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Children play kabadiwalas, help orphanages

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Volunteers of Chettinad Children's Committee. (right) Sridevi Ramesh.Photo: M. Karunakaran

The ‘kabadiwala’ has been making fewer trips to Chettinad Enclave, a township in Pallikarnai. Most residents here have found a novel approach of disposing of their newspapers. They give away the newspapers to schoolchildren in the locality. “We collected 130 kg of newspapers from 30 houses last month. That’s a small number considering this is a large gated community, but many have promised to give us their newspapers next time,” says Vinay Datta, a class XI student of Ashram School.

Vinay and his three friends from ‘Chettinad Children’s Committee’ go from door to door, asking for newspapers. With the money raised by selling the newspapers, they help orphanages.

The youngsters are the latest to join hands with FACES, a social initiative which links school and college students with orphanages.

Started by 42-year-old Sridevi Ramesh, FACES is an acronym for Food, Aid, Clothing, Education and Shelter where old newspapers are sold to raise funds for an orphanage in the locality.

Sridevi gets schools and colleges to join this initiative, selling their newspapers and magazines every month to help an orphanage. “We do not accept cash but support in kind. The donors also get to visit the orphanages we associate with,” says Sridevi, who received the Gold Karamaveer Chakra award, instituted by the United Nation, for her work.

Sridevi started FACES three years ago, first discussing the model with her friends, during a Lalitha Sahasranamam event at her house. The word spread and now she has residents from a few apartments at IIT Colony collecting old newspapers from residents regularly.

Inspired by her example, a friend in Bangalore, Revathi, does her bit from her community too.

A few months ago, students of Sree Sankara Bala Vidyalaya Golden Jubilee School at Pallikarnai collected Rs. 3,500 by selling leftover papers from their notebooks.

Seva Samaj, an orphanage in the locality, has been the main beneficiary. “I want a coordinator in every apartment or colony who can help carry out this programme,” says Sridevi. “Through children we want to make this a movement,” says her husband L.S. Ramesh who helps her.


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