As we mark Giving Tuesday we’d like to introduce someone who has given us a lot, both in her own time and fundraising. Through sharing her love of our causes and beneficiaries with her own networks of friends and family she has been flying the Snehalaya flag helping to spread the word of our work far and wide.
Here we ask Meg why Snehalaya means so much to her and why she has been inspired to keep on giving to us time after time.
You first visited Snehalaya in 2015 as one of a group of Raise & Give (RAG) volunteers from the University of Leeds, UK. What first inspired you to volunteer and from all of the RAG projects on offer why did Snehalaya appeal to you?
My decision to volunteer for Snehalaya was quite spontaneous, I have always been passionate about helping others and had wanted to travel to India for some time. The trip seemed the perfect way to incorporate both of these interests. Snehalaya also appealed to me as its focus is on improving the lives of women and children – most RAG projects are to help one or the other, not both.
Was this your first volunteering experience, if not what else have you done?
I have volunteered in smaller projects throughout my life but this was my first full-on experience in the field. Previous to my trip I had volunteered for a couple of days at a school for children with special needs and had been involved with fundraising/ raising awareness for Animal Welfare charities at my University.
What was your Snehalaya experience like?
I know this is a cliché but I do believe my Snehalaya experience altered my outlook on life. Seeing how much of a difference you can make to the lives of others puts things in perspective and makes you realise what is important. When you volunteer you expect to make a difference to somebody else, but I was unaware as to how much my own personality would change and improve through the experience.
Travelling with a RAG society meant I met like-minded people from my University who have now become life-long friends. When you live together and experience such unique situations as a team you become close far quicker than you would under normal circumstances. I couldn’t recommend this experience enough!
You have just visited for a second time, why did you choose to come back?
I chose to return to Snehalaya to see what the experience would be like alone. I wanted to push myself to volunteer without the support network of my University friends. Since my first trip I had been assisting Snehalaya and the Her Voice campaign with some social media marketing, which had kept me in the loop of the goings on of the charity. Because I was constantly in contact with a lot of the other volunteers it meant I was always reminded of how much fun I had on my first trip.
However, the main reason I came back was because I promised the children I would – and I wanted them to know I would keep my pr