It all started more than 2 years ago when I received a mail from Mrs. Rashmi Bansal, owner of the JAM Magazine and the author of several best-selling titles on entrepreneurship, asking me if Symbiosis Institute of Operations Management (SIOM) could participate in an initiative for the social welfare. It was not just about donation. Rather, it was about giving our time, our attention and more importantly our hearts and souls. And the real pleasure was in deriving the joy from ‘giving’. The initiative was named as ‘Joyfest’ and it was a part of the national movement called ‘Joy of Giving Week’.
I dropped a line to our Director Dr. Vandana Sonwaney to know her opinion on this initiative. And as usual, she was more than willing to extend her full support to make this noble initiative successful. I along with my class-mate Salil Bansal discussed several options with our Director. Finally, we zeroed in on the thought of launching Cleanliness drive in Nashik’s Panchvati area as it was surveyed by our seniors to be one of the dirtiest areas. And this marked the beginning of the first edition of Joyfest at my alma mater.
In order to spread the message of keeping the city clean and to inspire the people to be more responsible towards the society and the environment, we launched an intensive cleanliness drive in Nashik under the banner of Joyfest on September 28, 2009. Municipal Corporation of Nashik lent its full support to us by providing the necessary things like brooms, garbage trolleys, gloves etc. to carry-out this drive. On the festive day of Dussehra, we carried out the cleanliness drive around the Ram-kund area, the main pilgrimage site in Nashik. Dr. Vandana herself volunteered in this drive along with the students of the institute to lead by example. This is how SIOM volunteered in this initiative to become a member-college of this movement.
Year after year, students volunteer themselves in the Joyfest to extend their helping hands to the society with the continued support from their respective institutes. In the form of Joyfest, the youth population of this Nation has got a chance to use the power of collective action to make a ‘big’ difference to the society. I am sure even this year during the Joy of Giving Week i.e. from Oct 2 to Oct 8, student support will pour in large numbers to bring smiles on the faces of many more people of the country and take this initiative to new heights.