Monday, August 14, 2006

A True Hero

Meet Vidyakar, the founder of Udavum Karangal (Helping Hands). Vidyakar bears testament to what true grit and determination can achieve. Affectionately known as 'Pappa' , he is my hero.

Also, read

Born in a village in Kollegal - Mysore - Karnataka in a poor family Mr.Vidyaakar was provided with shelter and a prolonged education culminating in Master degree in social work by Mr. Ramakrishnan of Chennai. His Mentor's words " Help others" became the guiding force for Vidyaakar in starting Udavum Karangal (Helping Hands) as a guidance centre way back in 1983, in the slums of NSK Nagar, Chennai.

"It all began when I carried an eleven month old baby which was found abandoned in a theatre counter in Chennai. It has nowhere else to go. It needed care and I felt a sudden urge in me to take care of the baby".

From that day onwards I came across many such unfortunate victims, including AIDS patients. With the dedicated help of about 75 volunteers, Udavum Karangal today has become a haven for 2000 socially under-privileged persons.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


For the last few months, I have been actively working with Umang, a non-profit organization geared to improve the lives of the underprivileged people in India. There are myriads of similar organizations around. However, the thing that makes the Umang experience special is the fact that it was started by a few friends. At this moment, we have about 15 active volunteers and 10 part-timers. Working with friends affords a sense of camaraderie that's very hard to duplicate elsewhere. For the last few years, Umang has been organizing a food camp for the elderly and homeless in Goverdhan, Mathura. We have partnered with Harvard University based India School House fund to fund schools in rural India.

To raise awareness, we are organizing our first event in the washington DC area - an entertainment program to coincide with the Independence day festivities. It's been a fun and challenging experience so far in working out the logistics for the event. The event will take place at the Reston Community Center, Reston, Virginia on August 26th 2006. We have performances by talented singers and dancers, a fun anthakshari session and a raffle as well.

If you are interested in supporting this wonderful cause, please visit Umang at http:/
This plugin requires Adobe Flash 9.