My Experience as a Corporate Volunteer

I’ve been associated with Umeed for about 7 years now. It’s always an inspiring experience to work with these wonderful ladies, Gauri and Udita. 

I’ve volunteered with Umeed for some significant projects that were the need of the hour. 

In July 2020, with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, I volunteered as a voice artist for the Covid-19 InfoSeries that aims to provide verified and authentic information around well-being during the pandemic. Topics that were crucial to address at that time, including women’s safety and well-being, were explained in an easy to understand manner in these videos. 

Umeed team has put together some fantastic content and I’ve had the privilege to lend my voice to their Telugu videos. You all can have a look at them here: https://youtube.com/channel/UC_BMd-b-L6mcfkBZGoeiVYA 

In February 2021, I volunteered as a guest facilitator for an entrepreneurship workshop for women in the Mandanapally village of District Bhongir, Telangana. 

Satvikki is a skilling centre run by a group of enthusiastic women in the village, whose venture is supported by Naari Cloth Pads, and they specialise in making sustainable menstrual hygiene products. Umeed collaborated with Naari as a training partner for Entrepreneurship sessions for the women of Satvikki. Through our training program, we built an understanding of concepts like Business Model Canvas, Financial Planning, Customer Segmentation etc to help them take their #FirstLeap as entrepreneurs. 

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to facilitate this workshop and in turn learn a lot from these wonderful women. 

In November 2021, I raised my hand to conduct a session on Mock interviews for FirstLeapers of cohort 5, as they were gearing up to start sitting for their placements. 

There’s no doubt that education can take us places. Working with individuals from different demographic groups also strengthened my belief in the profound impact that exposure has on individuals beyond education. Umeed partnered with T-Hope, a grassroots foundation located in Yousufguda, Hyderabad to bridge this gap between education and employment by focusing on creating exposure. Following a workshop on various topics like Basic English, communications, negotiation, CV Making etc, women were taken through a round of mock interviews. These mock sessions were an attempt to simulate an actual interview experience, helping the women gain exposure, confidence and understanding of the reality. 

The learning was mutual. Participants were a good mix of freshers and those with a couple of years of work experience. Irrespective of their work experience, what pleasantly surprised me was the conviction and determination with which these women wanted to carve an identity for themselves. More importantly, it was extremely gratifying to hear from the participants that the feedback on their performance in the mock interviews would help them be better prepared for the ones to come. 

As a member of this community, I enjoy the privileges and amenities that are a result of the selfless work of many. The only way I can pay my gratitude and respect is to 1) use them in the intended and respectful manner 2) Do my bit towards creating an equitable society for all. Volunteering my time makes me feel closer to the change-making process and makes me a notch better every time I volunteer. 

Written by Swaroopa Mallavarapu

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