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An NGO for NGOs

iVolunteer is a unique NGO which provides volunteers to other NGOs. Prachi Parekh talks to Ruchika Beri about their India Youth Fellowship Programme

What is iVolunteer all about?
iVolunteer is an initiative of MITRA Technology Foundation and was founded in 2000 by Shalabh Sahai, Rahul Nainwal, Rahul Bakartaky who are graduates from Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA). They came up with the idea of iVolunteer, which provides volunteers to NGOs. Today, we have placed around 10,000 volunteers. We also have corporate volunteering wherein we tie up with corporations, who want to volunteer.

How does iVolunteer work?
Volunteers can register on our site www.ivolunteer.in or call us on 022 26105235. We then have orientations on alternate weekends where they can come and see how we work and what all issues we support. If interested, they can sign up after paying a nominal fee. Every volunteer can specify the amount of time they can dedicate to us and the cause they want to take up and we send them for volunteering accordingly.

What issues does iVolunteer look into?
We deal with 12 major issues, including HIV, health, literacy, rural development, environment, human rights, gender issues etc. We have tie-ups with NGOs dealing with these issues across India and overseas. We are associated with 300 NGOs in India and abroad, including Make a Wish Foundation, Seva Mandir and Life Trust, etc. We have an iVolunteer overseas programme where people from India are sent abroad for 2 years for voluntary work and vice-versa. . Along with this we have Fellowship programmes.

What are your upcoming events?
We have the India Fellow Youth Programme which will be held in May-June wherein a team of young people will be sent to rural India for voluntary work for 4 to 6 weeks. They will work on projects like biogas, water conservation and purification, village mapping, public distribution system, microfinance, etc. It’s challenging work, as there are no urban facilities, but it will be a great learning experience for them. Since it’s happening in the summer vacation a lot of students can volunteer. An online application form is available on our site. The registration for this programme ends on 10th April.

Any message for the youth?
Volunteering comes straight from the heart. So if you feel like giving something back to the society or work for a cause dear to your heart, then volunteer. Just one or two hours a week will also help, as service makes you grow as a person.

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