• sneha jain

2.5 Hours a Week can Change a Child's Life...and Your Own!

I was listening to the radio one morning when I head Mr Deepan, the manager of the Chennai chapter of U&I, talk about their work. U&I is an NGO that invests in children from underprivileged backgrounds through holistic education. I wasted no time in giving him a call as their work sounded like it was made for me – ‘adopting’ a child from an underprivileged background and working for their physical, emotional, educational, and overall growth.

Soon enough I was on another call with a center co-coordinator who interviewed me and took me through what being a volunteer would mean - spending 2.5 hours a week working with a child, training's for volunteers, checking the child's progress, meetings with other volunteers to discuss lesson plans and interventions. Sign me up!

Ever since, I've been meeting with a team of volunteers every week, and they've become some of my closest friends. It’s been such a touching experience to work with a team of like-minded people. Through all the training's and resources available to us, I'm often transported back to my school days, and going back to learning my A-B-Cs to know how to teach them.

The child I work with is in 6th standard and loves to sing. Her parents are separated and her grandmother takes care of her. It strikes me that through this programme we don't just offer support where the schools aren't providing enough, but also where their homes aren't.

Being with her has made me realise how the upbringing of a child is so important and how little you need to make a big difference. It has been a constant reminder that our words, actions, and being shape our own lives and the lives of people around us. Our big dreams can only be realised through our genuine actions.

U&I is like a big family that has been created around these children we care for, and who in many ways return that care through their joy, love, presence and authenticity. We're always happy to make our family bigger, so visit to sign up as a volunteer and join us if you'd like!

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