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Sunday, August 15

Catalysts for progress

India celebrates 63 years of freedom today!

Every passing year such reverent public holidays usher in a sense of pride and a feeling of patriotism in being a citizen of democratic secular republic of India, doesn't it? That's the idea behind it. New India now blogs, tweets, checks in on Four Square, wield their smart phones and drive top notch wheelies, also acknowledge the political system, gives out about it (like you and me) and sits on our ass most of the spare time because we don't know how or what to give back to our homeland.

This young India is like compacted tri-nitro-toluene ready to unleash its power, constructive or destructive depending on how you use it.Youth or the hyper-productive age group constitute 42% of our population. They they have the thrust, vision, compassion and dedication to do something meaningful, all they need is support.

I'm happy to take this opportunity to look up at some of the lesser known but meritorious groups functioning in our cities, working selflessly towards the benefit of the society. I've picked four such organizations I know best about, specific to Kerala but obviously an example for every city and citizen in India.

Tidycity is one of the most respected youth movements who does jobs which isn't considered so glamorous. Taking up the social responsibility of keeping our public spaces clean and tidy, Tidycity currently functions within the city limits of Trivandrum.

 Initiated by a fairly well-known cyber-journo and blogger Cris Seetha, Tidycity has nearly 100 members upto date with over a dozen actively working citizens. One of the earlier members and co-blogger Srijith. V is enthusiastic about the humble initiative and finds time for it even in between his hectic work schedules.

Tidycity leads by example by voluntarily tidying up major public spaces in Trivandrum like the Museum, Veli, Kallar etc. They've also joined hands with various Residents Associations for local clean-up operations.The group finds the necessary funds within themselves and has plans to join hands with the local authorities to promote use of bins in public areas.

Tidycity has picked up public awareness and responses via organizing rallies and undertaking School Awareness programmes. With the motto "working towards a clean city", initiatives like Tidycity deserves more than a pat on the back for their efforts.

Contact Tidycity
Sreejith: (0091)  9895891445

When it comes to city-promotion and developmental activities, TDF has no predecessors or competitors. It is a group of professionals who have fierce motivation and dedication towards the single point agenda: economic development of Trivandrum. From fighting for Vizhinjam project, high court bench, promoting the city as an IT/ tourist destination or in luring investments into the city, TDF exemplifies the critical difference between armchair critics & activists from people ready to give their sweat and blood for their homeland, literally.

Founded in 2002, the works of TDF would put the much heralded Members of Parliament from Trivandrum to shame. No strings attached in its work, the organization through field work, blogs, forums, mail groups and meetings push forward for development of the city and has become one of the unneglectable voices of new Trivandrum.

TDF has cut no corners in its motives when it comes to chronicling and projecting the shining profile of the city on major investment meetings and B2B meets. The Intelligent Trivandrum presentation by TDF at the CII India IT summit 2009 is an example of how a non-profit, non-political citizen's movement has taken up the duty and responsibility adhered to out local Government bodies in promoting investment and creating jobs.

TDF has actively functioned in many crucial development projects including Trivandrum's dream project Vizhinjam, Technopark and Technocity, Road development projects and has also presented the strengths of the city to leading software development companies, Infrastructure developers and builders.

The group has over 2 dozen committed members working on the ground and handed out memberships to 150-odd Trivandrumites from all professional sectors.

Ramkumar Rajan (President)
Sreeram Iyer (Secretary)

A relatively new entity for urban development, KUDS is a Cochin based organisation created by local businessmen, NRIs and a few motivated youth interested in the development of Cochin in particular and Kerala in general.

KUDS has already made a name for itself in this short span of time by involving themselves in some crucial development projects. KUDS is managed by a governing council and offer membership in 3 ways. Any Indian Citizen, NRI’s, PIO’s, OCI’s, and other like-minded individuals etc can enroll themselves as a member of KUDS. The heads of the some of the similar minded organizations are given ex officio membership. KUDS keeps its door open for representatives from Corporate world too.

KUDS devises an elaborate and systematic plan of action for infrastructure development with the involvement of Public Private Partnership in Cochin. From city beautification to planning and design, ecotourism to heritage conservation, provision of Wi-max connectivity to integration of GPS technology in social lifestyle, KUDS possesses the expertise to machinate executable proposals for projects in association with various Governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Members of KUDS have been behind the screens for Vytilla Mobility Hub, MG Road walkway project, solar powering of the city and many more initiatives.

KASS (Kochi Arts & Science Space), AYPIC (Association of Yound and Progressive Indian Citizens) etc are associated wings of KUDS formed to engage with targeted sections of development.
Anup Jaochim. T (Secretary) Ph: (0091) 9544044440

Teaching is the most noble profession in the world. And teaching with pure service as the motive will be one of the most selfless jobs you could do. That's exactly what MAD (Make A Difference) does.

Make a difference initiative is an organization working at another level: development through social improvement. Founded in Cochin, MAD functions through volunteers who make use of their free time in providing English and computer education to grad students thereby increasing their effectiveness in attaining skilled labour.

With the motto "to bridge the inequality in society through education", MAD website explains their work philosophy:

We are an Organization of young people working amongst orphans and other underprivileged kids to provide them with quality education so that one day it shall empower them to stand on their own feet and when the times comes fly away. We try not to grill into their heads the tedious school syllabus but instead prepare them face life better by improving their communication skills, computer skills and their overall personality.

Winner of the Ashoka award in 2009, MAD has grown outside the state borders with branches in India's main cities. Currently nearly 2500 kids have benefited from the 800odd selfless MAD heroes.

Join MAD

In every Tidycity worker, in every MAD volunteer or in every TDF professional could be the one unsung hero our city is looking forward to. Some of these above mentioned organizations could definitely do well with your support because two hands are definitely better than one. So what have you decided to do for your city on this August 15?


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