SAFAR: On the Road together

Writing a blog is not an easy thing to do, and talking about me is something that I actually avoid doing. But yes, how I can I not share about my experiences of being a part of YCS 2015, so here I am penning down my journey of taking up the YCS 2015 challenge, jointly organised by Development Alternatives (DA) and VSO India.


Let me start from the beginning, while I was sitting in my office and making reports for an upcoming conference at my office, I received a mail from my immediate Director, in which he had shared the YCS link and had also asked me to fill the application form. I was clueless about this particular programme and so I went to my boss’ cabin to get some clarity on the topic, but on reaching his cabin, I came to know that he had already left for the day. So, I started searching about the programme myself. Therefore, I went through the link and read all about the YCS 2015 challenge and also about DA and VSO India. On 27th August I came to know that I have been shortlisted for the interview and on 29th August, I came to know that I have been selected amongst the 12 volunteers. To be true, I was confused whether I should be happy or sad because I would be away for six weeks from my official duties, which was a big thing, as I would be over loaded with work after that. However, my happiness knew no bound because it meant a totally new experience, away from the routine.


So on 4th August, I packed my bags to take a train to Jhansi along with other volunteers from different states. We reached Jhansi station on 5th morning around 6 AM, and then we proceeded for TARAgram, Orchha. For three days we had our Pre-Departure Training (PDT).  Over the next three days, we were engaged in different, useful and informative activities, sessions and interactions with other volunteers, and team members of Development Alternatives and VSO India. On the third day we were briefed about the four livelihood projects in which all the volunteers were divided into different teams consisting of three members each.


The Project which was allotted to me was Sanitary Napkin Project. The two other volunteers along with me were Disha Ranjana from Orissa and Rudraksh Rakshit from Rajasthan. We had to do sampling for four villages in Uttar Pradesh and our host home was in Dhikoli. However, we had to shift to another place soon after completing sampling in the targeted villages of Uttar Pradesh because three of us tried to adjust to the host home and host family, but three of us fell ill due to the up-keeping of the place and lack of support from the host family. So after discussions with our mentors, three of us were shifted to Gaushala in Madhya Pradesh.


The two target villages where we worked in Madhya Pradesh were Laadpura and Maharajpura. An essential point regarding our assignment on collecting sample and information for Sanitary napkins’ was that the topic in itself was so challenging that making people understand about it was a difficult task in itself. We did many awareness campaigns in the form of talks, FGD’s, thematic role-plays and many other things, but the response which we got from the target villages was not that good, as most of the time they were shying around and it became difficult for us to gain their attention. Even during the surveys, it was a challenge for us to get proper information from them because they were not comfortable discussing about sanitary napkins and menstrual hygiene. But we kept trying and progressed by sincerely working on our assignment.


Lastly, on a personal note I would like to share the areas, where I have grown as an individual and also the conclusions that I have reached after taking up this challenge. “We all wish that we should find an environment and surrounding that should always be suitable for us, but sadly that’s not true in most of the cases. This journey taught me the value of being flexible, and also that I need to be more accommodating to my surroundings, in order to meet my goals and be successful as an individual and a professional.


I always used to think that I am a good team player and know everything about group mechanisms. But through this experience, I learnt to be a better team player. I also realised the value of being a team player is more important than seeking individual/personal interest. Things won’t be successful, if we’ll think only about our-selves and for that it is so important to leave our own ego as we become member of a group pursuing one common goal.


I have also learnt that it is crucial to not let personal goals be a foremost and hindrance in the  process of attaining the group goal , that being emotionally strong is extremely important and lastly the value of self care, because if I am not well then it’s obvious that I can’t serve my community well too.”


I just want to thank God for this great experience, and also to YCS for giving me the exposure, the experience and the opportunity so that I could explore more.


In the end, I  just want to say that those who really want to know and explore more about their limitations and search more about themselves, then this is the opportunity for you, because through this programme one can really get to know the real self.


So, give yourself a chance to meet the REAL YOU through YCS 2015 Challenge, as you never know what you may find out about yourself!

-Shobna Eusebius

YCS 2015 Volunteer

 Join the YCS 2015 Fourth Cycle. Last Date of Application: October 5th, 2015. Apply Here

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