Steps of inspiration
Entrepreneurs and techies Anoop John and Cherry Mathew will embark on a ‘Freedom Walk’ from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram today, writes Sita S
Photo: S. Gopakumar
Three musketeers Prasad S.R., Anoop John and Cherry George Mathew
Many people might dismiss it as Mission Impossible. But not techies Anoop John and Cherry Mathew who will walk all the way from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram to motivate people, especially youngsters, to become agents of change.
“It is the small things that matter. All of us may not be capable of initiating earthshaking changes. But one has to begin somewhere. I feel that each of us can contribute in making our place a little better. The least one can do is not to damage the environment. Everything … from printing on both sides of a paper, to avoiding multiple trips to shops by buying everything at one go … can be a start,” says Anoop.
During their long march called ‘Freedom Walk,’ the duo hope to promote social and environmental awareness, link up with activist organisations and use technology to facilitate the process.
“We hope to inspire children to shed their apathetic attitude and convince them to be active citizens and not merely criticise everything and everyone around them. There is a need for them to be active and to think beyond traditional career-oriented paths. Another aspect was to try and support the organisations which were working in the three areas we are trying to promote: freedom in society, freedom from environmental degradation, and freedom in software.”
For “positive change”
The former student of College of Engineering and Pennsylvania State University says he has always wanted to become a facilitator of “positive change.”
“After my post graduation, I worked in the United States and then returned to India. I knew that I would need a sound financial base to support my social activities. The toughest job was to convince my parents,” explains Anoop who is now CEO of Zyxware Technologies.
Cherry Mathew, co-founder of Zyxware Technologies, has different reasons to join the walk. “I wanted to see Kerala and understand our culture. Also, I am interested to see how people receive our message.”
Manuel Jose, who works in Zyxware Technologies, is joining Anoop on the Freedom Walk. “I wanted a way to react to social issues, but I didn’t have the confidence to do that. And when someone like Anoop takes the initiative, the least I could do is support the movement in whatever way I can,” says Manu.
A friend Prasad S.R. will join the the three musketeers. They hope that other enthusiasts will participate in their endeavour.
They plan to hold meetings and visit schools to sensitise children on social evils like corruption, poverty and inequality.
Anoop feels that it is the lack of ethics and idealism that is polluting all spheres of life.
“For instance, the widely held perception is that one has to pay bribes to set up an industry in Kerala. But I can confidently say that I have not bribed a single person. It is possible to do business without stooping to indulge in corrupt practises. It may be difficult but not impossible.”
He feels that most educated people are not making an effort to do their bit to help others.
“Many educated people use influence and affluence to insulate themselves from the problems in society. It is disheartening but I hope at least a few youngsters will shed their defeatist attitude,” he says.
Freedom in software
One of the key issues that Anoop and his friends want to spread awareness through the ‘freedom walk,’ is about freedom in software. “Software is a tool to pursue information. The tool should be easily accessible because information is of prime importance. People should not have any difficulty in getting information”.
That’s what Anoop wants to tell the students and other non-profit organisations which worked for this cause. His mission is to use technology to connect the individuals and the organisations and put them on a common platform by providing the necessary support. The platform is a website: http://www.unitedforindia.org. Anyone interested in making or suggesting a change for the better could register in the site to work together with people and organisations of similar interests.
“There should not be a barrier as far as distance is concerned. People from all over the world should be able to collaborate and work together, that’s where free software comes to play an important part.”
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