Volunteering to serve others in whatever small way possible gives that self satisfaction that is mostly inexplicable. Me being no different, from when I was little I would help out in social events and causes in whatever way I could. The environment I grew up in, was such.
After coming to the mini cosmo that is Manipal from my humble hometown, I’ve learnt a lot of things. And when I heard about VSO, I thought it akin to any other clubs we usually find in colleges, but was I wrong! I decided to join hands in service of the society.
My first day in VSO was volunteering for the Special Project ‘Spoken Kannada Classes’ on August 18, 2017. A native Kannada speaker myself, I decided to help out. Although I was very new to this place and people, I was slowly getting adjusted to this environment. I was a bit shy owing to have lived in a rural area.
I met the Coordinator who was handling that project, and the other volunteers. There was a brief ice breaker and we were told our work. Being the only one from Management and most of the others from Engineering and Commerce, I didn’t feel out of place at all.
Nearly 100 students registered for the classes. Dr. Swathi Bhat from MCODS, Mr. Praveen Kumar from DOC, and many other guest faculty taught the classes starting with how to pronounce few words, difference between singular and plural words of Kannada, creation of sentences which were useful for day-to-day conversation with the vendors or the locals.
Students were given the materials that contained the tenses, verbs, etc. and few sample sentences by which they could construct sentences. They were given assignments that had them conversing with shopkeepers in Kannada as practice. Everyday, new words were taught, and new sentences were experimented with!
Everyone participated with full energy. They were far away from our expectations for sure, as doubts poured in which made us double check our vocabulary for a second! Although taking some time, we managed to clear most of their doubts. When they asked questions, we used to think for moment before answering, just because we didn’t want to teach them wrong. Our thoughts were clear that what we teaching is less, still we want to teach them needful things which they can use in their life.
The classes went on for 10 days and after they over, a few students who attended the classes told us that it was so useful that they could converse with patients and locals in Kannada. It’s better to talk little bit Kannada instead saying Kannad Gothila.
I feel Volunteering, unlike some believe, is not going somewhere and wasting time, it’s about setting aside some time for service. And VSO gives the opportunity to all to do this. VSO helped me as well as others to get this wonderful opportunity.
Srivatsa S Sringeri | School of Management, MAHE (2017-2019)