DATE : 11-JAN-2020 (Sat)


DREAM INDIA was invited for the 17th anniversary celebration of “Social Welfare Funds Trust (SWF)” held on 11-Jan-2020 (Sat), in Chennai. Our DI trustee Sanjeevi Prasath & myself got an opportunity to represent Dream India in the function. This celebration is framed in such a way that SWF connects the gaps between the donors and the deserving NGOs who are doing exceptional services in the Educational field.

Mr. V.J. Ramesh, the president & the founder of SWF, greeted us with a warm welcome and guided us towards the seating arrangements made for this event. There were about 15 NGOs invited for this meeting and representatives from all those respective NGOs started to walk-in as the clock continued to tick past 11.00 AM.

Mr. Palam Kalyanasundaram Ayya & Mr. Ranjith (Founder and managing trustee of Balagurukulam) were invited as Chief Guests for the event.

‘Palam’ Kalyanasundaram Ayya was already seen seated in the very first row as soon as I entered. I have met Ayya some 7 years ago when I was invited by ‘Team Everest’ to attend one of their function, though I could see Ayya only from a very distant location. But this time, I personally walked up to Sir and introduced myself recalling how I first met him several years ago in one of the function and took his blessings. Ayya inquired me about the itinerary of this event and also where do I live, work, my schooling, college and I also in turn got to know about his personal memories of his family background  from his native place Melakarivelamkulam, a village near Nanguneri, a town in Tirunelveli. He also quipped that he was fallen sick and was hospitalised in the recent times.

And I promise to love and to cherish every single moment spent and interacted with “Most Noblest Man on this Mother Earth” as long as I live. He provided me His card and asked me to visit whenever I wish.

As another guest, Ranjith Sir got stuck in the OMR traffic snarl, we had a delayed start of the event by some 30 minutes or so. Vaidyanathan & Sharmila from SWF team hosted the event. The event kick- started with the State song of Tamil Nadu, ‘Thamizh Thaai Vaazhthu’. We were then briefly told about the SWF’s journey over a small AV clip in a giant screen.

Then ‘Palam’ Kalyanasundaram Ayya was requested to speak. Sir, recalled many beautiful memories of his family and esp. with his brother, how Sir & his brother topped the state many times during their academic days. How much struggle their mother put in to educate both her sons. He fondly recalled how he managed to have “36” degrees (Yes, you read that right..! 36..!) next to his name. The three most key principles that his mother taught him are : 1) Don’t be greedy about anything 2) Donate one-tenth of what you have 3) Daily do good to at-least one living being. He still sticks to these key principles and I feel this should be imbibed by everyone. Sir shared an incident that once when he was sick and hospitalised, medical expenses came to around Rs.40,00,000. He said, he didn’t go to Rajinikanth, who adopted Sir as his father or any big people for financial support. Instead he made a direct request to public, whom he selflessly served over four decades. People also without an iota of thought came forward to save Sir. This year Sir is turning 80-years old, and he has introduced 8 new plans based on the basic needs of a man – Food, Clothes & Shelter. Soon, when he finished speaking, Ramesh Sir came forward to honor Ayya with a shawl. Without any hesitation, Ayya, picked up the mike, and said, if you want to give me something, give me only BOOKS and nothing else.

We next had Ranjith Sir speak about the education and its significance. Sir was very clearly explaining the differences between learning & educating, the current educational system prevailing in India and what kind of a transformation is needed in the educational field. Soon after Ranjith Sir’s speech, representatives from various NGOs were called upon to share their stories within 5 mins of time. But everybody ensured their success stories are completely heard beyond 5 minutes of time. There were quite a few NGOs who came up all prepared with colourful presentation slides with their magical numbers featuring in almost every slide. I was called as a third speaker in this event. I first recapped the inception of Dream India in the year 2004 by Natarajan Anna and Varun & the projects that we are executing since then. I also shared my own experiences from the tenure I am having with DI since 2008. While speaking, I spotted a few jotting in their notepads on the works that DI do as a part-time NGO. All applauded upon hearing the DI’s journey till date.

The two major challenges posed by most of the NGOs in order to execute their projects are – Volunteers & Fund Support. Finally, all the NGOs were awarded with a memento saying “Life transforming educational NGO”.

Though I received it, it is dedicated to every single member of DI’s family. WITHOUT YOU, THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE.

I am sure everyone who have gathered for the event must have held their heads high while singing the Indian National Anthem.

As an icing on the cake, we all were served an ORGANIC meal that is highly nutritious for lunch. That was thougthful by Ramesh Sir..!

– aravindhan