– M.Akhil, SESE coordinator, NSS
On 27th September, the students of IIT Madras became part of a national-level initiative aimed at a highly laudable objective. The National Service Scheme of IIT-M in concurrence with the national ‘Joy of Giving’ initiative delivered it in IIT. This was in spite of the long holiday weekend owing to Dussehra.
Coordinators wearing the ‘Joy of Giving’ t-shirts and badges (sometimes worn on their shirt-buttons, professionally!) led fleets of volunteers on bicycles to the hostels assigned to each group. The volunteers proceeded to their assigned wings geared up with the trademark ‘NSS bags’ and an informed tongue. They left no room unstirred and bags started filling up. Those who already knew about the programme handed heavy polythene bags to the beaming volunteer prepared with his ‘Hello’s and ‘Good afternoon’s. Some were sorry that they didn’t quite have anything to give and others happy to be able to contribute.That category which usually says, ‘What pain da macha!’ was surprisingly absent. Angry faces woken up from sleep on a Sunday afternoon ‘evolved’ into smiling ones after the volunteers explained the whole exercise. This aspect of the programme – the awareness and goodwill generated amidst the actual collection- is its true success.
The sheer number and types of donations spoke volumes about the NSS’ gross underestimation of the hostels’ ability to contribute. From clothes and shoes, to books and to chocolates saved for an empty afternoon- everything gave the volunteers a hard (but enjoyable) time. Moreover, the donations truly reflected the spirit of the ‘Joy of Giving’ week (watch the promotional video).
For the organizers it was a unique experience and a source of valuable inputs for future activities in the hostel zone. As a coord put it, “It was a dream of the NSS family for the last two years to have some collection programme in the hostel zone”. Now the feasibility of such an exercise has been demonstrated to great success. We are made proud by the fact that the student community of IIT Madras alone was able to contribute such a significant amount of quality stuff to the needy people of our country. It is simply exciting to be a part of the current focus on human development in the developing countries by themselves (as against the old developed nations-aid paradigm) and to rightly exist as some of the most fortunate in the country.