rinivasa Prasad Rao Sarvaraju runs a social initiative Amma Social Welfare Association. He envisions an NGOs free society where everyone feels helping a fellow being one’s prime responsibility. Read on to know more about him and his initiative.
Tell us about your life journey in brief? I belong to a lower middle-class family at Perimidi Village, Balayapalli Mandal, Nellore Dt, Andhra Pradesh. Fortunately, I have been leading a life with full of love, relations, and satisfaction. I was able to complete my Graduation (B.Com-Computers) with a lot of struggle and help of relatives. Later, I did my Masters in Financial Management while working. To improve and impart knowledge of service I am also pursuing Master of Social Work (MSW) and M.Sc. Psychology.
Tell us about your initiative? As I was in service motive, I donated my salary bonus of Rs. 2,000/- as a first donation in 2005 to Viswabharathi Andhula Patashala, Nellore. Then I started saving small portion of my little salary for others. The satisfaction I received from this visit was immense and it just added fuel to my thought of helping others, which also driven me to Hyderabad for more earnings. It took couple of years for me to realize that finance is not only the ingredient/source required to help others. The concept of “Volunteering Time” started in my mind in 2008. Meanwhile my discussion with my colleagues and friends on 28.12.2007 to visit and donate my total accumulated small savings to any orphan home was succeeded and plunge into action on 1st Jan, 2008 with team of 15 Members. For the first time ever we understood the joy of giving, sharing and caring. At the same time moved by the problems in the world, the ultimate ground realities. Nothing appeared to be more fulfilling than spreading love and sharing happiness. Motivated by the satisfaction of the New Year activity, we planned to continue our efforts as a group. AMMA, the mother, is an epitome of selfless service. With an intention to serve the people, in need and despair, like a mother who serves her children, we named our group as AMMA Social Welfare Association (ASWA), which was established on 27.04.2008 and is registered under Societies Registration Act (Regd. No.14/2010].
What prompted you to start this particular initiative? I was served with my basic needs like food, shelter, and education with the support of my friends and relatives, who motivated me to think & act about similar people in the society. So I decided to support at least some people in my lifespan. Within no time this interest became my passion. My parents are my real models along with my relatives and friends who are the real reason for my happy & satisfactory journey.
Tell us about your team? Any group/association’s success depends on the active involvement of their group members. Passionate Volunteers and Donors are the real strength of AMMA-ASWA. Each one is responsible for the success of AMMA-ASWA. With their active participation and cooperation, the journey has been wonderful and it is like living a dream. Year by year we are making good progress with their wise inputs and timely help. ASWA-ASWAs started with 10-15 members in April 2008, has become a march of 250+ members. Irrespective of busy schedules, our volunteers love to know the progress of ASWA. We value their feedback and work on the suggestions. The team is superb. We move like a FAMILY instead a Group. My team comprised of multi-talented volunteers. Our Membership fee is only their “INTEREST TO SERVE OTHERS” and has a view of “Doing something to others is not a Social Service – It’s our Social Responsibility” I found many Teachers, Supporters, and Motivators in my team. I am really blessed to be associated with these selfless volunteers.
What is your dream/ vision? Our vision is “to witness a Happy Society” OUR MISSION is always Love all-Serve all. ASWA-ASWA, as a Group, is very confident that we can create a positive impact in the society which we are aiming for. We are changing ourselves and thus trying to create a change in others. It’s working fine too. We all have the power within us to achieve anything. Initial few years of our journey in ASWA-ASWA showed and stressed the importance of spending much time for the society, which motivated us to set our life ambition as SERVING OTHERS. We always determined to do our part for this society. OUR LONG TERM PLAN:- Though we are doing different activities which boost morals of beneficiaries, we are always eyeing on the constructive research and design a model to transform the child completely. That is where we got this idea of establishing a Primary School with Gurukulam like value-based education along with Gau Shala, Organic Farming, Hospital, Small Scale industries to use the local (village) resources well and provide livelihood to villagers. Here education means which is used to lead a happy & joyful life; which gives physical, mental and moral strength to face any challenges in life with utmost positivity. We like to concentrate on developing villages, on which our nation is built on.
What difficulties do you face in running your initiative? It’s quite common. Every success is built on many difficulties, rather we can call it as experiences. When you are firm on your goal then nothing will stop you. Determined, Dedicated and Disciplined efforts for a good cause always fetch the desired results, nothing can stop us. General difficulties are in motivating individual volunteers towards a common goal. We can also see people who go for volunteerism for service for below reasons
– for Name & Fame
– to retain their Prestige or ego (like few Politicians)
– to help the poor and needy
– to increase their network of contacts
– for time pass
– as a Profession without passion All the above may be stopped for one or other reasons at a point but when Service becomes one’s lifestyle then there will be no stopping even after their death, which I am aiming for.
Any fun/ memorable incident? We came across the taste of joy and fun in our 1st activity itself. Since then we have been enjoying every moment. The real joy in faces of Uncared, Unwanted and Unloved Orphan Children, Old age, Slum and destitute shared with us on one hand and gratitude of Students, Teachers, and Parents for sharing our knowledge and shaping their careers, on the other hand, are real motivating factors of our burning desire of Serving.
What advice you’d like to give to someone who is interested in starting on his own? It’s simple but maybe bit difficult. Go for it only when you can take every hurdle or stone as positive and if you prepared to change yourself and accept the person or situation as it is. Service is not just a passion; it should be our lifestyle like our golden old days. I like to see NGOs free society where everyone feels helping our fellow being is our prime responsibility. I have seen many who are not able to work collectively with other NGOs with the same ideology. As a Service Activist 1st, we should change. When are we unable to work collectively with other Social Workers/NGOs for a common cause than how we see a change in this society?
Anything else you’d like to share? My point is simple, for service there is no need to sacrifice your Personal or Professional interests or life (its great if you can do that); it’s just sharing your abundance with needy. It may be of any form either material or immaterial (money, clothes, food, blood, happiness or knowledge etc). My mother gave me birth and this Mother (AMMA Association) given a rebirth, this is the place where I improved a lot Professionally, Personally and spiritually and totally became another person. The process of Sarvaraju Srinivas turned into AMMA Srinivas is very crucial to me. Your little time (1 Hour in a Month) or little contributions is more important. Theory will not give any results, be practical. Go out to your nearest school/orphan home/old age home/plant a tree/donate blood/share your excess food or cloth or happiness… that’s enough dude. It will change the society. Sharing the posts in Social Networks won’t make the change in the required speed.
Smiling, Sharing, Loving, Caring and Helping are my 5 weaknesses