The first class of UPAY’s Delhi Zone started on 16th November 2017. I have been associated with UPAY Delhi since then. Little did I know that this small endeavour would become a lifelong attachment on my first day at UPAY. 

UPAY NGO shruti garg volunteer story delhi-ncr

It all started with me researching NGOs in India. I have always wanted to get involved with some kind of social work and give others a better chance at life. So, after selecting some NGOs as per my convenience, I applied to two to three – UPAY being one of them. To my surprise, UPAY was the first NGO to call me back. 

I was elated, but I also wanted to find whether the organization was genuine or not. When I was done with my survey, I was satisfied and happy to know that this organization does not profess to do one thing and does the other instead. It is authentic and determined to work on its mission. 

There are a few moments that make you want to hold on to them throughout your life. One such moment I hold on to is from my initial days with the Delhi chapter at UPAY.

I joined the Karol Bagh Center. I was a little nervous on the very first day. The first task I was to be involved in was to survey the community to know the children and parents of the area better. While surveying, some students told us that they wanted to study but didn’t have time to go to school. They had important roles in assisting their family with household chores and being the earning hand of their family. 

I remember the lines of a kid echoing in my ears every time I look back to this day –

 “hum padhna chahte hai ….aap log aaoge padhane toh hum bhi aaenge padhne ke liye” 

The child said that he and his friends yearned to learn, and if the volunteers came to teach, they would be ready to learn too! That moment was a turning point for me. Seeing the zeal of these children to study strengthened my conviction to become a UPAY volunteer. I wanted to help them achieve their dream. 

UPAY NGO shruti garg volunteer story delhi-ncr

I feel I was fortunate to be a part of this survey. It allowed me to have a deeper understanding of the day to day reality of the community. This experience was key in making me an essential part of this journey UPAY Delhi had undertaken.

The children at UPAY have always brought a smile to my face. Through them, I have created “A forever life” association with the organisation. 

To promote the work that UPAY has been doing,  I started posting my experiences on Facebook. I have been able to reach many people through it. They have always been appreciative and supportive of UPAY’s mission.

The Delhi Volunteers team is extra special to me. All the people are so loving and caring! They never hesitate to take on the workload and help other members as well. They are people who inspire me. I would especially like to thank Varun sir for his relentless efforts and undying motivation. Sometimes words have a profound impact on a person. His words have always stayed with me.

UPAY NGO shruti garg volunteer story delhi-ncr

On May 5th 2019, I visited the centre. Ernest Hemingway said, “Change happens gradually then suddenly”. I experienced that when I met the children after a long absence. They had familiar faces but a massive change in their behaviour. They talked more confidently and were even more in love with academics! The difference was apparent not only in the mode they spoke but also in the way they walked.

On one occasion, I was teaching about Matras in Hindi, a child, Sunil, came up to me and asked me, pointing, if what he had written was wrong. And it was indeed wrong; I was shocked, surprised, and happy to see their dedication to learn. The children who would never sit at one place to study are now showing great progress academically. Their ability to reflect back on their own and identify their own mistakes is spellbound. 

I appreciate the hard work done by our volunteers at UPAY. After noticing such changes and growth in children, I feel motivated to work harder for them. I feel grateful to be a part of such an organization and I hope with our little contribution, UPAY will be able to transform the lives of many underprivileged children like Sunil’s.

UPAY NGO shruti garg volunteer story delhi-ncr
Curated by: Jovial Mittal

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