Monday, June 04, 2007

Wanting To Make A Difference

The past week has been really exciting I have met so many interesting people wanting to make a difference in this world. All of them seemed to have one common passion and drive in life ‘to provide equal opportunity for every child. I found their stories inspiring and gripping.

Anusha Veluswamy

We were classmates and best of friends in 7th standard but after my father moved abroad and mounting pressures of school with every passing day, we eventually lost touch. It was only yesterday, after a decade, that I met Anusha again and we started off where we had left off. She was just the same with her dazzling smile and charming personality.

Anusha always loved children but went the conventional way and got a B Arch degree and landed a job with an architect firm in Bangalore. While learning the ropes of the trade she decided she would volunteer to teach at the Parikrma Humanity foundation schools. She put her architect skills to use and designed two of their 4 schools.

She then realized that helping society was her true calling and set up the Chennai branch of iVolunteer where she helps people who are interested in voluntary services, by placing them with the right organization based on the location, interest and skill set.

iVolunteer is a platform to bring together individuals, corporate houses and Non Government Organisations (NGO) for mutual benefit.

So if you think you can share you talent as a medical professional, designer, writer, engineer etc. get in touch with Anusha via email

Also you can log on to their website ( and see what kind of work iVolunteer is into.

Shumit Vatsal

Although I know Shumit for a relatively lesser time than the others, he had a very passionate story to tell. After having completed his masters in economics from the States, he felt he could use his skills to help the poor

‘I think i am extremely passionate about poverty. It’s hard to run away, not that i can do too much to change the situation here right now but i definitely want to contribute.’

He has been one of the founding members of Chennai Runners and helps train underprivileged children of the basketball team ‘Success’ at the Sports Development authority of Chennai (SDTA), Egmore.

‘US is a completely built society. Nothing needs to be really done there right now.’

Chennai runners are now supporting his cause and want to provide equal opportunity for these kids. Besides providing them with shoes and jerseys, they also want to mentor the kids and help them stay out of trouble. They recently organized a Friday run where anyone could run with these young basketball players and spend some quality time with them.

The run starts at 6.00am on Fridays at Nehru Park Egmore. If you want to support the cause or participate in the Friday run you can get in touch with Shumit via email at

Remember, you are running for a cause so don’t carry your ipod or any fancy gadgets and scare the kids away.

Janaki & Shubha

Janaki and Shubha are 2 women in their forties and have been teaching for nearly 2 decades now. They have long since recognized the shortcomings of the Indian education system. Janaki feels the government provides no special aid for children with learning disabilities.

Ever since, these women have been associated with Madras Dyslexia Association, a non-profit, voluntary organisation established in the year of 1991 to support children with Learning Disabilities and to prepare them to cope with challenges in academics.

Since dyslexia is a hidden disability which does not allow the child to perform to his/her actual potential, the under achievement of an otherwise intelligent child is puzzling to both teachers and parents alike. Timely identification and appropriate help will ensure that these children continue in mainstream education and their potential is fully tapped.

You can help by organizing a debate or quiz, or by volunteering your time to teach these children music, painting or any sports. You could also join them as a teacher
Log on to their website and see how you can contribute.

Their stories truly moved me and I have decided to contribute my little bit in making this world a better place.