Vasundhara Gupta: A Strong Engager in Community Service

In college, we all learn to build huge dreams and have hopes of executing them. Vasundhara Gupta, a second-year at Ashoka has worked for different social communities. At a very young age, she started getting involved in social work and here she is, bringing about changes; real, tangible changes in society that all Ashokans are really proud of! Here is her story!

 

Q. What inspired you to get into social work?

A. As a student, I have always rallied against sexual abuse. In the beginning, it started off as a social obligation, but now it has transformed into my interest. The gratification I get inspires me to keep going! In the beginning, I had worked with Oye Happy, a social gifting platform which helps the community and I realized that I was helping them because I felt socially obligated to do so. When I realized this, I quit! However, now I engage in community service because I genuinely want to help the community.

Cooking workshop for children

 

Q. As the co-founder of Ruhi how have you contributed and where do you see Ruhi in the future?

A. Ruhi is a social initiative on campus where the didis and bhaiyas, the staff on campus are taught English to boost their confidence and enhance learning. I see Ruhi as an instrument to unite Ashoka, to ensure that no individual on campus feels like they are left unheard. I see Ruhi as a means to provide every individual with an outlet to share their story and to feel close to others on campus. Ruhi should be like a bubble where everyone feels welcomed and integrated. I feel like that hasn’t happened yet. We have all the didis and bhaiyas and over 150 volunteers and I am very proud of that. These numbers are much more than I had ever imagined and it feels really good!

Vasundhara leading a guiding lecture about the work that Ruhi entails

 

Q. What social work have you done outside campus?

A. I distributed sanitary napkins from project Bala. It was started by a young lady and she came up with a great sanitary napkin that works for 1.5 years. It reduces waste and also makes it reasonable by surpassing the GST on sanitary napkins. I introduced this to Ashoka and broke norms concerning menstruation. The didis on campus use these and are very happy with it.

I have also conducted workshops for safe/unsafe touch. There was an interesting workshop I conducted to foster the idea of inclusivity. For another workshop on sexual harassment, we were going to teach them a song. A girl was being very mischievous and I joked,  “I’ll beat you now”. The girl said “You can’t touch me because you don’t have the right” (Sorry aap mujhe nahi maar sakte, aapke pass haq nahi hai) and that was a very proud moment for me because I saw her applying what I had taught.

Wall painting for a social cause

 

Q. Tell us something shocking about you.

A. My eyesight is weak but I can see without my glasses and the doctor said I have supernatural powers to expand and contract my ciliary muscles. No one believes it when I tell them but it’s the truth!

 

Q. What extracurriculars do you do at Ashoka?

A. I really enjoy playing the sitar. When I was seven years old, I learnt Kathak and I still love practicing it. My Kathak teacher never thought I was a good student because he wanted regularity. I enjoy singing but I don’t get why everyone runs away when I do so.

Vasundhara (left) and other Ruhi members conducting a workshop to break gender norms where boys were taught to cook

 

Q. What is your motto in life? And what is a piece of advice you have for all Ashokans?

A. I just felt like a BABA when you asked me that! *laughs*. Something that has really kept me inspiring from talking in class to heading a cohort is the quote “Step out of your comfort zone and it will expand” by Swami Vivekananda.

 

Q. What would we find you doing in your free time?

A. Talking to people and getting inspired.

 

Vasundhara is truly inspiring and it was great talking to her. She also has great movie suggestions for all of you! Do contact her and have a chat, it will be an amazing experience.

 

Edited by:  Vasudha Malani

Photographs courtesy of Vasundhara Gupta

I am an Economics Major at Ashoka University. I love to travel and explore different cultures and traditions. Writing has been my passion because language is very powerful and plays an important role in impacting lives.

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