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05 Mar 2024

The Value of Volunteerism


Volunteerism lies at the heart of Seva Mandir mission. Volunteering is an act of dedicating time and skills for others. While the act will extend help to those who need, it embodies a value for the volunteer that enriches life and fosters personal growth, and further strengthens communities and addresses global challenges. Volunteerism is driven by diverse motivations. The foremost desire is Seva or service for others. The benefits extend far beyond personal fulfillment. Volunteerism fosters civic responsibility, collaboration, and proactiveness.

Volunteerism in Seva Mandir Seva Mandir has been grateful to have volunteers since early days of the organisation. Today, the programme of volunteering provides opportunities is a structured manner, with flexibility to choose areas, skills, and time one can engage. Individuals across various areas today come to engage as volunteerism. The organization annually host 150 to 200 individuals from India and all over the world, who come contribute to development work and gain invaluable insights from the grassroots. Their fresh perspectives and constructive feedback are crucial inputs to our interventions and organizational culture. Many new ideas have been received from the work of volunteers, and several of our ideas have been challenged constructively. Volunteers help us to regularly update our understanding of the context. Use of new tools and technologies in our daily work and in development activities are a big contribution from these young minds to Seva Mandir and local communities.

"Coming from the West, both geographically and culturally, it was initially challenging to immerse myself in the new working environment of Seva Mandir. The amazing staff helped me adjust, and visiting field projects and interacting with various communities gave me a profound understanding of Seva Mandir's important work. After two months, my time as a volunteer is nearly over, and I wish I had stayed longer. This experience has been incredible, and I will forever cherish this chapter of my life." – Fabian Hunkeler, Switzerland

Seva Mandir strives to create opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds, professions and age to contribute their unique talents. Going forward, we shall continue to cultivate the spirit of volunteerism, building a brighter future through collective effort and shared purpose.

Continued Volunteerism

Every year, Ravi Bhandari (in memory of late Ravi Bhandari; ex-employee of Seva Mandir) Awards for Good Citizenship and Volunteerism, are given to Community workers and Seva Mandir staff who exemplify exceptional service and dedication. The members who have taken initiative and gone beyond their set work profile to support even one individual, are felicitated. The award is named after an old senior staff of Seva Mandir family, who demonstrated and continued to promote the spirit of volunteerism in daily lives.

Rafe Bullick came as a volunteer in Seva Mandir in 1997. He had an exemplified spirit of selfless service. His significant contributions to enhance safety for staff led to him becoming an integral part of Seva Mandir. During his stay, his time was well spent in helping community and staff members in family challenges, and giving happiness to childfen with disability. Sadly, his life was cut short in 2004 in a landmine blast in Sudan while he was volunteering there. The Rafe Bullick Memorial Foundation, formed by his family, carries forward his vision by extending support scholarship for education of children and educating for road safety. Till now, approx. 177 children have received scholarships through the foundation.

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