My Perception on the Impact of Community Work amongst UG Students

I am fortunate to grow up in a family that gives a lot of importance to community work. I have seen my parents donating money, clothes and other items to the needy both in good times and bad times. All the four schools, a college and university I have studied gave a lot of emphasis on social work.

Community Work means service undertaken for any particular societal cause. The causes include:

  1. visiting the aged people and orphaned children and getting actively involved with them
  2. collecting food and distributing it amongst the needy
  3. Cleaning and beautifying the surroundings
  4. Donating blood
  5. Creating awareness on social issues
  6. Donating money, clothes and other items to the needy

I had done a month long volunteering work Krupaprasad Kendra. This non-governmental organization is located at Nashik district of Maharashtra. The organization focuses people affected with HIV/ AIDS by caring and supporting them. The volunteering work was done before the start of my third year of Under Graduation. I learnt the basic skills of counselling, documentation, etc during my work there.

When I was pursuing my post-graduation I was part of the street play team named as Drishti which is a part of the Centre of Social Action of Christ University. We often visited the slums and villages in and around Bangalore such as LR Nagar, Rajendra Nagar and others and noted the problems faced by them. Later we would develop a script projecting their issue and practice the street play. In addition to this, we would visit the slums or villages, invite the locals to witness our play and then perform the street play in the middle of the village and slums. We aimed in creating awareness on multiple issues.

According to the National Education Policy 2020, Bangalore University included the Community Project Work component for students as part of their coursework. Five marks are allocated for this work for all the seven subjects in a semester. This was new to me in the realm of teaching due to the marks component. I had already encouraged students to do volunteering activities in the beginning of the semester. I was wondering what to do for the marks component as per the Bangalore University norms. Then I realised why not convert the volunteering encouragement to the students into an activity. I did exactly the same.

I told students to seriously undertake volunteering work for any noble cause for atleast five hours. This can be either in bangalore or their respective hometown during the Christmas vacation. It was interesting to see how students would take this activity. A majority of them did the volunteering work in their respective hometown. They were excited and constantly updating me through whatsapp on their developments.

The volunteering component for the students came with its sets of problems. Even though majority of my students did their work in the Christmas holidays and some even before that, there were a small section of students who did not even bother to look for any volunteering work. This became a headache for me. In the end of the first week of January this year Bangalore like other places in India went for a third lockdown.

I had decided to hold a students’ presentation on the volunteering work undertaken by them on Jan 17th through MS Teams. Hence, five marks for the work done by them that must include certificates, letter of appreciation or photo or video records as proofs and five marks for the presentation of the same. As mentioned earlier, many of them did it but there were a section who did not do anything. These small fraction of students were complaining about everything like they did not find any, we can’t go out during the lockdown, parents were not allowing and some of them were not at all interested to do the volunteering work. This made me really angry.

As these students almost gave up and I sensed that my encouragement to students to take up any volunteering work was falling flat. I decided to tweak the voluntary activity. I told students to search for any volunteering work that can be done online. I found a website named as ivounteer. The link for the same is Students can opt for other virtual volunteering too.

One student was unable to find even one virtual volunteering work so I gave him an assignment to list down five NGO’s in his hometown of Hyderabad and an article about the same. One of the student did not do anything. Some of them volunteered for more than one. Rest of them volunteered in various local, national & international organizations.

Overall, it was a fantastic experience with lots of ups and down. Still, I am motivated to explore new possibilities in the coming semesters for the Community Project Work component. This is my first Community Project Work for the students.

Penned by – Livea Thekkekara Paul works as an English Lecturer at International School of Management Excellence, a leading private B-school in Bengaluru, India.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *