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Extending a helping hand

Priyanka Devi is a young woman who knows first hand how important it is to help the less fortunate

22 Feb 2021 / 11:13 H.

FOR over four years, Priyanka Devi, 23, has been actively doing more than her fair share when it comes to helping the less fortunate.

Even when she was juggling a part-time job with her studies to earn her degree, Priyanka always found time to help those in need.

She first joined the Leo Club, a community service club, at SEGi College Subang Jaya, eventually becoming the president in mid-2019. During her stint as president, she organised many activities, including fundraising campaigns, to help the homeless, cancer patients as well as underprivileged children.

Although she graduated recently, she is still attached to the Segi College Leo Club.

“You can be a Leo until you are 35 years old,” she explained.

Her passion for serving the community began when she was a member of the Interact Club. This amazing young woman, who hails from Klang, was raised by a single mother along with her sisters and a brother.

How did you become part of your university’s Leo Club?

“Back in 2016, I joined university to pursue my degree, majoring in communications and minoring in psychology. When I was there, I was looking for a club to join and I came across the Leo Club, that organises community service activities. Community service has always been something close to my heart and that is why I joined.”

What motivated you to help the less unfortunate?

“It began when I was very little. My family is not well-to-do. But there were people who would provide food and financial help. I used to think that when I grew up, I wanted to help others and give back to the community. My family became better off when I was in secondary school and I began to get involved in community service when I was 15. My mum, who did several part-time jobs to make ends meet, always encouraged us to do some charity work.”

(Her mother now works in customer service in a logistics company).

How have you been helping others during the pandemic?

“Now, I am involved in training Leos so they know their roles and responsibilities. We also came up with a few suicide-prevention talks because we place importance on mental health issues. Because of the SOP, we can’t have big gatherings. These days, we organise activities such as book donations. If an orphanage needs books, we get the public to donate. About five of us will collect and deliver the books to the orphanage.”

Who do you work with when it comes to suicide-prevention projects?

“We mostly work with Leo members but we have also worked with many NGOs to make our projects more successful and impactful. We have also worked with Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

“We are trying to raise awareness and we use social media for this. We also post our contact numbers, so that anyone who needs help can contact us. There are many who are afraid to speak up. We use our own social media and the club’s social media to put out the message that ‘You Are Not Alone’.”

What are your future plans?

“I would like to find time to help the community. During my time in college, I had a part-time job, I was a student, I had my family to take care of and I also have my work with the club. I would manage my schedule properly and I would make sure I managed my time so I could help the community.

“I usually do this during the weekend. I would do it on a Saturday or Sunday, so I would have one day off. Regarding my future plans, once I get a full-time job, I see myself using my weekends to give back to the community.”

Do you plan to get a job with an NGO?

“I do see myself working for a NGO. I have applied to a few of them. I would be grateful to work with one of them, and doing social work full-time would be a career I am interested in.”

Who is your biggest role model?

“I would definitely say my mum. She is a single parent. When we were having financial problems, she would do four to five part-time jobs. She would work from morning to night. She gave me the drive to work harder. Even when we were struggling (financially), she was giving back to the community. She would donate old clothes to orphanages. It’s actually my mum who inspired me to do this. I was also inspired by my Leo Club team and Lion Club advisers.

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