“We were always portrayed as the fall guys, the gadget-toting, apathetic generation with little regard for human relations. But here is what we are and what we always were,” said Stephin, gesturing at the room that was teeming with youngsters engaged in volunteer work.
The second year electrical and electronics engineering student was among the countless young volunteers engaged in relief operations at a camp being run at the Government Polytechnic College, Kalamassery, ever since the flood wrecked havoc in the district last week.
There were young volunteers from the National Service Scheme (NSS) and the National Cadet Corps (NCC) from as far away as Palakkad, in addition to students from St. Paul’s College, Kalamassery, and Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology (RSET), Kakkanad.
Saurav, a second year computer engineering student, has not been to his home at Piravom for the last four days, as he stayed back at the camp all along. “We have been part of volunteer work before, but nothing comparable to the scale on which it is being done now. This will stand us in good stead during any crisis in the future,” he said, standing in the middle of the auditorium filled with relief materials ranging from clothes and sanitary napkins to baby diapers.
The scale of work has not overwhelmed them, as everything is being done in an organised manner. The auditorium serves as the main storeroom on the dais of which materials needed for a whole week are neatly arranged with the rest of the materials sorted in the space below.
“When there is a shortage of materials in the weekly lot, we replenish it with the stuff from beneath. Besides, separate rooms are assigned for various materials the shortage of which is again made up with supplies from the storeroom. When the storeroom itself runs short of materials, we publish it on the notice board outside so that those who can will arrange it,” said Libin, a second year mechanical engineering student.
Sherin Baby and Nikhitha Teresa, third semester computer science students from RSET, were engaged in volunteer work somewhere else when they came to know about the need for more hands at the camp in Kalamassery.
“We help with sorting dress materials by their size, as they come mixed up in all sizes,” said Sherin. Most boys stay back at the camp overnight, while the girls return home in the evening.
Many of these youngsters, even from the same college, had not known one another before the unprecedented calamity brought them together. “Now, these friendships we have struck here will last our last our lifetime, that is for sure,” signed off Stephin.
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