Wednesday, 13 September 2017

A Fresher's Best Bet

One of the main questions we all face in our lives, especially the young among us, is “What kind of job is really worth spending my time and effort on?” While the answer to this question may be subjective, we have compiled a list of reasons why working at an NGO will be a perfect start to your career and future life.

1. Will over Experience: At an NGO, your devotion to the cause and your willingness to work towards it matters more than your experience. Passion will be rewarded.

2. Responsibility: Working for an upcoming NGO will inevitably put you in a position of responsibility. Your work will seriously matter to the organization, not to mention the copious amount of lessons you will learn.

3. Opportunity to build a network: You are bound to meet a lot of talented and driven people at an NGO. Working and networking with them will open up tremendous opportunities for you in the future.

4. The Sweet Struggle: Working at an NGO is challenging. You will be forced out of your comfort zone, and by doing so, build confidence and become a better communicator in a relatively short span of time.

5. Directly affect lives: At an NGO, you will be changing lives for the better, literally. Progress will no longer be an abstract term. Working at an NGO will keep you at your happiest because a better world would be building before your own eyes and you will be one of its architects.

6. Humane Work Conditions: The very basis of an NGO is to show respect and love towards our common Humanity. Unlike the exploitative corporate environment, your uniqueness will be valued by those around you.

7. Launchpad for a great future: While it may be true that the pay here is not always the greatest but nothing reflects on your CV better than having some work experience at an NGO.

8. Seeds of Humanity are sown: Once you spend some time working for an NGO, your perspective on life will definitely change for better. Throughout the rest of your career, whether or not you keep working for an NGO, you will be more moral and benevolent in your choices.


















Photo courtesy: http://az616578.vo.msecnd.net/files/2017/01/30/6362134301714971722116709101_success.jpg

Monday, 4 September 2017

THE UNLIKELY WALLFLOWERS

If you follow Advitya on any of its social media pages or if you have ever visited here, you probably have an idea of how happening a place this is. Every day brings with it a plethora of wonderful moments of laughter, frolicsome activities and profound lessons. The first and probably the single most important thing that I learned spending time here was how clueless I was throughout my life, like any average person, about the daily struggles of persons with special needs. It is truly astounding to notice just how many things in life we take for granted and how often we fail to recognize the challenges faced by others. 

Therefore I was certain that a day spent outdoors with Advitya - especially at a place like Aquamagica - was bound to bring with it a lot of fun, challenges and insights. 

Early in the morning of August 23rd, dressed proudly in their characteristic fluorescent green and bright orange ‘Advitya’ T-Shirts, Team Advitya set forth on a journey to a world of giant water slides and wave pools.

To be honest, I was slightly worried in the beginning. Worried, not for the students, but for the volunteers among us. It just seemed too heavy a task to manage more than twenty special students for a day in a potentially hazardous environment like a water park. In retrospect, I can clearly see that my fear had more to do with my inexperience and the novelty of it all than anything else. Also, it is worth mentioning that something similar happens with “normal” people when they interact with specially gifted people for the first time. We tend to underestimate their emotional intelligence and their ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

My personal favorite experience through the trip, hands down, had to be dancing in the wave pool with my special friends. I can never forget the expressions of joy all around me. At the end of the day, not many of my specially abled friends could articulate exactly how they felt, but I could see by the jolly faces and shattering cries of laughter that every one of them loved it as much as I did. Yes, on the way back, sleep and fatigue overcame everyone but it was all worth it, because we were carrying with us a bagful of sweet and happy memories to cherish for a lifetime.

I encourage anyone reading this blog who might hold any reservations, to make an effort to connect with every specially gifted person you might come across. Once you cross that barrier, you will surely be overwhelmed, to the point of tears, not just by the exhibition of heroic courage and spirit before your eyes but also by the shower of love and generosity that will come your way.



My name is Abhishek Vidhate and I am 19 years old. For almost three months now, I have been working at Advitya as an intern. 


Photo courtesy : https://www.tweetspeakpoetry.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/promise-of-humanity-poetry-prompt.jpg

Saturday, 19 August 2017

AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, WHO AWOKE TO LIFE AND FREEDOM?

15th August 1947 - for the 360 million newly free Indians, the word 'independence' meant more than merely a state of autonomy. It meant, for the community at large, the freedom to pursue your interests, hone your skills and build a life around it.

One such community is that of the Intellectually Disabled people of India. In ancient times, any kind of significant impairment in cognitive and adaptive abilities in a person was regarded as a result of sinful past lives and therefore, an object of ridicule and something to be ashamed of. Traces of such thinking, although to a significantly lesser degree, still exist in many rural areas of the country.

In metropolitan areas, the situation for Intellectually Disabled is better but not satisfactory. The onset of the Industrial Revolution brought in a great deal of wealth and productivity to the civilization but at a great cost. Concentration of wealth and resources in cities forced huge populations of villages to migrate in search of labor. Those with vocational ability were considered to be an asset to the family while those with disabilities of any kind were marginalized.

In the years after independence, many positive strides were taken by the government as well as many newly formed NGOs across the country. Special schools for the Intellectually Disabled were established in the 1950s, which was the first time an organized effort was made towards the cause. Since then, hard-fought legislation like the 'Persons with Disabilities Act 1995'  (for Equal opportunities, Protection of Rights, and Full Participation)National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability Act, 1999 and the most recent  Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. (Amendment to the bill passed in 2014) have paved a way for a better future.

On a social level, we have made some meaningful progress even though there is still a long way to go. It has been our experience after 17 successful years of Advitya that once you create a public platform to campaign the cause of the Intellectually Disabled, people take active interest in knowing more about the issue and often goes great lengths to be of some help.

It is also imperative to understand the struggles of the people most directly affected by the plight of the Intellectually Disabled - the parents of the Intellectually Disabled. An open dialogue in the media other public platforms will be of tremendous help to these parents. Once they know that there are other parents coping with similar issues, a lot of ignorance and hush hush surrounding the issue will fade away. Also, the depiction of People with Intellectual Disabilities in movies, TV and other art forms is rarely multi-dimensional. And because art reflects life, this kind of simple-minded depiction points towards the greater reality of the society: we simply do not know enough about the life and problems of a person with such disabilities. We can't keep shrugging the responsibility to educate the masses on someone else. 

Change begins from within.



Photo Courtesy : http://timhillpsychotherapy.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/What-Would-You-Do-With-Your-Freedom.jpg

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The cards have been dealt


Burdened with the task, to ask
my slender intellect:
Whether to roam free or to hide behind a mask,
to resist or to follow the vile pursuit of perfect?

Eyes wide open on a chilly drizzling night,
I thought of everything that could be different
on the fading brim of the shallow, yellow light
of the grim life that I've been a resident.

O you, the lucid and the understood,
given as much a say (as me) in this giant roll:
Tell me to what avail; to what good
brings you the ostracization of a soul?

Be what it may, the cards have been dealt
of what exists, oh they are, but not what could be felt.



Photo courtesy : http://www.lanlinglaurel.com

Saturday, 5 August 2017

LOVE IN THE TIME OF CSR

It has been our experience at Advitya, that whenever we are graced with a gratuitous visit from some curious souls, they never leave without a hopeful smile and an overwhelming urgency to feel grateful for the wonderful gift of life. That, without a doubt, has to be the answer to the well-intended question we get asked frequently: What motivates you to keep doing a thankless job, often riddled with severe hurdles?

Therefore, naturally, whenever we receive letters from our visitors recounting their experience with us and how it was almost transcendental to see the world through the lens of a special person, we feel as though every hurdle on the way was worth it. We can't thank those enough who keep rejuvenating our love for what we do and express solidarity with our cause. Words truly do possess the power to change the life of people, if not the world itself.

Recently, we received a heartfelt letter written by Anita Mascarenhas in which she wrote meticulously about her day with the students of Advitya. She came here along with a group of well-wishers from Johnson & Johnson as a part of a CSR program. In the letter we received via email, she writes, "We all had a very humbling and an amazing experience which has filled our hearts with gratitude for the simple things in life that we usually overlook."  


We sincerely thank Anita and her team for choosing to spend their precious time with our students. Nobody can know how far reaching are the ripples of love and friendship in our lives. All we can do is keep initiating them.


Photo courtesy - https://www.aspireforsuccess.com/gratitude-benefit-for-you-career/


Monday, 31 July 2017

The 5 Cardinal Rules of Social Entrepreneurship

Some of us fancy corporate jobs, some of us dream of employment stability, some of us are go-getters with gypsy hearts and then there are a bunch of us who find our calling in changing the world. While it is a daunting task, it is immensely gratifying as well. Most of us learn the tricks of the trade through formal training or hearsay, but what no one tells us are the obvious things – those that we learn only through experience. In our 17 long years, we at Advitya have learned things the hard way - we’re glad that we did – and it is our duty to share them with those who wish to embark upon a road less traveled. Here we enlist the 5 cardinal rules of social entrepreneurship.

1. Have a specific goal. It may be tempting to try your hand at multiple causes at once but that will only lead to diffusion of your focus and motivation. 

2. Pick something that matters a lot to you. If you are looking to build something that really matters, it is really important to be single minded in your pursuit. That is possible only when you truly care about the cause and are willing to go through hell to make it work.

3. Get all your legal work and registrations done. Having good intentions is necessary but not sufficient to bring about a social change. A good company is built on a robust system. Therefore it is imperative that you get your legal and managerial matters into order.

4. Take criticism constructively. Understand that this is a thankless job for the most part. The world is full of armchair activists who will always have an opinion. Hear them out with an open mind, pick the good apples and leave the rest to rot. 


5. Don't be in your own way. Remember that your personal desires will always be outweighed by the welfare of your company/firm/centre. Keep the bigger picture in mind and never let the whims and egos of individuals obfuscate your ultimate vision. Know what matters


Photo courtesy : https://assets.entrepreneur.com

Friday, 28 July 2017

THE WORLD WILL SAVE ITSELF

The world we find ourselves in today is one giant unhappy family. Our collective conscience has been a silent witness to countless disheartening stories of human estrangement. This brutal truth is sometimes veiled by our pride in the fact that our overall standard of living has elevated remarkably in the past few centuries. We feel like there are better and more things in the world to strive towards than ever before. Even better than surrounding ourselves with people who love us for who we are. Where does the evolutionary need to nurture relationships with members of our tribe, or to take good care of our environment, map on today's increasingly insulating desires of “a better life”? 

This is not a criticism of our desire to be happy, of course. We wouldn't exist if we didn't want to be happy. But at what point do we question the negotiations we make every day in reconciling our needs with those of the supposed strangers who surround us? Should I look into my neighbor's bowl to see if he has more than my family does or, to see if he has enough? No matter how we approach these questions in the course our daily lives, our denial of any responsibility we have towards the well-being of the "outsider" has lead us to this state of indifference. In the modern society, this selfish tendency has also engendered the notion that charity and selfless service is for those who are absurdly rich and are now looking for something to fill their time with. As if it is inconsequential how you treat others while you pursue your individual happiness; and once you finally achieve it, you are free to contribute to the enterprise of making the world a better place in your spare time.


It couldn't be more lucid how a general lack of compassion and partisanship has contributed towards driving the project of building a truly inclusive society into ground. The only reliable way to make amends is by starting on an individual level, wherever you are and however you are. We have to develop our sense of empathy to see the misery of those living in abject poverty, to hear the wails of those who are denied justice at every turn on the road and to feel the emptiness of those who are subjugated for being different. You don't have to think about the entire world to save it. Just have the courage to see the humanity of that one person in need in front of you and do the right thing for the sake of it. The world will eventually save itself.


Photo courtesy : https://huttsatwork.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_2859-balloons-in-the-sky.jpg