It was a regular day – meetings (virtual), calls, emails and the likes … until an email from Santosh Phad, Founder of ThinkSharp Foundation – an iVolunteer partner, popped up: “…Aman has done a really wonderful job and created an impactful Android app “Digi Library” free digital library for children.” Curious, I instantly checked the App, and Aman – all of 20 years. As startups and parents get crazy about kids making Apps, heres a student’s real experience volunteering to create a real App delivering massive social impact.
Aman: I was just looking for an opportunity to help someone and found iVolunteer.in. While I initially wanted to teach a child, I came across this opportunity where I could design an Android App as well – this is exactly what I was studying in college and looking for a project to gain experience. I never knew that I could make a difference this way too.
Santosh: We have always had a good relationship with iVolunteer and have received good volunteers. I thought its also possible to get volunteers to make an Android App that we needed. I posted the opportunity on iVolunteer.in and we got a few applications and selected Aman because he was very responsive and had the technical skills
Realised Impact: I realised how I could help several children learn by reading free books by helping develop this App
Flexibility: I could do the project at my pace. There was no pressure or hard deadline and I could work flexibly around my studies. I could even ask my friends and seniors for help as this was not a paid assignment.
Project Support: Santosh Sir helped me with everything that I needed to develop the App. I needed help from someone for designs. There Another volunteer, thus, completed the designs before I undertook development
Proud Parents: My parents had almost no idea what I do. 2 years back they were not even comfortable with WhatsApp. When I showed them the App they were surprised. Santosh Sir gifted me a party to take my family out for dinner. My parents felt proud and finally understood my work too! My friends are asking how can they do similar things. This is my first project and everyone can see it.
Prospect for students: If my fellow students understand that they can help others while gaining experience, then they will surely be interested in volunteering.
iVolunteer: Ujwala helped me connect with the NGO was always there to support me. iVolunteer.in had many options. I will look out for more projects again after my exams.
Demonstrate impact: As NGOs we need to show a volunteer the effect that his contribution can have on the underprivileged.
We work when volunteers do: We made the volunteer comfortable and worked according to his availability. I used to have discussions with him late evenings and even beyond midnight since that worked for him. I myself engaged Aman.
Project Preparation: I was fully ready for the project. I had a clear vision of the final product and had developed the wireframes as well. I got another volunteer to develop the the graphic designs and instructed to the detail of the size of a button!
Impact Delivered: Digi Library has been downloaded over 100 times within days of launch. Our books on the App have already have already been accessed more than 900 times. We are promoting it to all our school partners (in Maharashtra). Since books are available in Hindi, English and Marathi, students from several places in North India are accessing it too.
Role of NGOs: As NGOs we need to ensure that volunteers feel comfortable. Engage regularly, support as needed, be available.
iVolunteer: is like a family. Ujwala (team iVolunteer), understands our requirements well and goes beyond the mandate to help us create appropriate projects and supports with volunteers.
What has been your most satisfying volunteering experience? Share achievements & tips for other volunteers and NGOs. Write to me at shalabh@iVolunteer.in or hashtag iVolunteer on social media