The magic of volunteering reaches over 12 cities

A closer look at one of the country’s most prominent youth-led NGOs

Tulika Chaturvedi

Chennai, Mar 1: It was on a sultry Independence Day afternoon 13 years ago that a team of two doctors and an IT professional were finally able to achieve their dream of creating an accessible volunteering platform.

Cited as one of India’s largest youth volunteer organizations, Bhumi was founded by Dr. Prahalathan K.K., Dr. Harishankar, and Ayyanar Elumalai, and functions with the help of as many as 18,000 volunteers, consisting of mostly students and working professionals. It has been instrumental in providing supplementary education to children in shelter homes, orphanages, and slums in cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Thanjavur, Trichy, and more.

“We have about 600 volunteers in Chennai working with at least 45 different institutions,” says Ganesh Kumar, HR Head for their Shelter Home projects. “Besides our education programs which come under Ignite, we undertake civic initiatives for Catalyze, which include campaigns, marathons, and workshops for environmental conservation, road safety, animal welfare, and cleanliness drives.”

“We look for volunteers that can afford to commit to Bhumi for at least six months,” he adds, “It is important for them to be articulate and know how to deal with children. We place them in teaching programs based on whichever subjects they’re inclined towards, be it arts, science, mathematics, or even sports.”

Remembering Bhumi’s fondest success story, Dr.Prahalathan says, “During one of our earliest projects in 2006, we came across a very bright boy in Thirumullaivoyal; he now teaches children at the same center and also in three other neighbouring villages.” Since Prahalathan is a practicing ophthalmologist, he doesn’t partake in the teaching process but looks into volunteer mobilization, fundraising, and managing PR campaigns.

Although the NGO has earned credit in the social-work circuit for its substantial work, it is not deprived of logistical issues. “There are times when we have to cancel classes as third-parties like donors might want to host events of their own, and orphanages have no option but to prioritize them,” says Ganesh, “Other times, volunteers may take too many days off in a row for their semester-exams or academic opportunities outside the city, but they should understand that it is hard to build a rapport with the children and lack of consistency demotivates them.”

Instances of the volunteers’ dedication are not hard to come across though. “I got a chance to visit an all-boys orphanage and the team was distributing gifts to the children,” says Aarthi Ramnath, a media student who interned with the organization in 2016, “It seemed like the kids and the volunteers knew each other very well; they kept cracking jokes on each other and received the gifts with big smiles.”

“Bhumi has an extremely inclusive work environment,” adds another volunteer, Madhumita Raghavan, a student of social-work who worked for the Speak Out project (teaching English to primary school children) in Mumbai. “Volunteers and any ideas they pitch are received respectfully – it’s like being part of a big family of people from different backgrounds that constantly engage and enrich you. It is heartwarming when the children open up to us about their aspirations, make us believe we’re headed in the right direction.“ she quips.

“We are working with 25,000 children at the moment and aim to cross ten lakh in the next ten years,” adds Prahalathan, “The goal is to reach as many children as possible and create a meaningful contribution to their lives so that someday they feel comfortable in giving back to someone else.”

Non-milled roads irk residents in Kandanchavadi

Sravani Nellore

Chennai, Mar 1: As one enters the Gandhi Street in Kandanchavadi, one cannot miss the striking observation that the slanting roofs of the houses on the right-hand side of the road equals one’s height. The constant re-laying of the road, sometimes twice or thrice a year, without actually milling it, has resulted in the elevation of the road by clearly three inches at certain spots.

As a result, some residents in the older houses here have had to build three-four steps in front of their doors to match the level of the road.

J. Jaikar, a resident in the street, says, “We came here when the place was wanting in development. When my house my built, it was actually three steps higher than the ground level. But now, the ground level has reached till the door. Every time a road is being re-laid, milling has to be done. Laying the road multiple times without milling has resulted in the increase in the width of the roads.

B. Ganesan, who owns a flour mill here, says, “During the rains, our houses and shops remain inundated for days. The last time the road was about to be re-laid, all of us gathered to protest against it, demanding the civic body to first mill it.”

The road’s height has increased by three inches in the Gandhi street. |Sravani Nellore

Responding to the complaints, Kamal Raj, Assistant Engineer at the Corporation office ward 184, said, “There is a new rule now that mandates milling before re-laying the road as against earlier, when it was done only where necessary.” Interestingly, most of the times, the Corporation found it unnecessary to mill the roads because of extra load, manpower and costs involved in it.He further added that once the drainage system work, that is under process, is completed, a new road will be laid in keeping with the rules.

According to Radhakrishnan, the head of Thozhan, an organisation that works on road safety, a road gets a warranty period of two-three years, before which, there shouldn’t be any issue. “Ideally, there shouldn’t even arise the need to re-lay the road in a period of three years. But contractors, who are hired for milling, quote very less than the market price and neglect the work. For instance, if the market price of milling is Rs.80 per square metre, the contractor instead takes just Rs.10 and doesn’t do the work,” he elaborated.

Why is milling necessary?

Although milling takes hardly four hours, most of the roads in the city are not milled. As per government order, 40 mm width of the road has to be milled, for which, a road roller has to make ten rounds across the road. When this is not done before re-laying a road, the height of the road increases. “The roads naturally tend to expand under hot temperatures, and if not milled properly, the height gets doubled up, which then leads to development of cracks, making it accident-prone,” Radhakrishnan explains.

Toys have a smart future

Anushka Deepak

CHENNAI, Feb 28: Multiple cities in India witnessed the gigantic Toy Fair 2019 earlier this month. People flocked to their nearest toy stores to find the latest toy reveals of major brands such as Lego, Mattel, Marvel and DC for the coming year.

But unlike the previous years, toy inventors, distributors and sellers this year tried to aim to increase their sales, not just for 2019, but for the coming five to ten years. With augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)  taking over the world with a click of the finger, people are now realising that the application of immersive technology is not just used in science fiction films or videos but can also enhance the future of toys making them smart.

With platforms such as IBCricket, which brings cricket to the living rooms of people and games such as Pokemon Go, AR and VR are enjoying huge popularity. Apple and Google with their ARKit and ARCore are also taking the future of this tech-savvy generation a notch higher. Toymakers, in the meanwhile, are finding this a perfect way to bridge the gap between physical toys and screen-addicted children.

Experts at the Toy Fair said, “Successfully combining physical playsets with AR is not easy. Both physical toy designers and AR programmers will have to come together to successfully accomplish this vision.”

People from all age groups were present at the Toy Fair 2019 at Hamleys store in Pheonix Market City Mall. This was the first time since the opening of the store that they had an average footfall of around 250 to 300 people at once. From grandparents to little children to the tech-loving youth everyone went bonkers over the sale and new reveals by big brands.

People trying out the new AR and VR toy reveals at Hamleys, Chennai during the Toy Fair 2019

The vision to take AR and VR beyond gaming is also being carried out by a Chennai-based AR, VR, and Mixed Reality and Artificial Intelligence organisation Nutpam 360. They build virtual reality-driven training content for people working in large corporations and sectors like healthcare and education. Its VR simulators train people to not just learn but also get used to machines.

“For a year we were able to work on various 360-degree projects, and then we started using VR for companies,” said Senthil Sarguru, Co-founder of Nutpam.

Virtual reality just got real with Nutpam 360

The founders say it was challenging for them to find the right talent to build the technology, create image recognition, processing the content and regenerating a real world in the virtual world.

However, they too aim to try their hands on contributing to the toy market by developing future smart toys. “It would be amazing if we could innovate something that can enhance the knowledge of children as well as be fun to play with using our technology,” said Karthik Bavanandan, Co-founder of Nutpam.

The Agarwal family bought toys worth Rs 2000 during the 50% off sale

Some of the toys due for launch this year come from big names such as Lego and Mattel. LEGO’s‘Hidden Side’, an eight-set series of spooky locations and possessed vehicles, gives an optimistic view of the AR app as that it extends the physical play by helping children to imagine the haunted world surrounding their sets. A world they can conceptualise and play in once the app is closed.

At the other end of the spectrum, Pictionary Air relies entirely on augmented reality tech for its playing experience: You draw in the air using a light-tracked pen, in front of someone holding a phone or tablet camera. The camera tracks your drawing and projects it onto the screen for everyone else to see, and they guess what you’re drawing.

Pictionary air to launch by year-end | Jeff O’Brien/Krystal DeBord

“Pictionary air was the most loved of all we had to present. It’s a simple system, and it mostly worked very well when we tested it out at the Toy Fair,” said Sunitha S, a customer present at the Toy Fair.

Toy experts at Hamleys said that by 2023, consumers will spend tens of billions of dollars on augmented reality (AR) toys.


Navin Chawla, 16th Chief Election Commissioner of India, at a conference at Asian College of Journalism, here in Chennai.

Tanya Khandelwal

Chennai, Feb 28: Hailing how we still have our elections ‘on time, each time, every time’ while in the same breath highlighting the malaise of money and muscle power that plague the biggest democratic exercise in India, Former Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla opened his discussion with students at Asian College of Journalism here on Tuesday with the issue surrounding the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the context of the fast approaching general elections.

He threw light on both the pros and cons of elections in India, focussing on the orderly transfer of power post elections as compared to many other nations and the increasing number of registered voters on roll despite the low literacy rates in many areas. While he didn’t fail to mention the ‘Black Money’ monster that hovers over the whole process, he pointed out how the most recent example of the same was the 2017 R K Nagar by- election fiasco in Chennai where the Election Commission cancelled elections after allegations of cash-for-vote surfaced; a similar case had happened in the past in Thirumangalam in Madurai district in the State. All such malpractices raise questions on the fairness of this largely successful, ‘free and fair’ democratic exercise.

In this context, the issue of paid and fake news were also discussed, how these have become ways of manipulating the polls and tilting the scales in favour of one side as opposed to the other, all this happening with the money power that is an ever growing threat to the same. The media’s role in such practices has also been observed and many media houses of repute have been part of such activity, said Navin Chawla, refraining from naming any.

Responding to a question on state funding of elections as a possible solution to the issue of money power being used, he said that there are several models we could follow on the lines of countries like Mexico where the election commission, though not as strong and robust as the ECI, but nonetheless it steps in to monitor the time and space available to several political parties ahead of elections allotting them time and space on TV and in print proportionately. This, he said, is one of the many such models which could serve as a solution.

With respect to EVMs, he said, “My views have been cast in stone in this book,” referring to his newly released book Every Vote Counts: The Story of India’s Elections. He pointed out that in recent years, those who lose tend to blame the EVMs.“I think that our EVM and our system of accountability is completely safe,” he added.

SHGs help unemployed women restart their lives

Women’s Mela 2019 aims at empowering underprivileged women. 

By Ashna Butani

Mother Teresa Women’s Complex brims with activity, as 55 women set up stalls with meticulously handcrafted items. The Women’s Mela is organised by the Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of Women, with an aim to employ those who could not sustain their livelihoods.

Sketches and paintings adorn the tables and walls while fresh fruits and vegetables sit on the tables beside. Kurtis, dresses and saris in myriad colours and prints entice the customers.

R. Kamalammal, a creative spirit, makes and sells jute art, coffee powder art and colourful art in glass and mirror.

The mela is held every year after the Pongal festival. It began on 4th February and continued till 15th February. However, this is the first time that the Corporation is pushing forward the Urban Livelihood Mission, which primarily focuses on helping the urban poor.

Vasanti, from Namakkal, proudly displays a range of herbal products. The self-help group (SHG) consisting of 23 women, work with Dr. Sidha to make herbal oils, medicines, juices and other products. Vasanti’s son studies in a government college. “12 years ago, I was only a housewife. But the SHG really helped me. Now I work all year round to make herbal products for the company Yogam herbs,” she says.

This exhibition is held every year during Summer and Winter. It also held during the festive Diwali and Pongal seasons. “Our main motto is poverty alleviation,” says B Senthil Kumar, executive of State Supply and Marketing Society. The Corporation also invites rural farmers to set up organic markets in the same complex on the first weekend of every month.

Even though many urban women are displaying their products for the first time, there have been women from other villages who have been working on their craft for years. “Across the state, there are approximately a crore women who belong to SHGs”, says Kumar. Training and financial assistance is given to the SHGs. “We help in linking them with banks for credit facilities,” he adds.

The products are of two types – traditional products such as handloom saris, terra cotta items and food products and demand based products such as crafts, earrings and bags. For demand based products, the Corporation imparts training to the women, whereas, skills in traditional products are passed down from one generation to another.

The more experienced women teach the newcomers the nitty-grittys of the craft. Lily from Chennai derives pleasure from making and selling earrings, bracelets and chains. She is a member of SHG that created their own brand, “Humming Box.”

The group was started by Nancy Kalaiarasan, a housewife whose family was relocated to Perumbakkam from Thideer Nagar. She and 14 others formed the jewellery making self-help group, who receive training and aid from the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board. Some of the women are housewives and some, widows. They meet twice a week to make jewellery and borrow ideas from magazines and the internet to keep up with trends.

Exhibitions are organised at the district level, state level and the national level. “We are all going to Delhi for an exhibition next month,” says Vasanti, eager to travel outside Tamil Nadu for the first time.

Vasanti is eager to sell her organic products outside Tamil Nadu.

A film that lit up a village

Dreamer of Breswana is a short film showcased in the Chennai International Film Festival 2019. It is about how the students of Haji Public School, Kashmir overcame their greatest hardship.

By Ashna Butani

The children of Haji Public School, Breswana, a remote village in Jammu and Kashmir, have dreams that are accompanied with their own set of problems. The short film, Dreamers of Breswana directed by Praveen Pillay takes us to the dreamy lands of Breswana and into the lives of the children there. It is a story of how a village triumphs over its problems, with community efforts and crowdfunding.

Shrouded in mist, the Haji Public School is perched on a hill, 7500 ft above sea level. “I want to become a doctor because there are no doctors in my village, no one to help the poor people,” says young, starry-eyed Priya Sharma. The film begins with a sequence of students narrating their dreams.

This is followed by their greatest problem; the lack of electricity. The children’s enthusiastic embrace of learning is coupled with the lack of teaching methods that show them the outside world. The need for electricity is highlighted in the film through interactions with the school principal, teachers and local residents. The children are at risk of diseases and infections from the local firewood that aids them while studying.

Saura Mandala, a non-governmental organization (NGO) steps in to rid the village of this problem. The process of installing solar panels is shown through the short film. The film ends on a positive note, with the children eager to learn. They say that the use of presentations on laptops help them understand the world better. They are no longer cut off from the rest of the world.

There are two parts to the film, says the Director, Praveen Pillay. “The first part was shot to raise awareness about the issue and help the NGO Saura Mandala receive funding.” After the first part was showcased, the project received crowdfunding. The second part is a 9-minute long success story, a ray of hope for the village, and a source of inspiration to other such communities.  

Before shooting the film, Praveen taught at the school along with his wife, Madhuri. “The students showed us a lot of potential while we were teaching. One of the children, Rohit Sharma, had only started learning English three months earlier, he was quick to learn.” The students’ answers were so candid that it moved the team.

The shooting spanned 8 days. “My filmmaking career began in Breswana itself with Breswana’s Prateek,” says Praveen who has been working closely with the NGO Saura Mandala. The organisation was founded by Nagakarthik, who left his IT job to fulfil a greater purpose.

The organisation and the filmmaking team have indeed fulfilled their purpose. “I like this school, it is like my home,” said Humeera Banoo. Selected students will soon get the chance to venture out of Jammu and Kashmir, with the help of crowdfunding that raised Rs. 2,75,000. The trip will help students learn about places outside, while also encouraging other students to study hard and make it to the top of their class.

Universal Emotions at the 6th International Short Film Festival

Anand JC

Chennai, Feb 22: At the 6th Chennai International Short Film yesterday, Qube Cinema founder and film director Jayendra Panchapakesan, said that the filmmakers often lose their way in trying to capture the essence of the rationality in their films.

Talking to many young filmmakers present about how to draw in the audience into the movies, Jayendra said that the filmmakers need to tap-in on some universal emotions. “For example, when shooting a school sequence, we can show how the school kids walk to school but as soon as the bell rings they fly out of the school. It’s the same everywhere, so capture those emotions.”

“Non-sync kills the reality of film. I see a sequence without sync between the sound and the video and I look away,” Jayendra said when one film enthusiast asked what is the biggest problem in cinema nowadays.

Jayendra was present for the celebrity interaction session on the sixth day of the festival. Among the films screened was ‘The Rehabilitation’, a 12-min short film based on a middle-class family of four in a city in Tamil Nadu.

Director Navaraj S shows the family in a house engaged in their routines engrossed in gizmos. Suddenly there is a power cut and the family assembles for snacks when the father starts explaining about a ritual in his village that his grandfather had told him about. The other members listen closely but as soon as the power comes back, family goes about their routine activities, while the story remains in the dark. While the story line was fine, the sequence where the light comes back is too abrupt and fails to convey the point in a cohesive manner.

Itwaar is a 15-min film about a middle-aged man in a city plagued by health and family issues. Director Rahul Srivastava portrays how a single turn in an event can change the perspective, mood and the frame of mind of a person in to something really different. The film is shot really well and keeps the audience captivated till the end.

The Light of Life is a Bangladeshi movie about a poor handloom weaver hell bent on providing education to the other less fortunate people of Bangladesh. Akbar Ali, owner of Projonmo Night School is of the opinion that it is illiteracy which is responsible for the current state of Bangladesh.

Some other worth-watching films which were screened are Thatha’s Secret in Tamil (Indian), Good Day (Russian), Talk to me Precious in Tamil (Indian), Dreamers of Breswana in English and Hindi(Indian) and The Exchange (Turkish).

Haryana’s folk artists and performers dissatisfied with Government

By: Ashmita Mukherjee

Chennai, February 22: At a folk festival in DakshinaChitra museum, artists and performers expressed their discontent with the government for not effectively aiding them to earn a livelihood and gain access to education.

DakshinaChitra is a living-history museum located 25 kilometres to the south of Chennai. The Navyug Haryana Art and Culture Centre organized the Navyug Haryana Sanskriti group to perform at the museum for a nine-day festival which commenced on February 16. The festival also includes an exhibition of wood craftsmanship of Mahavir Prashad Bondwal and his son, Chander Kant Bondwal from Bahadurgarh, Haryana.

Navyug Haryana Sanskriti group performers from Haryana

Every February, DakshinaChitra museum hosts a national festival for over a week informed Sahana Rao, program officer.

“Last year the focus was on the culture of Goa and next year we plan to bring in artists from Nagaland. The museum is a project of Madras Craft Foundation, a non-profit organization. We get funds to pay every artist a daily fee of Rs.800.”

On the contrary, Rahul Bagdi the head of the folk music and dance group said,

“All our expenses are paid for by the Ministry of Culture which includes food, travel, daily allowance and accommodation cost.” Bagdi informed that the Navyug Haryana Sanskriti group was created by him six years ago, “to save folk music and culture. We wish government did better to conserve Haryana’s folk culture. The Ministry of Culture spends more money for classical musicians and dancers by booking them flight tickets and paying them a better daily allowance. We are made to travel in train by sleeper class and our allowance is much lower.”

Mahavir Prashad Bondwal, a wood carving artist who was honoured by the government with one national award in 2004 followed by an award by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) the same year said that he used to work on ivory carving until the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 1991 banned the trade of ivory. Since then he has been working on carvings made of sandal wood, kadam wood and ebony wood with his family. He said,

Award winning wood carving artists, Mahavir Prashad Bondwal and his son, Chander Kant Bondwal from Haryana

“But with the new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we are forced to pay 12 percent Goods and Service (GST) Tax on import of wood. The taxation is based on sale and it does not take into consideration the money we spend on labour and the hours of work.”

Sandeep Singh, 24 a folk dancer who has been performing since the age of 16, finds himself unhappy with the lack of investment by the government on impoverished youth in Haryana. He said,

“I had been fortunate enough to complete my graduation (Government College of Education in Bhiwani, Haryana) but the others have not been so lucky. Several young men from poor families join the folk troupe because they lack technical skills and have no education. They learn folk dance or song to earn a livelihood. The older generation of singers cannot get other jobs because they are not able-bodied for manual work and lack education for any work that requires any qualification.”

Rahul Bagdi added,

“The Lok Kalakar Union sent an application to the government of Haryana with a list of demands asking for better artists’ pay, access to education through scholarships and introduction of folk music and dance in the academic curriculum of government schools and colleges. We observed a peaceful protest this year as we danced and sang through the streets of Haryana.”

Environment friendly bacteria to scourge oil pollutants

by Aadithyan J P

Workers separating thin film of oil from water |Scroll

Chennai, Feb 22: The remaining sludge from the Kamarajar oil spill back in 2017, as a result of two oil tankers colliding, which released about 250 metric tonnes and severely damaged the Chennai coastline, is yet to be fully cleaned.

The KPL(Kamarajar Port Ltd.) have given the contract to the IOCL (Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.) to remove the slick and they are using the process of bio remediation to bring back the pollution to permissible limits.

 Bio remediation a chemical process that is used to treat water soil and other subsurface materials by introducing external organisms that are bio engineered for the targeted degradation of pollutants. The benefit of this process is that it uses no chemicals and thus after the whole process is completed it does not pollute the environment.

Before the intervention of the IOCL, the levels of pollution as per test results were 8 percent, and after their process of bio remediation it was lowered to levels between 1 and 0.5 percent. This process involves introducing a special kind of bacteria that has been formulated in labs.

According to S K Puri, Chief General Manager of Bio energy at Faridabad, who was on site to oversee all operations, “these microbes are used to clean up the spilt oil. They are released into the sludge and eats it up as it is their food. And after this process is over, they are rendered inert and die off without any sustenance. They are frozen in cubes and transported to the site and are allowed to be dissolved into the oil.”

 These organisms require ambient conditions to thrive and multiply, so the temperature cannot be neither too hot nor too cold. The ideal time to release them would be after the monsoon showers as the rain would dilute them. It is important that they are released in optimal conditions as they would breed faster and increase the rate at which the cleanup occurs, he added.

So far, we have cleaned about 184 metric tonnes and we had given the report, to the TN government who were very pleased. The whole process took about six months as we had released the microbes directly onto the affected areas in the open environment. We plan to treat the remaining slick in a closed vessel, in a process called confined bio remediation, where we can monitor and control the conditions, and since this is much more efficient it will only take about a month or so to clean up, said the GM.

Water and soil samples will be taken to gauge the levels of pollution of heavy metal and oil contamination and will be tested against the IS 10500 [Indian standard for drinking water quality].

Teen empowers girls through self defence

By Aindrisha Mitra

Pritivi Chhabria, 19, who is a black belt winner in Karate is using his skills in martial arts to help girls fight for themselves.  Along with his Karate trainer, he founded “Empower”- a non-profit organization which trains about 200 girls in government schools in Chennai free of cost.

A student of The International School, Bangalore, Pritivi and his trainer R. Kannan approached the Education Department with a proposal to conduct self-defence training in girls’ schools. Their idea was welcomed by the Education Board which granted them permission to train in three government higher secondary schools in the area. Currently, they train in the Chennai Girls Higher Secondary School in Nungambakkam and Saidapet.

Pritivi who began taking Karate classes at an early age of nine was struck by the appalling number of rape cases reported every year. His urge to volunteer against the rampant gender abuse is why he came up with “Empower”which aims at making girls self-sufficient in defence training.  

“Around 106 rapes happen every day in India with about 47% against minors. In 90% of cases, perpetrators get away because they are not counter-attacked on the spot of the incident,” said Pritivi who is hopeful that the defence training will help instill courage in girls to retaliate.

Girls from Classes VI to VIII participate in these Karate classes. Most of them belong from underprivileged backgrounds and hence, the free of cost classes allow them to sign up for something beneficial apart from the regular curriculum in schools.

Kannan who takes classes when  Pritivi is absent, thinks that this training programme will help enhance cognitive abilities as much as physical fitness. Trained in both Karate and Kalaripayattu, Kanan does this as a full time job as he also teaches in private schools like Cambridge Matriculation High School in Royapettah and conducts classes, privately.

The duo has been allocated the last one hour by the schools, i.e. from 2:30-3:30 for this activity. However, the struggle is to emphasize the importance of self defence programmes over  extra-curriculars, which are viewed as more essential, especially in today’s world.

Kajal Chhabria, Pritivi’s mother who supported him from the very beginning said that this programme aims to reach the grassroot levels of society and guide the girls in a manner so that they can empower themselves, without anybody’s help.

“Being a woman myself, I feel the need for girls to be absolutely independent and fight their own battles, with efficiency and expertise,” says Kajal who is a proud mom tracking  Pritivi’s achievement as a young entrepreneur.

“Practising Martial Arts can be a great way to discipline oneself and channelize his/her energy into something productive, which is why I thought it imperative for girls to take it up from a young age itself,” says Pritivi who has several accolades to his name.

Pritivi who is also an aspiring software developer has built his Empower website armed with facts and links to related accounts. He etches out his goals clearly and is presently trying to get other sponsors on board to expand this project, so that it reaches more to the masses.

Pritivi with his teacher Kannan. Source: