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The Life And Times Of A Guardian Angel

About The Guardian Circle
The Guardian Circle is an initiative taken by students to help give back to society. It is an NGO which fully understands the importance of education. However, they are also aware that some children cannot afford it. TGC strives to fund such financially handicapped children so that they too can can have the opportunities rendered unaffordable by their financial state of affairs.They constantly keep a check on every child’s progress and guide them online or in person and provide them with whatever they need to excel in their studies and help them towards a brighter future.They act as Guardians. We catch up Bulbul Behl, VICE PRESIDENT- Publicity and Marketing/Sponsorship and part of the manipal chapter of The Guardian Circle and ask her to share some of her experiences with us.
Q.1 Before we get into details about your association with TGC, could you tell us a little about yourself. What are currently studying, your interests, hobbies etc. ?
A.Well, I am currently pursuing Information Technology at Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal.
My interests are exceedingly long so to put it short. I would say that this world fascinates me on the whole. People fascinate me. Different Cultures intrigue me. I love to figure out how this world and our society as a large works.
I love indulging in nature. I love interacting with kids. I also love animals so I try and do things that are usually a combination of all these. I love being on stage so dancing, dramatics, MCing are some of the things that keep me busy.
Q.2 How did you first come across the guardian circle? What were your first thoughts when you heard about it?
A. I first heard about it through a friend, Barkha Sengar, who is also part of TGC and happens to be on the Nation Liaison of the The Guardian Circle. She asked me if I was interested in becoming a part of it. The name just grabbed my attention. Being a guardian for somebody was a perfect way to make my life count towards the betterment of society.
Q.3 How long have you been associated with it now?
A. I have been part of TGC since march, 2010.
Q.4 TGC aims at helping financially handicapped and underprivileged children. Moreover it is an entirely students initiative. You hold an important post in TGC. What have you been doing at TGC to prepare the groundwork and start activities?
A. We have two things to work upon.
Firstly, we have to explore the area in and around manipal to figure out our target group. Details like how many orphanages exist, figuring out which ones need immediate help and also working out details such as how we wish to approach these organisations.
We have visited a no of orphanages around manipal and now we have a rough idea of where to begin.
It is only after these things that we can then plan the activities and have our action plan ready. That being said, since I handle publicity and sponsorships in Manipal as well, another part of my job is to recruit as many “Guardian Angels” as we can. The more people we have the better it is! So we are doing as much as we can to spread awareness about our cause.
Then lastly, sponsorships. That is a very tricky department. Unless you are well established and well known people don’t really fund you.I mean why would they?! They need some sort of mutual benefit right? So then we have employed ways to make this process as transparent as possible so that the sponsors know how their money is being made use of. That couple with the fact that TGC is expanding at a rapid pace across the country goes a long way in assuring brand visibility.
Q.5 We live in a land of destitute, poverty stricken people, where corruption and disease run rampant. In this land of a billion people with a billion problems, why did you choose to concentrate on children and their education? And how is what you are doing better than or different from all the other NGOs out there?
A. We at TGC believe that a solid foundation is the key to everything. For us, these kids will shape the future of tomorrow so if we make sure that the “seeds” are well sown and properly nourished the tree is sure to be healthy when it grows.
Our organisation is very young but nevertheless we have clear objectives. They may be small but they are concrete. We would rather focus on 1 child’s life than boast the wellness of a 1000. For us, it really is as simple as that.
Q.6 You must have spent lots of time with underprivileged kids. Can you share some of your experiences with those kids?
A. Yes, I have and it has been a humbling experience.
I distinctly remember this one time where we were playing kho-kho with a couple of very adorable young ones. I remember a little girl named Ashwini. Now this girl was no more than 6 or 7 but when she ran she outdid people who were thrice her age. She ran like the wind. I just couldnt believe it. Now imagine if this girl wanted to and was given the opportunity to get trained as an athelete, she could very well be representing India at the Olympics. Now wouldnt that be great? Moments like these make me feel that there is soo much to be done. There are so many talented souls out there who need help. All it takes is a little push.
Q.7 What kind of challenges do you face in trying to organize TGC activities? How can people help?
A. Language is a big barrier. It is very hard to communicate with the kids when they dont know Hindi and we dont know Kannada(the local language of Karnataka) We make sure that we have enough epeople around who know the local language who can keep the flow going.
Funds seem to be another issue. It isnt easy raising money. And to organize the smallest of events we need capital. There are no two ways about it.
People can help by donating money, that way we can fund activities etc very easily. Also the more people we have the better so in short my message is - Come join TGC and be part of the change!
Other things that people can do are donate books/ clothes etc that would help the kids.
Q.8 Student life, and even personal life these days take a huge toll on the body. How hard you find it to motivate yourself and others like you to take on the arduous tasks involved with such an initiative?
A. Not hard at all. When you see that you’ve made a kid smile at the end of the day it gives life a new meaning. I feel better about my self and I want to keep feeling this way all the time.
Sure, it does take a toll but trust me the feeling of having done something worthwhile keeps us going. Luckily for us, if one of us is down someone else always has things sunny side up. Its infectious, this feeling. Within minutes everyone is charged up again.
Q.9 Some of the stories of the underprivileged kids are at times shocking and can overwhelm students who have never been exposed to such harsh realities. Were there ever moments like these for you? (if yes how did you deal with it?)
A. Yes, there have been many. I do get moved by them. I am a very emotional person to say the least.
Honestly? The first thing I actually have done is scream out loud inside my head. Then I probably went on to curse the Govt. for being such lousy caretakers. Then I guess I looked down upon myself for complaining about the smallest of things in my life. It’s about time that instead of complaining and blaming others I get down to it and make a change. To see the change YOU have to be the change.
Q.10 TGC has already started impacting the lives of many children. But how does it impact your life? What have you learnt so far from your association TGC?
A. I ll tell it short and simple.
It has made me more humble. Made me be more thankful for what I have. I complain less now(or so I would like to believe). I waste less now. I make it a point to donate stuff that I m not using as opposed to simply throwing it away.
Q.11 What is your hope for TGC? Where do you see it going in say next 2 to 3 years?
A.I hope that TGC can reach out to more lives as the day goes by and make a difference. I can imagine TGC opening up doors in many more colleges if not all [ ;) ] across India. Youth is our strength and it is through fellow youngsters that we see our mission being accomplished.
Q.12 Most of our readers are college students. Would you like to say something to them?
A. Yes, I would. Here is the message I have for the Youth of India..
Education, efficiently provided at the grass root level can work wonders for this country. A good education makes one think twice before accepting a bribe. It makes one vote better and goes a long way in promoting a healthy civil society. Sadly the state of Government schools in our country is appalling as ever. Private schools, even the ones with low fee structures are a bridge too far for the majority. And it is this majority we want to help. Democracy is run by the masses. Imagine a well educated mass. You can help by donating, or even better, joining the ranks of TGC and working towards enabling the underprivileged. 
Be a guardian, be the difference!


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