By Anjali Vishwakarma, Volunteer, Nashik Chapter

“It has been said that giving one’s time to others is the best gift one can give, but as per my point of view, we receive more than what we contribute towards the others. As of today’s reality, nobody wants to do anything if they are not paid for that or they don’t receive any benefits from it. One should understand, life is short and we all will die someday, so the time that we spend in helping others is very important. Time can be seen, to some people, as being more valuable than anything else.

When I became a volunteer with the AFS Intercultural programs, India (Nashik Chapter), many people appreciated me for that wonderful work that I used to do but at the same time, some people were not happy with my decision. “What would do you get out of it?, Do you know you will be not paid for that and there would be a  wastage of time and effort that you would put into this”. Even my family members were against my decision but somehow I convinced them and I stood by my decision. They questioned me and made me rethink this decision of mine. I started thinking about that and began to search for answers to those questions. I started interacting with my peer volunteers and very soon I realized that each and every volunteer was so much involved in doing their best to contribute towards the vision and mission of the chapter. Be it any activity, from planning the community service activities to helping the Pulwama attacks to host the students and letting them know the cultural importance and traditional history of the city and country, approaching the new schools, and the host families, everyone did their best. After seeing the spirit of people, I found my answer that “When you make others feel better, and give them affection and attention– it makes YOU feel better”

Working with them I found some changes in my life also. It helped me in developing social and technical skills, making new friends, it built confidence in me, reduced my stress and it helped me forget about my own problems for a while because I had to concentrate on other events. As with any endeavor where people come together for a common goal – creates the feeling of ownership among other volunteers, like they are part of something bigger than themselves, part of a team where the individuals only make up a whole.

So now I definitely believe in doing the best for my community and I believe that when the world will change, at that time people will understand your commitment towards the work that you’ve been doing.”