2020 - A year, we will never forget

02.01.21 10:15 AM By Kartheeban Chandramohan
2020 - This is a year that our generation will not forget easier. The first pandemic of our lifetime. A virus which is so small that we cannot see in our naked eye bought the entire world to a standstill. It looked like the virus has pressed the huge ‘Pause’ button.

This world which is divided by boundaries, race, colour, religion united to face the common enemy. At times, it makes you think pandemic like this happens for a reason.

The pandemic made us stay in our home for longer periods than we ever thought.

It gave us time to do something beyond work.

It gave us time to spend our time with family.

It gave us time to connect back with our old friends.

It gave us time to reflect back on our life.

It taught us to appreciate the small things in life.

It told us, not to take things granted in life.

It made us to live LIFE.

For me personally, 2020 is an year of fightback. Dec 31, 2020 concludes my completion of 6 years of quitting my corporate job. For a guy like me who comes from a not so financially strong background, quitting a steady corporate job is a big step. I made that decision so that I can go and live my dream of serving others, promoting volunteering in this country. Hence, I make sure that the work I and my team does is worth quitting a well paying job a 1000 times.

Here are few milestones by Team Everest which I’m proud of this year:

Milestone-1: We closed our office on 20-March-2020 thinking it will be for weeks or a month. Never in our wildest dream we thought it will extend for a year. Our team of 20+ employees need to work entirely from home. I always believed in having ‘Laptop’ for employees than ‘Desktop’ as I loved the portability the ‘Laptop’ offers. All our employees were using laptop for work which made the job easier. In less than 24 hours, we became a 100% remote team without any additional investment.
Milestone-2: The first task in our hand is to help our beneficiaries fight the pandemic. 1 in 2 families lost job with no income at all. Their next meal became a question mark. We launched a ‘Covid Livelihood Relief’ fundraising campaign. We ended up raising Rs 45+ Lakhs helping 600+ families by paying them directly to fight poverty in their home. More than 2000 people had food because of support from volunteers like you.

We even raised funds to sponsor the salary of teachers who lost their jobs during pandemic.

I can never forget the heartfelt thanks these people shared with us. Nothing can be better than a timely help.
Milestone-3: Our students most of them from rural areas and in slums, huts in Chennai stopped learning as the schools and colleges closed. We launched Virtual Volunteering with 17 types of activities on March 23, 2020 which is within 48 hours from the day we closed our office. By end of the year, 7000+ volunteers volunteered to teach 8000+ children virtually. There is zero physical volunteering and 100% of our activities went virtual.

For me, to adopt to such a change in a short period is a massive achievement. A big thanks to all the volunteers and my team who made this happen. For me, just this alone shows the resilience of the organisation. I want ‘Team Everest’ to be an organization which is ready to face any challenges in future and come out with flying colours. Every challenge is an opportunity to become stronger. We became more stronger from this challenge.

Check all our virtual volunteering opportunities here.

Milestone-4:‘I am the Change’ scholarship is our flagship program where we identify parentless, single parented students and sponsor them for their UG degree. We started this scholarship in 2016 with 19 students. In 2019, we added 200 new students to this scholarship and was sponsoring a total of 400 students by end of 2019.

I wanted to double the number of students whom we sponsor in 2020. We worked hard. We reached out to people and asked for help. We crowdfunded for this initiative. 10,000+ people donated and we ended up sponsoring the education of 450+ new students in 2020 which is 125% more than 2019. As of now, 850 students are part of this scholarship and 70% of them are sponsored by individuals like you (Rest is sponsored by Corporate sponsors).

Because of Covid, we converted our student selection process virtually. We received 6000+ applications. After 10,000+ calls, thousands of interviews, we shortlisted 450 students for this scholarship program in 2020.

Interviewing 6000 students virtually, doubling the number of students to sponsor when the entire economy is crashing shows the faith our volunteers, donors have on Team Everest. Thank you everyone for stepping in when the world needs the most.

If you wish to sponsor a student, click here.

Note: We also introduced ‘Covid Scholarship’ and currently sponsoring 50 students whose family is affected because of Covid.

Milestone-5: Team Everest vision is to promote volunteering in the country, in the world. We strongly believe that to create a culture of volunteering, we should start it from home. Hence, we introduced ‘Children Volunteering’ on Children’s day (14-Nov-2020). We introduced 10 virtual volunteering activities designed exclusively for children. Already more than 500 children volunteers are part of various initiatives. We look forward to introduce volunteering to many more children in 2021. (Click here to know about our children volunteering programs)
I want to take a moment to thank all the volunteers, donors, my teammates, friends and family members who gives me the strength to keep going.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. There is no better proof for this statement than 2020 for Team Everest.

We will find strength from 2020 and will build 2021 with more hope and optimism.

Team Everest promises to spread volunteering more and to help more children in 2021.

Happy New year everyone.