Star Member of the Month - May

Aashayein Foundation recognizes every month the star member of the month for their exemplary work, dedication and commitment.

For May, 2009: Girish Gangadhar has been chosen as the Star Member of the Month for May 2009 for organizing the summer camp for 150-odd children in Aman Vedika and coordinating the ‘Movie for a Cause’ at PVR Cinemas where ‘Kung fu Panda’ was screened for the children.

Please read the interview of his on life, Aashayein and his views.

Tell us something about yourself.

Hi, I am Girish Gangadhar. I was born and brought up in Bangalore. Life has not been handed to me on a silver platter. My father, a Government officer, worked really hard to ensure that his children got a decent education. Those hard years motivated me to work hard, be ambitious and successful in life. My mother, a homemaker, often sacrificed her own happiness to ensure that her children had the basic necessities of life. In her own way, she demonstrated how even in the seemingly small and trivial things, great happiness can be found, how a little sacrifice can bring joy to someone’s life. My formative years played a vital role in making me a successful, hardworking and dedicated person, who is also kind, generous and friendly.
I moved to Hyderabad in 2008, in pursuit of my passion. Living away from family has made me tougher and independent and has strengthened my bonds with my friends. 
What are your hobbies?
Cricket is my passion and Formula-1 my love. I like and follow both the sports as much as possible.  Michael Schumacher is my all time favorite driver & Ferrari is the team I am with. I like fast cars and I enjoy driving at high speeds, especially on twisted, mountainous roads. 
Mention about your professional life.
I work for Societe Generale Group Company, a finance based MNC in their automotive domain.  I have always known that I wanted to be connected with cars, someway or the other and I started my career with Toyota, in Asst Manager – Marketing. Contrary to prevalent practices, I got close to the people who work in the background- the mechanics, the technicians & the support staff in the service. The care and love with which they treat every vehicle, even though they knew that they would never be able to own one, are really commendable. Their attention to detail and their knowledge never ceased to surprise me. At Toyota, I made friends and learned values which will last me a lifetime.
After spending 3 years with Toyota, I moved to Symphony Services – A Market Research Company, in the position of Senior Consultant. This position meant a better pay. However, I always knew that cars are my passion and I would not be truly happy elsewhere. Like Steve Jobs, I too believe that it’s important to do what one loves and until one finds it, he or she should keep looking. Thus I arrived at Hyderabad, fighting all odds, to work at what I love. My time in this present company has been a rewarding one. In just over a year I have established myself as an important contributor and a dependable employee. 
When did you join Aashayein Foundation and why did you join it?
I am with Aashayein since its inception in January 2007.  Aashayein is a place where I can practice what I believe in. I believe that it’s the duty of every individual in the society to help some one else in need and I find immense self-satisfied in helping others. I was always aware of my social responsibility, but I had my own personal commitments too. Therefore, once I was in a place where I could devote time and energy towards the cause of others, I joined Aashayein. I was introduced to Aashayein through a friend and I found it a very interesting organization because it was a set of a few, close-knit, dedicated individuals. Unlike other NGOs, where I would have been just a member participant, at Aashayein I could make myself heard, give innovative ideas and contribute to the Aashayein vision. I joined Aashayein while it was still finding its feet and it’s been a great joy and a wonderful experience. 
Which has been the most memorable day in Aashayein for you?
For me Aashayein’s first cultural program “Sur Tarang”, for kids at Bangalore in 2007 is the most memorable day till now. I was one of the members in the organizing team & we had a challenging task in hand to get the children perform to practice. It was a platform which provided the kids an opportunity to showcase their talent. At the end of the show, everyone was left smiling. That talent should reside in children who are considered “under-privileged” is an eye-opener. The success of the show further strengthened the resolve of the entire Aashayein team to work towards the welfare of such children and provide them the necessary opportunity. 
What are your expectations from Aashayein?
This foundation is formed to give hope and support to underprivileged kids in what ever way possible. For this Aashayein should always have a strong, motivated & enthusiastic team to drive this initiative. I am parallely working to build a team who can take-up responsibility proactively & work towards the vision of Aashayein.
Tell us 2 things that you like in Aashayein and 2 areas that need more attention and how can we work on them?
Two this I like:
  1. Aashayein has come a long way since its inception. The activities, initiatives & the growth are tremendous. However, we are still not commercial and have stuck to our ethics and values which we always believe in.
  2. In Aashayein, everyone works as a team, putting aside personal differences and surpassing all personal problems. No one hesitates to give their 100 percent and work towards the realization of our goal.
However, there are two areas where Aashayein can do better:

  1. I feel Aashayein needs to work more towards proper communication channel and have a representative for all the communication.
  2. With its growth, Aashayein has not been able to give every member equal opportunity. We should strive to bring out the best in everyone.
What are the added responsibilities that you would like to handle in Aashayein?
We recently had a movie screening for one of the orphanages here in Hyderabad. The event was one of the success stories in Aashayein. We required lot of support from different sectors for this cause & we had to work really hard to bring two ends close to make this event happen. To make this process smoother in future, we need to have someone working towards brand & marketing. I would like to work more towards marketing and brand building & I am sure with my experience I can add value to it. It’s quite vital for our organization to be recognized by the wider and responsible audience.  
here would you like to see Aashayein in 5 years from now?
I would like to see Aashayein as one of the best run and professionally managed organization. I would also like to see this organization get enough recognition and create a brand of its own, while maintaining its dream of ushering in hope and opportunity for the underprivileged kids. I want Aashayein to carry on the foundation on which it was established- an organization of close-knit, dedicated individuals who put others before self. 
Any message for Aashayein and its members.
As I mentioned earlier, Aashayein has been an amazing experience for me and I am enjoying every bit of it. Working in Aashayein has given a new dimension for me and has taught me to look at life the way it is. Let’s not be in this organization with expectation as individuals. Rather let us give the best possible to those charming but less fortunate kids and expect of ourselves to bring them the level where we are today.