Are you a first time volunteer to help Chennai recover from its floods?
 
Now that the weekend is over, I foresee a reduction in the number of people who will be available to volunteer. This is because many offices would resume work today and the services of these volunteers as employees will be definitely required especially in flood-hit workplaces. It is here that students from various colleges can bring in more of their friends to continue the relief operations in the same manner and intensity
 
To help all the first time volunteers wanting to help Chennai, I present a small guide to induct, welcome and prepare the new willing heroes
 
(I) Where to start? If you have the adrenalin rush because your friends have joined the fray or you have been waiting for an opportunity to prove yourself, this is it. You could start right in your locality. You don’t have to go to a far off place just because your friends are volunteering there or you know someone. Remember that new friends are made in unlikely places. You can search FB for teams working in that area or simply go into the street and join a team of people that you might see. Believe me! If you are able to break your apprehension here, you will be amazed by your own self-confidence and happiness. In short, Make a beginning in your own locality.
 
(II) What to start? There will be a confusion of “want to help” and “what to help”. A confusion of intent and action. Start with something that comes naturally. If you know driving, volunteer to drive a car with relief materials. If packing carton boxes is something you are speedy at, start packing. Start running and don’t just stand. Intent is put to test through action
 
(III) When to start? Disaster recovery work is like a relay race. The baton is passed on but the race continues till the finish line. The process is rehabilitation is huge and there is a lot of work ahead that needs to be done. At the end of it, I promise you will have your own pie of pride with your contributions. Remember those countless movies when the guest appearance has a special impact than the hero 😃 Nothing is too late
 
(IV) Whom to start with?  There are so many groups that are working. Celebrities, NGOs, Corporate houses, Charitable trusts, Educational institutions, Religious bodies (RSS, your nearest church, Sikh groups, Jain committees, Islam groups etc) Social workers, Social media icons are quite a few. If you are able to relate/connect with one of them, start at once . Follow FB or many of the whatsapp group that your friends might be a part of. You will see a lot of heroes emerging. Align with one of them. 
 
(V) Remember these ten tenets:
 
  1. Carry a Power bank to keep your mobile charged and an ID card (Helps when you run into trouble)
  2. Keep checking social media and whatsapp for updates
  3. Communicate requirements as and when you receive or see a need
  4. Verify the latest status of any requirement (There could be others working on it and served it already)
  5. Verify the authenticity of information (rumours like lake overflowing or bridge broken etc)
  6. Verify the availability of relief material before starting to collect it from that place
  7. Pass on information to someone else to help in case you are busy
  8. Concentrate on one task at a time. You can tend to be easily carried away doing too many things
  9. Ensure personal health by bathing in potassium permanganate soaked water or taking a Tetanus injection
  10. Lastly, focus not on selfies but on selfless contribution
 
It is in situations like this, one will be able to discover himself. In helping others, you identify with a cause. In aligning with a cause, you become a contributor. In becoming a contributor, a leader emerges and within the realms of leadership, you discover yourself
 
Go discover yourself to the fullest! May Chennai remain blissful through you
Happy helping!
Shashikanth Jayaraman 

A version of this write up is also available at http://shashikanthjayaraman.com/what-chennai-must-learn-from-the-recent-rains/

Shashi is an HR Professional, Motivational speaker, Student development expert and the founder of HR Sangam. He writes on a variety of topics including Human Resources, sports and events around him.