May 21, 2009
India is a young country they say. Why is India being portrayed as young, even after completing 60 years of independence and having thousands of years of legacy beyond its true beginning, one may ask. The reason why our India is young, is because of the large size of the young population our country has. India is possibly one from among a handful of countries in the world, where the youngsters are greater in number, than the elders in terms of population. When we look up at our country’s position as an independent, free country on one hand, we should also realize the misery our country suffers from, in various fronts. The part of our population which suffers the most, is of the young children. According to recent statistics, a shocking 19% of our children are forsaken by their parents at child birth and another 27%, before the age of five. All this clearly goes to show, that though India is young, the young are in fact, being exploited and their very fundamental right, the right to life, is being taken away.
Education is possibly one of the greatest assets which man holds at this point. The situation the world over today, justifies this notion. Recession has hit man kind in a manner which is no less than the world war.
Today, man can possibly think of his sustenance purely on the basis of education. If we are as we are today, it is again only because somebody years back decided to educate us.
Educating our children is not just about imposing a body of knowledge on them. Rather, it involves preparing them from the early years, for the world in which they will come of age. It means instilling in them a love for lifelong learning, creativity, self-expression and an appreciation for diversity. Education is the foundation of anyone’s future; it decides what we will be, possibly a decade later. Children deserve this right more than anyone else. Owing to the fact that the children are gullible and cannot make choices on their own, it is us, who need to lead them into the field of education by giving them unconditional support, besides laying emphasis on the very fact that education is the primary requirement of our society today.
It was this dream of imparting education to the little ones, that led to the formation of ‘Make A Difference (MAD)’, a non-governmental Organization which aims at imparting education to children living in street shelters and child homes. MAD is a youth volunteer network, comprising primarily of school and college students and young professionals. MAD was started in the year 2006 by a group of six college students with a vision to educate the underprivileged children. We have since grown to a 800-strong network of volunteers, spread across 11 cities: Cochin, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mangalore, Delhi, Goa, Mumbai, Nagpur, Trivendrum and Pune; working with around 2500 children. This year, we will be expanding our activities to five more cities: Mumbai, Delhi, Mangalore, Goa and Trivandrum. We teach our children English and computer skills through weekly sessions, organize annual camps, and on completion of high school, get them sponsorships for higher studies or employment opportunities. Recently ‘Make A Difference’ won the global Ashoka Staples Youth Entrepreneurs Award in recognition of its contribution towards the children of our society.
‘Make a Difference’ is at its very inception in Mangalore. Currently, we have two child homes under our care, where we will be teaching 250 children. Just by the word of mouth, we have eighty enthusiastic individuals, who have got in touch with us for volunteering in our task. We are planning to expand, by adding more child homes to our set of established networks. The need of volunteers is perennial, the more we have, the better it gets. You can also be a part of this organization, if you think you have what it takes to Make a Difference. Do feel free to call or write to us, if you wish to Make a Difference and change the lives of many young individuals.
Rakesh Haridas, President: +91.9611105672. firstname.lastname@example.org
Kirti Mohan, Vice-president (HR): +91.9008917195. email@example.com
And always remember, "In old days there were angels who came and took men by the hands and led them away from the city of destruction. We see no white-winged angels now. But yet, men are led away from threatening destruction: a hand is put into theirs, which leads them forth gently towards a calm and bright land, so that they do not look back; and the hand may be a little child's." – George Eliot. Silas Marner.