CHENNAI: The pro-Jallikattu protests that were held in Chennai a few years ago had witnessed a sizable participation on part of college students, who marched on the streets to stand up for what they believed in. Subsequently during the anti-CAA protests, college-goers in Chennai made their opinion vocal when they gathered for peaceful protests that were held in many parts of the State.
Such instances have mobilised a new generation of youngsters to take an active interest in the affairs of the nation and associate with political and social movements in the city.
Educational institutions are also doing their bit to ensure that students are acclimated to philanthropic work by making it mandatory to perform weekly social activities as part of their course. Professor Shiva Shankaran, HOD, Journalism and Mass Communication at SRM University, says that since colleges and universities consider NSS clubs seriously, the student volunteers are doing exceptional field work.
“Other than the field trips and volunteering they do in villages, students conduct various blood camps and organ donation drives on-campus.
Seeing the work these students do, others are motivated to take part in the club and do some good for the society as well. In that sense, they are setting a good example for others to follow,” he says.
“When we were informed about the outreach programme in class, I was elated. I had always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. We live in a society where there is always someone more privileged than the other and being able to help them and uplift them is what I’m here for,” says Rupal Chauhan, a postgraduate
student. Sharing her experience as a volunteer at a school for children with special needs, she says, “I learnt so many things from each and every single child there.
Their stories humble me and make me realise how we can be content with whatever we have. I experience a humane connection when I’m with the kids.” Lakshimi S, another postgraduate student says, “I’m really very glad that our college is giving us the opportunity to give back to society. We are quite caught up with college work and assignments.
But when we go to these schools on Fridays, we see kids running out of their classes to meet us. So, all our weariness fades away.These children make us happy.”
Students also volunteer at several non-profit organisations on their own accord. Many non-profits in the city function with a workforce who are predominantly students. Sindhu Ram, Founder of Care and Welfare, an NGO in the city says, “Students see our work on our social media handles and get in touch with us to volunteer.
“Currently, 1,497 students are part of the online volunteering team, while there are over 100 on-field volunteers. Students make up 80 percent of our organisation while the remaining 20 per cent comprises professionals.
Recently, we conducted a drive from LIC to Nandanam to spread awareness on the importance of wearing helmets.
Despite the scorching heat and sun, the students worked tirelessly and did their task with determination.
“It is really moving to see the lengths these students would go to, to better things for the society they live in. It’s commendable to see them take up the responsibility for a better future,” she signs off.