Published: 24th January 2021
This NGO run by Mysuru college students works for every social cause and this year, it is plastic
Adarsh Ramesh from Mysuru started ReachOut, an organisation that is completely run by students for the betterment of society. He also runs Desi Adda to promote handicrafts made by artisans
College students make a lot of difference to society when they do their bit in any way they can, believes Adarsh Ramesh who founded ReachOut in 2013. This non-profit organisation in Mysuru works to help children and the underprivileged, save the environment, aid in women empowerment - pretty much any initiative that interests them. Adarsh explains, "We formally started ReachOut in 2013 when I was studying at JCE Engineering College, Mysuru. But even before we started ReachOut, my friends and I used to volunteer with an organisation called Sneha Kiran. We would teach children or would involve ourselves in the care of specially-abled children. I have always been good at writing and the people at Sneha Kiran once suggested that I write a play and help the children enact it. So, I wrote Hide and Seek. It took off well and the children loved being a part of the play. At the end of two months, we were so attached that we felt it was necessary to do more than our bit for society. That's when I decided to start ReachOut. From then on, we have associated ourselves with several organisations and worked individually for the betterment of people around us."
What makes ReachOut special is that the organisation is completely run by students. Adarsh, who is no longer a student, says, "When I was in my final year of engineering, I felt that it was important to involve some of my juniors in the organisation. This way, we would not only keep the organisation running but build leadership and managerial skills in students. Akshay, one of my juniors, has taken over the initiatives. However, my friends and I still remain on as members of the advisory committee." Explaining how the organisation works, Adarsh says, "Every year, when a new student at JCE takes over the organisation's initiatives, they get a two-year time period to take up more initiatives and run the existing ones. They have to choose two different initiatives and work towards implementing them. But what makes a huge difference is the funding and donations. When we started it, we would struggle to get donations. Now the picture is different as my friends and I, who are working in different organisations around the world, provide the initial funding."
This year, the organisation is working towards making the environment plastic free and keeping it clean by introducing sustainable practices. "We have introduced something called Ecobricks for which we have set up plastic collection drives across Mysuru. The plastic materials that are collected are segregated into different categories. Plastic bottles are perfect for the production of these ecobricks as they are sturdy and known for their longevity. These plastic bottles are filled with styrofoam, wires, small batteries and so on. One should not put any glass, metal or biodegradables into the bottle. The bottle should be pack well, leaving no space. Each bottle must have a minimum density of 0.33 and they should not be too soft. Once these sturdy bottles are ready, you can use them to build toilets, furniture and for many other purposes."
Adarsh and his team soon want to expand their volunteers to the IT city. But Adarsh feels that there should be strong support from college students for such initiatives to work and he hopes that it will happen soon.