The measure of a nation’s progress is how successful it is in investing and nurturing its children. For a vast and populous country like India, where a majority of the people are under the age of 25, providing basic education and healthcare is the biggest challenge for the government. Millions of children in rural India face a lot of hurdles to complete basic education. Rural schools are plagued with a lack of basic infrastructure and teachers. The government bodies and NGOs have over the years tried to tackle these issues, but with little success.
An oft neglected issue is the kind of support and help children get in their homes to continue education. Most parents are not learned enough to help their children with studies. Moreover many homes do not have electricity supply which prevents students from studying or any other productive activity in the evenings. Sometimes children have to study with the help of kerosene lamps. The smoke emitted from these lamps is a health hazard in the long run. These kids are left behind and fail to progress to the next grade, eventually leading to them dropping out of schools.
To address the inadequate lighting at homes, we at VMware thought of an eco-friendly way to help these children light up their homes – Solar Lamps!! These lamps can be charged by the daylight and used in the evenings. This light during the critical evening hours can be the differentiating factor between progressing to the next class or leading to a school dropout.
We have distributed about 105 lamps to students in rural schools through funds raised by contributions from VMware employees. Two villages near Bangalore were chosen for this program. Volunteers from VMware visited these schools and donated the solar lamps to the children. We visited the homes of these children and it was very heartening to see the response of children and their families when they received their solar lamps.
The project was aptly named “Light Up My Life” and we hope that the light from these solar lamps will make a big difference in brightening up their homes, aiding their study and help in realizing their dreams and aspirations.
What were your personal takeaways from this experience?
I was touched to see the support from my colleagues for the project. The outpouring of help to help create the posters, collecting funds and distribute the lamps reinforced my belief that I am indeed gifted to be working and interacting with such a great set of people. It is these relationships that I built with my colleagues that will last a life time.
The service learning project gave me a firsthand insight into how we can give back to society and how every small action benefits people in ways we cannot imagine. There are some comforts in life that we take for granted, but once we are out on the field we realize how lucky and blessed we really are. It also forces us to think deeply of how we can make a difference and give back to society. There is no joy as great as the one derived by making a positive impact to someone’s life.
How has the Service Learning Program impacted you and your fellow co-workers in the VMware India offices?
Our offices in India have been immensely impacted by the VMware Service Learning Program.Through this program awareness has been raised to issues that are being faced by children in rural schools. It has highlighted the importance of developing and providing eco-friendly, sustainable and renewable energy for power starved regions such as clean energy which can make a vital difference in rural areas.
Volunteers involved in the project have been enriched by the experience and the satisfaction derived out of the project is prompting people to do more. There have been innumerable requests to re-launch the Light Up My Life project in a bigger way. Ultimately, it has developed a sense of oneness and camaraderie in the team.
Do you have any suggestions of how individuals in our global community can help out in their own local/global community to positively impact others and society as a whole?
For projects of such nature, the mantra of “Think Global, Act Local” takes top priority. The need for clean, efficient, renewable energy is prevalent everywhere in the world. We can start on this journey of clean energy by helping local communities – one village at a time … thus making the world a better place to live in.
Chinmay works for the Continuing Product Development group at Bangalore, India. His main area of focus is Resource management on vSphere vmkernel. He also works on various serviceability and diagnostics projects for vSphere.
On the non-work related front Chinmay is actively involved in the activities of the VMware Foundation and has been involved with various social projects for the past 15 years. He likes taking long hikes and is a foodie.
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