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There are two primary choices in life:

to accept  conditions as they exist,

or accept the responsibility to change them.

-Dennis Waitley

Illustration credits: Bhawna Bharti and Hiral Agarwal

IIT Bombay’s community has long been involved in giving back to society through its various social, academic and research activities. Abhyuday, the social body of IIT Bombay, began in 2014 when Vishnu Vinjam, a then undergrad student, started with a vision to educate the youth towards India’s social challenges and serve as a platform for them to work towards the improvement of society. It is presently one of the country’s largest student-run bodies in the social impact space.    

Abhyuday’s socio-environmental events cater to the welfare of a large community of people across different age brackets. 

  • Nursing home visits are a unique opportunity for the youthful volunteers to grow from the experience of elders, develop a deeper-rooted sense of compassion while also brightening up the lives of the older generation. 
  • In their Food Distribution campaigns, Abhyuday provides food to the less privileged sections of the society, which inspires the volunteers to give back to the people who need it the most.
  • The volunteers visit nearby slum areas and teach the local kids art, craft, science and mathematics via fun activities. 
  • Abhyuday’s Masti ki Paathshala aims to boost the curiosity and interest of children in Orphanages and NGOs. 
  • The Versova Beach CleanUp Campaign (VBCC) aims to remove marine debris and litter from Versova Beach.

Engaging in community service is a grounding experience that allows student volunteers to make a lasting, positive social impact. It enhances social awareness and inculcates a sense of shared social responsibility and compassion towards society’s less fortunate sections. 

In this article, we explore the evolution of the prominent initiatives undertaken by the student community under the aegis of Abhyuday.

We were pleased to find out that the number of student volunteers has increased over the last few years for the initiatives undertaken by Abhyuday. This depicts the eagerness within the community to contribute to society and the environment. Students have started realizing the value they can add, even with small contributions. Students involved in these events create a chain for social awareness and encourage others to be a part of this fantastic journey.

Figure 1(a)  shows an increasing trend of student participation over the last few years. 

Figure 1(b) shows a granular view into the student participation for the various initiatives undertaken by Abhyuday. 

During the year 2019-20, the slum-visits suffered a halt, but Food Distribution campaigns and Old-Age Home visits were boosted. VBCC gained a lot of popularity from 2018 onwards, as is reflected in the increased participation. 

Fig. 1 (a)

Fig. 1 (b)

Figure 1: Total Volunteers over the past three years

  Abhyuday’s team realized that the ratio of helping hands and the people needing help was highly skewed. So, they increased the frequency of their events, as evident from Figures 2(a) and 2(b), to increase their social beneficiary footprint, thereby attracting a larger quantum of student volunteers to join the cause. Expanding initiatives requires a greater resource investment combined with effective management. The Abhyuday team has risen to the challenge and delivered.

Fig. 2 (a)

Fig. 2 (b)

Figure 2: Visits over the past three years

The total number of beneficiaries (representing “impact” in Figure 3) mimics the increase in student volunteers and visits made over the past years. The number of volunteers directly relates to the number of visits and the number of visits relates to the overall impact made on society by the students. 

Fig. 3 (a)

Fig. 3 (b)

Figure 3: Impact over the past three years

Apart from the initiatives that we have analyzed, Abhyuday also conducts a plethora of other initiatives. These include the Career Counselling Campaign (CCC), which provides free career counselling to the under-privileged both online and offline, Computer Literacy program to provide technical knowledge to construction worker kids at Aman Day Care in IIT Bombay, Social Fests, and Blood Donation Camps among others.

Had the covid crisis not emerged, the total number of people benefited would have been anywhere from 20000 to 22500, with volunteers increasing to around 2750, using a linear growth assumption.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges to the world. Due to social distancing and other preventive measures, Abhyuday’s commitment to helping society has donned an online avatar. The motivated volunteers conducted several virtual campaigns like Virtual Masti ki Paathshala, Career Counselling Campaigns, Animal Safety Awareness Campaigns, Pride Month Campaign, Cyber Security Campaign, Rise above Corona Campaign, and many more.

Abhyuday’s virtual Masti ki Paathshala initiative in 2020-21 saw the participation of more than 200 children. Their Career Counselling Campaign counselled 420 students with the help of 20 volunteers. The Animal Safety Awareness was conducted virtually along with PETA to spread the love for animals in society, with the best rescue story published on PETA India’s blog. In the Pride Month Campaign, a series of posters were published to spread awareness of LGBTQ+ rights. The Cyber Security virtual Campaign aimed to equip the netizens to be more vigilant of today’s exceptionally diverse cybercrimes. Their Rise Above Corona Campaign, in collaboration with UNICEF, was aimed to remove the fear and anxiety among people and to motivate the society to fight unitedly against the stigma. 

We are proud of the impact that Abhyuday has made even in these trying times by conducting virtual campaigns and finding innovative ways to organize events. We wish that the team continues to grow and keeps contributing to community wellbeing.