October 30, 2010

An NGO needs space ...

Would you know of some one who would be happy to rent out a portion of their house or property for an organisation that promotes trees?

Rent it out for a nominal amount.

If you do, then Shobha Menon will be extremely happy with the news.

Shobha lives in Kotturpuram and manages ‘Nizhal’. What began as a personal endeavour has now evolved into a Trust which is involved in a host of projects in our city.

Projects that focus on trees.

Protecting trees. Growing more of them. Increasing tree cover. Sensitising people to them and their importance.

Nizhal’s work has been recognised. The Mayor of our city has appreciated its record and service and one of the major projects that the Chennai Corporation has encouraged this NGO to do is to work closely on the greening of the Adyar bank in the Kotturpuram area.

Their Tree Walks invite people to walk through their neighbourhood, get to know avenue trees and the species better and helpcare for them.

This week, Shobha called me because she feels comfortable bouncing ideas on me.

How could Nizhal get a nice space in the city which could be the venue for a permanent exhibition and study centre on trees?

I suggested three options.

One, convince the Mayor to build a space on the banks of the Adyar in the vast expanse that is being greened now. If the city Corporation can promote gyms, study centres, badminton courts and libraries, it can also develop space for the environment.

Two, explore a collaboration with another voluntary organisation, the Rain Centre which is based in Mandaveli and promotes rain water harvesting. This NGO works out of a independent house and it could consider building further to accommodate Nizhal.

There is a third option. Appeal to the community to provide space on rent that a NGO can afford.

Is there some one out there who has a large heart and a green mind?

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