Shaina Chauhan, Bandana Thakur, Komal Kashyap
For the student volunteers associated with the NGO, YouWeCan, it has been a wonderful and unforgettable experience. Some of those actively involved with its philanthropic activities say it has been a turning point in their lives.
YouWeCan, a non-profit organisation was set up in 2009 by Cricket icon Yuvraj Singh, who is a cancer survivor and who had made a remarkable return to the Indian national cricket team after fighting cancer. Shoolini University’s YouWeCan team works under the guidance of Ms. Poonam Nanda. She is the Dean Students Welfare at Shoolini University and is herself a cancer survivor.
Members of the team recall some memorable moments. For instance at a camp organised in Kasauli Cantonment, they faced serious linguistic barrier as those attending the camp were families of army personnel from Tamil Nadu. They had to take help of sign language to ‘converse’. Rajnish Modgil, who belongs to Amritsar and is pursuing degree in Bachelors in Technology with specialisation in Computer Science, was prompted to join the organisation after his uncle, who was just 28,succumbed to cancer. “It took the family a long time to recover from the huge loss” he said. This led him to try and help others, particularly with the early detection of the disease. “My family is fully supporting my efforts”, he added. Rajnish said that his association with the NGO has brought numerous changes in his lifestyle and he has gained tremendous confidence.
Another volunteer with the organisation, Aastha Sahni, who is pursuing MBA in finance and marketing, lost her father to cancer. Aastha, who belongs to Solan, says she can feel the pain of those suffering from cancer and of their family members.
“Working for YouWeCan provides me inner peace. I feel great to be a part of such a great social effort and I feel great to be blessed by those whom we are able to help”, she said and added that it has helped her to evolve as a better human being.
Nitesh, Coordinator of YouWeCan who is pursuing his MBA degree, said that he was motivated by Poonam Nanda Ma’am who not only fought cancer but had been helping others, particularly the poor who are fighting the disease. I love it when people bless us. I remember visiting one such patient, Kamla aunty who said “Mere khud ke bache aa gaye”. And when we help someone they bless us by saying “Hamesha Zindagi me Kamyab raho.”
Nitesh, who hails from Bilaspur but whose family has settled in Solan, said the future plans of the Shoolini unit of YouWeCan include working towards a “cancer-free Himachal Pradesh”. Priyanka Thakur, who has completed BTech and is now a student of MBA, says it has been a great learning experience. She was the coordinator of the camp organised at Zirakpur in Punjab which received huge response. “It is an amazing feeling when you give someone hopes of living life again”.
To be able to serve the society, and that too from such an early age, is a privilege and honour for Ravi Verma, a student of MBA in Marketing. Ravi, who is from Giripul, a village in district Sirmaur, has also earlier worked for an NGO named ‘Younglinks’. Asked if his involvement with YouWeCan has impacted his life, he said yes it had brought in many changes in his life. Besides, “I have emerged as a public speaker and my presentation skills have considerably improved”, he added.