Project 2 – GOONJ Collection Drive! (Creativity, Activity and Service)

GOONJ is a NGO which works to provide/donate essentials to the needy, and when given the opportunity to volunteer as a team for collecting the materials and essentials for donation through GOONJ, me and 2 of my friends formed a team to work for this great cause. Due to the pandemic, the distance between essential stuff for survival and underprivileged grew wider, so to meet the needy people’ basic needs we decided to join hands with GOONJ and held a collection drive for 1 day wherein we collected donations for 5-6 hours at length. The list of collections ranged from dry rations to school supplies and toys. All of what we were allowed to collect and managed to collect includes: Clothes (in a decent condition), Blankets/Woolens, Non-Perishable Dry Ration, School Materials and Old Books, Toys, Utensils, and any other essentials (footwears in a decent condition, etc). To advertise for our collection drive we circulated online (WhatsApp, Instagram, emails to fellow students and teachers, school’s social media accounts and website, GOONJ’s official website) and pasted (in our localities, public places, school, etc) our personally created posters which consisted of detailed information about date, venue, timings/duration, what can and can’t be donated, reminder to follow COVID-19 prevention protocols, and our contact details. We were also provided a poster made by the school – which had details of the total of 2 groups (ours and one other) who were going to hold the collection drive – to paste and circulate along with our personal posters. Along with the circulation of posters for advertisements we sent out google forms for people to fill in with details of what they will be donating and if possible then roughly how much, people who filled the form helped us estimate the potential collection we would receive on that day and we arranged for resources accordingly. The form also asked for people’s phone numbers in case they would like regular reminders of the upcoming collection drive. All those who opted for reminders were added in a WhatsApp group wherein we shared frequent reminders as well as other important announcements. On the day of the collection drive we collected 6 fully filled big boxes which were then packed securely and sent to the GOONJ team for further distribution among the needy.

LO 1 – Logistics is one of my bestest strengths, which I surely held onto and enhanced through this experience. Also, the posters we had to make were created by me which is also one of my strengths and I could see myself being given creative and content creation tasks in whatever activity I do which builds up my confidence and polishes my skill set of creative arts. I feel good that my teammates trust me enough to always appoint me to creative creational tasks and I believe I deliver up to their expectations by putting my best efforts. Communication and collaboration is also one of my strengths and both of those were used as we had to constantly keep in contact with each other while planning for the event day, we had to attend to donors’ queries over phone calls and chats, as well as frequent communications between our supervisors and us demanded communication and collaboration skills.

LO 2 – The challenging part for this activity was to gather the majority of the attention from potential donors through strategic advertising. The stressful anticipation of how many donors would actually show up and how much would we be able to collect was hard to deal with at first, but the satisfactory response we received from the ones who came through our ads, and passersby inquiring and then coming with their donations lifted up our spirits and mood. This was my first time experiencing holding a collection drive of donations, up until now I had only gone to donate at such drives or organisations. This new experience made me feel accomplished and so proud of myself thinking how much I have grown to now being able to organise a collection drive on my own along with my team, it was nothing short of a dream come true and I was elated to complete it with 6 full boxes of donations we worked hard to collect. Through this, I have now equipped myself with physical event organising skills, adding on to my online event organising skills (developed through MATP, Psychology Club, etc).

LO 3 – Although we were working with and under the guidance of GOONJ with the supervision of our supervisors, we had brainstormed, planned, and organised everything for the event day by ourselves. We were only given guidelines, rules and regulations to work with and were provided the transportation of boxes from our storage places to GOONJ by GOONJ. My team and I were very well organised and prepared to take on this challenge with full understanding of what we were doing and what positive changes we were aiming to bring. The fact that we were providing our services for a better future for the ones who couldn’t arrange it for themselves motivated us to push forward and attract more donors even on the day of the event itself. Even while we were at the collection center we set up our collection drive at, we sent out reminders to the ones who chose to get reminded (we reminded them regularly and attended to their queries over chats and phone calls), attended calls from everyone who made use of our contact details on the posters, clarified inquiring passersby’ questions (which even lead some of them to return back with their donations!), etc. Compared to both the other projects I had done, I didn’t find this to be that difficult in terms of planning or initiating; could be because of its relatively easier nature or that I became more efficient and many of my skills had been polished up until we did this project. Having taken up so many projects with overlapping and lengthy durations along with my on-going experiences, I am confident that I have learned and improved a lot in various areas of operations, planning, communicating, organising, etc.

LO4 – Sitting at one place anticipating what would happen if enough people don’t show up with donations, if how much ever we will be able to collect will be helpful enough for the needy (although we knew we weren’t the only ones holding these drives, but it still made us anxious), would people remember to come, and a lot more going on in your head is not the best feeling but we tried to stay hopeful and cheerful. Imagining those whom we will help’ happy and grateful faces we tried to steady our minds and involve more in advertising while at the venue. We had also made 2 big A2 size chart papers, one of which was for the name of our collection drive to let people know of our exact location and another was a directions’ poster which was bigger and with brighter colours to catch people’ attention from afar. As we saw more and more passersby were taking interest in our cause and inquiring about up until when we are available made us want to extend our timings by half an hour or so to let them have a wider time window for bringing their donations, and many did come back!

LO 5 – I loved having 2 of my friends together with me for this project, having them work with me and our collaborative efforts were fun to execute. I was well aware of their sincerity levels in projects/tasks they take up so it was easy for me to trust them to work diligently on their set of tasks which would lead us towards a smooth transition from beginning till the end of this project. To make everything much easier and in alignment with our set of skills we decided to divide sub-tasks among us. Such as one of had to create the google form which we shared along with our advertisement posters, I created the directions label (to direct people to the location of our collection centre) and also the advertisement posters, one of us created the label for our collection drive’s venue, one of us made the box labels (segregated as toys, school supplies, essentials, dry ration, etc). We also divided the materials we would bring to the venue on the day of the event, such as a marker, chairs, table, boxes, cello tape and brown tape, spray sanitizer, plastic bags, etc. Gloves, masks, snacks and water bottles were brought individually. We also brought stuff we would donate and play our roles as responsible and caring citizens by contributions in the form of donations along with having set up the drive.

LO 6 – Since the onset of pandemic everyone of us were guided and expected to wear masks all the time when outside our homes, and since the situation hadn’t died down by the time we had our collection drive we were being responsible in following the rules of wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, frequently using hand sanitizer, wearing gloves (valid in our case as we were coming in direct contact with donors and the things they donated was to be arranged in the boxes by us). This certainly made us feel safe and like a bunch of caring citizens of our country and ultimately of the world. Doing this we maintained and cared for our own safety, as well as of those we came in contact with.Through this project we also showed engagement with and contributions towards the Sustainable Development Goal number 10: Reduced Inequalities and Goal number 17: Partnerships for the Goals. Goal 17 was worked upon as we were a group of 3 working together to do good, and Goal 10 was worked upon as we strived to reduce the unequal distribution of resources and support the needy.

LO 7 – Taking all safety precautions was an ethical choice we made out of respect and care for ourselves and of our fellow good samaritans. As our collection drive was held for only 1 day, and some passersby inquired and seemed interested in donating but didn’t have the time that day or couldn’t have made it before we left, thus we had to make a call to facilitate their donations. I decided to make an ethical consideration of the issue we were tackling at large which was to collect as many donations as possible to support a larger body of needy people. As aside from our group there was one other group which was holding their collection drives for the next 2 days – at a different location – I decided to inform the interested potential donors of their collection drives and asked them for their phone numbers in case they would like to receive the details for the other group’s drives. Once they gave me their numbers, I forwarded them the details and I hope they did make their donations to the other group because our aim was to collect as many donations as possible and definitely not to compete as to who collected more.

All in all, it was a fulfilling experience with lots of anticipation, hope, hard work, satisfaction, pride, happiness, and a lot more involved. And once we were done with a surprisingly (yes, I was astounded at first) good amount of fully filled boxes, we felt proud, content and happy at the thought of one day all of these donations bringing a bright smile on the needy people’s faces. I demonstrated and developed the following Learner Profile attributes: Thinkers, Reflective, Knowledgeable, Caring, Courageous, Balanced, Principled, Communicators,Open-Minded. I would love to do something like this again in the future, it was truly fulfilling!


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