Martin Luther King Jr. asked pertinently and powerfully: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
The citizen-led Buddy Volunteer group in Bengaluru has been a support system to help COVID-positive patients in home isolation. Buddy Volunteers have reached out to more than 30,000 Bengalureans and provided emotional support to them.
Buddy Volunteers function under the aegis of Bengaluru Samaritans, an initiative to keep service spirited volunteers under one umbrella. Registering and facilitating travel and transport of migrants, in collaboration with the local police (by flights sometimes when Shramik trains had not yet started), camps to house migrants in the Bangalore Palace and so on.
Says Sujith Soman, a Buddy Volunteer and member of Bengaluru Samaritans: “I am not a volunteer in the way someone perceives it to be. There was a huge dearth of manpower when the pandemic started, and I realized I could contribute in myriad ways – distributing rations to stranded guest workers, even facing hostile situations, helping authorities with screening and counselling passengers at the airport, heading the quarantine squad for Bangalore East Zone. I am not a volunteer. I am just giving what I can give; of my time, talent or treasure.”
Another Buddy Volunteer Sharon S. Rajkumar is General Manager & Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies. The company considers Corporate Social Responsibility a core value. Their CSR initiative is called the Circle of Happiness. Says Sharon, “We celebrate important SMILESTONES with acts of giving – at our launch, at the completion of the full financial year, at our 5th anniversary, at our IPO and at other smilestones, Happiest Minds CSR sponsored mid-day meals at Akshaya Patra Foundation. We have crossed a little over two million meals.”
Companies may have several reasons for investing in CSR – wanting to help the environment and the community, aligning corporate values with actions, or creating a competitive advantage. But, a robust CSR programme cultivates a strong relationship with the team. It makes one commit to values – both personal and professional & helps connect with the community and create a collaborative Circle of Happiness.
During the Joy of Giving Week – Daan Utsav programme – Happiest Minds and Partners fulfil wishes at NGOs like Akshara Foundation, Baale Mane, Balajothi, Jeevarathni Foundation and One Billion Literates Foundation.
Some of their Volunteering and Community involvement programmes include celebrating festivals at Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, Inspire a Dream – where children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds came to their facilities to spend a day with a Happiest Mind Buddy Mentor; designing the website for JDC Sparsha Trust, an organization that extends services and expertise towards education and vocational training of special children.
A pandemic such as COVID-19 can affect the physical and mental health, safety and well-being of individuals and communities. Therefore, the company’s initiative Circle of Happiness involves reaching out to those in need, to empathize and to listen. Mithra – their Good Samaritan Network comprises a group of volunteers who have made a commitment to be available to listen, to help fellow Happiest Minds deal with whatever they are going through.
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