Kochi-based NGO wins $ 5,000 award

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Kochi, Nov 13: 'Make a Difference' (MAD), a city-based organisation of young people working among underprivileged children, has won the Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneur Award, consisting of a cash prize of 5,000 US dollars.

'MAD' was the only Indian presence in the top 15 NGOs shortlisted from a total of 520 entries from 61 countries, Mr Jithin C Nedumala, a founder-member of 'MAD,' said in a press release here on Thursday, Nov 13.

Besides the cash prize, the award will also give an opportunity to the group members to attend and make a presentation at the next 'Youth Venture Summit,' to be organised in the US.

Mr Nedumala said 'MAD' is among the fastest growing youth volunteer networks in India that believes in bridging the gap in society through education.

Started three years ago in Kochi when three college students got together to teach English to children in an orphanage, the concept quickly gained ground and MAD provided an easy platform for college students to reach out and make a difference in the lives of thousands of children in orphanages and street shelters by just spending two hours a week with them.

MAD's volunteers work towards improving the children's communication and computer skills and their overall personality. The group today has over 300 volunteers teaching over 1,000 children in Kochi, Chennai and Pune.

''This award testifies the fact that volunteering works. We strongly believe that if every person spends two hours of their time every week volunteering for a cause they believe in, then world will sure be a better place to live in,'' he added.

Ashoka (www.ashoka.org) is a global association of the world's leading social entrepreneurs. The Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneur Award has been constituted by Changemakers (www.changemakers.net), an initiative of Ashoka that focuses on the rapidly growing world of social innovation, in association with Staples Foundation for Learning.

UNI

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