CHENNAI: Having fun to support a cause is probably not something that happens often, but that’s exactly what happened at Nehru Indoor Stadium on Sunday evening. Organised by Maithree, an NGO committed to the empowerment of those with special needs, the fund-raiser concert saw well-known playback singers like Shweta Mohan, Haricharan, Nikhil Mathew and Srinisha perform with Bennet and the band.
The team moved away from the traditional light music format and extensively used the electric guitar, fusing several songs with rock elements. They also blended many songs together, creating a new-age medley of songs, right from Viswanathan, Velai Vendum to Petta Rap, Mayya Mayya and many more.
The lead singers, especially Shweta, led the high-energy performance, which also featured a duet-type performance from the band. All these were interspersed with special video messages from actors like Jiiva and Jayam Ravi, who spoke about Maithree.
Talking about performing for a cause, singer Haricharan said, “These children don’t need to be told that they can do something. They have to be given an opportunity and provided with facilities. That is what these parents are doing here and it is great to be a part of it.”
So, what is special about Maithree? It is an association by parents of children with disabilities like autism, cerebral palsy and Down’s syndrome that aims to ensure their integration into the society and nurture their welfare.
“We started Maithree in 1994 with two children and today we have 450 children under our care,” said Muralidharan, a member. With 900 parents working to provide special education to children in the State, the organisation has grown from a single-room operation to eight day-care centres in the city, four vocational training centres and a group home in Kancheepuram. “The children are trained in mat weaving, gardening and other activities by a professional team,” he said.
An audio-visual presentation showed children and adults with disabilities being taught to manage themselves. The video also showed Maithree’s new ‘economic empowerment initiative’ in association with SwarnaVriksh, where these special individuals sort and package fruits and vegetables that can then be bought online.
As part of the event, Maithree children enacted a scene from the Ramayana, which received a standing ovation — the children and their parents and teachers had been practising for months to put together the 10-minute show.
The day ended on a high note when all singers got together to sing Michael Jackson’s Heal the World.
A new initiative
- Maithree has joined hands with Swarna Vriksh and HelpCircle.com for an online initiative, where vegetables that are sorted and packed by people with disabilities, can be ordered online
- Your order will be delivered at your doorstep
- A part of the profit will be given to Maithree
Services by Maithree
- Special schools for functional education
- Vocational training for future employment
- Sheltered workshops for economic empowerment
- Group home for boys
- Care and management centre for profoundly challenged
- To donate, call 24832026/645 86688 Donations are tax exempt under sectio 80G