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How relevent and impactful is the NSS is a  question that pressing, now more than ever.

The National Service Scheme (NSS) established by the Goverment of India in 1969, is close to completing 49 years now. While the NSS is well established across schools and colleges in the country, how true is it to its motto, is a question we need to ask. The main purpose of the NSS is to create a sense of leadership, and community awareness in the youth as they initiate welfare programs, and community service. Volunteers may have to be involved in activities such as: cleaning, afforestation, awareness rallies etc.

According to recent statistics, the number of students volunteering for it, were 3.8 million as of March 2018. While active participation is witnessed from colleges, there is ongoing criticism regarding NSS – is it effective in sparking the true benefits it promises to inculcate in the youth? There is a greater disparity in the rural to urban context, when taking a consensus of the NSS volunteers. While there is an active participation in the rural areas with foreseeable results, there has been a decline in the performance ratios in the urban sector. A reason for this change could be the rise of Non Govermental Organisations (NGOs) in the urban area which promise better welfare programmes and more widespread connections at the grass-root levels, that makes students reconsider their options regarding the welfare organisations.

Another thing to witness, is the rise of the ‘CV factor’ amongst college students these days. While it is a good thing to focus on things which will aid them in their careers ahead, students opt for social service organisations as an “accessory” to boost their CVs. Arpita Chhikara, a 2014 graduate from Jesus and Mary College states, “I joined NSS in 2011, as it was something I was really passionate about. I speak on behalf of my fellow members, at that time we joined it for a purpose, which was to ensure the welfare of the under-privileged. Would it look good on our college applications further or not, was a secondary thought.” Apeksha Jain, a second year B.Com Programme student of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College says, “On an individual level, I feel better working or partnering up with NGOs as I am accountable to them directly, and I am free to let things go their way according to both of our preferences. At the end of the day, you know the impact you make and it is a feel-good factor”.

As for the loss in the spirit of service in governmental organisations like NSS, a major question to be asked is, on whom can one place this accountability? Is it the students who are more performance oriented or is it the improper structure or the unclear hierarchies, which makes things confusing and reduces efficiency. Why is it that social welfare NGOs and other organisations are able to successfully meet their targets more effectively than governmental organisations? Another debate is the ongoing dilemma about choosing the right organisation in your college days, as there is hardly any uniqueness left in almost every welfare platform. They all are catering on similar lines, making it hard for students to decide which is the correct option for them. Social welfare and service have become integral in almost every organisation in this country and across the world.

Feature Image Credits: NSS

Avnika Chhikara
[email protected]

We can easily agree that childhood is the most beautiful phase in a person’s life. Majority of us have been blessed to live with such comforts and joys that we are  able to recollect our own childhood memories with bitter-sweet nostalgia. For some however, they may only remain bitter. I talk about those whom we come across at least once in our daily lives, selling flowers and toys on the roadside, malnutritioned kids performing acrobatic acts and dangerous stunts in the hope of alms or children roaming helplessly in the streets without shelter, clothes or even a few drops of water to quench their thirst. They eventually either resort to begging or get chained in the dungeons of work where they are repeatedly exploited under grueling conditions.

For Subhrajeet Gautam, a young college student like many of us, this remained a frequent sight. What really made him different though, was that unlike most of us, he did something about it. Driven by an extraordinary dream to see a day where no child would be deprived of basic essentials such as food, clothing, education and medical security, he joined his college social service society to gain substantial knowledge. Through the society he not only visited children in slums and hospitals, but even held regular classes for those living on the streets to gain basic education. On 26th January, 2011 with an amount of just Rs. 1,500 in his pocket, he formed an organization called Umeed- a Drop of Hope, with a small camp of cloth donation as its first campaign towards humanity.

Since its inception, it was Mr. Subhrajeet’s spirited passion and conviction that “all individuals, in their own little ways, possessed the power to become great agents of change” which drove Umeed to make a significant difference in the lives of more than 80, 000 children. Umeed was also honoured as the most active NGO of Delhi and Rajasthan by Smt. Sheila Dikshit and Ashok Gehlot in 2011.

To promote social service and inspire every human soul to understand the true importance of caring for other human beings who are not as gifted or fortunate enough is the main aim of Umeed. Their social activities and community service operations include donations of basic amenities like provision of food, medicines and clothes to the needy, education to the underprivileged children and every possible help to poor families including an enhancement of their living conditions by providing them a healthy, safe and happy environment. By means of Nukkad-Natak- street theatrical performances, awareness campaigns and educational programs, they also work towards the improvement of social welfare and eradication of poverty, illiteracy and other deep-rooted evils of the society.

What started as a campaign with only one hundred volunteers in 2011, today comprises of more than 30, 000 volunteers in over seven states of the country, transforming it into a National-level NGO.
In Delhi, the team of Umeed has been working on three projects. They are:-

KNOWLEDGE FOR ALL (KFA): To encourage students with ample knowledge to invest a few hours of their days in teaching underprivileged children. This project runs in three slum areas namely Kirti Nagar, Laxmi Nagar and Indraprastha.

PARIDHAN: A cloth drive in which volunteers are required to collect unusable clothes, books, toys, stationary, etc from residential areas or colleges, and after getting them recycled, are made to distribute among the poorest families and children of the societies who need them the most. It urged to spread the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Realize” mentality among everyone in the society.

GO GREEN 16: An initiative to save the environment by promoting afforestation all over the country and making our planet earth greener and more beautiful through means of tree plantation, tree adoption, drip irrigation etc.

Sonal Garg, an active volunteer of the mission KFA at Laxmi Nagar believes that, “Every child is an extremely passionate and curious learner. Every now and then, I am surprised to come across children who are so ingenuously dedicated towards their studies that when it’s time for them to leave, they become sad and beg us to stay for as much time as possible, and teach them something new. Their little enthusiasm-filled eyes speak of how much strength and wisdom they possess even in the worst conditions of life. You even form a special bond with them which compels you to come back again and again.”

Thus, every person with a simple desire to serve the society wholeheartedly can be a part of the Umeed family. They offer virtual as well as summer internships. To apply, log on to www.umeedngo.org and fill in the form requested.
For more information, visit:-
Facebook page – www.facebook.com/umeedthehope

Image Credits: www.umeedngo.org

Shagun Marwah

[email protected]

When festivity begins with a dash of pristine goodness and the intent to spread joy across every nook of our diversified community, you know there isn’t a louder thud of cheer that shall float around for the rest of the season. Imbibing this wholesome philosophy of generosity, Kamala Nehru College marked the season of festivity by celebrating ‘Adrith’ , an NGO cum Diwali mela in collaboration with Delhi States AIDS Control Society on 18th October 2012. As humble as was the purpose, the commencement of the event was far thunderous and enthralling. With an inauguration by the esteemed Principal, Ms. Minothi Chatterjee, what trailed was a mesmerizing kathak performance by Mr. Sunny Sushoday followed by a performance by the dance society of the college, ‘Nupur’. The fashion society, Glitz hypnotically walked to claim the spot of the most popular society of the college once again. An awe inspiring Rajasthani folk dance performance by children suffering from thalassemia rendered an atmosphere defined by pure charisma. Witnessing a resolve worth admiration, out on display were a number of NGO stalls that stirred the latent string of responsibility in every individual as was evident. Among the many who made their presence noted were Art of Living, National Federation of the Blind, Parivartan Sandesh, Manzil and Smile. These NGOs are testimony of change making and evolution in their respective spheres of social work. ‘Kayakalp’, an initiative by SIFE SRCC which aims to empower puppeteers of low income groups and ‘Project Akshar’ which is an endeavour by SIFE SSCBS, captivated a mammoth crowd. A meticulous effort was made by conducting several health check-up camps like the blood sugar camp, homeopathy camp and the national thalassemia camp. The event was a host to many sensitizing activities, with an aim to educate the youth about blood donation. The Poster making competition saw a roaring participation and entailed cash prizes worth Rs 10000 along with the street plays which were a gripping power house of action. In dearth of absolutely nothing, the event housed frolic, reverberating jam sessions, scrumptious food stalls and recreational acts of shopping. A power pact performance by the rock band ‘Zzid’ and an absolutely lyrical performance by the Bihu dancers of Pragjyotish Bihu Husori Group rewardingly concluded the event. But amidst all the flair throughout the event, what stood out as the hero was the pure resolve of righteousness, vigour and honest intent of integration of the society to give back with all humility. “It was just very satisfying working for the college in the name of a good cause” says Shivangi heaving a sigh of contentment.]]>