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A Fun Morning for DBS — Interacting with Mann Beneficiaries

Last Thursday, 6th July, 2017, was not like any other Thursday at the DBS Mumbai office, the ConnectFor office or at Mann — a center for individuals with special needs. Since the past 3 months we, at ConnectFor, have been tirelessly working with the DBS team to ideate, plan and execute a one-day volunteering engagement for their employees. After hours of brainstorming, trying to find the best possible way to ensure that the DBS team of 75 people can make the most of their Thursday morning and add value to the lives of beneficiaries, our NGO partner Mann seemed to be the best fit for this engagement!

We have been working alongside Mann for almost 8 months now and have saved the organization Rs. 25,000 and 72 hours in value savings. Mann works with young adults with special needs and provides generalized as well as person-specific training to its students, to help prepare them for a more meaningful and independent life, helping them integrate into society.

We wanted to ensure that this one-day volunteering engagement would be a win-win for the NGO, its beneficiaries, and the DBS team. Taking this into account we carefully planned out each activity to ensure that the DBS volunteers could interact with the beneficiaries and the beneficiaries could use this as a platform to display their talents.

On the day of the event the DBS employees turned up to the event in large numbers, totalling to almost 80 volunteers. The CSR event coordinator from DBS stated that “this event had a milestone turn out!” The day kick-started with an induction and a tour by the NGO members to familiarize everyone who attended with the centre, their beneficiaries and the activities carried out throughout the year by the NGO.

Post the induction, the DBS employees made themselves comfortable and immediately started approaching the beneficiaries. To our surprise, the beneficiaries really took to the employees and were soon flaunting their talents and skills. As part of a fun and heart warming activity, the beneficiaries taught DBS volunteers how to decorate coasters and envelopes, which they would then use to raise funds. The ones who were fortunate enough to be taught product making by the beneficiaries, were engrossed in the activity and left the centre with a sense of satisfaction. They were also impressed to see how talented the individuals at the centre were.

Before we bid adieu to both Mann and DBS, Mann had a little surprise for the volunteers where the beneficiaries danced and the volunteers sang along. Those of us who attended, from ConnectFor, were so pleased to see that the volunteers were deeply touched and went home either feeling like they wanted to do something more or left the centre feeling like a changed person. This definitely made all our efforts and time spent on this engagement worthwhile and made us feel like we created a win-win situation for everyone involved!

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ConnectFor has recently started working with groups of volunteers, corporate organisations and small teams of people who want volunteer together to make a difference. We understand your needs and requirements and then plan out volunteering engagements for you with one of our 115 NGO partners. Please reach out to us for any CSR needs/requirements you may have.

To start your volunteering activity and spread smiles, sign up here: goo.gl/1KN3TR 🙂

Volunteer for a Cause this #DaanUtsav

Volunteer for a Cause this #DaanUtsav

 

It’s that time of the year again! And no, we are not talking about Diwali, or New Year’s Eve, but Daan Utsav – the Joy of Giving week. 

Every year around Gandhi Jayanti, this festival of giving is celebrated across India so as to inculcate a culture of people donating time, material, etc., and to encourage people to indulge in acts of kindness. This year Daan Utsav is being celebrated from October 2nd to October 8th, you too can contribute to this festival of giving in interesting way! Read on to know more how to celebrate Daan Utsav in seven cool ways.

 

 

  • Unleash that Picasso in You and Get Painting. 

 

Participate in the Diya painting activity organized by Raay Foundation on 12 October. Here you will be painting Diyas with the children and also digging your hands in some serious Diwali decoration. 

 

  • Aavi Navratri

 

Keeping in with the Navratri fervor, join in the Dandiya decoration activity of Robin Hood Army on October 5th. And, the fun does not stop here, after decorating dandiyas, we will be grooving to some kickass Dandiya songs followed by a food distribution drive.

  • Shop for a Cause

Light up not only Homes but Hopes this Daan Utsav! Shop for handmade products such as Diyas, Lanterns, Trays, and much more made by NGO beneficiaries like Widows, Cancer Patients, Underprivilged Kids,etc

All the proceeds from the sales will go directly to the NGO.

Be a light in someone’s life this Daan Utsav. Shop for a Cause on our Social Shop.

Shop Now — https://www.connectfor.org/social-shop-collections-all-products/

 

 

  • Time to gift your time!

 

As we surge into the festive season in India, which means lots of gifts, here is a perfect activity for you- the gift bag making workshop by Robin Hood Army on October 19th. And, this is not just a regular bag making activity; we will be making bags with children, and decorating them, sounds fun, right! Also, if we are talking Robin Hood Army, there has to be a food distribution drive, duh!

 

  • Fold your way to a Fun Weekend! 

 

Here is an activity that is sure to leave you reminiscing about your childhood memories. We are talking about the Origami workshop on October 26th by Bigger than life. Here, we will be interacting with the children, and teaching them fun origami stuff, are you taking notes.

 

  • Help out the Beach Please!

 

Become an Environment warrior and join us during this Daan Utsav in the Dadar Beach clean-up on 5th October. Since, we believe that small acts bring out big changes, participate in this clean up drive, do your bit for Mother Earth!

  • Paint A School

Join us for one of the favorite initiatives that we have — Paint A School, where we will be painting a school in Kurla and help create a positive, vibrant and colorful space for the kids to study in, eventually helping in the teaching process as well!

Join us on 12th October for the Paint A School Event!

Phew, now that’s a lot of activities to keep you busy and jazz up those boring weekends! To know more click here.

 

Preservation of the Indian ocean and beaches

The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world’s oceanic divisions, and comprises of 4 different seas and over 15 bays. 80% of the Indian Ocean is open and includes nine large marine ecosystems: the Agulhas Current, Somali Coastal Current, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, Gulf of Thailand, West Central Australian Shelf, Northwest Australian Shelf, and Southwest Australian Shelf. Two out of nine of these essential ecosystems directly affect India and it’s marine status, but are currently in grave danger.

Due to the rising temperatures and the climate crisis, the Indian Ocean has expanded by 20 centimetres each year in the last decade. Additionally, livestock within the ocean is being depleted at a colossal rate, due to the change in ambient temperature and overfishing. Along with this expansion, a recent study showed that there are over one trillion pieces of plastic floating around in the Indian Ocean, creating a high risk environment for the beings living there.

ConnectFor is taking great measures to reduce the adverse effects of this pollution through volunteering. In the past, we have organised 6 successful beach clean up activities as a part of our Weekend Volunteering programme, and are proud to be hosting our first Beach Clean Up Community Event on the 14th of September! Here, volunteers will be helping clean the Mahim beach in Mumbai and preserve our existing ecosystem.

ConnectFor offers other volunteering opportunities to help preserve our marine ecosystem. The sea brings back all the garbage that we dump into it mindlessly, and deposits it back to our shores. Be part of a local clean-up drive to help and bring your friends along for some fun! ConnectFor has a special ‘Environment’ cause vertical that attempts to bridge the gap caused due to the water crisis within Maharashtra, along with other environmental issues in our operating cities of Pune and Bengaluru. We are currently partnered with NGOs such as Jeevitnadhi Living River Foundation, Paani, Tahaan, and Anarde in Maharashtra. You too, can volunteer with these NGOs and make a difference in the future of our planet, no matter how big or small!

How to decrease the use of single use items like plastic and paper!

How to decrease the use of single use items like plastic and paper!

To consume paper isn’t only to consume wood, but also water and energy. However, recycled paper requires 0 trees, uses less than half the energy and produces under half the waste! Similarly, single-use plastics are disposable plastics that are used once before being thrown away. These are things like plastic bags, coffee cups, plastic bottles, and straws. We produce roughly 300 million tons of plastic each year and over half of it is only used once. 32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced makes its way into the ocean every year, the equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute. According to the World Economic Forum, “This is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2045. By 2050, this could mean that there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans.” 

 

Here are 4 ways to reduce your daily plastic and paper consumption and help reverse the effects of the climate crisis:

 

 

1. Ditch the plastic straw 

 

Get in the habit of saying “no straw” when ordering drinks. If you are a habitual smoothie drinker you may also want to invest in a bamboo or metal straw. Use a reusable straw and save 540 plastic straws from entering the ocean this year! 

 

 

2. Go bill free 

 

Bills and receipts are small transactional pieces of paper that cannot be recycled or reused. Due to the chemical agents used to make them, they also pose a health hazard. If you don’t need the receipt, don’t get it. 

 

 

3. Invest in reusable daily utensils like water bottles and coffee/tea mugs

 

Paper cups are often not recyclable because they are coated with plastic to prevent the cups from leaking and one plastic bottle and lid can take up to 1000 years to decompose. Simply switching to a reusable water bottle saves on average 167 plastic bottles in one year, while bringing your own coffee mug saves 500 cups and lids from landfills every year, so think about how many we could save over our lifetime!

 

 

 4. Reuse and recycle old single-use plastic bottles and paper

to turn them into some exciting goodies! 

 

 

On the note of recycling and reusing paper, ConnectFor is proud to host Ecovation in Bangalore on the 24th of August! Here, volunteers will be recycling old plastic bottles and newspapers to turn them into planter pots and seedball pens. Give us a call and we’ll have you register on spot for the event!

 

ConnectFor celebrates Independence Day!

ConnectFor celebrates Independence Day!

“Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is a disaster in this one world that can no longer be split into isolated fragments. That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfill the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity,” said Jawaharlal Nehru in A Tryst With Destiny.

At the stroke of midnight on the 14th of August, 1947, India gained independence from the British Rule and although we gained independence from colonialism, we are yet to be freed of many social, economic, and political issues within the Indian society. The 73rd Independent year of India marks a period that is defined by economic and financial progress, technological advancements, global recognition, and relative equality. As Indians, we take a lot of pride while singing the national anthem and hoisting the national flag. But at the same time, we should be mindful of the same citizens of this country that do not have access to the bare necessities of life — food, clean drinking water, education, and medical help.

The Huffington Post revealed earlier in 2019 that 56% lack the ability to meet these basic needs. Even the people who are officially above the poverty line are still vulnerable to such harsh conditions. Hunger remains a daily fact of life for the poorest of the poor but health care, drinking water, and sanitation constitute 40% of the population’s unmet needs by value.

India is celebrating its 73rd year of Independence in 2019, so the day takes on a whole new meaning when you take some time to volunteer, to make life easier for someone else. This Independence Day, ConnectFor aims to address the issue of hunger by collaborating with the Robin Hood Army to organize food distribution drives in Mumbai, Bengaluru, and our two new partner cities Delhi and Ahmedabad!

So, this Independence Day, make Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision for an India free of poverty, ignorance, disease, and inequality of opportunity by doing your bit and volunteering with ConnectFor!

The Water Crisis and How ConnectFor is helping!

        The Water Crisis and How ConnectFor is helping!

 

Water crisis brings with them depletion of groundwater and drought. Maharashtra has been in a serious state of a drought for the last 15 years, but media coverage for this drought only gained momentum in 2015, after a gradual rise in farmer suicides. Maharashtra’s water crisis has spanned across the region, and ConnectFor is taking great measures through volunteering to tackle this crisis in numerous ways.

Drought is a global issue due to its lack of a universal definition and since it is arguably the biggest single threat from climate change. As of now, international agencies refer to national governments before declaring a drought, because they say it is partly subjective and highly political. To further complicate matters, current drought forecast mechanisms, which require good forecast data and local knowledge, are unreliable and are least likely to be acted on to prevent disaster in the countries that are most at risk. For instance, one of our partner NGOs, Tahaan, aims to make India drought resistant. Tahaan has impacted 1 lakh people, supplied 29 lakh gallons of water, planted 7000 trees, and adopted 17 villages across Maharashtra in pursuit of drought relief.

Another global issue is the depletion of groundwater resources. India is the 3rd largest groundwater exporter in the world, but 21 cities in the country are expected to run out of groundwater by 2021. A sustainable solution to restoring the level of groundwater is planting trees. ConnectFor has been instrumental in planting over 1000 saplings across 3 cities in India while engaging more than 250 volunteers for the same. This weekend, ConnectFor is coming to Pune with its 4th edition of ‘VicTree,’ where we aim to plant 300 saplings.

ConnectFor has a special ‘Environment’ cause vertical that attempts to bridge the gap caused due to the water crisis within Maharashtra, along with other environmental issues in our operating cities of Pune and Bengaluru. We are currently partnered with NGOs such as Jeevitnadhi Living River Foundation, Paani, Tahaan, and Anarde in Maharashtra. You too, can volunteer with these NGOs and make a difference in the future of our planet, no matter how big or small!

ConnectFor Expands to Delhi and Ahmedabad!

                       ConnectFor Expands to Delhi and Ahmedabad!

 

You guessed it right! ConnectFor is now expanding its operations to 2 new cities, Delhi and Ahmedabad. With this expansion, we aim to demonstrate the value of the human resource for non-profit organizations, by creating high-value matches based on an organization’s needs, and an individual’s time and skills.

We, at ConnectFor, were often asked about volunteering opportunities in these two cities and have partnered with 20 NGOs in each of these cities so far, with more partnerships on the way!

But why Delhi and Ahmedabad?

Delhi has more than 350 NGOs, and as the political capital of India, the city has been witnessing a surge in social issues related to pollution, traffic, and grave gender inequality. A few of the volunteering opportunities that ConnectFor is proud to provide in Delhi includes the Wealth Foundation, Earth Saviours Foundation, and Save The Girl.

Similarly, Ahmedabad is facing a discrepancy in sectors of nourishment and hunger, river clean-ups, and education. ConnectFor’s approach to tackling these discrepancies is through volunteering for NGOs such as Robin Hood Army, Aasmaan Foundation, Datri, and Teach for India.

Ultimately, ConnectFor aims to address these issues and bridge the gap between NGOs and volunteers in these 2 new cities, making our mission come to life yet again: Cause meets passion meets impact.

Happy Volunteering, Delhi and Ahmedabad!

Find Opportunities to volunteer for in Delhi, Gurugram, and Noida here:

Find Opportunities to volunteer for in Ahmedabad here:

Find more volunteering opportunities on our platform — www.connectfor.org

REGISTER NOW!

Ways to Volunteer During Monsoon

                       Ways to Volunteer during Monsoon!

The monsoon is finally upon us, and in the bustling cities that ConnectFor operates in it has brought with it some great opportunities to volunteer with organizations near you! Volunteering during this season is especially crucial, as it helps ease the hardships for those who cannot afford to simply sit back and enjoy a hot cup of tea while watching it pour.

Read on to discover five ways you can volunteer this monsoon:

  1. The sea brings back all the garbage that we dump into it mindlessly and deposits it back to our shores. Be part of a local clean-up drive to help and bring your friends along for some fun!

2. Monsoons are believed to be the best time for planting trees as, during this time, the earth, which is dry and parched due to the scorching summers is able to absorb moisture and becomes more conducive for planting. Join our tree plantation drive in Bengaluru!

Register Now!

3. Due to increasing pollutants and contaminants in the atmosphere, as rain falls, it collects these toxins and pours in the form of acid rain. The acid rain etches its way into painted walls and other building exteriors, but for some, this damage cannot be repaired. ConnectFor is organizing the Paint-A-School activity in Pune and in Mumbai, so if you are someone who wants to have fun while adding color to the lives of the students at the school, join us to make a difference!

4. The rain often prohibits children in NGOs from engaging with activities outside, so volunteer for an NGO near you with seniors or children for 2–3 hours a week and see the smiles when you engage these children for however long you can. You can find lots of opportunities to do this as per your convenience here.

5. Commitments during the week can often be overwhelming, especially with all the rain, so devote some time to volunteer on Saturdays and Sundays with ConnectFor’s Weekend Volunteering opportunities to unwind, while also giving back to the community.

Community Tree Plantation

Community Tree Plantation

 

ConnectFor is back with another popular, and much-awaited volunteering event- The Tree Plantation Drive VicTree 4.0 Pune. Trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink and provide habitat. So, as you can tell trees are kind of a big deal. Trees are essential to us, and our lives.

 

 

Despite their importance to life as we know it, humans have still cut down trees specifically for paper, agriculture, building materials, and fuel. The cutting down of trees is a huge problem in the long run, but planting trees is a solution. Planting trees is one of the most effective and sustainable ways to positively affect the environment. We need trees now more than ever! Tree planting is a method where you can add and replace trees that can serve as a big help for the future generation. With this, there are many benefits that we can enjoy!

Here are a few reasons why we should be planting trees:

  • When we plant trees, we are providing shade for ourselves and local wildlife
  • Trees provide shelter, habitat, and food
  • Trees hold soil in place, reducing erosion around watercourses and around the property as well. They absorb and store rainwater
  • Healthy trees absorb carbon dioxide and reduce the effects of climate change
  • Trees provide food. Food producing trees provide fruits, nuts, berries, and leaves for consumption by both humans and animals.
  • Believe it or not, trees help reduce stress, anxiety, and allows us to reconnect with nature. It’s impossible to ignore that feeling of elation you feel walking through a calm and quiet forest.
  • You get to spend time with your near and dear ones and also create a difference at the same time!
  • Not to forget the sense of happiness you get after planting those trees and doing your bit to help increase the green cover!

These are just a few benefits of what happens when you plant trees! Feeling motivated and inspired? Want to make a difference? Go ahead, sign up to plant a tree! We may not see a better and bigger change soon, but the next generation will surely benefit from it!

The link is provided below: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf3h95m7LN6hNYMg78RTte8L-XQD-XbcwffSbypPkQt8wdo6g/viewform?usp=sf_link

10 easy ways on how you can be a Changemaker!

10 easy ways on how you can be a Changemaker!

I have always wanted to ‘create a difference’. Not just in my life, but everyone around me.

Giving little joys is a really big part of my life. And with the kind of upbringing and family values that I was brought up with, it all seemed natural.

Growing up, I realized that we need more people to spread love and make this planet a better place to live in. My friends and family are always excited when I come up with some volunteering opportunity and are self-driven and willing to contribute to it. But, I have found in many ease that the lack of ‘known opportunities’ to them is limited and this restricts them from doing their part for the society. So, in this blog, I have listed 10 easy ways in which you can be a change maker.

1. Smiles and Greetings –

As a human we have materialistic needs, physical needs and emotional needs. Our materialistic needs and physical needs are fulfilled in some or the other way. But what lacks are our emotional needs- the need to feel loved and cared, And we don’t even realize this.

So, just sending a smile across to your watchman or house help can actually lift their burden of a hectic day. Simple handmade greetings or notes on special occasions and festivals to our drivers and helpers can really add a spark along with the materialistic gift that you might be giving them.

 

2. Carry your own water bottle –

Whether we visit malls or impromptu street shopping trips, we have water stations available almost everywhere. You can refill your bottle when you need it. Even temples and railway stations have this facility these days. You will not just save money, but reduce plastic waste and keep your environment clean. Carrying your own shopping bag gives added points!!

 

3. Food for better –

Never throw food or waste food. You can take out all the extra food you have to a nearby underprivileged area and distribute the food. The smiles on their faces will take away your sheen of walking to that place.

 

4. Bird feeders matter –

Make it a rule to place a bowl of water at the minimum in your balcony or terrace. You can be creative, and make little homes using plastic bottles, cartons or shoe boxes to make it easily noticeable for the little birdies.

 

5. Vegetable waste is not waste –

Toss your vegetable peels and scrap into your gardens or pots or get a compost container. If you don’t have a garden or plant pots, you can use the compost in public gardens or give to a friend or a family member who has one.

 

6. Make your morning walk more interesting –

Pick up all the waste in your morning walking track or route and dispose of it properly. This added exercise will ensure that the extra calories you put on are burnt properly. Not just your health but the environment health matter too!

 

7. A glass of water creates magic –

The home delivering option has indeed made our lives a lot easier. But the army behind this — is our delivery persons — make sure that you offer a glass of water and help them beat the sun.

 

8. Take up a challenge –

Productivity increases when you take up a challenge. Create weekly and monthly challenges for yourself. Go plastic free or feed a person daily, take up whatever suits you. But make sure to give it your best to do it.

 

9. Spread the word –

Encourage your friends and family to volunteer along with you. The world always needs more and more people to do good. The more we have, the better. So encouraging others to take up volunteering adds up to the goodness you spread in this world.

 

10. Put the Internet to good use –

Join groups on Facebook or Whatsapp or other social media platforms which volunteer on a regular basis and try to actively participate in their activities. Also, raise your voice here and create awareness about really important issues. Signup on websites which list volunteering opportunities and do your part.

Best practices to keep Volunteers Engaged!

Best practices to keep Volunteers Engaged!

When thinking success for an NGO we often think big picture — the work they have done, the culture that has been created, and the effort put in but we tend to forget the village behind the effort and work put forth.

I’m talking about Volunteers. Building and maintaining relationships with volunteers is just as important. Volunteers make the nonprofit world go round. So, NGO’s here are some tips on maintaining those good relationships.

Work to keep your volunteers engaged:

When I say engaged, I mean not by their volunteer hours! Keep them engaged on other fronts; keep them updated on how they’re making a difference in your organization, ask for and listen to their opinions and ideas, and keep in touch with them outside of “work”. For example, set-up after hour happy hour for them, or an activity they are keen on participating in. The more you engage with your volunteers, the stronger their emotional bond to your organization will become.

Don’t waste their time:

You have volunteers because they want to make a difference in the world. If they don’t feel like they’re making a difference, they wouldn’t want to continue to donate their time and energy. As an NGO you want to remind volunteers a sense of purpose while they’re working with you. You can do this by setting expectations, defining goals, and making sure they have the resources and guidance they need to make the most of their time.

Be flexible:

Volunteers are working with your organization in addition to having a full-time job, school, family, or other commitments. Being flexible is an important way to make sure your volunteers are able to work for you!

Acknowledge your Volunteers:

This is the most important piece of advice you can get! Even though volunteering is “volunteering” and it may not be a full-time commitment, volunteers like to be thanked and acknowledged for what they’re putting forth. Don’t forget to appreciate your volunteers! Even if they don’t donate financially, volunteers donate their time — and that’s just as important. Handwritten thank-you notes, appreciation events, and other outings will do wonders!

Don’t overlook volunteers’ motives:

Volunteers are motivated by different things. Combine their talents, skills, and interests and provide them with an opportunity that they wouldn’t want to give up! Allow them to be curious, take risks, and think outside the box!

So, these were some basic tasks you could incorporate to have a better and sustained relationship with your Volunteering Community!

Feel free to get in touch with us for your Volunteering requirements on contact@connectfor.org or visit www.connectfor.org for more details!