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TBI Blogs: This Volunteer Surprised 14 Mumbai Street Children with a Gift They Never Dreamed Of

Firoz Berly is a volunteer who was connected to the Sahaara Charitable Trust, an NGO that specializes in working with street children, to coach football to a group of 14 children. His surprise made their day, and in turn, taught us all what it means to be selfless.

Every now and then, it so happens that you come across a beautiful, awe-inspiring story that makes you want to go out there and change something about the world. This story proves that to make a difference, all you need is heart and initiative. Here is the story of one individual who put his skills to good use.

Firoz Berly signed up on ConnectFor, a digital volunteering platform, some time ago. In August 2016, he showed interest in a volunteering opportunity as a football coach for an NGO that works with rehabilitating street kids. Technically, his role was to go to the centre every week and spend an hour teaching the kids how to play the sport. But here’s the thing with volunteering – there are no limits. Firoz went above and beyond his designated role to make these children feel special.

“I got an opportunity to become a football coach at a shelter home in Mankhurd, Bombay. It has been a deeply profound and humbling experience. I was in office, surfing through the internet for some volunteering opportunities, when I came across ConnectFor. I uploaded my skills and interests on the site and received a prompt response from one of the members. They connected me with the shelter home, and within a couple of weeks, I started coaching.”

Soon, though, he realized that even though the kids were progressing in their football skills, they lacked the right gear to fully achieve their potential. He went back to his company and spoke to a few colleagues about his issue.

With their help, he was able to gather enough money, by means of donations, to purchase new football shoes for the 14 boys that he was coaching.

ConnectFor volunteer, Firoz Berly's heart-warming surprise
Firoz Berly presenting a surprise to his students.

Needless to say, the boys were ecstatic. Their skills improved dramatically, while their enthusiasm for the game reached a new high. For a lot of these boys, their economic status acts as a barrier, and prevents them from accessing opportunities. Playing a game like football, where determination and hard work yield results, boosts their confidence to higher levels.

We spoke to Sahaara Charitable Society about Firoz and the time he has spent with them. The staff had nothing but good things to say.

“We are very grateful to have someone with so much enthusiasm and compassion volunteer with us!”

For a lot of these NGOs, it is tough to find people who are willing to work for their cause without expectation of financial remuneration. A lot of these organizations are doing some great work, but still need all the help that they can get. This is where volunteering comes in.

Firoz felt lucky to have had this opportunity. He still continues to teach at the shelter home in his spare time. So far, he has worked at the NGO for 52 hours. According to market rates, the NGO would have had to pay him about ₹15,600 for his contribution to them. However, that is the beauty of volunteering. Since Firoz expected no financial compensation for his efforts, the ₹15,600 can be used to improve the lives of Sahaara Charitable Society’s beneficiaries. That’s not all.

Firoz plans to continue volunteering with them for as long as he can.

The boys trying on their new football shoes.

He also told us that the success of volunteering is addictive. He has actively involved himself in more engagements with other NGOs, including Robin Hood Army’s food distribution drive. There’s no stopping him now.

ConnectFor has, for the past 17 months, been connecting volunteers to non-profit organizations in Mumbai. Not only are we simply matching skilled individuals to organizations that are in dire need of their skills, but we are also striving to create a strong community of volunteers and philanthropists. The idea is to support and foster relationships between regular people and the social space.

To find out more about ConnectFor’s opportunities to volunteer, please visit the website.

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Written by ConnectFor

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ConnectFor is a digital volunteering platform, which connects volunteers and NGOs to make the culture of volunteering convenient and impactful.