Eleven years ago, Rinku Mecheri decided to quit the corporate sector and use her skills not for numbers, but for good. Whenever I went to any NGO to say I wanted to help them, it was a 15-minute visit followed by a request for a donation. It made me think there are people like me who want to give back, but there was no importance placed on giving time, instead of just money.With the aim to create a network of like-minded people around her, as well as educating NGOs about the benefits of getting people to volunteer time, Chennai Volunteers was created.We spend time with an NGO, we understand their needs and then we map the volunteers skilled, recreational, short-term, long-term, medium-term and so on, she explains, adding, We have partnerships with over a hundred NGOs and institutions. On the other hand, we have volunteers ranging from students to social organizations and homemakers. So, we map them to one another. There is only one mandate - in order to make our civic society more inclusive, each one should donate your time generously.Mecheri says the growth has been very organic and to a large extent circumstantial. There has also been a huge change in the volunteering landscape. Over the years, Chennai Volunteers has given structure to a largely unstructured ecosystem. The growth has been phenomenal. For instance, we started by taking conversational English classes at 10 schools. Today we are at 45 schools, and also teach motivational skills, life skills and financial literacy.She also believes that certain incidents were turning points in the journey of the organisation. One of these was the Chennai Floods of December 2015, which saw an upsurge in volunteers. And the second, of course, was the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. These two instances taught us the difference between happy volunteering and crisis volunteering, says Rinku. Today in a week, Chennai Volunteers has an average of 500 volunteers across causes. That isnt taking into account events like marathons and beach clean-ups, which anyway have a huge momentum in terms of volunteering. Also, its not always about the number of volunteers its how much impact you make. In terms of that as well, the growth has been fulfilling.Chennai Volunteers also works on a lot of programmes for girls and women. For schoolgirls from underprivileged backgrounds, they teach confidence-building and educate them on gender equality, health and hygiene. For younger woman at skill-based community colleges, they conduct financial literacy programmes. Capacity building, upskilling and self-defence are just some of the other ways through which they mentor women. Through their NGO partners, they also reach out to women in communities, offering micro-credit through revolving funds. That especially came in very handy after COVID-19, says Rinku. A lot of micro-entrepreneurs had lost their livelihood. It helped them bounce back.Rinku, who is also a part of two other social organisations the Bhoomika Trust and the Guild of Service believes that women can do wonderful things when they work as a team. Alone you may have a little power, but when women come together, you can create immense impact!