Sonal Solanki - Wow Volunteer!
“There is a saying that when you are down, lift someone up”, says Sonal Solanki who has been volunteering with Sankara since 2005. In 2004, she lost her father in a car accident. “Devastated by grief I knew I had to find a meaningful way to deal with the loss.
” It was Sonal’s mother who suggested volunteering with Sankara. So, in 2005, Sonal reached out to Sankara’s founder, Murali Krishnamurthy, and his wife, Kala Murali, and during the long conversation with both about Sankara’s work, Sonal found her cause.
“Muraliji and Kalaji were so passionate about Sankara! At that time the Anand Hospital project was going on in Gujarat and I met a lot of volunteers. I was amazed by their enthusiasm and dedication.”
The rest, as they say, is history. “I initially started volunteering, thinking that I would be able to make people’s lives better,” Sonal says. “Little did I know then that this work would enrich my own life and bring so much happiness to me. What I have received from Sankara is way more than what I might have given back!” she exclaims.
As an accounting professional, Sonal was also greatly impressed by Sankara’s transparency, accountability, and feedback process. Her belief in Sankara’s cause and credibility also inspired friends and family to become donors and supporters.
“At Sankara, we interact with people right from eight-year-old children to 80-year-old senior citizens. They could be students, mid-level professionals, or CEOs. We have to be respectful and get the organization's needs met at the same time while managing projects. I don't think any B-school in the world can teach what my volunteering experience taught me. The opportunity to help is precious because it gave me a purpose to work for," she says.
Sonal also received the President’s Volunteer Service Award signed by President George W. Bush in 2008 for volunteering at Sankara Eye Foundation. “My father believed in living a life of service and making each day count. I am just trying to walk in his footsteps”, she says.