It all started way back during my childhood where I was introduced to the joy of giving by the most selfless person in the world, my Papa (S Mahadeva Prasad)! I was very inspired by him; however, never understood why he always gave away. When he passed away in 2001 and seeing the number of people who had come to pay their respects to him made me realize that your life is worthless unless you’ve earned people and their respect. He had impacted hundreds of lives. I knew I wanted to follow his footsteps and did not know where to start.
It was in 2007 when I joined SAP, I was introduced to the blood donation camps which happened half yearly by a colleague Ramakrishna Potluri. This was my first baby step into the world of giving. I started organizing the blood donation drives and spreading it to all SAP locations in Bangalore. The drive runs 3 times in a year. The kind of reach that you can get with volunteers at SAP is big – close to ten thousand people in Bangalore alone. This further lead to introducing myself to know more about and to spread the awareness on the STEM Cell registry. The importance of being a STEM Cell donor was an eyeopener. One in a million get a match to be an eligible donor.
Exposure to these pushed me to the next level. The inspiration came from my Papa who pledge to donate his eyes and one of my granny who pledged to donate her body to the medical college after her death when the awareness of organ donation did not even exist. It was difficult to convince people to give up their organs. Gunjan Patel, CSR head seeing my interest connected me to Mohan Foundation. Working with this organization helped to break the myths around organ donation and decided to spread the awareness sessions and open discussions with employees. It was exhausting but all my efforts paid off with a successful pledge drive across all locations for organ pledge awareness.
Sooner; realized that giving is larger than just blood and organ pledge; where you can impact a larger audience around us who lack basic human needs. SAP enabled me to organize various donation & collection drives for food, toys, books and clothes. This instantly gained popularity because it was something that everyone could contribute to. I am proud to say, “I have pledge to be an organ donor” and informed my family about the same so that they are aware of my decision.
In 2015, I started a food bucket challenge for Akshayapatra, an NGO which provides food for the Mid-day meals scheme in government schools and colleges. The teams who volunteered to visit the kitchen came back to me with experiences that changed their lives where they visited some schools where HIV affected kids were studying. More than giving; it becomes more important to break our own myths and live with the society.
The donated clothes are given to new ARK Foundation “Home of Hope” by Auto Raja. Rajesh M S introduced me to this foundation and is very close to my heart because they pick up people lying on the streets, in horrible conditions and treat them completely including rehabilitation. The stories of the rehabilitated people are extremely disturbing and heart-warming at the same time. Disclaimer: “Weak hearted people dare to see the videos on this website.” Someone really needs to real guts to watch the selfless attention one could give to those people who are almost at the edge of their last breath. It’s all about giving someone a decent life which is their right for living and all the love and the respect for the one to have a peaceful death.
As a company, SAP plays a big role in pushing me to do more every time. A feather in the cap experience during my entire career was the Local Social Sabbatical program where I got to work with Vidya India Organization. They talk to women from underprivileged backgrounds who stay at home and train them in public speaking, spoken English, beautician course, tailoring, fashion design, art and craft, basic sales, computer skills etc., followed with placement opportunities.
In a developing country like India, I got to empower uneducated women and enable them to be financially independent. The experience broadened my scope of giving and showed me how the small things that we take for granted like training’s can impact the society and help build a better world with equal opportunities for men and women.
The idea of donation comes from my dad who always said, “If you are full and anything excess you consume belongs to someone else who is in need, so GIVE!”. In the process of giving, it’s the little things that make a huge difference. I remember how I once collected money through my team for the college fees of the housekeeping staff’s daughter. From just thinking about doing something good to finding my purpose and organizing three huge campaigns every year, the journey has been an amazing!
It’s also very important for one to share their stories and experiences to lead others by example. My daughter gets super excited for her bedtime stories because it’s about the experiences that I have had at SAP as a professional and as a contributor to the CSR cause. She looks up to me, just like how I looked up to my Papa. The sense of joy and satisfaction is when she comes to me saying “Amma, when are you taking my toys, clothes for giving it to the needy. I have packed all the good ones.” I know, my daughter will help make the world a better place and continue to inspire others to do so!
I’m proud to be a part of SAP, a company that inspires me and in turn my family and colleagues to follow its purpose of improving people’s lives. Being nominated as one of the finalist in SAP annual awards for the CSR Champion is one of the significant milestone in 2015. Thank you SAP and the people who helped me to explore myself.
Keeping inspiring; because doing GOOD matters. What will your impact be?
Everyone has a story to share; which one is yours?