Tour, Volunteers

London

It all started with the AID Calendar. AID London asked for 50 calendars, and I wrote to Rashmeeta asking if someone could collect the from Heathrow airport, as we were going to India via London. She wrote back asking if we could give a talk and help AID London reach out to the public. There had been quite a bit of volunteer turnover since we last met them in 2011, she explained, and they wanted to use this event to rebuild the chapter. She and Vamsi were as energetic as ever, or even more so. Best of all, they were now married, adding AID London to the ranks of chapters that boasted an AID Couple.

AID London Meeting4They worked hard to publicize the event, and got replies from 15 people saying that they would attend. When we walked into the Abbey Centre, a community centre attached to Westminster Abbey, we saw 25 people, and a few more walked in as we went along. People were quite interested and asked questions during and after, just as at any AID talk.  In fact, it all felt so familiar I wondered why we had doubted at all that people would be interested. Maybe it was the size and pace of London – would there be time and space for volunteering with AID?  But the people stayed well past the closure of the meeting and we could have easily continued longer, had the room been open. We hope to see this commitment continue as AID London serves as a channel for those who care about sustainable and just development in India to put their energies to good use.

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Letter to Editor

Making of an activist … Nity

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ANUSHA PARTHASARATHY, The Nity Gritty
Nityanand Jayaraman. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan
The Hindu, Nityanand Jayaraman. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

Dear Editor,

Thank you for this truly inspiring article about a dedicated, hardworking, and clear-thinking activist, Nityanand Jayaraman. As I read, I found my heart filled with hope that your article would encourage many young people to try different paths and find truly meaningful work. I appreciated reading the story of his early explorations leading him to his current endeavors. Indeed, what he and his team are doing is one of the most important tasks that our country needs today: ““We allow communities to speak for themselves — and began the Community Environment Monitoring Programme. We don’t teach them anything but make sure their local knowledge is translated into a language that public servants understand.”

May public servants learn from his example and spend time listening to local communities, who have the knowledge and experience to inform sensible policies for protecting our environment and all the life and livelihoods that depend on it.

Aravinda Pillalamarri

Here is an excellent talk that Nity gave at Srivenkateswara College, Chennai:

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