My Volunteering Experience at Parikrma

I come from corporate background with 25+ years of experience in Customer Experience, Customer Service Operations & Service Excellence in both B2B & B2C (Consumer and Enterprise) Business. Working with multinational companies gave me huge learning & exposure to Create Service Strategy across products, processes, systems, technology and above all People management.

At this phase of my life, I started looking inwards and started reflecting to make my life more meaningful and contented from within.  That is when I got to know about Parikrma Humanity Foundation which is working on educating children from slums & streets in Bangalore. When I heard about Parikrma’s model “Life of a Circle of a Child “end to end assistance to slum children right from education in English medium, nutrition in the form of 3 meals, health care & above all family care “. I was surprised to hear about the model and wanted to witness the same!!

During my Volunteering I got to know Parikrma started its journey in 2003 with 165 children from slums on a small roof top in Bangalore by Shukla Bose, Founder and CEO of Parikrma.   Today with over 4 schools and one Junior college, Parikrma continues to offer high value education to around 2000 children from orphanages and slums in Bangalore.  Parikrma has been awarded the No 1 Social Impact School in India in 2019-20.

I was stunned to witness Children from streets & slums studying in English medium!! Teachers are qualified and experienced in Parikrama “ Parikrma follows the model in the true sense. Children are being educated from Kindergarten to Graduation and are supported for higher education and also are being mentored for respectable jobs. I was wondering is this really possible?  Yes, this is true!!

Coming from Corporate culture, what was more amusing for me was, I did not witness Boss ,Subordinate culture. There is no hierarchy, no seniors or juniors. Everyone is treated equally. But work gets done efficiently without being monitored.  Everyone is treated with respect and dignity. People are humble. Everyone works on their own and are happy working.

People have been working here for 10 /15 / 20 years. I am sure Parikrma’s HR do not witness attrition rate the way it is found in corporates.  My take away from this observation is “Success of any organization depends on happy employees “. If employees go home happy, they have a good time with their family, they come back happier next day, results in higher productivity & success of the organization.

I also witnessed some unique practices, when child misbehaves, child is given a yellow card and made to sit in the yellow room instead of being punished. Child is made to reflect over the behaviour and if required counsellor in the school talk to these children and helps to improve the behaviour.

Parikrma has open door policy. Children can walk into teachers, principal and founder’s room without having to knock on the door. Open door policy reinstates the feeling of oneness, equality, builds confidence and gets the acceptance whole heartedly

Another practice I was touched by, if a child is feeling low, upset or wants to talk, child can go and sit on friendship bench. Teacher, Counsellor or even other students can sit with the child and hear with compassion, without being judgemental.  

Parikrama want their children to empathize and be the voice for the voiceless.  To encourage positive emotions, Parikrma has a dog in each school. Dogs are named from Shakespearean Characters to make children to be curious about the name and learn the literature too while they become animal lovers.

Looking at such practices I realised Parikrma is focussing on overall wellbeing of a child.

Organization believes and follows the most famous quote by Nelson Mandela “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world “.  This Organization – NGO works corporate way when I look at processes, but Corporate with Emotions. I recommend if anyone interested to make difference can Volunteer here. There are many opportunities to work with academic’s team, Marketing, admin & community development team in Parikrma.