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Chennai-based former techie strives to educate students

“Team Everest gave shape to my passion and it will continue till my last breath. I believe every child deserves equal access to education irrespective of their background,” says Karthee Vidya.

Chennai-based former techie strives to educate students
Students exploring computer programme

CHENNAI: I often reminisce about how one of my friends struggled to buy something as small as a long-size notebook, which costs Rs 20 to Rs 25,” says Karthee Vidya. He believes that is where his journey in volunteering is rooted. Today, he is the man behind the fortune of nearly 40,000 lives.

Karthee, who was born in Arani, had very high aspirations of volunteering ever since his higher secondary education at Chennai. Though many incidents positively triggered him to do social service, one of the things he remembers to date is, “I found that many of my school friends were from well-to-do families which was a complete contrast to the kind of people I met in my rural school. The quality of education I got in the new school was 100 - 200 times better than what I got in my rural school. The fact that only privileged children can get the best education broke my heart.

“If you have money, you get one kind of education, if you don’t, you get a different one.” According to Karthee, no deserving student should drop out after school and that is what Team Everest is tirelessly working for.

Karthee and Vidya

In 2006, he was placed at Cognizant Technology Solutions and started his Team Everest journey. With the help of his three friends, he raised Rs 4,000 and donated it to children at Sirumoor. This marked their first contribution. During his time at Cognizant, he worked on the NGO during the weekends and on weekdays he worked 12 - 15 hours a day to manage both. After working for 100 days, he left his job at Cognizant and decided to spend his time volunteering full-time.

What sets apart Team Everest from other NGOs is that they operate differently. Karthee with the help of his Cognizant CSR team and other IT solutions have 25,000 volunteers now who help Team Everest with money, teaching, and also has an online team.

Today Team Everest is offering various scholarships, under various categories like- the ‘I am the change’ scholarship for parentless and single-parented students, for which the registrations for this year are open till the June 30, ‘First penguin club” is a 100-hour skill development program, Speak - out is a spoken English guidance program, ‘Smile 100’ and so on.

Other than scholarships they also offer 30-hour programs on soft skills and also conduct weekly classes that give the final year undergraduates a view of the corporate world on how to land jobs. Karthee and Team Everest are backed majorly by his wife, Vidya. Karthee’s old house in Arani has become a home for old people and his parent’s organs were also donated after their death.

Today, more than 1,850 students receive a full scholarship, many undergraduate and postgraduate students are benefited from the 30-hour workshops, and school kids receive uniforms and books.

Most of the students who received scholarships are now placed in prominent IT solutions, “I dreamed of working at Ambit. I felt that our family is not in its position to admit me to a college, at that point I got this scholarship, because of which I am a techie today,” says Monisha, a beneficiary of the ‘I am the change’ scholarship.

Karthee is passionate about what he does and the ultimate aim of Team Everest is to support the deserving, assist the passionate, and grow a better society for students.

“Team Everest gave shape to my passion and it will continue till my last breath. I believe every child deserves equal access to education irrespective of their background,” says Karthee Vidya.

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Vaishnavi Balasubramanian
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