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By: Nikitha Simon
My NGO Visit
As part of my internship program in FullContact Private Limited, I was asked to plan an employee engagement program, preferably an NGO visit for the employees. I was super excited, as that was the first task assigned to me as an HR intern. Being new to the place, I wasn’t sure about the NGOs nearby the office. But ‘Just Dial’ came to the rescue. Enthusiastically, I started visiting all the nearby NGOs with my little sister. Some of the organizations disappointed me as no particular activities were happening in those institutions and it was just for the name’s sake. However, the second last NGO in my list proved to be different. The name of the NGO was “Theruvoram” and it was located in Kakkanad. I got an appointment with the director of that NGO, Mr.Murugan (33yrs), and he guided us through the place. Theruvoram’s mission is to provide care, love and development for children and old age people living on the streets of Kochi. Mr. Murugan himself was on the streets near Sealord Hotel at one point in his life. But while his friends during that time turned in to gangsters and thieves, he went to an orphanage and started working in ChildLine as a volunteer. This experience changed him and he dedicated his life to saving those like him. He bought an auto and went about his mission to rescue abandoned people in it. Auto Murugan has rescued more than 2,000 people from 2002 until now, mostly the poor and mentally challenged from the streets. He leaves them in the care of hospitals, shelters and old age homes. “Being rich is not how much you have, but how much you can give”, he said while receiving the Nation Award for Social Work from the President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee in 2012. He recently received Amazing Indian award from Times Now as well. I was very much moved by his concept and decided to choose this initiative for the employee engagement program, as I knew that this would definitely motivate a few people to help to this cause as well.
My task was far from over at this point. I had to find another NGO for the people who might not be interested in visiting Murugan’s Theruvoram. By that point, I had visited almost 8 NGOs and my disappointment of not finding the right NGO was peaking. Watching my distress, my little sister motivated me to go to one last place which she believed to be the one we were looking for. Desperate to follow any lead, we moved to our last NGO which was SOS Children’s village in Edathala near Aluva. The atmosphere of SOS itself had a very positive effect on us. It was a beautiful place filled with various trees and plants. We had an interaction with the director of SOS, who gave us a clear idea about the place and how it worked. At SOS Children’s Villages of India they are committed to the welfare of orphaned and abandoned children - often throughout the whole of their childhood - and to strengthening families and communities as a preventive measure in the fight against child abandonment and social neglect. It started in 1990 and now has 15 houses/homes, a youth hostel and a home for retired mothers. The home houses seven retired mothers. SOS was born out of its founder Dr. Hermann Gmeiner’s belief that there was no substitute for a home with a caring mother and that growing up in the company of siblings would ensure complete physical, mental and emotional growth of a child.
I was so happy that I got two amazing NGOs as part of the employee engagement program. I communicated my finds to the Head of HR in FullContact. He was happy with the NGOs and appreciated me generously for my effort. To plan the visit, we made different committees for each NGOs. We all sat together and decided on what has to be done for the members of both the NGOs. Many people shared their views and ideas excitedly which made me realize that I was probably right in choosing the NGOs. The best ideas were taken into consideration and we decided to implement them. Finally on the morning of the visit, we booked two cabs to both the NGO’s and started our journey. I was with the SOS team. We conducted several cultural programs there for the students followed by many games and activities. I could see the happiness in the kids as well as in each of us from FullContact. For a day, we all forgot the differences which existed in the society and we were one big happy family. By 2:00 PM we had to leave the NGO as it was their lunch time. They departed with tears in their eyes and also by making us promise that we will come back again tomorrow. I received amazing feedbacks from Theruvoram as well. People came up to me and requested to plan many more such visits from the company. It was such a wonderful day to remember for all of us and we will cherish this memory forever.
In case you want to help, Theruvoram can be reached at 0484-2427071.