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16 Jan 2021, Edition - 2013, Saturday

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Coimbatore

Small things that make a big difference

Covai Post Network

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A hungry lady who burst into tears of gratitude when a bunch of youngsters handed her a food packet.

Transgenders who have got a shot at leading a ‘regular’ life. Raju, a 65-year-old man who lived on the streets for 30-odd years before he was finally rehabilitated…

These are some of the happy stories that Small Differences has made possible.

The small group, which has an active presence on Facebook, comes alive during the weekends. For, Saturday is when volunteers fan out across the city to help feed the abandoned aged and infirm. They also pass on precious water bottles so that those living on the streets can slake their thirst, and new blankets to keep them warm during Coimbatore’s chilly nights.

The group, which is nearly three years old, started small with doable goals before it branched out. For instance, during the Nepal earthquake, they helped collect and pass on relief materials to NGOs working on the field.

The group’s latest success story is Raju. “Raju has been part of our Feed the Abandoned programme from day one. Last year, he asked us to find him a home. Finally, we managed to locate a beautiful home run by a bunch of youngsters,” says poet and author Shobana Kumar, founder.

The group has worked actively for the welfare of transgenders. The 100-odd food packets distributed every week are cooked by Tasneem. “She offered to cook for us. It allowed her to serve and us an opportunity to help her lead a life with dignity,” says Shobana. Small Differences also helped Tasneem and her friends with kitchen equipment and a kiosk so that they could make a living by cooking. Tasneem has now adopted two other transgenders — Ebby, who loves to stitch, and Abi, who has finished a diploma in Ayurveda.

The group attributes the success of their programme to people who give willingly. Every time they have been short of funds, someone has miraculously chipped in. Now, the group has mapped out routes so that volunteers are able to spot the abandoned easily.

Their next project is an ambitious one — adopting a ward in the Government Hospital and providing the underprivileged people there food every day. “It is a big project, yes, but we are sure that generous people will bring it to life, and help it thrive,” says Shobana.

For details, visit www.mysmalldifference.org

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