THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Onam is around the corner and a group of techies are gearing up to spread the festive cheer among the needy in the city. Onam kits replete with provisions and payasam kits are being readied. The efforts are being led by members of the non-profit ‘HANDS Foundation’. “It is all about helping a needy soul,” says Sharath Krishna, one of the founding members of the organisation.
It started as an individual effort, a few years ago, reaching out to the needy and enabling them to live a life which is free from any kind of dependency. What had begun by five individuals has now matured into a non-profit where they make societal interventions to empower the underprivileged and bring them into the mainstream. “It is all about enabling them and to not make them dependent,” says Sharath. It was this thought that led to the formation of ‘HANDS Foundation’, a non-profit operating out of Technopark.
Founded by Sharath, Deepu S Dev, Vineeth Venugopal, Nirmal K V, Abhinand M S and Aravind Balachandran, the organisation is not just limited to techies, but is open to any one who wants to make a difference in the society. With 30 members, the organisation which is barely a year-old has pioneered many initiatives to reach out to the weaker sections of society.
“We do not believe in being pigeonholed to one category. We identify the needy, understand their requirements and enable them to be self-sufficient. So that they will be able to generate income on their own,” he adds.
It was in this light that the non-profit jointly organised a skill development workshop in the city the other day to train cancer patients and differently-abled. The training was given in paper bag making to make them economically self-reliant. Other works include finding markets for the products crafted by the differently abled. “Our vision is to ensure that they become economically self-dependent. As such the aids are mostly through the distribution of school kits, medical aid, books, provisions and so forth,” he adds. The focus is therefore on acting as a facilitator in skill development and identifying suitable markets to promote the products.
“In the recently concluded workshop, the training was given to cancer patients along with differently abled. Being engaged in an activity and to be economically independent is highly crucial for the patients and bystanders. As such we will be focusing more on organising such skill development workshops,” says Arun Sasi, a member of the organisation.
The group has pioneered projects such as ‘Back to School’ campaign where they distribute school kits to needy children. “This time it was about eschewing plastic and so we included paper pens and leather bags in our kits,” says Sarath. The group is set to launch ‘Kuttikrishi’ jointly with Technopark-based ‘Prakruthi’ whereby they aim to reach out to the students in schools in remote areas and promote farming among them. ‘Bookathon’ is another initiative the organisation is part of.