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Putting words into action
Sakal Times | Monday, 16 November 2015 AT 08:40 PM IST
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SSIP is an intra-college club of the Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce, which is driven by a volunteer force of students, who engage in social work and various activities benefiting the society

What is poverty? If I ask someone, they’ll probably give a bookish definition or statistics. But unless you are actually exposed to it, you won’t understand it.” This concept prompted Ashish Srivastava and Akhil Nair, B.Com students of Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce to start the Symbiosis Social Involvement Programme (SSIP).

Functioning since August 2015, the programme, has been working towards sensitising the youth and making a difference. The idea behind SSIP is a simple one – the biggest problem of today’s youth is lack of knowledge about the real situations in the country, and the programme aims at turning this around.

The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, which gives rise to a basic question – If they aren’t aware and do not understand the problems that plague the society, how will they work towards finding a solution to it? Thus, SSIP strives to bridge this gap, by sensitising the youth and exposing them to the social problems faced by society.

“We introduce the students to the realities of the society and leave it to them to come up with a solution. I took some of the exchange students to a slum, and the visit almost had them in tears. They were taken aback looking at the poor living condition in the slum,” says Ashish.

The SSIP as part of the programme organises activities such as visits to orphanages, cleanliness drives, giving back campaigns, seminars on socially responsible businesses and NGOs, and street play competitions.

The Giving Back campaign, organised earlier this year, was themed  ‘Quench a Thirst’. As part of this, groups of four to five volunteers served homemade lemonade to the kakas and maushis who work at the college. This act was an expression of appreciation for the class four staff who work tirelessly to keep the college premises neat and tidy and carry out other important chores to help the  administration department function smoothly.

Seeing the workers’ faces light up at this small gesture was a satisfying experience for the volunteers. “Most of the volunteers had tears in their eyes. The smiles on the faces of kakas and maushis  is something they will never forget,” says Ashish. While most of us prefer to discuss social problems and readily present our views and possible solutions, there are only a few who work at the grassroot level and implement the change they want to see by putting their words into action. SSIP is a small but significant step towards finding and acting on the solutions to social issues.

Nirmolika Sangha
Third Year, Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication

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