There are days dedicated to lovers, mothers, friends and even pets! Amidst the plethora of days celebrated (and commercialized) – there is none which was dedicated to ‘service’ – a special day which celebrates service to someone beyond the self.
With exactly that thought in mind, a group of volunteers from Bakul Foundation started the International Day of Service (celebrated on the first Sunday of every May).
What’s interesting about the event is, it’s a day created ‘ground-up’ by the volunteers and not handed over by any organization with an agenda.
The idea is simple, a group of people come together in any city they are present and take time out from their busy schedule to visit a shelter home/orphanage, old age home or do service in any way they can.
This year on 8th May, International Day of Service witnessed a flow of more than 500 volunteer in 26 cities across India. Bhubaneswar-Cuttack pioneered the concept with more than 200 young volunteers who registered and offered their services in orphanages, Old age home and nearby slums.
The day commenced with 100 children coming from different orphanages to Raahgiri at Shriya square in the Capital City. They attended storytelling sessions, art and craft, games and read picture books at our street book reading kiosk.
The highlight at the Raahgiri,was the RAAHNIVAL (carnival meets raahgiri).
The children made masks and head gears for themselves and then danced on the road in a procession along with Dedi Loku, the Green Super Hero.
A few volunteers who participated in the IDOS for the first time shared moving stories about their experience.
“For me life was confined to my college campus and movies, for the first time I was experiencing a different person within me with the children at Raahgiri.” – Manisha Mohapatra a volunteer from ITER college.
Similarly it was an overwhelming experience for Prarthana Roy, who coordinated along with 6 others and celebrated at Anand Bhawan, an Old age home in Bhubaneswar.
Volunteers in Patna also helped re-build a slum which caught fire and Delhi volunteers offered their service at Desire Society – which cares for children suffering from HIV.
Despite being a one-day event, it sometimes forms bonds which stay on forever.
‘I will go again and volunteer for the summer camp with Desire. Being with the kids was a humbling experience. It makes us realize, we have so much and still bicker about small things’ – Alisha Mathur, a volunteer from Delhi.
This day has been celebrated by volunteers of Bakul across the globe to exhibit the power of Volunteerism since 2011.
“We want to involve and inculcate the spirit of volunteerism amongst young mass and this day is designed to give them all a platform to serve and do service, said Sujit Mahapatra, Founder of Bakul Foundation.
Good things happen when people come together for a cause! This initiative is a fine example of the same.
[Contributed by: Ananta Prasad & Deepsha Dhal]