Recently, one of our active donor and volunteer from USA, Dr Sankar Niranjan paid a visit to the AIM for Seva Dayananda Tribal Girls Chatralayam, Anaikatti (Tamil Nadu) as well as the AIM for Seva Dayananda Tribal Boys Chatralayam in the same area and came back impressed.
Sharing details of his visit, Dr Niranjan says that it was rewarding to see the children ‘do more than just thrive there.’ “Both the boys and girls were happy to render a song each as soon as it was requested from them. They are all independent and have goals and dreams to pursue varied careers– agriculture, forestry, policemen, teachers and doctors,” says Dr Niranjan
Dr Niranjan’s parents accompanied him to the Anaikatti trip. “They were impressed with the cleanliness of the kitchen and the restrooms. The children also looked bright and tidy.” Dr Niranjan is a regular visitor to our Chatralyam. In 2015, he visited the Venkat Shanker AIM for Seva Chatralayam for Boys, Mulvoy (Vellore) and interacted with our students there.
“The Chatralayam visit is something that we in the US should encourage every child sponsor/donor to pursue when they visit India. Thanks to the AFS leadership and dedicated staff in India, we can see Pujya Swamiji’s vision coming to fruition,” says Dr Niranjan.
Dr Niranjan and his wife Varalakshmi are both physicians and practicing at Connecticut in USA. Talking about the need to give back, Dr Niranjan says that his wife and he grew up in lower-middle class homes and what actually helped them move up in life was education. “We wanted to ensure that we help as many children as possible to get such opportunities. We found AIM for Seva to be the ideal partner in India to help us do this,” recounts the physician.
Thus the association with AIM for Seva began in 2010 when they became monthly donors to the organisation. Since 2015, the doctor duo has been coordinating the Connecticut Chapter. The chapter association began with coordination of AIM for Seva’s first donor appreciation event– – Anita Guha’s Signet of Hope (Sundarakaandam) in Connecticut.
What’s really heartening is that the engagement with AIM for Seva continues in the family with the second generation in the family also being associated with the organisation.
Dr Niranjan’s daughter has visited Manjakkudi, our founder Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati’s Janmabhoomi in 2015 during the Global Youth Leadership Program (GYLP)—2018. The brain child of AIM for Seva USA, this programme is open for high school and college students who have attended the Purna Vidya cultural heritage classes as well as Arsha Vidya Gurukulam camp participants. AIMS for Seva student volunteers are also given preference.
The vision of this programme is to shape global leaders of the future. Specifically, the GYLP programme provides volunteering opportunities to students and participants work with children in rural India as well as partake in cultural exchange.
The programme is held for two weeks in December, during the holiday break. Abinaya Niranjan is now a second year student at New York University. Her brother Amruth Niranjan who studies in 10th grade plans to follow his sister’s footsteps and will be attending the GYLP programme in Manjakkudi this year.