Mumbai: For the past 19 years, Ram Adsule has been spending his Sundays teaching those from less-privileged backgrounds. He teaches a short course in social work, which not only enables them to find jobs, but helps create an army of volunteers during times of need, such as the 2005 Mumbai floods.
During the deluge, his students, many of whom are now part of his volunteer group We Care, took part in medical camps and food distribution relief. The group with 450 volunteers also regularly visits old age homes to spend time with residents, conducting activities like yoga and reading for them.
Adsule meets potential volunteers at the NGO where he has been teaching the certificate course that spans six months, without charging the organisation. Over the years, he has taught over 1,500 students, most of whom he says are now into social work. “There are children who have studied upto eight or 10th grade and cannot get admission in a bachelors or masters course in social work with that qualification, but have an aptitude for such work,” says the 52-year-old, who is a postgraduate in social work. Many are women who are homemakers and some, retired people. “The idea is capacity building in the field,” he says. He tells those passing out to dedicate at least one Sunday a month to social work while they pursue their jobs.
In the pre-COVID times, the Virar resident would travel on Sundays to the NGO's centres in Borivili, Vasai and Dahisar, dedicating at least six hours to teaching students there. Now, though, he teaches online for three hours on Sundays.
As an operations manager with Childline, his regular job through an NGO for the government helpline involves providing immediate help to children that call in distress situations — having faced physical and sexual abuse. He helps them through the administrative processes before they can be safe at shelter homes. “It is the satisfaction social work gives that drives me,” he says.