In a world ravaged by poverty, hunger, poor health, brutality and prejudice, philanthropy has the potential to change lives. The story of Shri Balasubramaniam, Managing Trustee of Aanandam Trust is one such story of how a simple act of kindness can bring about a positive change in the lives of hundreds of children in rural India. A corporate professional turned philanthropist, his association with AIM for Seva began in the year 2014.
Born in Chennai in a conservative and religious family, Shri. Balasubramaniam is the last with four elder sisters. After his schooling in Ramakrishna Mission School in Chennai, followed by his graduation, he worked in a corporate organisation till the age of 45. At that point of life, he decided to use is skills and energies to volunteer for Sri Ramakrishna Math in Mylapore, Chennai and took over the responsibility of their website development and online bookstore. He then moved onto beginning his own trust, Aanandam Charitable Trust in 2010 with his wife to support the education of under privileged children. “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime,” quips Shri Balasubramniam. From that day, he took a pledge to create ripples of positive change in the lives of as many as children as possible by inculcating in them they urge to learn.
In the last 2-3 years he has been concentrating on rural areas around Cuddalore, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts. That search brought him to AIM for Seva. “AIM for Seva’s vision of transforming society through a network of seva, of caring, to bridge the urban rural divide, empowering every person to contribute to the progress of the nation, aligns with our objective of providing quality education to rural masses. Its network of Chatralayams is an successful concept which has proved its merit,” he shares.
Talking about AIM for Seva’s hostels, the philanthropist says, “We visited the Chatralayam for Boys in Salai village, and a couple of others in Tamil Nadu. We observed the discipline and gentle behavior of the students in these hostels. The hostels are very neatly maintained both inside and outside. The children are trained not only in secular education, but also on moral values, religion and culture”.
“My association with Sri Ramakrishna Math and the teachings of Swami Vivekananda have inspired me. Life is short, the vanities of the world are transient, but they alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive. Most people depend on others to gain happiness, but the truth is, it always comes from within. Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati also propounded, “There is no greater truth than compassion.” That is what humanity is all about and that is what we should all preach and practice,” he says as he concludes.