When you think of the word ‘mad’ you think of ‘crazy, insane, something that makes you want to rip your head off’.
Well, you might have to rethink that.
Come to Chennai and you know what exactly I’m talking about.
So here’s presenting MAD Chennai, which is creating quite a stir across the city simply because of its ability to Make A Difference, which is exactly what it stands for.
So, what is MAD?
MAD or Make A Difference is the brain child of six youngsters from Kochin who decided to give back to society by improving the lives of children who are not as fortunate as the rest of us. From this casual beginning in 2006 it has now evolved into a full fledged organization that spans across 23 cities in the country including Chennai city, which we are going to cover today and in the following few months.
Now, what does MAD Chennai do?
Being just about a year old, MAD Chennai has three centers (Don Bosco Siga School, Kilpauk ; Good Life Centre, Tambaram; Children’s Home India, Injamakkam) where 77 children in the age group of 14-19 are trained by a group of MAD volunteers.
The main focus of MAD is to provide the following
- Knowledge and training in the English language which they call the English Project
- Providing placements for the children which they call the Placement Project
Providing the children access to a range of books which they call the Library Project (Soon in Chennai too!)
How does MAD Chennai function?
MAD Chennai follows a syllabus that is structured with the help of Andrew Littlejohn, Professor of English at The Cambridge University. The textbooks that MAD uses come from there too. Classes are conducted every weekend for two hours excluding a zero hour where the volunteers sit together and plan what is to be taught and how. Each class consists of around 10 kids who are trained by 2-3 volunteers.
“ I’ve had a great time here at MAD. Not only do I get to change lives but I also interact with people from different backgrounds with diverse interests.”, says Naheeda from Ethiraj College, a MAD Volunteer who seems to be enjoying herself.
How does MAD pick its volunteers?
A major chunk of the recruitment is done during the month of March every year. You can either volunteer to be a teacher or help with organizing fundraiser events.
So what kind of people is MAD looking for?
“ We look for three things in a person which we’d like to call values.
They are; cause above self, leadership through ownership and third being family, with emphasis on team work. If we think that a person exhibits these 3 values, we hire them.”, says Varun Hemachandran, The President of MAD Chennai.
When you enter these classes it’s quite awesome to see the level of enthusiasm, be it amongst the volunteers or the children. Honestly I was amazed when one of these kids stood up and said to me, “Hello Ma’am! I’m Robert and I’m very pleased to meet you.”
Looks like a bunch of us have a lot to learn from these kids!
Believe me, there’s nothing more gratifying than bringing a positive change in someone’s life. MAD Chennai
seems to be living up to its name by doing exactly that.
So next time you think ‘mad’, think MAD.
See the bigger picture and Make A Difference.