 hour for class preparation/week
  • 1 hour to travel to and fro to orphanage/community centre
  • 1-3 days of training per year
  • Actively participate in the discussions.

Volunteer Den – Krishna Prasad

Image 012 years back I joined Bhumi as a volunteer. The 6 months I spent as part of Bhumi helped me realise what I wanted to be in life. It inspired me to resign my job in Bangalore and pursue civil services. A few days back my results were announced and by God’s grace, I made it into list with a rank of 352. I will always be grateful to Bhumi, the wonderful friends I made here and the emotional bond i had with our kids..” ~ Krishna Prasad

Do you want to know what sparked the change? Read on…

  1. A little about yourself (origin, education, past work experiences)

I am from Yeroor, a village in Kollam district of Kerala. My father works with the central government and my mother is a lecturer. I have a younger brother who is pursuing medicine. After completing graduation from College of Engineering Trivandrum in Computer Science, I joined Philips, Bangalore as a software engineer. I also worked in Philips, Brugge for a few months. Later I had a brief stint with SBI as a probationary officer. I believe I had a dream to try for civil services right from college days. But the huge competition in the process and the inherent laziness always made me a bit (should say byte) timid to start preparing for civil service.

  1. How did volunteering with Bhumi happen (including beginning, which project you volunteered for)?  

I was looking for a volunteering opportunity in Bangalore and I accidentally stumbled upon Bhumi’s website. The idea of being a changemaker encouraged me to register on the website. At our induction program, I met some amazing people. I volunteered for the Little Einsteins program at Marthahalli and had a wonderful time teaching, learning and playing with the kids.

  1. What change did these experiences bring in your life?

The most important change that Bhumi brought in was helping me realign my perspective on life and happiness. When I visited the shelter home for the first time, I assumed that the children would be very sad and dull. But, the kind of happiness and vibrancy they radiated was something I never expected. Once I bonded with them, I felt more responsible. Perhaps, it was the first time someone was looking up to me for something.

In short, I realised that I didn’t want to spend my next 30 years trying to increase the profit of x company from y to z percentage. I wanted to do something more satisfying. And more importantly, the whole process of being a part of Bhumi, meeting diverse people with a passion to pursue their dreams, encouraged me with the requisite courage to resign a well paid job and take that leap of faith to prepare for civil services. Mr. Manivannan (IAS), whom I had met at Nakshatra, helped me a lot during the interview preparation phase later on.

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  1. What next?

I have a rank of 352 (in the first attempt) which mostly will enable me to be a part of IRS or IPS. I know they are wonderful career options but IAS is what I had aspired for. So, I am planning to give one more attempt and secure a rank below 100.  Also, I would like to make myself useful in some way to other aspirants and at least help them avoid the pitfalls I had during my preparation.

  1. A message to every volunteer at Bhumi

You as a volunteer of Bhumi already have a wonderful platform with you to give back to the society and enrich yourself professionally and personally. What I am giving is not a message, but something I realized during the 1 year preparation phase of mine. If you have a dream and you are pursuing it, the kind of happiness you get from the whole process is inexplicable. I know many of us did not want to be in the professions we are now.

What we are now is something we cannot undo. But we can always aspire to be better; we can follow the path to our dream. Despite of the heavy odds on the way, despite of whether we reach our dream or not, walking that path will give you more satisfaction in life.

 

Volunteer Den – Sowmyasree

Why Bhumi?

SowmyasreeI was looking for volunteering opportunities in Chennai and decided to register with Bhumi.

I can’t quite place when and how I came to know about Bhumi. As this organization is really a household name. The company  I work in participated in Bhumi’s Joy to the world Program, a couple of my friends have volunteered with Bhumi in the past, all this gave me a better understanding of the good work Bhumi has been continually doing over the years. Need I say more?

What inspired you to be a part of Hi5? How do you feel having been chosen as the Project Coordinator?

What inspired me to be a part of Hi5? Hmm. The idea of planning a weeklong event across the country, getting a huge volunteer base, planning the nitty-gritties of the event, sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Besides, some people may not find the time to volunteer on a regular basis. Providing a volunteering platform to such people seems like a good idea. It also gives a better perspective to people who are unsure of what volunteering cause appeals to them the most.

“With great power, comes great responsibility”

That’s how I feel, being chosen as the Project Co-coordinator.  This would be my first big leadership role and I’m both excited and anxious!!

Tell us about your life before Bhumi. (Specially, other volunteering experiences, if any)

As I had mentioned earlier, I was looking for volunteering opportunities in Chennai and I signed up with Bhumi. I had a good six months before I was called for the orientation and I tried my hand at volunteering for a number of small causes during this time.

These experiences have made one thing apparent to me; Bhumi is really structured and organized and working with Bhumi is absolute fun. The volunteer engagement activities and events are definitely a highlight.

Life after Bhumi has sure been busy, but in a very fun way :D

How has Bhumi altered you, personally?

Confidence is something I have gained after my time with Bhumi.

Also, multi-tasking, I have become very good at that :P

Tell us about one Bhumian, who you think is a very good inspiration for you.

That’s a tough one. I really can’t pick just one person. Every Bhumian has been and will continue to be an inspiration to me. One thing I HAVE to mention is the amount of energy and enthusiasm every Bhumian has. Simply amazing!

A note about your personal front (education, job, hobbies, passion etc)

School – St.Joesph’s Girls Higher Sec. School, Trichy

College – CEG (Yes, I’m an engineer, a materials science engineer)

Working at Latentview Analytics.  A TV show addict. I have spent 82 days and 30 min of my life watching tv serials and sitcoms. (There is a website to actually calculate this =P) I like swimming, origami and I really really like to travel.

One most memorable incident in your life as a Bhumian.

Before Hi5, I was part of LE Math. This one time, I had to handle a bunch of kids on my own and frankly, I was overwhelmed. But this one kid stepped up and helped me out with the younger kids. The ease with which he took lead and handled the situation is something which I will never forget. We truly can learn a lot from kids.

That would be the most memorable incident in my life as a Bhumian

A special message to your fellow volunteers.

Thank you all, for your constant support and help! :D

Volunteer Den – Lavanya Jagannathan

Lavanya JHow did you come to know about Bhumi? and what made you become a part?
Bhumi just happened to me! I wasn’t exactly looking out for volunteering opportunities. My friend had signed up for Nakshatra (Siragugal, back then) and used to constantly share her experiences with me. What she shared made me want to volunteer. So, I decided to give it a try. And here I am :D

Why Speak Out? Also, tell us about the change you see in the project/ fellow volunteers from the day you first started and today.
Children from Non-English medium schools look at English as a subject that they have to learn to pass. They don’t look at it as a tool that can aid their communication skills. SO aims at changing this perception and I strongly believe that every child must be given the opportunity and resources to learn the language. I’ve seen the project evolve over the past two and a half years. We have experimented a lot with the syllabus, learnt a lot. It’s a lot more structured. And I think we’re going the right way.
3. What were the initial challenges you faced as a volunteer and how did you overcome them?
I vividly remember my first day. I was super nervous. I had to handle a bunch of 12, 6th std kids all alone. And I had absolutely no previous experience with kids. I didn’t know what to expect. But to my surprise, the kids were trying so hard to make me feel comfortable. They were very friendly and were super excited to get to know a new akka :-)

There were a lot of challenges initially. My class kids would be completely out of control. There have been times when at the end of the class there would be only 5 out of the 12 kids sitting with me. I understood that the problem was with the way I was handling the class. I started incorporating games, activities to get them interested. It wasn’t easy, but with time, I learnt the knack of handling a big bunch of kids.

But, every bunch is different. Every year is a challenge!

Any specific, special moment with kids or volunteers you would like to share with us?
I can just go on and on about special moments with the kids. Something as simple as a kid being able to differentiate between ‘b’ and ‘d’ gives me so much happiness.

I’ve had a couple of kids calling me up during summer, just to keep me informed about how they’ve performed in their exams.

Last year, I did not attend the last class of the academic year. Apparently my class kids were asking my co-volunteers why I hadn’t come. My co-volunteers recorded a video with their messages and sent it over to me. A very simple gesture, it just made my day :D

Tell us about one Bhumian, who you think is a very good inspiration for you.
I really can’t pick just one person. Over the years, there have been so many people who have inspired me, encouraged me to do more.
Every single Bhumian is an inspiration. We’re all here, working towards achieving a common goal.

A note about your personal front (education, job, hobbies, passion etc)
I completed my undergrad in Biomedical Engineering from SSN and recently started working. I love the beach! I love music. And I have this compulsive need to watch new films within the first week of release :P

A special message to your fellow volunteers.
Bhumi will groom you as a person, it will give you inner peace. You’ll learn so much more than what you teach. Enjoy every moment and love what you do! :-)

Volunteer Den – Romeo Denesh

  1. RomeoHow did you come to know about Bhumi? and what made you become a part? BHUMI! BHUMI!! WHAT IS BHUMI ?? was a million dollar question in my college. I am a student of Saranathan. Later, I came to know that, it is an NGO brought to Trichy by Lakshmi Narayanan and Ranjani and that are going to work for kids who are in need of knowledge not money. Also, the tag line CHANGE TODAY, CHANGE TOMORROW inspired me and before I knew, I was already a part of it.
  1. Why Lakshya? Two reasons. One – No specific syllabus… This gives more space for own ideas… and second reason – mentoring…
  1. How has the program altered you, personally? Lakshya made me think from the kid’s perspective to understand how I can fulfill their needs. And this is what i started doing at home, as well. Thinking from my parents’ perspective before I do something. Now, they say – “ROMIO VARA VARA ROMBA PORUPPA IRUKAN “ :P Guess that is the best thing to hear from parents.
  1. Any specific, special moment with kids or volunteers you would like to share with us? How can I name just one? Every day is special and I am enjoying each and every moment with kids and my fellow volunteers.
  1. Tell us about one Bhumian, who you think is a very good inspiration? Lakshmi Narayanan my inspiration. He has such a timing and  problem solving ability that can handle any situation at any given time.
  1. A note about your personal front (education, job, hobbies, passion etc) As per the now famous saying, “Indians first become Engineers and then figure out what they want to become”. A budding Mechanical engineer by degree, I want to become an IAS officer and I’m working hard for it. Hope I’ll get through.
  1. A special message to your fellow volunteers Work with all your heart to your satisfaction ..when there is conflict between your heart and mind just listen to your heart. Though it is on the left side, it is always right. Let us all be good and do good!!!

Volunteer Den – Divya Bharathi

Divya Bharathi1. Why Bhumi?
Bhumi is a place where things really happen. To contribute to the society and motivate poor young kids, all you have to do is become a volunteer at Bhumi – a very simple task indeed, but the impact that it creates is huge! Even before you realize you are actually volunteering, you will be given responsibilities that will be changing someone’s life in every way possible.

2. You had a recent switch to LE Science now. Why is that?
Science is the only reason for why and how our lives are getting easier day by day. Understanding the concepts are not easy, but once you get to know about it, there is no limit to what you can do. That’s why I chose LE Science where kids can be taught the basic scientific concepts that will surely change their lives one day!

3. Tell us about your first day as a volunteer and the initial challenges you faced. Also, how did you overcome them?
I still remember my first day as a volunteer. I was a Math Volunteer at SISTWA, Saidapet, which was very close to my home and I had no idea of what I should be doing exactly. I didn’t know how my fellow volunteers would be and most of all, how the kids would react on seeing this girl (me). But to my surprise, as soon as I went there the kids came running towards me, asking me my name and started playing with me instantly as if they knew me for weeks. The kids were so enthusiastic. Apart from that, my fellow volunteers were so friendly and I felt loved. SISTWA, being my very first center will always remain very close to my heart.

Challenges: At first, there were not many games or kits. We just had plain Mathematics classes, and we made it a point to keep it as interactive as possible. We handled 6th, 7th and 8th grades where the girls owing to their age, lost interest in studying and showed more enthusiasm towards movies and songs. When we started getting close, I started explaining the importance of studies and how it helps us in getting good grades and scores. I could see a slow change in their approach to education. And then, needless to say! When LE Maths changed its course to 1st to 5thgrades with the new kits and games, it took the whole project to the next level.

Other challenges that I am still facing: Managing the kids and getting them involved for classes, motivating them, developing their self confidence and building up their talents. Still working on it and I am sure to find a solution soon!

4. Life before and after Bhumi
Life before Bhumi: Not worthy
Life after Bhumi: Added a meaning to my life. From being a lazy, inactive and a normal person, to someone who is socially responsible, committed to work, building relationships and helping others out.’

5. Any specific, special moment with kids you would like to share with us?
Yes. When I met a small girl who was so determined and passionate! She talked to me about her family and how she used to wait so much for the weekends just to see her mom. A girl who is not drawn by price tagged materials, but by knowledge, love and affection! Being so innocent, she always asks me to help her out in becoming a good person with a good job so that she could help her mom, who works very hard. This was something that made me realize I have almost everything in my life and I just have to use them in a right way.

6. What do you apart from Bhumi?
I’m from Chennai, currently in my final year Biomedical Engineering at SSN. I love to have friends and hang out with them all the time. A candy crush lover, little of Kathak dancer, more of a Kuthu dancer! And really working hard to find out the other inborn talents in me :P

7. A message to your fellow volunteers.
Just love what you do. Keep in mind that you are actually someone who can change the life of the kids you are handling! Take it serious, commit yourselves, take responsibilities and most of all, take time to do these little things with all your heart and don’t do it just for the sake of doing!

 

 

Volunteer Den – Keerthi

  1. KeerthiHow did you come to know about Bhumi? and what made you become a part?
    Facebook, of course. I was looking for a good chance to volunteer, when I came across Bhumi’s facebook page and immediately signed up for the next orientation.
  1. Why LE Maths?
    I believe that a strong mathematics background is a must-have for any person, at all points of life. But sadly, many students these days are made to rote problems just for the sake of passing their exams. And Math exams have been a fear factor for over generations now. The main objective of LE Maths, which is to eliminate the fear and to target primary kids and train them maths conceptually, motivated me to join the project.
  1. What would you call a major plus of volunteering with Bhumi?
    Major plus for volunteering with Bhumi would be the training, of course. Most of the volunteers are college students or IT professionals and they are not professionally trained to teach kids or understand child psychology. And Bhumi does a very good job in bridging this gap. This makes sure that the 4-5 hours a week that volunteers spend is utilized productively. They also provide a good platform to try out new ideas and methods to reach out better to the kids.
  1. Any specific, special moment with kids you would like to share with us?
    There are too many, actually. I usually handle 2nd and 3rd grade kids. One day, during class, I wasn’t feeling well and was struggling to teach place values to a 2nd grade kid. One 3rd grader had been noticing this for sometime. She came up to me and said, “Akka, you go and take rest. I will take it up from here.” I was amused and hesitant, because I had taken places values to her just a couple of weeks back. But she seemed confident and I very badly wanted to see how the session goes. She confidently took the kits that I was using and started teaching so casually, questioning at appropriate moments and checking for the other kid’s reaction as she went on. She was teaching the same way that I used, only a little better. I was so happy that day to see how your effort gets reflected. It was like receiving a personal first hand feedback.
  1. If you could name one Bhumian as your role model, who would that be? and Why?
    I would say, Sriram. As a new comer to Bhumi, he was the one who introduced us to the world of LE Maths. And I also had the chance to volunteer with him at the same centre. He is a very good mentor who sets the path for new comers to follow. There are many admirable qualities in him, such as punctuality, dedication and perfection.
  1. A note about your personal front
    I completed my B.E.,Computer science and am currently working at Tata Consultancy Services. I am to take up a fellowship at Teach for India, starting this May. I am an avid reader and love to sing and paint.
  1. A special message to your fellow volunteers.
    In Bhumi, we get to learn much more than what we teach. Be it from the kids or fellow volunteers or the experience, we get to learn a lot. It is a very good platform to groom our own self. So have the same level of enthusiasm as your day 1 and give your best. You deserve this experience as much as our kids deserve it!