Mangaluru : Afshana Khathun, one of the five empathetic souls from India who got selected for Immersion of Youth Exchange through Peer Learning Programme in Sri Lanka under the Project “Strengthening NYKS and NSS” supported by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, UNDP and United Nations Volunteer India(UNV), speaking to megamedianews.com shared about her journey thoughts and passion for Volunteerism and social work.
Afshana Khathun from a small village of Thanniru Bavi of Mangalore Taluk, was a student of Ladyhill Victoria Girls College and St. Aloysius College Mangalore. She was a National Service Scheme (NSS) Volunteer and Won State and University Level Best NSS Volunteer Award, Amul Vidya Bhushan Award, Yenepoya Award of Excellence and so on.
Q : Can you tell us how you get selected to this Immersion program in Sri Lanka?
Ans : Volunteering and helping others makes me happy. Helping the needy, even in simple ways, fulfills the need for social responsibility too. It connects me to the society and makes me aware of the conditions of general public. The passion for volunteering made me to become a National Youth Volunteer of Nehru Yuva Kendra (NYK) Mangalore. The District Youth Coordinator of NYK Mangalore Madam Cynthia Lobo is United Nations Volunteer who really motivated me to apply for such program initiated by UNV India. Through her I got this opportunity to be a Part of this Immersion Program.
Q : What was your Preparation before you leave Mangalore to Sri Lanka?
Ans : Initially, I was scared and mentally not prepared to travel alone. Applying for leave from my office was another headache. But once it was confirmed that I got selected, I was so happy imagining, visualizing my journey and stay in island country Sri Lanka. I was flying for the first time so I was really excited counting my days.
I was completely under guidance of Ms.Vriti Vasudevan – UNV Management Associates, United Nations Volunteer India. All my doubts were clarified by her.
I made up my mind and started preparing for my journey. I also felt that I am so lucky to get selected from Mangaluru also representing my state and country. I was completely aware about the responsibility for which I was selected.
Q : What were the organizations you were engaged in Sri Lanka?
Ans : My visit to Sri Lanka gave an opportunity to meet people like A.T. Aryaratne Founder of Sarvodhaya Shramadhana which was build on Gandhian Principle, serve an impoverished rural village of Sri Lanka. It has been described as an international role model by international bodies.
National Youth Service Council to recognize the country’s youth, to inculcate self-reliance among youth. My visit to Different youth Clubs, interaction with Different Youth leader, their work for the community are really superb. Some youth and their parents donated their own land for the construction of community well, community building, community ground etc. They do the physical work after completion of schooling and on weekends.
Visit for Foundation of Goodness a NGO started by Kushil Gunashekara was a great place. They have Village health spot, BPO, Sports activities was highly motivating. United Nations Volunteer of Sri Lanka, WHO, FAO, Youth Leaders of Sri Lanka.
Q : What is your view on Volunteerism and do you believe that You can make a difference?
Ans : Volunteerism provides platform to meet people who have done wonders. Knowing their selfless attitude, selfless services, and experience motivates and really make us think beyond our limits to do wonders. It gives us innovative ideas, it provides us bunch of same minded people, to discuss smallest issues, to solve smallest trouble, and a huge encouragement to do the different, to be the different.
Yes. I believe that one man can make a difference. If we do what we are doing with full dedication, without any expectations yes it makes a difference. Each individual have different interest. Having a group of same interest people will definitely help to achieve desired goals.
Q : What is your Future Action Plan?
Ans :After the UNV India’s Immersion programme to Sri Lanka, I have learned a lot about youth initiatives and volunteering, as a Youth Lead at the district level; it is my responsibility to promote and propagate about volunteering done by youth. At present, I’m working on an action plan which would help support UNV India’s initiative at national level. I have a plan to start a blog on volunteering and work on special causes like helping the disabled sections of the society and motivating and promoting the youth who are actually doing something for the community development. Creating awareness on scientific planting of flora to preserve environment is also one of my dream projects. Awareness on the basic legal documents like birth and death certificate, income certificate, caste certificate, marriage certificate and affidavits.
Q : Which area of volunteer work does you like and why?
Ans : I love to act, sing and interact with people. I visited different schools and colleges of Mangalore to create awareness among students regarding water conservation, environment preservation and organised street plays on Aids, Drug abuse and so on. I interacted with school children regarding child abuse making them aware about the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ touch. Interacting with youth creates innovative ways of looking into some issues and invites support from some of them too.
I have never restricted myself to one area. As long as I can contribute to the development of community I work and volunteer.
Q :Can you tell us more about your family?
Ans : My father Rasheed Khan is a fisherman who feed all of us with fresh fish. He is a very quiet and supportive father. He allows me to do anything if I am happy doing it. My mother ShameemBanu is a homemaker. She is my real Inspiration. She runs a self-help group and was the president of GMR MahashaktiOkkoota, Thannirubavi. She used to organise awareness programmes for Self Help Group, health camps, women and child health camps, beach cleaning drive and so on.
My Brother Afthab Khan is an ATF Manager at Murgan Oil Corporation and my Sister Afreen Khan is perusing her Bachelor’s in Computer Application at St. Aloysius College.
Q: What message would you like to give it to our readers?
Ans : Doing what you like is freedom and liking what you do is happiness. We always feel happy when we help others; we have lot of rights so let’s not forget our duties. Let’s help all in need.