BENGALURU: The lockdown saw many a people do their bit for society through various voluntary initiatives. Some chose to cook and prepare food packets, others chose to distribute masks, sanitisers and other essentials to those in need. Akshata DC, on the other hand, chose to be a part of Bengaluru-based social enterprise GiftAbled’s virtual volunteering initiative, and has spent the past couple of weeks playing mentor to a second-year degree student with visual impairments.
Every week, the homemaker gets in touch with the student and guides him on lessons related to communication or soft skills. Like her, over 100 others have signed up to be a part of this programme, held in collaboration with Dharwad-based NGO Vidya Poshak.
Programme manager Sravanthi Tanakallu says the first batch of the programme, launched during the lockdown, saw over 100 mentors. The second, which was launched recently, as already seen 25 registrations. Explaining the process, she says, “We first hold an orientation programme to understand the mentor’s interests and areas of expertise. We then map out the mentor-mentee pairs and set up a call between the two. Post that, we encourage them to mentor the student at least for an academic year.”
The idea emerged from a meeting with NGOs during this time, about what they require the most. Tanakallu is herself a part of the first batch and helps a student improve their spoken English through regular interactions. “The idea is to not take any decisions for them but to make them aware of their options and help them make their an informed choice,” she says.
For Akshata, the opportunity doesn’t just present a chance to teach a student but to also learn something herself. Preparation for her weekly calls mean looking up resources on soft skills. “Interacting one-on-one also helps me gain confidence and see if teaching is something I’m cut out for,” she says.