5 questions with a V Teamer: Empowering women to cultivate sustainable land and livelihoods
For Sasi R. Subramani, giving back is a ‘soul-satisfying’ experience
By Frances Moffett
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When it comes to volunteering, Sasi R. Subramani, a Citizen Verizon Volunteers Champion from Chennai, India, lives by the saying, “Small droplets make a big ocean.”
“Every simple act of kindness makes a positive difference. That is the driving force for my active participation,” she says. “I have a sense of satisfaction when I extend my hand to the community.”
Sasi started at Verizon in 2006 as a contractor and became a full-time V Teamer in 2010. Credit: Selvaprakash Lakshmanan
Sasi, a communications consultant who has been with Verizon for 12 years, says she’s passionate about volunteering opportunities in the human prosperity pillar, which allow her to share her knowledge through mentoring and training programs. She’s specifically drawn to working in vulnerable communities.
“Volunteering is all about doing things to move the world forward for all,” Sasi says. “Every time I see people getting encouraged and motivated to help the communities around them, those are the best moments for me.”
Sasi has been active in the Citizen Verizon Volunteers program since its inception, becoming a Champion in 2020. Credit: Selvaprakash Lakshmanan
Recently, Sasi has been working with the Concern India Foundation’s Livelihood Project in Chengalpattu, India. In that region, landless agricultural workers and marginal farmers often lack access to housing, water and health care. To help this marginalized community, the government granted a group of women farmers an allocation of land. That land, however, was barren, rocky and lacked a reliable water source. Through the volunteer efforts of V Teamers, as well as a grant from Verizon India’s CSR Committee, these farmers received the knowledge, resources and empowerment they needed to convert the land and maintain their livelihoods.
1. How do V Teamers support the Concern India Foundation’s Livelihood Project?
V Teamers host motivational sessions that allow the women farmers to look at life from a different perspective. These women are from economically weaker communities and their morale was very low. Their mentality was that only men could succeed. We organized programs to break that mindset and tell them they have the power to change their lives.
The sessions discuss gender-based and domestic violence, the importance of educating young girls, financial wellness, team building, embracing change and new avenues of business related to farming. V Teamers also planted saplings in their neighborhoods.
Sasi, along with V Teamers (left to right) Abhilash Raghavan, Iggu Chittiappa and Bhaarath Ramakrishnan, onsite at the land cultivated by the farmers.
2. What was most rewarding about volunteering with this project?
Empowering these women. To date, this intervention guided 148 women farmers into entrepreneurship. They became earning members of the family, are now treated with respect and have created an identity for themselves.
The initiative also meant that family members didn’t have to migrate to other cities and villages for jobs. In addition, the yield of the land jumped from 29.5 to 441 metric tons per year, and the farmers learned practices that allowed for multiple cropping (planting two or more crops on the same land during a year). We also promoted Verizon’s climate protection pillar, through 100% organic farming practices, using no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Solar energy is used for pumping water from the wells for irrigation, and drip irrigation and sprinklers were installed to curb water waste.
In her role as communications consultant, Sasi manages the CSR projects for Verizon India. Credit: Selvaprakash Lakshmanan
3. In all of your volunteering activities, what impact have you seen within the community?
I’ve seen transformation in all aspects of individuals’ lives through the volunteering events. For example, I’ve seen students from underserved communities receive guidance that helped them get their first job. The feeling can't be explained with mere words — it’s a soul-satisfying experience to help people.
4. What recent volunteering event got you excited about giving back?
Verizon India recently participated in World Cleanup Day activities. The events involved cleaning up zoological parks, beaches, lakes and neighborhoods. We had more than 250 volunteers participate in the events to clean up the communities. This helped me visualize how a spark in one person could create a ripple effect in society. Certainly a motivating moment!
Sasi says she loves her job and all the opportunities she has to give back to her community because of it. Credit: Selvaprakash Lakshmanan
5. What’s your advice to other V Teamers who may not be volunteering through the Citizen Verizon Volunteers portal yet?
We are all here for a purpose. Grab every opportunity to help someone grow.
Learn more about how you can make a difference in your local — and global — community before the end of the year. Visit the Citizen Verizon Volunteers portal to access the latest opportunities to give back.