Malini Srikrishna, High School Student and Rang De Volunteer talks about the importance of starting young in the social space: “Starting young is important because this makes sure that social service isn’t just an activity for students but a way of life.”
Organizations like Youth For Seva and Sri Sathya Sai Youth have made schools send their students out to help their communities and do their part for the society. They have personally recruited students and brought them out into the real world, shown them the poverty ridden streets, children who are way less fortunate than them and much more. They have made children realize that their age doesn’t matter and they are capable of making a difference. They just have to believe in themselves. Starting young is important because this makes sure that social service isn’t just an activity for students but a way of life. It imprints many values in life, those which can be learnt only when we are young, like gratitude, being helpful and kind to others.
In Bangalore, recently, the students of a school were taken to read to blind children and play with them. This was the first time the school had indulged in seva. After talking to the students, I was amazed by the effect it seemed to have on them. They said that it was a heart wrenching experience for them and that they would surely do something like this again. And they did. They did it just to get that ‘warm feeling’ that told them they were making a difference in not just their lives but in others lives too. Once they had done it, they were hooked. After this, the students had insisted that they start going consistently for seva, not just to blind schools but old age homes and orphanages too! They seemed to love the feeling of giving, not just taking which is what this generation seems to be doing all the time. These students told me that they realized that some people, unlike them, don’t even have the option of taking but still give.
As witnessed by many schools, until you get them to do it, students will not be aware of the importance and the difference social service will make in their lives. Only a few will take the initiative to figure it out, but once they do, they don’t stop. As for the others, if you are reading this, go out there! If it’s as small as playing with an orphan or making a woman with cancer laugh, you will get the feeling that most people look for. That feeling of happiness because you made another human being feel so. And that feeling that tells you, you’re not the only one whose day has brightened up.
I joined Rang De because it is a good cause. And honestly, it made me feel good to know that someone as young as me can play a role, small or big doesn’t matter, to fight poverty in India.