The following article is written by the “oldest” MAD volunteer..somebody who changed my views on adults..and one of the biggest reasons why MAD no longer has the “below 25” restriction anymore
Archana ma’am is a well experienced teacher in Choice who decided to take up the challenge of pallu small kids head on…she more than anybody else knows that MAD isn’t perfect…she has seen the highs and lows of MAD but never lost faith in us. In fact I often wonder why she trust us youngsters ever so blindly and I guess the answer lies in the following article which she wrote… I have taken the liberty to publish it in our blog without her permission but I believe every one of us have a lot to learn understand and be proud of in this simple article…read on.
VOTE FOR YOUNGISTAN
Say Youngistan and images of brash youth cross the mind – savvy actors, aggressive roadies, uninhibited celebrities, VJs, DJs, RJs (and any other type of jockeys who might have sprung up since yesterday).
Say Youngistan and you have the 40 plus age group roll their eyes in despair at a generation which is prepared to accept public humiliation and violence from sadistic anchors for a fleeting 15 minutes of fame.
Say Youngistan and the 50 plus age group clutch at their prayer beads with renewed vigour, sending up a silent prayer for the day when the Youngistanis take charge of the country.
Say Youngistan and the chances are indeed remote that you will picture young college students working with deep social commitment towards improving the lives of the deprived sections of our society. And yet there are very many young Indians who are passionately and actively involved in social causes. Most of them shoulder on silently while the shrill, young publicity-seekers hog the media headlines, leading many to ponder over when if ever this generation will be ready to lead the country forward.
Perhaps this would have been my dire outlook too had I not had the chance to interact with a Kochi-based youth organization called MAD viz. Make A Difference. This is an organization of young people which works with underprivileged children, trying to secure their future by providing them with quality education. As their acronym suggests, they are an exuberant and slightly irreverent bunch of youngsters who do not take themselves seriously. But the same does not apply to their cause, for which they are willing to make any number of sacrifices. Sometimes they dip into their personal coffers to supplement their shoestring budget and sometimes they forgo little pleasures for the good of the organization. While the entire country was watching the 20-20 cricket finals, the core group of MAD was at a shelter for street kids, setting up computers.
Along the way they have had to deal with volunteer shortage (due to parents who believe this will distract their wards from studies), cynical corporate (who want a rupee worth of publicity for every paise that they contribute) and sneering peers (“what’s your real reason for doing this?”). Yet they carry on gamely, unfazed by it all. They are undaunted by the magnitude of the challenge they have taken on. They believe that they can and will make a difference.
They do where others only talk. They believe where others despair. They rush in where others fear to tread. In their own words “ they will not let what they cannot do interfere with what they can do.”
Finally, there is recognition for the work they have done and continue to do. MAD is among the 12 finalists in Ashoka’s global competition for young social entrepreneurs. They are the only entry from India in the top 12. The winners will be decided on the basis of votes and the voting closes on Nov 11.
While on the threshold of recognition, which will ease their path ahead in innumerable ways, there is an active debate in the organization regarding the ethical aspects of soliciting votes. Some agonise over whether they would deprive a more worthy entry, in case of a win. True test of principles comes in face of temptation and these young people have stood their ground in the circumstances.
I have never voted in any competition before, deterred by the unsavoury aspects of most of them. But this is one for which I will definitely make an exception. There may be other causes more worthy of the award but there is one which I know for sure is. So before Nov 11, I will log onto www.makeadiff.in/blog to Vote for a Youngistan that will do us all proud.