10 Dec Bhumi Volunteer Den – December 2011
Every month, Bhumi Mirror’s Volunteer Den section focuses on one volunteer who has been making a considerable difference in his/her respective project. This December, its Mr.Gopi Pepakalaya from Little Einsteins. He teaches at SISTWA, Saidapet, Chennai.
Hi Gopi! To start with, tell us a little bit about yourself
I came to Chennai in 2002 to pursue my higher education. Joined CandleStick Advisors, a financial service company in Chennai and have lived here since. I’m a nature lover, football fan, Harry Potter and & Naruto (Japanese Manga) addict. A bit of a book worm, I like reading up random facts on the internet. I also watch a few TV shows of which ‘Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Bones’ are my favourite. I am an amateur photographer. Claim to fame: One photo on BBC’s website and one on NGC’s. In case anyone is getting married, you know who you need to call for your photography needs! 🙂
You’ve been with Bhumi for almost two years now; what is it that keeps you going?
I don’t know if Bhumi volunteers actually need something to keep them going. At least I haven’t faced any such situation. As long as I am happy with the work I am doing at Bhumi I guess I will keep going.
Why did you choose to volunteer with Bhumi?
I knew I wanted to contribute to children’s education. Stumbled upon Bhumi while searching for organizations in Chennai. I attended the orientation and was impressed with the passion the volunteers showed. So signed up for the ride.
In what ways do you contribute towards Bhumi apart from the regular weekend classes at SISTWA?
I am a part of the Syllabus team also Vaishnavi and Sharanya have bullied me in to becoming the unofficial, unpaid photographer of random Bhumi events.
Tell us about one unforgettable experience in Bhumi/Little Einsteins?
Actually, just had one a couple of days back. A child from SISTWA called just to say hello. Children keep asking for our numbers but I never expected them to actually call. Somehow the call was very moving. Here are these random grown-ups who come only on weekends, keep pestering them to read and study (on weekends!!) but the children still keep coming back week after week and form tight bonds with them. It’s just amazing, this connection that the kids form with the volunteers. It’s a very fulfilling experience, unlike any other that I have had until now.
What do you think are the responsibilities of young educated citizens of the country?
India at its peak was at the forefront of science, mathematics, medicine, education, religious tolerance, law and national wealth. I believe India’s youth can help the country relive those days. All it needs is collective, single-minded effort.
Apart from the great work you’ve been doing at Bhumi, have you worked towards any other any other social /environmental cause?
There are a few organizations that I have tried to help with. An organization called Save the Children that helps underprivileged children, Prajwala, that rescues women and children in prostitution. Save Our Tigers is another one.
Any favourites within Bhumi?
Doc is an obvious candidate. He is truly inspiring. Another favourite is Sharanya, my centre-head for guiding and helping me a lot when I first started classes. And of course, all my kids at SISTWA.