As you’ll know by now, we work with some fantastic volunteer ambassadors at LSE, who are passionate about different causes and want to inspire their peers to take action too. Earlier this term, we caught up with Pravin (MSc in Human Rights, 2021) to hear about how he’s settled at LSE and what inspires him to volunteer in his community.
Fourth Floor Restaurant situated in the historic LSE Old Building is my favourite place for catching up with friends over a coffee. I do eat there occasionally as the food is good and has widest selection of food on campus. Also it also has regionally inspired menu from India. I spend most of my time here with friends discussing readings and notes. I can say that it’s the place where my finest memories and biggest laughs have been made.
Which causes are you really passionate about and why?
As a lawyer and human rights defender I am passionate about access to justice and reproductive health rights, as it has strengthened me to counter patriarchy, caste-class-religion-based discrimination, gender based violence and has equipped me to achieve measurable social impact. My work has been focused on enabling adolescents, youths, men, women and transgender on issues around menstrual hygiene, access to justice, sexual reproductive health rights, peacebuilding and legal aid. I have been working through collaborative partnerships and advocacy initiatives with civil society organizations, government agencies, media, and other stakeholders to promote justice, gender equality, create access to SRHR information, campaign for family planning and to advocate human rights of all individuals.
What inspires you to volunteer?
I have been volunteering for the last ten years via various social initiatives with an aim to help people to reach their full social, economic and human potential, while instilling a strong sense of civic engagement. In my personal life, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Savitribai Phule, Shardabai Pawar, Indira Gandhi, Maya Angelou, Fatima Sheikh, Mother Teresa, Dr. Abdul Kalam and Baba Amte are my inspiration as their life journeys have always encouraged and inspired the spirit of volunteerism in me. Volunteering has given me an opportunity to learn and helps me putting my life into perceptive. Volunteering has enabled me to contribute towards the cause of human welfare, it has given me an opportunity to learn life lessons and has helped me to play an active part in the global community, and all these aspects of volunteering inspires me to volunteer.
How did you adapt your volunteering since COVID-19 started?
For me despite the coronavirus situation, volunteering has continued to thrive as I found new means of connecting and contributing my time and skills for volunteer action. As a lawyer I made sure that people from low income group and marginalised communities get access to justice so, via phone and in-person meetings, I reached out to them to give them necessary inputs and if required assist them in the court. I along with my team worked to ensure that basic hygiene and sanitation supplies are made available to the prison through community support to prevent further community spread of COVID 19 and ensure safe working conditions for the staff in prison and court who are working relentlessly as front line workers during this pandemic. We redesigned our existing grassroots intervention to address the critical needs of women and girls in a COVID-19 context by conducting training of teachers as facilitators on gender and reproductive health in rural parts of Maharashtra State in India.
Why would you recommend your friend to volunteer?
Volunteering helps to have a sense of belongingness and achieve self-awareness and so I will recommend my friend to volunteer; also because I believe that volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges across the globe. Through volunteer action we all can contribute our time, skills and knowledge and contribute to a better world.
What’s your favourite place in London so far?
My favourite place in London is “Ambedkar House” which is at 10 King Henry’s Road, Primose Hill, London. Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, (1891-1956), who was a Indian Crusader of Social Justice lived at “Ambedkar House – 10 King Henry’s Road” from 1921 to 1922. Dr. Ambedkar was a jurist, economist, politician and a social reformer. He is one of the founding fathers of Modern India and known as the father of the Indian Constitution. Ambedkar House has photographs and descriptions which gives us the outline of Ambedkar’s life with specific insights into his time in London. In the manicured backyard is a life-sized statue of Ambedkar with the Indian Constitution in one hand. In 1923, Ambedkar became the first Indian to finish a doctorate in economics from London School of Economics and Political Science for his thesis, The Problem of the Indian Rupee. In the same year, he completed his legal training and became a member of Gray’s Inn, one of the four Inns of Court in England and Wales to which all barristers must belong. Dr. Ambedkar’s life inspires me a lot.