Not all heroes wear capes

“ Full time is difficult due to commitments to our job but UPAY has every second of the rest of my time “ That is one of the answers, resolute and full of grit, that we received on asking volunteers of UPAY if they would consider teaching full time, instead of volunteering.


The concept of volunteering never ceases to amaze me. After all, why would a person freely offer to take part in organised work without being paid for it? With so much of ambition floating around, time does seem priceless. Free time, the time found apart from work and the hustle of life is all the more precious. Yet, day in and day out we see people spending their time (and in some cases money) in volunteering for a cause. Nobody makes them do it, they don’t need to do it. They do it by choice. I have also come across people saying that volunteers are able to give very little time for the cause. But we must remember that giving even a little, when you already have less, requires great character. Moreover, drop by drop makes an ocean!

The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members
– M. K. Gandhi

Even we set the benchmark of daily income ridiculously low at 28 rupees per day, approximately 30% of India’s population still lives below the poverty line.
If in today’s world you have 2 meals a day without having to worry about whether you will be having the next meal, if you have a place to call home and if you have people who care about you, you are among the privileged. And with such a huge disparity in the distribution of wealth in India, it becomes all the more imperative that the privileged give back to the ecosystem. This is where volunteering has had huge success. When we hear about the success stories of children like Taniya Gupta, a girl from Mouda who scored 94.6% in her class 10 exams (SSC), the spirit and purpose of volunteering is truly reinforced.   

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together
– African Proverb

We asked some questions to some of the volunteers at UPAY this week to understand why they do what they do. What keeps them motivated and what do they expect out of it.
It was overwhelming to read that an absolute 100% do it for the cause at hand. They want to bring about the change. They want to give back and share the knowledge that they are lucky enough to possess. Another huge statistic that stands out, is the response to the question about expectations from volunteering. Not a single response was completely around the volunteers self.  All of them want to see progress, happiness, positivity in the students that they are teaching. The results of the students, sharing of experience and building of meaningful mentor-mentee relations with the children are the biggest motivators for the volunteers at UPAY.

Sometimes we are so caught up in working for the cause that we forget to realise who the agents of change are.

We often blame the govt for not doing enough, but few of us act ourselves. If we want a change, we need to BE THE CHANGE. Many take this small but significant step toward changing the status quo. Let’s take a step back to thank and appreciate all the volunteers at UPAY, who, in their capacity, are doing the much needed execution of the ground work.

I imagine someday, somewhere down the line, you will get to hear about the success of the kid you taught years back. I think even a million dollar paycheck cannot replace the feeling that you will have then.  

Mohit Durge

Published by UPAY - उपाय

UPAY ...An initiative to educate Under Privileged Children from Slums & Footpaths by a group of young Engineers, Doctors , Students and senior citizens

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