Community Hero: Amrutha Sreekantapuram Connects with Students in Bangalore

Editor’s Note: Broadcom Community Heroes  recognizes civic engagement and volunteerism by Broadcom employees around the globe, who may nominate themselves or their colleagues for recognition under guidelines set forth by Broadcom Foundation. The Community Engagement Committee honors these employees with a $500 gift in their honor from a list of qualifying charities. In this series on the blog, we’ll profile each Community Hero to share stories about their interests and work benefiting their communities around the world.

For Amrutha Sreekantapuram, a Senior Engineer in IC Design in Bangalore, India, volunteerism has always been a natural gateway to remain engaged within the community. Sreekantapuram is a firm believer in working for a grass roots cause, which is why she invests her free time to the Project LOTUS initiative. Project LOTUS (Linking Organization To Underprivileged Schools) is a  program that focuses on providing quality education for students living in poverty-stricken communities in India. One of Sreekantapuram’s deepest passions is empowering youth and watching as they grow and transform into professionals because of their access to education.

Here is an edited interview.

How did you get involved in Project LOTUS?

I became involved in Project LOTUS when I relocated to Bangalore to work for Broadcom. I didn’t have a lot of time or opportunity to explore the new community while starting a career. When the cause was presented to me, I joined without hesitation because it was a chance for me to gain a fellowship with colleagues while supporting my new home.COmmunity Hero Project Lotus 4

What surprised you most about your work with the group?

Before Project Lotus, I thought individuals who selflessly served others were a different breed. As I began working with group members, I was surprised to learn that they were just like me. I was also surprised that veteran volunteers, who had been part of Project LOTUS for over 15 years, continued to exhibit the fiery passion that most beginners have!

What do you most look forward to when working with Project Lotus?

I most look forward to school visits because I have the opportunity to listen and connect with the children who are the stakeholders of our cause. During my first time visiting, I worried about my ability to communicate with the children because they speak another local language called Kannada. As visits progressed and became more comfortable for me, I learned that my fears were unfounded. Children possess the ability to communicate without a language medium and make you feel comfortable regardless of language barriers.

What would you like to accomplish with your work this year?

COmmunity Hero Project Lotus 3Project LOTUS’s mission statement is “Make quality education a reality for everyone in India” and we are accomplishing exactly that. This year, we plan to expand our support by getting into more underprivileged schools. As a group, we are discussing an expansion to our scholarship program. In the scholarship program, students are supported financially until they complete college. This has become a strong motivating factor for students to further their education and finish college. Our group has witnessed how powerful the scholarship program serves our community. COmmunity Hero Project Lotus 2

Share with us a favorite story about your work. What made the experience so rewarding?

My favorite story about work happened a few years back when I was playing cards with my students. I was deliberately underplaying so the kids could experience victory. One student noticed and asked why I was doing that. Taken by complete surprise, I told him that because I was older it wouldn’t be fair for me to be the winner. His innocuous reply humbled me, “Winning is not important. It is okay to lose. After all, it is just a game.” Valuable life lessons such as this one on arrogance, vanity and competition, make my volunteer work with these children very rewarding.

What would you say to inspire other Broadcom employees to volunteer?

A famous quote that has resonated with me is, “Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” I would like to urge each Broadcom employee to find a cause that inspires them most and dedicate time to volunteering. View volunteering as a form of ‘personal development’ because at the end of the day, the person who benefits the most is you.