Giving Back To The Motherland
The Andhra Pradesh government under the Special Representative for North America reaches out to the sons of their soil to aid in revolutionizing education in the state.
There is an interesting tale about the origin of the word ‘posh’. Merriam-Webster defines it as ‘elegant, fashionable’ or ‘typical of or intended for the upper classes’, and this particular story goes that the word is actually an acronym, standing for ‘port out, starboard home’, a nod to homeward boat journeys during the days of the Raj, where the more affluent amongst the passengers had their tickets marked with ‘POSH’ to indicate the greater expense that went into the cabin they hired for the trip.
This little preface leads me nicely to the subject I wish to bring into the spotlight. A few centuries later, the Raj is no longer around, but the phrase required a mere inversion to introduce the basic premise of the Andhra Pradesh Special Representative for North America. Starboard out, port home, and home now lies over thirteen thousand kilometres away, distant from the continent of North America.
The project was created by the government of Andhra Pradesh following the election of present chief minister Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu in an attempt to improve the standards of education, health and sanitation through the development of better infrastructure. Building itself as a means of ‘giving back to the motherland’, the AP Special Representative for North America, Mr. Jayaram Komati, seeks to connect the Telugu NRI community in North America with the government of Andhra Pradesh and the work it is doing across the state.
Proudly describing itself on its website as “the first of its kind in terms of an NRI backed social initiative ever created by any Government in India”, the initiative looks to facilitate the development of major projects - such as the improvement of anganwadi centres, construction of burial grounds and digitisation, in phases, of 5000 government schools across all districts of Andhra Pradesh.
Digital education is a thing that has the distinction of refining the teaching-learning process into something more interactive and enjoyable than the stuffy old paradigms that preceded it and also boldly marking the progress of a country and a state to a level of unprecedented technological sophistication. Already, this project is bearing much fruit, and the initiative highlights the case of MPP School, Vommavaram, S.Rayavaram Mandal and MCPS R.P. PETA Government School (both in Vishakapatnam district) on its blog – hosted on the website itself – in truly striking and heart-warming detail.
These are just two wonderful stories that have been told, and the various successes of this endeavour are duly channelled through its vibrant and active social media foothold through graphics and discussions on Twitter and Facebook, not to mention the richly expressive and genuinely heartfelt outlet that is a regularly updated official blog. Among the recent news stories chronicled, for example, was the interaction of the enterprise with Indian-born American politician Ms. Aruna Miller, a speaker at the National Women’s Parliament 2017 held in Amravati.
This connection of the AP Special Representative for North America with their NRI donors, community diasporas and other parties involved with the initiative has helped resolve queries and issue clarifications in a most ready and hands-on manner, assuaging understandable concerns over the use of funds through constant communication via phone and email. Recently, there occurred a splendid outreach programme organised by a group of Cleveland-based Telugu NRIs designed to answer such questions and fully disperse the significance of this initiative by the government back home. It awakened the latent sense of strong affinity for the community and the desire to make a telling contribution for its development amongst attendees – precisely what the endeavour is keen on doing.
The initiative knits together a buzzing network of interns and professionals in a hive of activity across various domains in this project. Something that I’ve come to learn and appreciate about the nature of this project is the kind of genuine, real-world impact it is making in lives that perhaps reside outside our sight but never our minds.
It is easy to get hemmed into self-contained, insular worlds that affect little outside of their immediate reality, but perhaps the greatest fascination with this project emerges from the cheering realisation that it is one of those things in a big, big world that can lift its eyes just that little bit above the bottom dollar and peer over the horizon to benefit the lives that do exist beyond it.
You can visit the website at www.apjanmabhoomi.org. The blog that carries encouraging stories is available at www.apjanmabhoomi.org/blog/. It is also reachable on Twitter @APJanmabhoomi or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/APJanmabhoomi/.