At the age of 19, I had a strong desire to make a difference. After researching many organizations to volunteer with, I heard of Rising Star Outreach through a friend. I went straight to the website and read about their mission and programs. What originally drew me to their volunteer program was that I wouldn’t have to choose what kind of work I did; I would be able to volunteer in three aspects of humanitarian work: education, medical, and community development. As I grew to understand more about the organization, I was impressed with their multi-faceted approach to helping the leprosy affected. Not only were they helping with the medical ailments that came from leprosy, they were also increasing self-dignity and self-sufficiency through micro-grants and providing a bright future for their children through education. I signed up to be a volunteer that summer in 2010.
Bharathapuram Leprosy colony 2010
The leprosy affected had an immense impact on me. Their strength and optimism in face of trial was an example I gravitated towards. At the end of the session, I realized that although I came to help them, they helped me more than I ever could reciprocate. I left India inspired with a desire to continue volunteering with this organization. I was able to return to India two more times. I was a long term volunteer from January to April 2011 and went once more July 2011. Volunteering in India wasn’t enough, I wanted to contribute even when I was in the states. I have been fortunate enough to have been involved in the states after my first session in 2010. I was then offered to work for Rising Star Outreach in November 2012 and accepted my dream job here in the office.
Moot Colony 2011
One of my favorite quotes from Gandhi says, “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This organization has changed my life! It has offered me many opportunties to “lose” myself. I am able to collaborate and work with dedicated people who do make a difference. I am empowered in my personal ability to make contributions to those in need. I am able to witness the successes and growth of Rising Star Outreach. I am able to make a difference. Words cannot express my appreciation for all that Rising Star Outreach has done for me and all that it continues to do for the leprosy affected in India.