During Lockdown I came across Pathshala, a Surat based NGO working towards the education and welfare of underprivileged children who’ve been deprived of the basic human right. My sister had already been volunteering there for several years as a teacher and so when given a chance, I also took up a volunteering position there following in her footsteps. My role primarily was to handle Pathshala’s social media content. When I joined, they had already decided on a series, ‘Humans of Pathshala’ where they would interview all volunteers (past and present) and write about their experiences on their Instagram page.Now this job was landed on me. I had to set up calls with volunteers, interview them, make notes and then write a short final article based on their interview and upload it on social media with their pictures from when they volunteered.
LO 6 Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance
Various children all over India, have been deprived of the right to education because of their socio-economic status. This is not just a human right violation that has continued since ages In India, but this stops the nation from progressing and developing since most of its underprivileged youth lack basic education that undermines their ability and stops them from getting the same opportunities as everyone else. To contribute to this issue, Pathshala gives resources and other opportunities to these youth that allows them to have access to education and become their very best selves. My volunteering in the social media department helps Pathshala to spread awareness about their work and get people to donate to their cause. The higher the donation, the more resources and better quality education the children get.
LO 7 Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions
My work was completely based on increasing the NGO’s reach through social media. This made me realise how crucial social media and the internet have become in our day to day life and without these applications and websites, we wouldn’t be able to know everything that’s happening around the world. With the responsibility of social media, comes greater responsibility of following ethical guidelines because representing an NGO requires concise use of language and photos that are dent and appropriate to be associated with the image of the NGO.
While writing the volunteer’s stories from their interview I had to be very conscious of the kind of language I use since everyone has access to social media and if somebody feels offended by the kind of write ups or the pictures I posted, there is a good chance the image of the NGO is affected negatively which would be bad publicity. I was also ethically obliged to stick to the volunteer’s words from the interview and not add any quotes from outside or by myself because the whole point fo the interview was to get the volunteer’s authentic experience from the NGO and not a made up story that may make the volunteer look better on social media.
Secondly, the pictures that I had to select from the ones that the volunteers sent me, had to be decent enough to be uploaded on social media. If at all a picture portrayed the NGO or the volunteer or the children in it negatively, I had to restrict myself from posting for the sake of being morally correct.
The learner profiles I developed from the experience were:
Communicator: As I had to interview a lot volunteers by scheduling calls with them, communicating the idea to them and getting their consent to post their photos and interview online over social media.
Caring: While interviewing the volunteers I came across multiple stories that they shared from their experience. Stories about them having fun with the kids, realising their privilege while seeing the condition the kids were etc. These stories developed a sense of empathy in me for these underprivileged kids and made me question my privilege and made me more grateful for all the resources and education I have access to.
Overall, the experience was eye opening for me and made me want to take up more social work so I could give back to the community as a form of gratitude and respect for everyone regardless of their socio-economic background. This helped me grow as a student and be grateful for the kind of education I receive and also a person by making me see all that I have good in my life.
Two of the stories I wrote and posted on social media after interview with the volunteers:
WhatsApp chats with the NGO head: