By Abhineet Nayyar:
When I first came to BITS, I never thought I’d start working for an NGO. With the only experience of social work being my family’s occasional charity to the homeless outside the temples, I never saw myself as a part of an organisation that could work towards bringing about change. Nirmaan changed that for me. I remember sitting in the orientations, wherein the freshers are informed of all activities on the campus, and actually feeling moved by its introductory video.
On the first Independence Day, I joined the seniors to visit a local school for some fun activities, and it’ll be two years since then that I’ve been associated with this organisation. Nirmaan works in a set of teams, called verticals, with each one of them aiming for improvement in different sectors. There’s one each for education, employment, health, participative community development and more. Since I’d always been around teachers in my family as I grew up, I joined the vertical responsible for educating students, in and around the campus premises in the areas of Zari, Birla, and Lamani.
Apart from this, what moved me the most during my first year at Nirmaan was its week-long event programme in late September, called the Joy of Giving Week (JoGW). Being a part of this venture changed my entire perception of social work. I realised how the privilege in our lives just makes it impossible for us to see, acknowledge and do something about the constant degradation of society. With visits to places like old-age homes, schools for people with disabilities, orphanages, I realised that there’s so much about our nation that we need to change. There are problems that are so deeply rooted that it’ll take efforts from the entire population to solve them. Another event that helped me embrace the ableism that prevails unseen in our society was Udaan, a Paralympic event that includes numerous activities for kids with disabilities. Seeing these innocent lives enjoy the little opportunities that life gives them makes one realize the kind of inherent advantage one is born with.
More than all this, Nirmaan for me, brought an amazing set of people to interact with. I’ve had my opinions shattered, and remade from scratch. I’ve had my views swayed and my thought processes altered in ways that I never thought were possible. For me, social work has become something that must be imbibed in our education system from the very beginning.
For me, social work is an important step for the improvement of the overall mindset of people because unless people interact with people of other genders, castes, religions, ethnicities, they won’t have their views changed and a change in the general opinion is what is needed the most right now.