Mahendran S comes from a small panchayat town of Kombai in Theni district. Its population as per 2001 census was around 12000 people with a literacy level of 64%, which is lower than the national average. He studied in a govt aided Tamil medium school in his village and took a break from studies for a year, to work, so that he could pursue his studies further in Madurai. The rest is history and we find him today as the Product Head for Portal.
TM Natarajan aka TMN, also comes from a small panchayat town called Thiruppanandal, 18kms from Kumbakonam, whose population at the turn of this century was approximately ten thousand. Roughly 15% of its population is under 20 years of age. TMN pursued his studies in Kumbakonam, battling several odds and later left for higher education to Madurai.Today , he heads the roll-out and Production Support for Core Banking.
D. Segar, similarly has had humble origins in Pondicherry and today finds himself as Product Head for Cards, Origination and Mutual Funds.
How many children in such small towns are as lucky as Mahendran/TMN/Segar? They too have aspirations to learn, to make their presence felt and be recognised.
Travel a little more further to a village called Kuruvikulam, 15kms from a major municipality, called Sankarankoil in Tirunelveli district. It has one school with very few teachers and virtually no one capable to teach English as per the new syllabus and even lack teachers for crucial subjects.
This is a common story that gets repeated in virtually village after village in this vast country. There are millions of teeming, bright, enthusiastic young minds who want to become an Abdul Kalam or a CV Raman or a Kalpana Chawla or even Mother Theresa . They have the will but lack the opportunity.
After seeding life skills like Teamwork, Planning, Influence, Articulation etc. through the weekly SUMMIT program, to the urban children studying in Corporation, Govt. and Govt. aided schools in and around Chennai and the other metros, Ullas chose to do its bit to 'ignite young minds' living in these remote interiors. Associates led by PDs/Konarks who wish to 'reconnect with their roots' participate with their team members in this program which revolves around the Diary of Dreams workshop.
The audience will essentially be 9th std children who will be encouraged to pen down their dreams and voice out their aspirations during the workshop.The entire session is a module of 120 minutes. Each of the five toppers in the school gets a scholarship cheque of Rs 1000 from the team leaders .
Each team is provided guidelines to be followed in conducting the workshop including administrative instructions on distribution of scholarships. We have selected schools which are easily accessible by road/rail and they are also near to important temple towns/ resorts. In fact, village Kille(tsunami affected) which is also our Social Engineering hub near Cuddalore, is very close to Pichavaram lake. So one more reason to have a 'team outing with a purpose'.