Abu Dhabi: Thousands of expatriate children from the South Indian state of Kerala have learnt their mother tongue at the Kerala Social Centre (KSC) in the capital during the past four decades, thanks to qualified senior centre members who volunteered as language teachers.
Every year, around 500 children attend free Malayalam language classes and many of them have even excelled in literary writing.
“This is one of the many examples of achievements of the KSC members’ volunteerism and we are looking into new possibilities to utilise this potential for the benefit of the community,” newly elected leaders of the KSC for 2018-2019 told Gulf News in an interview.
The 46-year-old centre is a prominent sociocultural forum of expatriates from Kerala in Abu Dhabi. Established in 1972, the centre moved to the current premises in Madinat Zayed in the capital in 1996. One of the five Indian community organisations in the capital registered with the UAE Ministry of Community Development, the KSC caters to around 4,500 people, including around 1,500 members and their family members.
“Most of our members are always volunteering to accomplish the socio-cultural initiatives of the centre. Their volunteerism and community spirit beyond individual interests or aspirations are our big strength,” said A.K. Beeran Kutty, the new president.
The new committee is planning to establish a help desk to guide all expatriates to join the pension and welfare schemes established by the Kerala Government. “Many Keralites are not aware that they can make their retirement life secure by contributing just Rs300 (Dh16.53) per month to the pension scheme. It is very important for an expatriate who often forget to save for his or her future. We will promote the scheme and encourage the maximum number of people to join it,” Kutty said.
He said completing the ongoing renovation of the KSC building in time is the top priority of the new committee. “We hope the Dh3-million project will be completed in August and we can celebrate Onam, Kerala’s state festival, in the renovated main auditorium,” Kutty said.
The renovation activities include expansion of the main auditorium and construction of two more mini-halls. Upon completion, the air-conditioned main auditorium with state-of-the art light and sound system can accommodate 1,500 people and the two mini-halls 300 people each.
Bijith Kumar, new general secretary, said the committee is seeking support of the community, especially business persons, for the successful completion of the renovation project. “We are happy to get positive response from all quarters.”
As a hub of sports and sociocultural activities of Keralites in the capital, the KSC organises several annual events. Jimmy George Memorial volleyball tournament, sports day, Bharath Murali memorial drama festival, youth festival and kathakali (a classical dance) festival are the most prominent among them. Art and cultural programmes involving writers, academics and artists from India are conducted almost every week at the centre. Literary and cultural wings of the centre regularly organise debates about sociocultural and literary developments in India and rest of the world.
46 years since KSC was set up
4,500 people catered to by KSC
500 children attend free language classes a year
Social centre to attract more people to library
A library at the Kerala Social Centre (KSC) in the capital has around 9,000 books in Malayalam and English. All major newspapers and periodicals are available at the library. The library membership is open to all residents.
“Any resident can get a life membership with Dh100, of which Dh50 is a refundable deposit,” said A.K. Beeran Kutty, president of the KSC.
The centre will continue the efforts to improve the library, said Bijith Kumar, general secretary of the KSC.
Library members can take books home for two weeks.
They said the centre has collected 1,000 new books, including the ones signed by writers themselves, for the library through a campaign. “We will try to attract more people to the library,” they said.