On 20th October 22, the first training session of CompanionforSenior Buddy Program was held for the students from GRG school of Management studies, based in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. This was an online session conducted by Mr Prajosh Balakrishnan, the founder of OurParents. StudentsCare is the Non-profit organisation based in US who are the training partner collaborating with OurParents for the rollout of the Buddy Program in India.
Around twenty students participated in this session. Students from the 1st year, 2nd Year and PG for Financial Management course attended the session. Since it was a diverse crowd from across the college the session had to be scheduled outside the college hours. In spite of this the students participated whole heartedly acknowledging their role and ready to make a difference in the life of senior citizens.
Ms Tami Robinson, Program Manager StudentsCare participated in the session to share the concept and explain how they functioned across various chapters in US. Keeping with the time difference of the Pacific Standard Time, Ms Tami had to login by 5.30 am to sync with the evening session held at 6 pm IST. Her presence and viewpoints on the program motivated the students.
The dean of the GRG School of management studies, Dr Savitha Nair also made time to take part in the session. She conveyed how she felt the program can make a difference in the lives of the students and seniors.
We had also invited Dr Sivaramakrishnan, a retired consultant and academician and he had taken part in the session. On being asked to express his views on the buddy program he said that senior citizens are a knowledge and network resource. The student buddies must make use of their expertise and benefit. He congratulated the OurParents team and conveyed his thoughts on how important he felt this program would benefit the younger generation.
The management students also participated in the interaction and shared their views on ageing and age related concepts. Ms Ramya, 2nd year MBA students felt that various beauty products in the market are promoted as anti-wrinkle, anti-ageing products etc. These promote negative stereotype in the minds of youngsters.
Ms Akshayaa 2nd year MBA, proudly quoted her grandfather who in spite of being 75 years, was so young at heart and very agile for his age. He had lots of grey hair but never used any hair colour to cover his age. He was proud to show himself as the way he is.
Ms Subiksha another MBA, 2nd year student referred to Senior citizens as a walking encyclopaedia as they have experienced every phase in their life and could guide them in any possible way. She referred to the poem “The Seven Ages of Man” by William Shakespeare which narrated the different stages a man goes through in life.
Overall the participants got a better perspective of the entire program after the training. They were impressed by the reference made by Ms Tami Robinson and were motivated to be on-board of similar initiative in India.