“Be a Mahabali”, was the slogan of Voice of a Child (VOC), a California Non-Profit, at the Annual Onam Celebration held by Maithry, a Bay Area Malayalee community organization. Malayalees (People from the State of Kerala, India) celebrated ‘Onam’ in true spirit on August 31, 2013 at the Heritage Theatre in Campbell by sponsoring the education of the tribal children studying at Pazhassi Raja Tribal school, located in remote area of Wayanad, Kerala. VOC has been one of the key supporters of the school for last several years and is Maithry’s non-profit partner for 2013.
Onam, a traditional harvest festival celebrated in Kerala, marks the homecoming of benevolent King Mahabali who ruled Kerala. King Mahabali was famous for his generosity and magnanimity and in a mythological story he unconditionally gave all of his conquered land to Lord Vishnu who asked for it.
Volunteers of Voice of a Child took the stage to inspire the 800+ Malayalees in the audience by inviting them to become ‘Mahabali’ for the students of the tribal school.
People were quick to respond and turned up in large numbers to sign up to sponsor the education and dietary needs of underprivileged children of their home state.
The funds raised will relieve Dr. Appanu Nambiar, the founder of the school, from the operating expenses for a year for 25 children. Dr. Nambiar, a retired university professor, started the school in 1997 for the tribal children who had never been to any school in the past. It takes only $20 per month or $250 per year to sponsor a child. The Pazhassi Raja Tribal School is a completely residential school up to 10 additional focus on vocational education. The school has been undergoing lot of financial crisis due to delayed and minimal government funding and lack of funds for additional expenses. VOC and Maithry expressed the hope that the Malayalee community of San Francisco Bay Area will be as generous as they have been this year and it will be possible to sponsor each and every child of the school in the near future.
Voice Of a Child, founded in 2007 is a non-profit organization which believes that Human Dignity can be
achieved by empowering people with opportunities in Education. VOC strives to fund and run projects which focus on educating children from under-privileged and low income families. They currently run and support projects in India, Brazil, Haiti and Nigeria.
Maithry founded in 2001, is an organization that attracts hundreds of families hailing from Kerala, India who live in the Silicon Valley. Maithry promotes and propagates Kerala culture by conducting quality cultural programs and organizing get-togethers and picnics. Maithry provides a great socializing platform for all Malayalees in Bay Area.
About the author: Mr. Biju Odayammatath is a tech engineer working in the valley. He is also a volunteer for the non-profit Voice of a Child Stewarding project Pazhassi Raja tribal school which is a complete residential tribal school run in Wayanad of Kerala since 1997. He is a strong believer in making a difference in people lives & building a better tomorrow by focusing on K-12 education in poor and underdeveloped areas of different parts of the world
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