by Emma Sykes
It was an early start for Shikshan Gram’s merry band of fundraisers as we set off at 5.30am on both Friday and Monday for two days of campaigning in Pune.
Our first challenge was to reach the train station on time, overcoming the darkness, mud and many puddles along the way. Taking a pretty fast pace we all made it aboard the 6.30am local train to Pune.
Three hours and a few modes of transport later (train, bus, and auto-rickshaw) we were very grateful to reach our destination, Zensar, a global computer software company in the business district of Pune.
We set up our tables right outside the staff canteen- very convenient both for potential donees, and for our rumbling stomachs!
With a never-ending supply of colourful pamphlets, business cards, and smiling faces, we quickly attracted the interest of employees passing by on their way to and from breakfast. Some people had come prepared with sacks full of good quality second-hand clothes which they had collected from their homes, and others generously took time out of their day to visit local markets and buy grains, sugar, oil and so on- which will make a big difference to our monthly grocery bill! At one point a group of incredibly kind workers actually reversed a car right up to the tables because they had so much to give!
Throughout the day it was great to speak to so many people keen to find out how they could help us. Hopefully we will be seeing their faces again soon at open days and training events.
By Monday evening I think I can speak for us all in saying that we were pretty exhausted! But as we packed our hoard into the Sumo (which had to make 2 trips!), we were refreshed by the sheer volume of donations we had received. The journey home was a long, but happy, one.
As a company Zensar is incredibly forward-thinking and open-minded. As well as nurturing ties with projects such as Shikshan Gram, they also run an education centre, where they use a tailor-made computer program to teach English to children from a local slum area. I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Zensar, and its employees, for their immense generosity- thank you very much!
Note from Editor: This is one of the many experiences you can share as a volunteer with Shikshan Gram – there are so many different ways that you could contribute to the work that we are doing here with the orphan and street children who live with us now.
Please consider coming to visit.