Rajani Tyagi

Rajani Tyagi was awarded sportscotland’s Community Volunteer of the Year at the 2022 Coaching, Officiating, and Volunteering Awards. She balances her career as a doctor with volunteering, and has been heavily influential in getting more women and girls involved in sport from a diverse range of backgrounds – particularly cricket and badminton.

What was your experience of sport growing up?

While growing up I was exposed various sports in school, but it was badminton where I started excelling and took that up as my favourite sport. I remember playing with wooden racquet which had to be stored in frame so that it retained its shape and there was not much variety in the type of racquets we could procure. It was simply love for that sport which made me continue.

What is your volunteering experience to date?

My volunteering experience is with the charity SEMSA. I have been doing it for 7/8years and have been actively involved with all activities of the group. I started the women’s sports wing of the charity. This involved starting the women’s badminton and cricket clubs. I would spend 5/6 hours a week organising and running the clubs. I have done coaching courses with the relevant SGB to run the two clubs. 

What, or who, inspired you to get into volunteering?

To be honest volunteering started only when life was a bit settled. Working in the NHS and treating chronic health issues related to isolation, body weight, ethnicity, I felt I could combine my work with pleasure and actually do justice with medical education. This I felt was a very great way to give back to the community.  I was grateful to find a platform/voluntary organisation like SEMSA who had similar ethos. 

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

What I enjoy most about volunteering is the feedback from the club members. It’s all such genuine praise of the work I do that I feel humbled and then that makes me do more. Whatever they say comes from their heart as it’s an informal, non-judgemental and no strings attached relationship but a trusted relationship which knows it’s boundaries . 

There have been comments such as:

  • “You make my weekend start on a very good note”
  • “First time in my life I played in a tournament in a new country because of the club and you as a coach “
  • “The club has made a huge difference in women’s social and physical life as it is a only women’s club”

Comments like these and many more really make it worthwhile.

Have you had to overcome any challengers or barriers whilst volunteering?

Yes, I have had challenges in volunteering. Sometimes club members have had objections to the way I spoke to them or some issues amongst themselves. It was essential to openly discuss situations affecting running of the club with club members when necessary and consider their views and fingers crossed the trick seems to be working at least till now. I have faced a few barriers like financial or organisational but could overcome them by help from public bodies like Glasgow life.

What advice would you give to others looking to get involved in volunteering?

Advice for someone wanting to get involved in volunteering would be if you feel from within like giving back to the community then just do it. It does not matter if it is in big or small way.

It could also be a way to integrate within a new community, meet new people, make new friendships. There is extreme pleasure and satisfaction in doing it.

There are lots of benefits too, like, learning life skills, being a team player, meeting people from different walks of life and getting exposure to their culture, lifestyle etc. These help in broadening your outlook and remove prejudices. Volunteering can be very empowering too. Last but not the least sometimes it could lead to a paid job too!

Date published: 14 July 2023
Date updated: 14 July 2023


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