Wondered how you can contribute to the society? Are you one among many youngsters who want to actually create an impact but don’t know how?
Well, meet Satish Manchikanti who runs a Non- Profit organization ‘U & I’ which is into teaching underprivileged children and helping them unleash their true potential.
So how much time is needed to create an impact?
“2.5 hours a week, 2.5 hours of impact!”, says Satish ( Founder of U & I )
Team TEN got in touch with Mr. Satish Manchikanti for an interview. So lets dig deep into this young change makers inspiring life!
Tellus about U&I and the work that it does?
U&I is a young, dynamic non-profit organization that aims at creating a positive change in the education of underprivileged children and taking care of individuals with special needs. We are a volunteer-driven organization and every year hundreds of volunteers join our cause to be the change-makers in our communities. Our trained volunteers teach the underprivileged children in after-school Learning Centers, coaching and counseling the kids to be their best and serving as role models to these children. U&I volunteers also spend time with the residents of special needs homes, engaging with these individuals who are otherwise ignored.
What inspired you to create an organisation like U&I?
U&I began when a group of us friends began visiting the government home for mentally challenged Boys. We were deeply moved by the condition of the kids there.
To quote Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Be the change you want to see in this world‘.
We made this our motto and started working in the right direction. We committed to visiting the boys every week and playing games with them. This little act of service grew into a non-profit that reaches 850 people every week.
How does U&I sustain itself?
U&I’s goal is to be impactful, scalable and sustainable. To meet our goals, we partner with corporates to provide them avenues for employee engagement. Corporates employees volunteer with us to take U&I kids on field trips or conduct camps and workshops for them. U&I welcomes donations from individuals who support our cause and believe in us. We also hold events like food festivals, bake sales and charity galas to ensure our sustainability as an organization.
What were the initial missions of the organisation and what kept you motivated?
Our initial missions included tutoring children to excel in academics, making them able enough to succeed in life and caring for individuals with special needs who are abandoned by their families. These continue to be U&I’s main missions which we address through our initiatives, U&I Teach and U&I Care.
Even after five years, the children we reach out to continue to be my motivation. We can tangibly see the difference we make in their lives and there is no better motivation to keep working hard.
What were the difficulties that you faced as an entrepreneur in terms of inspiration and operation?
In terms of inspiration, I don’t believe we’ve encountered any difficulties. Our children and our volunteers continue to inspire us daily. We can’t let them down and we work hard to ensure that we give our kids the best holistic education possible.
In terms of operation, we face challenges with financial sustainability. Corporates like associating themselves with NGOs who are at a pinnacle of social work.
Tell us about the biggest problems you have encountered in your work and how you tackled them.
As entrepreneurs you expect to face challenges while setting up your business, or in this case your non-profit. One of our big challenges continues to be multi-year funding. We also face volunteer attrition as our tutors’ enthusiasm starts to wane by the end of the year. We overcome this by holding motivational training sessions for our tutors and addressing any issues they face.
We create an ecosystem for the volunteer tutors to thrive through various training modules and connect them to our Teaching Managers who are in the staff.
What plans do you have for the future?
With a solid body of work over the last five years, we’re looking forward to the next five years with excitement, hope and a belief that our best days are ahead of us.
We plan to go to 13 new cities and impact 1300 more lives through 30 new centers to set up – the road ahead is challenging and we wouldn’t want it any other way!
What would be your advice to the youth today?
These are the best years of your life when you can live life to the fullest. Don’t sit back and let life happen to you. Take charge, dream big, set goals. But, let it not be all about you. Give of yourself, your talent, your time – and the rewards are exponentially greater than what you give. Our communities need change-makers like you.
In what ways can our readers contribute to U&I?
Firstly, believe that you can make a difference. You can empower children through education. You can serve children with special needs and give them a voice.
Visit our website at www.uandi.org.in. Consider giving two and a half hours a week to motivate a child. Donate to our cause – every contribution adds up to changing as well as shaping the future of these children.
To know more about U & I : https://www.facebook.com/uandi.org.in/videos/1460369117357698/
This interview was originally published in the fourth edition of TEN magazine.