All the students who have interned at WEP 2019 have unique experiences and memories to treasure along with some great learning that will go a long way in the future. Here are notes from Gopika George and Diksha Bhandary who interned at an NGO, Sandesh India
– Gopika George
“I remember going to Sandesh on the first day of my internship and wondering how effectively I would be able to work with people who are differently abled people. I have never had any similar experience in the past, and it was going to be all new to me. I was uncertain as to what to expect, but I can trace back to losing all of these doubts and uncertainties on my second day there.
We were given a tour around Sandesh, and they took us to the “sheltered work units”, where I spent one of my best summers. I along with my fellow interns, who turned into great friends, sat around designing, painting and arranging 1000s of diyas as they were preparing for their Diwali sale.
One of the most intriguing part to me has been how each one of them was curious to know more about us and the tiniest details about our lives. The more I started talking to people there, not only did it bring us closer but also made me realize what down to earth and genuinely caring people they were despite all the problems they have faced and are facing in their lives. I have learned so much there in the past few weeks, not only in terms of skills but more along the lines of how a little love and respect for each other can bring in tremendous changes in people’s lives. I would like to thank all the staff at Sandesh who have been so selfless and committed to all they do for their members.
Sandesh to me was more than just a workplace. There was so much more to my internship than just helping out in designing pots. Through all the work we did there, there have been so many light moments which have brought joy to my heart. The “dance time” on Fridays is my favorite when I have seen them dancing their hearts out and simply having fun.
I was initially reluctant to work for 6 weeks since I thought it would eat up the whole of my vacations, but by the end of the second week, I changed my mind only because of how ‘at home’ I felt at Sandesh. Being a part of the ‘community day’ at Sandesh was another highlight of my time at Sandesh, when every one of us, from the director to the wheelchair-bound members, washed each other’s feet, giving out the messages of mutual respect and equality. This was a very touching and overwhelming gesture. I also volunteered to run in a marathon at the TCS World 10K run along with my friends at Sandesh which was definitely a great experience, having completed it with all of these strong-willed and pure-hearted fellow humans.
Bidding goodbye to all of them was definitely the worst part since I had definitely formed a strong bond with them there, and Sandesh as a whole. They arranged a nice farewell for us and we left with some handmade gifts and deeply etched memories. Sandesh will always hold a very special place in my heart.”
– Diksha Bhandary
” I decided to apply for WEP, in order to be occupied during my summer vacation, as well as branch out and learn something new. Out of all the companies, I chose ‘Sandesh’ an NGO so that I could assist the people( who were disabled )in need, therefore spending my summer doing a good deed.
As I had read previously on the website, we were going to help out in a candle making workshop. I was nervous on the first day as it was my first time doing an internship, and the same could be said about the other interns. But I quickly became used to the surroundings. We were asked to paint lamps( diyas ) and assist the members of Sandesh in doing so. Our mentor, Nethra showed us the designs and was a good friend to us throughout our internship.
During the internship, we noticed that the members were doing various jobs like washing vessels and serving tea, etc. They were all so dedicated to their work and learned to enjoy it too. They lightened the atmosphere by cracking jokes and talking about their daily life.
I was deeply touched by their actions towards us. They would be so happy to see us every day and would greet us wholeheartedly. They would ask us about our well being and be concerned if we were ill. I came out of my comfort zone and talked to them freely. They were extremely caring and kind to us and made it feel like home.
One of my best memories from Sandesh is the Thanksgiving celebration. They expressed their thoughts on love and humility as well as recognized those who had improved over the year. We also took part in a feet washing ceremony. That evening, it starts raining heavily. The weather quickly escalated into a hailstorm. The members were excited and in awe of the heavy rain. Their excitement brought a smile on my face.
I have learned a lot of values from the internship. One of them is acceptance – Accepting yourself and others just the way they are. Another is being humble. We mustn’t look down on the underprivileged or the disabled, instead treat them as our equals. Over the course of the internship, I made many friends and amazing memories. I’m very thankful to have been given an opportunity to participate in the internship program, as it has changed my life and personality for the better.”