By Shaza Mahmood –
So, if you have some free time on your hands, need to figure out where you’re going in life, know you want to make a difference to people’s lives and give back, what would you do? I chose to come back to my roots, India, and work with Maitri. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made to date.
Coming to Delhi on my own was already a big thing, but coming to Delhi on my own to work for an NGO was even bigger. I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I knew what Maitri does and I knew the positive impact it’s already had on hundreds of lives, but I didn’t know where I would fit into the scheme of it all. I didn’t have to worry. I was made to feel part of the team from the outset by the staff and other interns. I made new relationships, experienced unforgettable moments and found my feet in this chaotic but wonderful city I’m proud to be able to call home.
I was even able to be part of the audience for the NDTV show ‘Agenda’ on my first day! I was lucky to be able to get right into one of the projects closest to Maitri’s heart – working with abandoned widow mothers. I got a pretty good idea of the positive impact Maitri has had on their lives by going through all the reports, reading plenty of case studies and then later actually visiting the two old-age homes and taking part in a Health Camp, more about that later!
Seeing the passion of the staff who work at Maitri and their pledge to improve the lives of the people they endeavour to work for is definitely catching. Every day you come to work you know you’re doing something, no matter how small it may seem at the time, that is part of a bigger picture of improving the lives of the vulnerable population. How many people can say they do that? That feeling, that buzz, is irreplaceable.
During my month here, I’ve managed to take part in quite a few of Maitri’s projects and get a feel for what they do. But my highlight has definitely been going to Radha Kund and taking part in the Health Camp. Being fortunate enough to go to the Health Camp and experience it first-hand is something I will always remember. There were over 130 women who attended and were seen to by a whole host of doctors. I had the added bonus of being able to visit the old-age home in Vrindavan as well. Seeing the positive impact Maitri has had on the lives of the widows and their determined effort to continue to look after them and give them a new-found confidence and independence was humbling. Being welcomed by the widow mothers with open arms, sitting with them, hearing their stories and seeing how much their lives have improved is an experience I can never forget and will carry close to my heart.
So next time you’re thinking about what to do, book a ticket to Delhi, enrich your life, and volunteer with Maitri!
Check out another story from one of Maitri’s interns here: https://maitriindiablog.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/helping-maitri-to-help-others/