Chennai: If you are a Malayalee stranded in Chennai, you can reach out to the Tiruvanmiyur Kerala Samajam, a socio-cultural organisation.
Functioning from the 1990s, the group gives a platform to display talent and also offers a sense of belonging to those who are stressed after moving to a new city.
The organisation’s secretary B P Mohandas says, “Being far from home, we wanted to build a community here and started this when a few Malayalees got together. It grew over the years. Registered under the Tamilnadu Societies Act in 1999, we have elections every two years.”
He says, “When outsiders come here, they would not know anybody. So, we primarily give moral support to each other.” But the organisation does not restrict its activities to its own community.
“With more than 500 members, apart from conducting competitions and cultural events, we do charitable activities such as providing medical, monetary help and so on. We try and conduct four-five events a year. To showcase art from Kerala, Chakyar Koothu and Kathakali is occasionally brought to life here on stage. We encourage budding singers and instrumentalists as well. Recently, we brought various poets together and also conducted a painting competition. We have held blood donation camps, gathered relief during Kerala floods, and now we are having a collection drive for the victims of Cyclone Gaja,” he explains.
The most important events for the team are the Onam Chandha and Independence Day.
“For Onam, we serve ‘sadhya’ free of cost to 700-900 people each year. This time, we did not celebrate due to the floods in Kerala. Instead, we sent truckloads of relief materials to the affected districts. However, we marked Deepavali with the children of Kaakkum Karangal in Tiruvanmiyur,” he notes.
The organisation, apart from conducting free Malayalam classes, also gives a helping hand to anyone in need.
“We check how genuine the case is, and arrange for help be it a hospital bill, school books or fees,” he adds.
For details, contact 94441 20027.