To build a better world

At the TEDxGCT, organised by the Government College of Technology, there were speeches, slide shows and a dance performance by young achievers who urged the gathering to follow their dreams. The eight speakers, including students, environmentalists, innovators, actors and life-skill coaches, shared their stories and aspirations to improve lives

Vimal Govind, GenRobotic Innovations

Manual scavenging is an inhuman practice that is prohibited by law. It leads to social discrimination besides serious health problems. There are more than 4.5 million manual scavengers in India and till 2013, there were about 22327 reported cases of death. Vimal has created a robot called Bandicoot that can get into manholes and clean them. It uses jets of water to clear blockages in the sewage system. Vimal’s company also trains manual scavengers to operate the machine. “I hope with time the problem of manual scavenging will be eradicated,” he said.

To build a better world

Ganesh Venkatram, Film Actor

I belong to a middle class Tamil family. As a child, I loved movies and acted in school plays. I studied engineering and landed an office job.” But very soon, Ganesh found himself disillusioned and decided to pursue his dream of acting instead. “Director Radha Mohan was holding auditions for the role of a Punjabi. I auditioned, but did not get it. But, I went again, in a fame beard and turban and I got the role in Abhiyum Naanum! Follow your dreams. Nurture relationships in your life and collaborate. Collaboration with others brings success to ourselves and to others.”

To build a better world

Dharani Dharan, Theatre Artiste

“Story telling is a part of our tradition. Even the social media platforms are used to share stories.” Dharani stressed on the importance of audience-artist connection and gave an example of how an old lady in the audience forgot that what she was watching was but a make-believe play and she rushed to comfort a child on stage who was crying out to his mother for food! Dharani said he wanted to inspire more people to involve themselves with theatre.

To build a better world

Arun Krishnamurthy, Environmentalist Foundation of India

“Knowing about waste, water and the wildlife will help us to understand the impact that our activities can have on Nature.” Arunheld up Vellalore lake in Coimbatore as an example. The plastic and Polystyrene thrown into the river affected the water and the snakes, frogs, fishes and other wildlife living in it. “Most of us are hypocrites. We speak about the problems caused by dyeing units but buy the products that they manufacture. We cannot create a change till we contribute.” He urged the audience to understanding their region, experiment, explore and evolve for a sustainable tomorrow.

To build a better world

Rukmini Vijayakumar, Dancer and Actor

After a short performance she spoke about passion, ambition and fame. “I think diligence is more important than passion. It is not about money or reaching a particular goal. For me, it is holding a dance posture for a little longer than the previous time. It does not matter what the society tells you to be successful.”

To build a better world

Arudra Saravana Kumar, Engineer-turned short film maker

“My film called 93 Not Out was sent to many film competitions. It gave me an opportunity to travel to other places. I earned ₹15 lakh from that movie. Your degrees are not stopping you from pursuing your dreams.”

To build a better world

Nirupama Vyas, Entrepreneur and business habits mastery coach

She said there were many in the Police in her family and she too joined the Police because in her mind that meant ‘power’. But she soon realised that there was more to power than that. “Remove the barriers to be powerful,” she said. She also spoke about power and the willingness of an entrepreneur to do all the work of his or her company.

To build a better world

Sajid Umer, Student

Umer’s cousin was his inspiration he said. She was hearing-impaired and this gave him the idea to develop a blue tooth hearing aid. “Around five percent of the world population is hearing impaired,” he said and wanted to help the hearing impaired with his invention.

Lakshmi Narayanan, Licensee of TEDx GCT

To organise a TEDx event is a matter of pride. It took 25 students and six months of hard work by the students of GCT to come up with TEDxGCT. We divided ourselves into different groups to handle management, design, web-design, logistics and curation.

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