How many of us have seen kids put up their hands against our car windows or have experienced street kids touching our feet at signals, begging us to give them some money? Have you ever wondered if that kid would have been in your place and you in his/her place? We are fortunate to be reveling in the lives we are currently living. At the same time, we should also realize our responsibility as members of this society and make a conscious effort to ‘Make A Difference’. “There are many youngsters out there who want to make a change in the lives of under-privileged kids but don’t know where to start. If we know where to start, then there is no motivation. If there is motivation, there is still a lack of right ideas and tools. ‘Make A Difference’ has not only provided us an opportunity to do the above but also to become a part of a social movement which unites us in our common goal towards a better future for the children of our country,” exclaims Divya Nawale, a MAD volunteer for almost 2 years now.
With a vision “to bridge the inequality in society through education”, a few college going students launched the first chapter of MAKE A DIFFERENCE, or more commonly known as MAD in the wonderful city of Cochin in 2006. “MAD is a youth organization that believes in educating children to bridge the gap in the way the poor and the rich learn. By educating children, we make them self-dependent, so that there is no need for them to depend on hand-downs or charity, “says Amogh Panje, a MADster (as the volunteers like to call themselves). MAD is currently operational in 10 cities across India – Cochin, Trivandrum, Chennai, Bangalore, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur, Delhi. It has been 5 years and the organization has grown immensely. It has 17 chapters, 800-odd volunteers and is helping around 3000 children across the country. Their elementary objectives include providing the children with quality teachers, imparting skills that guarantee employability, introducing them to role models and organizing a very informal and comfortable interaction with them and lastly, holistic career awareness.
With English being considered a global language and a fluency in both writing and speaking it being the criteria for most jobs in the market, it is mandatory to know English. Fatema, an English teacher volunteer speaks about the English Project, “We have a 2 hour class every week, where we teach the children English in the most innovative of ways. The classrooms are very unlike regular classrooms where a lot of personal interaction happens and special attention is paid to the psychology of the students.” Sai Madhurika, the English Project Head initially joined as a volunteer and has been with MAD for 3 years now. “We follow a curriculum set and approved by Cambridge University. It is a 5 year course and is internationally certified. We ensure that the quality of the classrooms is good and it is made sure that things are taught correctly and are also being perceived correctly.” Apart from the English Project, MAD has also launched a Placements Project and a Library Project. As part of the Placements Project, the children get a chance to meet professionals who are doing well in their fields and a personal interaction happens at the MAD camps. Children with extraordinary potential are paid special attention to and are assisted in getting in touch with the right people and procuring scholarships. Rupesh Jhasak, a Library Project volunteer has very recently joined MAD. “The Library Project involves setting up of a library for the kids in the orphanages and building in them the habit of reading, as the English Project doesn’t really undertake that part of language training,” he says.Another volunteer who recently joined MAD is Vyshali Sagar. She is just completed her 12th and is a volunteer for both the HR and PR teams. “I was recruited in February. The best thing about MAD according to me is the help and support that is offered to children who have no parents and hence, nobody to guide them in the right direction in life. I feel really good to be a part of MAD,” she proclaimed.
Nikitha heard about MAD through a friend and felt that the organization would motivate her in the right way. Being a part of the HR team made her realize that a lot goes behind the proper functioning of all the projects that MAD has initiated, apart from the just the ground work.“The HR team is mainly responsible for the recruitments of new volunteers and it also deals with maintaining pleasant bonds among the volunteers. The volunteers form the basis of MAD and if they work hard and with enthusiasm, it is the kids who will benefit in the end, which is our motive. My main agenda this year would be to motivate the volunteers so that they stay with us for longer durations and strengthen the rapport their share with the kids,” Nikitha summarized about the HR team’s responsibilities.
Even non – MADsters are huge fans of the work this organization does. Shweta Manohar, an IIPM student attended a few MAD events with her friends and she says that all the kids are just absolutely brilliant. She, particularly, recalls this one event where the girls from one of the orphanages MAD is associated with had given a dance performance. “The girls were so enthusiastic and keen that they picked up the entire routine is less than 45 minutes and performed with full vigor and smiling faces. The power went out 3-4 times during their performance, but they never lost their cool and danced zealously.” The volunteers put in a lot of effort and time into the entire process. “A few of the volunteers are my good friends and I see them working so hard to get everything done on time. I have seen them working all night long on projects. Their dedication towards the organization and the kids is really inspiring,” proudly exclaims Suhasini John, a graduate from St.Francis College, Begumpet.
Michelle Obama’s favorite Indian NGO is having recruitments on Sunday, May 8th 2011 at Manthan International School,Madhapur. They recently had an awareness campaign at Lamakaan, Banjara Hills where they briefed the audience about the organization and inspired a lot of them to sign up for the recruitments. If you too are interested to be a part of this wonderful organization, please register yourself on their website www.makeadiff.in and you will be contacted by them soon.