Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tailoring "Walkathon 2009"

I attended an event “Walkathon” in the month of July in 2008. Walkathon is an Aashayein Foundation’s initiative to raise funds to empower child’s education. The Foundation invites people from different walks of life to come together to spread the awareness of child education by walking four kilometers. I have been associated with Aashayein Foundation for some time by teaching the children in Government schools on every Saturday.

    When I expressed my interest in volunteering the event “Walkathon 2009” to one of the founders, he asked me to attend the meetings and see how I can add some value. My inputs on how people perceive the event and how we can involve people from different walks of life and enable them to make a difference added some value to the discussions. After a few meetings, we realized that propagating the message of empowering child’s education is an uphill task. I identified that I have those contacts and ideas to propagate the message. In no time, I leveraged my contacts within my friends, Toastmasters group and Siemens associates. I could get the Media contacts required to publicize the message. I took the responsibility of marketing the event and selling the tickets within Siemens. I could form a small group of employees who wish to volunteer for the cause. Even though I had a tough time in convincing the Siemens administration, Siemens encouraged the event “Walkathon” by permitting us to place the posters of the event in the company premises, to send a mail to every employee and to sell the tickets.

   Gradually my involvement in the campaign of the event increased. I gave an inspiring presentation in different engineering and dental colleges in Bangalore and requested them to be a part of this cause. In some colleges, the students even came up with an idea of starting a Social Club within their college. I even gave an inspiring speech in Toastmasters and that made some of the Club members buy the tickets on the spot. I could put the posters of the event in some big malls in Bangalore. I wielded my contacts to get in touch with the Media houses and formed a team to invite the major Media houses. The newspaper agencies and news channels propagated the message and covered the event for which more than 600 people turned up. Finally, Walkathon volunteers could raise around 10 lac rupees.

    This wonderful experience gave me a chance to interact with many people, manage my time effectively and identify certain skills within me. But, the thought that the funds would be used to pay the tuition fee of more than 1000 children in Bangalore slums gives me more satisfaction than anything else. I heartily thank each and every person who made this happen.