Paul Chawla/Salesforce Success Manager/Toronto, Canada/I have hundreds of goals and they keep changing but overall I just want to have a meaningful and satisfying life.
I joined this awesome company (Salesforce) that not only encourages but enables its employees to volunteer. I wanted to take advantage of our 1-1-1 Philanthropic Model whereby we get time off and donation matching to improve communities throughout the world. I had a few requirements when looking at different programs: 1) I wanted to travel and volunteer abroad, 2) I wanted to engage with an organization that did transformational work, and 3) I wanted an opportunity to leverage my professional skills. I attended a Lunch&Learn run by Fadi and found V2I to be a perfect fit for me.
There is no shortage of travel abroad programs where volunteers can teach English or help build homes. What I like most about V2I is that their projects have real, sustainable impact on the ground. Their mission to break the cycle of poverty is supported by an engagement model that focuses on lasting well-being. Volunteers have an opportunity to continue contributing and benefiting the communities even after the trip.
I was born in India but immigrated when I was 4 years old. I never had an opportunity to go back to India and experience the poverty prevalent there. With the V2I India project last November, I was able to experience, first hand, some of the challenges different communities face. I am glad that we were able to discover some great causes for us to contribute to. I am looking forward to working with a hospital in India on the Anugrah project over the next couple of years.
One concern I had before my trip was what impact could 1 week make? Could I really make a difference in the short time? I have to come to learn that small things can have big impact. I now take advantage of even the smallest of opportunities to give back to the communities. I know that my small contribution could have lasting impact on others.
Volunteering is best known as something that benefits others, but that’s not to say there aren’t lessons we can all learn along the way. I learnt humbling lessons about how communities living in poverty embrace hardships and find a way to happiness.