Caring For The Future: Interview With Sindhu Raam, Founder of NGO Care & Welfare
For the Sake of Argument catches up with Mr. Sindhu Raam, advocate, activist and visionary. Mr. Raam is the Founder of a NGO named Care & Welfare, which takes cares of aged and children with physical and visual impairments among some.
Sourya (S): Please tell us something about yourself.
Sindhu Raam (SR): I am Sindhu Raam, an advocate by profession, practicing in the High Court of Madras and running an NGO named Care and Welfare Foundation.
(S): When did you conceive the idea of starting your NGO named Care & Welfare? Was there any specific incident which ignited the desire in you to launch Care & Welfare?
(SR): My father is a social worker and he has been running an NGO since 1978 known as the Rural Workers Organisation, in addition to the Rural Welfare Trust registered in 1981. As it is for everyone, my father is my first hero. He has spent his whole life for the welfare of the people in my district, Sivagangai, a drought prone area in Tamil Nadu. So I believe that my tendency to help others, and work for the society is genetic. However the causes he works for are different from the ones taken up by me. My goal is to create a world without the marginalized, and to make every Indian to think about the welfare of such people, and have concern for the society.
(S): Do you think it is possible?
(SR): Nothing is impossible for those who have faith. That too, when like-minded youngsters unite en masse, anything is possible in this country.
(S): Do you think today’s youth are ready to work for this society?
(SR): Every youngster is looking for a change in this society. We are sensitive, and respond to the poverty and deprivation we see around us. We sympathize with a poor kid starving for food, we feel sorry for an old lady begging at the signal. All of us have a question as to why the kid in this tea shop is not going to school. Everyone has a question in his mind. The only thought which stops them from acting on his emotion is ‘what change going to happen if I alone ask a question?’ and ‘What change is going to happen if I change?’ The sad result is, everyone thinks the same, and very little is being done for the needy.
(S): So what according to you is lacking in this society? What can bring a change in this society
(SR): Unity among youngsters en masse, and leadership to take them further in fulfilling their role as privileged and educated young people, which is to do their best for the marginalized. This can bring about a remarkable change in the lives of the marginalized.
(S): What kind of social work does Care & Welfare generally deal with?
(SR): We work for the welfare of the children, the elderly, the disabled, the visually impaired, the hearing impaired, and work with children affected by autism, cancer, HIV and also with deserted women and widows. We do events and awareness camps on all the social causes. We are not confined to only some of the marginalized groups.
(S): Do you feel Law students now days are generally automatically inclined towards social work?
(SR): Many students are coming forward nowadays. We appreciate this trend. It should go on and on. However another set of students choose to focus on the corporate sector to earn quick money. I would advise practicing law is the best option. Your exposure is confined when you work in the corporate sector, or when you do outsourced work from abroad such as in LPOs. It is when you practice law that you learn about the realities of our society. It also is possible to work for NGOs or start your own NGO, and practice law, which is advantageous to you, the organization and the people.
(S): Can a Law student be part of your NGO? If yes then, in what manner can a student help?
(SR): Anyone who has the inclination to serve the people, work for a cause, and work for the society can be part of our NGO. We are slowly developing networks in all the districts of Tamilnadu. We will also form, guide, support Care and Welfare teams all over India
(S): As every year more and more lawyers are coming out, it automatically increases the level of competition. Do you consider that the quality of law students coming out each year also increases due to this?
(SR): That depends upon their personal interest and effort they put in during their college days. In addition to legal knowledge one needs to know how to present a case, how to build their network, how to gain face value with everyone, how to handle clients, what are all the cases could be dealt for free, more knowledge about RTI and PIL. If students spend more time in gaining practical knowledge for the last one year, they can shine better.
(S): What is your future plans regarding Care & Welfare and in general?
(SR): Making the students work for a cause is the theme of Care and Welfare. We are concentrating on colleges in Tamilnadu. There are totally 32 districts in Tamilnadu. We have selected just 5 colleges in each district. So it amounts to 160 Colleges all over the State. We select colleges with more than 1000+ students. Each College will do one awareness camp and one activity in a month. So totally on behalf Care and Welfare there will be 160 awareness camps conducted in a month.
(S): What are all the activities you have planned to conduct?
(SR): We have started with helping at orphanages, spending time with elderly people in an old age home, with the disabled, children affected with HIV, Cancer, Autism etc., widow, and deserted women. Once we have our teams in 160 Colleges in Tamil Nadu it would not be a great deal for us to sponsorships for to meet the needs of our beneficiaries. Either our team would get sponsorships for the need or raise funds within the students themselves. If a surgery of a child needs Rs.2,00,000 rupees it is just a Rs.100 contribution of 2000 students or Rs.10 Contribution of 20,000 students. We apply what we have learnt in school. “Unity is strength” and “little drops make a mighty ocean”. If a poor student who has got good marks in Board exams and could not able to get what he wish to study we will support his education. Again 10,000 engineering students can make a Doctor or an Advocate or even a scientist. In my opinion offering a career is biggest charity.
There will be a network within these 160 Care and Welfare teams. This would help in all the cause. If in case of blood donation a rare blood group need in Chennai could even be donated or supported from Kanyakumari.
We are heading towards a great water crisis in the near future. Still we do not give much importance to environment issues. If we have a team in 160 colleges and if all the team in their college campus or in their locality plant just 100 saplings in three months it would touch 64,000 trees minimum.
We have more plans to conduct various activities, events, workshops with these teams and serve the society better.
(S): What are all the campaigns you have planned to conduct?
(SR): We have planned to conduct awareness campaigns on several social causes that people seem to know very little about. Even educated people use plastic bags a lot. We speak about environment, but still lots of trees are being cut down. Our awareness camps will touch a long list of topics.
Upon doing 160 events and 160 awareness camps we invite all the colleges and many youngsters to work for the cause, work for the society.
(S): Do you have any financial support? Do you supported by any corporates or foreign funds?
(SR): No. We have no intention to approach any corporate and as a matter of policy we do not going to seek any foreign support. Totally, there are 160 Colleges with 1000 students will comes up to 1,60,000 students. An annual contribution of 1 student is Rs.100 p.a It would come up 1 Crore and 60 Lakhs. We would have surplus amount to help our beneficiaries, treatment for HIV and cancer patients and education of poor children etc.,
(S): What do you want to say to the young generation?
(SR): Leaders! Our educational system will not let you to think out of the box. Learn a lot, read lot of books. Trying to understand the cause of unjust situations and start thinking as to why some kids are not studying but working. Thinking on your own is more vital than being thorough with pythagoras theorem. Figure out why people live on streets in the same city which have tall buildings and shining roads. Plan your career which should be beneficial to you and the society. Do help others as much as you can. Do not wait for the world to change; you change yourselves first, because everyone is waiting. You be the first in the list. Dream big. If no one laughs at your dream your dreams are not big enough. All the best for all your future endeavor. Jai Hind!
If anyone is interested in knowing more about Care & Welfare, feel free to contact Mr. Sindhu Raam Email: email@example.com