While she was in school, Trishya Screwvala volunteered part-time at the Pavement Club, a school for street children. “But that was only occasionally. In the last couple of years have I started volunteering at a long-term sustained level,” says the 26-year-old film producer and daughter of UTV’s Ronnie Screwvala. Her experience as a volunteer prompted her to set up Raindancer, a not-for-profit organisation that works on an education- and mentoring-based model for underprivileged children.
Last year, Raindancer took up the cause of Shri Ganesh Vidya Mandir, a Marathi-medium school in Dharavi that had stopped receiving government funding. “Most of the kids belong to the SC/ST category, so a lot of them weren’t able to attend other schools. We helped raise funds to keep them open for a year, and we’re also helping them get BMC funding so they can sustain themselves,” says Trishya.
Funding, according to Trishya, is one of the biggest challenges for volunteer work. But the problems of NGOs go beyond funding. “The biggest challenge is finding young people who can volunteer,” she says.
While social media has definitely helped increase awareness about places that people can volunteer at, the youth aren’t too motivated about doing volunteer work, she adds. “Candlelight vigils and protests are merely ways to create awareness, but are by no means a call of action...
Our efforts should go beyond bursts of Facebook or BBM updates. Volunteering part time at a local NGO, teaching your watchman’s son English are just some examples of how one can make a difference. And it doesn’t even require giving up one’s job or studies,” she says.