About the Author: Shantanu Gupta is a computer science student at Manipal Institute of Technology. He tells how his will to work for the welfare of others prompted him to intern at an NGO.
Come vacations, come internships! For those who come back home from college and have no idea how to make use of the free time, internships are the answer. They offer you a wide range of exposure in any field you desire to opt for and prepare you for the corporate world out there.
I was home for my summer break and had no clue how I was going to spend two months at home. A month passed just like that when I realized how I was completely wasting my time. This was when a friend introduced me to Internshala. I quickly signed up on their website and it opened a whole new window of opportunities for me. There were a lot of options available but I wanted to do something for other people. So, I opted for an internship at an NGO. I wasn’t offered a stipend but the amount of satisfaction it provided was worth more than money.
Over 270 candidates had applied to JugnuSociety for Project Pehchaan. The selection process included writing a hundred and fifty-word article answering why they should hire us. I answered – “I’m Shantanu Gupta, currently studying computer science at MIT. I have just completed my first year and I’m back in Delhi for my summer break. I wanted to work for an NGO since 8th grade and I have participated in various NGO programs that included road safety awareness and planting trees on footpaths. I have never done surveys and social work, and this is a tag I want under my belt of working. I’d love to be a part of this society and get some more exposure by surveying the slum areas educating people about various things. I would enjoy myself amongst people in slums and do my very best. I will complete my tenure without fail. I have been wanting to get an opportunity like this and I’m glad to have finally got this chance to apply. I would be really happy if I got this internship because this is something that I want to do with all my heart”
They also asked me if I was comfortable visiting slums every day. Although I was skeptical, I gave an affirmative reply because I wanted to help them. After a week, I received a call from the treasurer of the NGO stating I had been selected. He also spoke to my parents about my roles. He then asked, ‘If anyone from the slum starts arguing with you and calls his/her neighbors, what will you do?’ I replied, ‘I wouldn’t let that happen in the first place but if such a situation transpires, I wouldn’t let that aggravate me; I’d stay calm and placate them.’
I worked on Project Pehchaan for a month. I had to travel daily from Dwarka to Kirti Nagar where we surveyed slums in specific regions, asking people if they knew about various government documents such as Voter IDs, Aadhaar cards, PAN cards, Labour cards, Ration cards, etc. We went from door to door in the basking sun recording their names, contact details, and the documents they didn’t have. It took us around two weeks to cover the slum and the next week was spent locating nearby government offices where we could get the documents prepared. By the end of the fourth week, we were done with our job. However easy it may seem, it was really draining going from door to door, but it was something I really wanted to do. Communicating with people about unkept promises, the way they were treated, and their way of living gave us a whole new perspective. Each day, I felt an urge to help them.
From being just a new intern on the first day to leading a group of six on the twelfth day, my journey took turns each day. The internship was a huge success as we were able to provide those people with the necessary documents. All of us received a certificate of appreciation at the end. Now, I’m in my college waiting for the vacations so I can intern again.
‘If an egg breaks from outside, life ends but if it breaks from within, a new life starts.’
Do you also feel an urge to work for the welfare of others? Check out these latest NGO internships.
Editor’s note – If you also have an interesting story to share, you can now participate in Your Internship Story Contest 2017 and win cash prizes and goodies worth INR 1 Lac!