A couple of college boys (KSR College, Tiruchengode) hit upon a community initiative to address food wastage by customers in restaurants. They got a poster printed , showing photo of a needy child with empty plate. The message : ‘Please don’t waste food….wrap it’.
Palaniappan, and Mohammed Ali, both engineering students, with Merwin Wesley, found waste of food by people visiting restaurants unacceptable and decided to do something about it. The boys designed and printed about 4,000 ‘don’t-waste-food’ posters and distributed in restaurants and eating house in several Tamil Nadu towns, through a network of volunteer students. They have mobilised over 100 volunteers in 17 towns.
Muhammad Ali – 0-8122139893- and Palaniappan – 0-9500488803 - registered a society SEEDS. They conduct awareness programme to curb wastage of food, household energy consumption and conserve other resources. Their student volunteers visit old age homes. With guidance from college alumni, SEEDS conduct counseling sessions in schools for Plus 1 and Plus 2 students on choice of courses and subjects for higher education.
Interestingly, the focus of SEEDS initiative is on smaller towns – Dharmapuri, Erode, Darapuram, Bhavani, Attur, Mettur, Udmelpet, Hosur and Sathy. They have volunteer representation in some bigger cities as well – Trichy, Selam, Coimbatore, Tirupur, and Chennai (volunteers – Sibi Rajan and Rahul).
SEEDS approached 20 schools in Mettupalayam, Erode and Tirupur, asked students to come up with 15 suggestions to conserve electricity… School students are involved in household energy auditing in their neighbourhood, and community tree-planting in their localities. During Deepavali, SEEDS ogranised door-to-door and distributed 5,000 pamphlets on how firecrackers pollute environment.
Says SEEDS president Muhammad Ali: “We don’t approach the Government; instead we go to people. They have supported us. Some people have thrown the pamphlets back on our faces, we take it in our stride.”
Secretary Palaniappan: “I used to spend my pocket money on mobile recharge and snacks. Now, I save it to buy gifts for school children as we conduct a number of competitions for school students.”