India’s foremost recognition for excellence in individual as well as organisational volunteering held in Mumbai

Mumbai, Feb 27, 2024:

The 12th edition of iVolunteer Awards, India’s foremost recognition for excellence in individual as well as organisational volunteering, were held on 24th February in Mumbai.

“Celebrating the spirit of altruism, the 12th edition of the iVolunteer Awards stands as a testament to the power of collective goodwill. As we honour those who selflessly contribute to positive change, let us remember that every act of kindness ripples into a wave of impact, shaping a future where compassion and collaboration redefine the world we share.” – Shalabh Sahai, Co-Founder & Director, iVolunteer

This year, iVolunteer Awards also bring together all finalists for a day-long workshop to foster a sense of connection and shared learning, amplifying the impact of volunteering made by individuals, NGOs, and companies.

award organisation

The Awards are presented in 4 categories:

Volunteer Hero – the flagship category, it recognises Volunteers whose exemplary voluntary contribution inspires others to volunteer (hence the title ‘Hero’!)

Youth Champion – recognises Youth under 23, whose exemplary voluntary contribution inspires others to volunteer.

Leader in Volunteer Engagement – recognises NGOs engaging volunteers in innovative ways.

Leader in Employee Volunteering – recognises Companies with the best employee volunteering practices

The awards process is designed to widely share the inspiring stories of ordinary volunteers. Hundreds of people nominate the heroes they find most inspiring with thousands casting votes in the race to the finish line. This year, 35000+ votes from across India were polled over a two week voting period. The votes coupled with ‘experts choice’ reveal the finalists for the Awards. A national jury selects the winners who were announced today.

Such powerful projects and inspiring individuals : the final votes were definitely not easy to cast! Well done iVolunteer on organising these annual Awards, shedding light on initiatives, dedication and engagement that truly deserve to be recognised and will, no doubt, inspire others to follow through.” Said Stéphanie Andrieux, Jury Member. She is the founder of Benenova, an organisation developing and managing programs to make volunteering more accessible and inclusive in 5 cities in France.

Avula Shobana received the coveted ‘Volunteer Hero’ award for her role as a volunteer teacher at Vidyasagar Chennai, teaching differently abled children and young adults vocational skills. “What started as a simple volunteer task 20 years ago to fill up a few hours of my week turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.” Says Avula who spent over 1500 hours volunteering between 2022 and 2023.

The Leader in Employee Volunteering Award was shared by Firstsource and Standard Chartered.

“As per our CSR policy, we not only invest in the communities but also enable our employees, the larger knowledge base which we have with us to share our fortune, knowledge, and time for a great cause. We have created the concept of City Champions who are driving the employee volunteering program, where the employees take the ownership.”, states Sankara Mahalingam, Global Leader – Community Outreach of Firstsource.

“As an organisation, we are firm believers in giving back to the communities we operate in. We have a dedicated team within, the Corporate Affairs – Brand & Marketing team which focuses on volunteering along with multiple volunteering champions who exist within the organisation. So, there is a whole volunteering ecosystem.”, says Gaurav Rajput, MD & Head Marketing, Corporate Affairs – India & South Asia and Head Consumer Bank Marketing – Asia.

Goonj, headquartered in Delhi, bagged the award for Leader in Volunteer Engagement.

Goonj employs a multifaceted approach to volunteer recruitment, leveraging word- of-mouth referrals and transforming visitors into dedicated members. They strongly believe that their volunteers are special because they are the co-creators in their journey of doing good and spreading happiness. Their rallying call, “Dil ki Suno, Goonj..Karo” perfectly embodies their commitment to collective responsibility.

The Youth Champion award was presented to Jeevitha Kong from Bengaluru, for her role in a project called VScribe, an initiative of V the Volunteers. VScribe connects persons with disabilities with voluntary writers (scribes) who can assist them in writing exams.

“Volunteering has helped me understand what I lack, appreciate what I have, and be grateful for what is there. Over time, I have realised the importance of true compassion and empathy over temporary sympathy”, says Jeevitha who has arranged scribes for 600+ exams and impacted 300+ visually impaired so far.

It was an evening packed with inspiring moments and wonderful memories as related by the guests, dignitaries, and awardees alike. The event was marked by inspiring moments, including a remarkable dance performance by differently-abled individuals from the Cerebral Palsy Association of India. Guests of Honour included Mr. Prabhat Pani, Executive Director, Centre for Innovation in Sustainable Development of SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, and Shriya Pilgaonkar, the renowned actor known for her roles in Mirzapur and Guilty Minds.

Mr. Prabhat Pani stated the impact of volunteering through his words, “When you give someone a fish, you feed them for a day. When you teach someone how to catch a fish, you feed them for a lifetime. But when you build an ecosystem where they will have sellers, suppliers, and other aspects, you empower them and the generations to come. And that’s what Volunteering is all about.”