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Social Change Partner: Bhumi

In a few short sentences, what does your non-profit do?
Bhumi, one of India’s largest independent youth volunteer non-profit organizations, is the recipient of the ‘Leader in Volunteer Engagement Award’ conferred by iVolunteer. Bhumi as a platform will enable over 5,000 volunteers in more than 12 cities across India to work for causes like education, environment, animals, and community welfare. Bhumi volunteers primarily work amongst over 15,000 underprivileged children in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telengana, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Delhi NCR with the aim of providing children with quality supplementary education to enable them become responsible and productive citizens of the future.

What need do you fulfill and why is your organization unique?
Despite the passage of the Right to Education Act and primary school enrollment at nearly 100%, the quality of education received by those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder needs significant improvement. Children, who begin school already behind their middle and upper class peers, continue to fall behind, often in core subjects such as mathematics and science as well as in language, creating a barrier for accessing higher education and suitable employment later in life.

Bhumi’s interventions through supplementary education play a pivotal role in addressing engagement, motivation, behavior and attendance; key factors in student achievement. At Bhumi, all children receive personal attention from caring adults, explore new interests, receive academic support, develop a sense of belonging to a group and build a sense of self-esteem – reflected in better exam scores and classroom behavior. Our work helps control dropout rates, improves analytical thinking, enhances creativity, inculcates long term goals, and vision setting.

What do you think was the happiest moment for your organization? 
Bhumi helped to organize Nakshatra, a national inter-orphanage talent festival. Now in its sixth year, it will benefit over 6,000 children. In the very first year (2009), organizing the same event for 800 children itself was a big challenge,and  it took us months of hard work by over 100 volunteers. On the day of the event it started raining heavily, but the children had started from their homes and there was no turning back. The Bhumi volunteers, brimming with dedication, escorted each child from the buses into the venue with umbrellas. The event began late, but when one of the guests a singer started singing a popular number, the children joined in chorus, bringing down the roof. I had happy tears in my eyes.

Recently, Bhumi winning the ‘Leader in Volunteer Engagement Award’ at the iVolunteer Awards was also a memorable moment
What was/is the largest obstacle your organization faced/faces?

The problems that face our nation are not small, and the solutions shouldn’t be either. We work with a few thousand children each year, but the need is much more. Expanding our impact to the neediest in various locations across India while ensuring uniform quality of volunteers and teaching is the biggest challenge that we foresee now.

What are the future plans for your organization?
In 2014-15, Bhumi expanded operations to Hyderabad, Kolkata and Coimbatore; in 2015-2016, we have planned expansions into Chandigarh, Thanjavur and Madurai [Tamil Nadu]. In addition to expanding the reach of academic programs, we are also investing in Civic Initiatives – like the Right To Education Act Awareness. Bhumi volunteers create awareness about Section 12(c) of the RTE act which allows for a 25% quota of free seats in private schools for under-privileged children. Bhumi also works with other non-profits in creating awareness among them to enable them work in their communities.

How can our readers help you further your mission?
Volunteer with us – If you can spare a few hours to change the lives of underprivileged children, register on www.bhumi.org.in; and we will get in touch with you for a mandatory orientation.

If you wish to contribute financially:

  • 2,000 will help us educate a child for a year
  • 5,000 will help us train 50 new volunteer teachers
  • 13,000 will help us get a new computer for our children

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
There are many young people who want to give back to society,and  there are hundreds of non-profit organizations started by such people across the country. But to establish an institution that makes a meaningful impact on society requires years of hard work and dedication. Until you know you can give that, volunteer for the best possible organization accessible to you, and donate to the most credible organization known to you. We learned one of our most valuable lessons early on: “Just because we are giving away our time for free (volunteering), no one will respect our work unless our work is measurable and impactful.”
Any recent articles, videos, or information that would help us learn more about you?
Educate with Bhumi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKz-o_D-aGY
Robotics expo by our children: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV3de2Z1uiU

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