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Spreading the light of education

ISP Delhi Bureau 

Jithin C Nedumala, the founder of Make A Difference (MAD) is a formidable force to inspire the youths.  He leads one of India’s largest volunteer youth networks of teachers in India. He has in his team more than 2500 young minds from around 50 colleges who have come together committing their time and energy to educate the underprivileged. 

Founded in 2006, MAD is one of India’s very encouraging phenomena of youths standing up against illiteracy and sidelining of their peers and young people from the poor sections of society. Nedumala started his experiments by educating kids on the street when he was studying in the second year of college. His network is today reaching out to more than 4500 children in 23 cities of India. 

Nedumala, a young professional from Kerala, founded MAD with the strong belief that the solutions to the worsening situation of deprived children in our urban regions are within our hands and they can be fulfilled by reaching out in a holistic manner. He proclaims that though India has its own unique problems its unique young minds are capable of finding a solution to them. 

MAD encourages young people to join their network to deliver high-impact educational support at a very nominal cost to children from underprivileged sections of society. Most of the beneficiary children come from orphanages and street shelters. MAD also mobilises around 400 Fellows every year to deliver a range of innovative solutions and ideas on pressing issues facing society. 

Depending on the age and needs of the child, MAD has programmes that include literacy and study support, life skills, and career awareness activities that help them transition to better schools. It helps the children in need identify their career path and fund it when required. 

MAD is also working on expanding the range and quality of these interventions to address emotional health and build better after-care systems to support a child’s transition into stable adulthood. MAD also works closely with the street shelters the kids are living in to ensure their basic needs are taken care of. MAD’s trained volunteers interact with teachers to understand the developmental needs of the children.

Nedumala is also taking his message of social entrepreneurship and the experience of mobilising young people for children’s education to global forums as well. He has delivered his talk explaining his vision at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Indian Institute of Management- Bangalore,  Indian School of Business and at multiple TedX conferences.

Michelle Obama spent her time during her visit to India at MAD’s Mumbai facility and enjoyed playing indoor games with the children and staff. Nedumala’s work is supported by the former US First Lady through her International Youth Engagement Program. 

Nedumala is a recipient of the Ashoka Global Youth Social Entrepreneur award at the young age of 24. Other accolades include Karmaveer Puraskar, Cordes Fellowship, Dasra Fellowship and Youth Actionnet Fellowship.

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