They say, Life doesn’t create a hero very often. A hero who can be the change he wants to see. A hero who can inspire thousands of others from all walks of life, to be that change.
Volunteers of BBMP Forest Cell are not one but an army of 7000+ Heroes. They have always been attuned to the rights of the environment and of other animals. Many have been volunteers from their youth, while many have also been volunteers with other non-governmental organisations (NGOs). A lot of volunteers have been working for a long time the experience & conviction that they all can make a difference on a larger scale have made all the difference. The rest, as they say, is history. “Every animal they work with has inspired and strengthen the belief in conservation,” says one of the volunteer.
Most ventures stumble on funding. But this model requires very little finance. BBMP City Corporation gives some of the volunteers an Honorarium but the model is a low-investment venture carried on the shoulders of an incredibly large body of over 7,000 volunteers, so the need for funding drops dramatically. The volunteers come from different walks of life the seniors take the responsibility to educate, inspire and mould young people to join as volunteers. This keeps the flow of volunteers going. Sometimes, like-minded citizens appreciate the work being done and help us by covering fuel costs or by donating accessories and equipment required to do rescues.
Voluntarism can be demanding and can take a lot of time. It is not easy to maintain a work-life balance, especially when there is a day job to do also. Sharath one of the senior admits that “it is a tight rope walk.”
In the field of conservation, pitfalls are aplenty. People lack awareness and often make mistakes that can undo the work of years. “Lack of awareness pulls me down says one of the volunteer. When I see highly qualified or educated individuals throw garbage, misuse nature for personal benefits and do not wish to understand the damage that is being done,” it can be most discouraging. But every call of wildlife in distress motivates them to bounce back and continue to do what’s right.
And a day’s experience is not without challenges. The biggest is to get everyone together. “There are several NGOs working in silos addressing the issues of conservation. Each of them has a different level of understanding. The biggest challenge our country faces today is to bring them together and make it one huge movement.” Only this kind of concerted work can create effective awareness and make long-lasting change.
This kind of work often takes one down a lonely path. But this is a unique venture since it has diligently created a huge volunteer base to be proud of. “They are the soldiers on the ground spreading awareness.”
The Wipro-Nature Forever Society Sparrow Award, truly, goes to these volunteers and the recognition is an assurance that things are going in the right direction and need to be taken further.
Talking of the future, there is an immediate requirement to have paramedicare centres across Urban Bangalore to attend to wildlife in distress. There is also a vast wealth of human power lying untapped in schools, colleges, housing complexes, corporates and villas. They need to be brought within the ambit of this conservation work through awareness sessions. On the official side, there is a need to involve various government institutions to enforce the Indian Wildlife Act more effectively.