Top 3 Moments at CF
“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision is merely passing time. But vision with action can change the world.” — Nelson Mandela
After being a part of the corporate banking sector for the initial years of my career, I decided to change paths and move over to the social sector and join a start-up. My first thought to share is that working for an NGO doesn’t automatically grant the grace of helping others better their lives, or saving the planet. It is practical to assume that your efforts in this space may not be realised in the short term, but the work satisfaction that I get is incomparable to anything I have done in the past.
I have been working with ConnectFor for about 1.5 years now. The beauty of working in any start up, is like seeing a child being born and growing up. You can identify different phases and factions of growth — such as the phase of intense growth, the phase of operational stagnation or even the phase of chaos! And each phase strikes a chord close to you, because you have a been a part of each moment of this.
While it is impossible to extract and isolate just one or more favourite moments of mine at ConnectFor, there are definitely a couple of them that vividly stay with me, as if they just happened yesterday.
1. When we hit the jackpot for the first time — 1,000 volunteers! The most fun part of this was the build up to hitting the first 1,000 volunteers on ConnectFor’s website. 965..980..993.. and the next day 1,000. If you want to compare this feeling to something — the last kilometre when you’re running a marathon for the first time ever. And the 1,000? When you run over the white finish line, sweat streaming down your bow, and you think, wow I really did this.
2. That touching moment while running a corporate workshop at an NGO… — ConnectFor ran a corporate workshop for an esteemed bank at an education after-school center where the children are taught English and Maths. It was the first event at which I was going to lead and compare. Part of the workshop involved interaction between the employee volunteers and the children. The children at the center came from all walks of life — someone’s mother was a domestic helper, someone’s dad was a daily labourer etc. We had one 12 year old child ask the bank employees — “I want to become CA, my dad tells me becoming CA very respectful. Please tell me, how do I become a CA.” That moment of realisation — that child, all of 12, with no financial support, who doesn’t know if he will get his meal the next day, has bigger dreams and aspirations than all of us. It was the most beautiful moment I have ever experienced in my professional life — my eyes welled up with tears of happiness and hope for this child — who changed my life in so many ways.
3. When I learnt to change my apathy to the power of empathy — The perks of working at ConnectFor is that they keep you grounded and make you realise that no problem is unsolvable. My favourite part of working at ConnectFor was conducting visits to our NGO partners, meeting the beneficiaries of each center and pitching to them how we aim to make this world a better place. On one of the NGO visits, we had to make our way to an NGO which was in a remote area. Not only that, my first impression on seeing the NGO center — this is dodgy. Dilapidated old building, no lift, no stairwell light, no other residents, isolated area and not another person in sight. Since it was just my colleague and I on this NGO visit, I was feeling a little apprehensive seeing the center. Once inside the center, it was refreshing to meet the beneficiaries. This NGO center has been made for runaway girls who were forced into labour or marriage against their will. The NGO center trains the girls vocationally in order to have a support for themselves for their future. As we left the center, I voiced out loud to my colleague that getting to this NGO center and seeing the facilities from the outside is so dodgy; I doubt any volunteers will come here. At which my colleague said, “It’s so sad. Can you imagine the girls having to grow up and spend their childhood here.” That’s when it struck me, I am so selfish. The first thing I thought about when I came here was myself as opposed to thinking about the children who are brought here and stay in these facilities day in and day out. One more thing I was taught at ConnectFor.. Changing my apathy to empathy!
The best part of working with a small team closely and meeting each other for most of the day is that they become family for you in so many ways. You spend more time with them than you spend with your parents or your spouse. And there are more moments of laughter, inside jokes, moments of sadness when someone is leaving and moments of togetherness with each other all the time.
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” — Henry Ford
Raashi Seth Mittal is arguably the MVP team player at ConnectFor, and this is definitely the best blog she has written yet!