Reaching out through Virtual Volunteering

Kolkata: While the current Covid-19 pandemic has brought ingenious methods to impart virtual education to our doorsteps, the concept of virtual social service has been quite unheard of J.D. Birla Institute devised an innovative strategy to impart social services virtually and compensate for the internship training that was to be undertaken by the undergraduate students of the department of Human Development, who study child welfare, early childhood education, methods and techniques of child study and parents & community education as a part of their curriculum.

Students combined learning and outreach work by planning and conducting a range of activities including innovative games, fun crafts as well as those based on the academic studies for the underprivileged children who otherwise did not have much access to learning during the currently difficult times. Collaboration with NGO’s like Towards Future based in Dumdum and the Institute of Motivating Self Employment (IMSE) provided students an opportunity to teach English, Maths and Life Skills to young children in the age group 2-8 years through powerpoint presentations, colourful props and storytelling.

Students also interacted with 17-20 year olds from Jungle Crows (Kolkata & Siliguri) and Parichay Ek Pehchaan based in Sunderbans to create an awareness on Covid related issues and mental health and shared academic content using visual aids through online platforms. The activities were conducted in groups on a regular basis for three weeks. They thus combined their theoretical knowledge for the benefit of the society. It has been a hugely edifying experience for the students to involve themselves with online voluntary services on one hand, and self learning on the other. In these trying times, the students have truly lived up to the aphorism ‘if there is a will, there is always a way’.