The year of Twenty20
The eponymous year began on a high note with the opening of the revamped food security market in Kizhakkambalam. Catering to the citizens’ fundamental right to food, the food security market – the first of its kind in the country – spread across a glitzy, newly air-conditioned 14,000 square feet, and stocked with three times the product list was officially opened by Twenty20 chief coordinator and managing director of Kitex Garments Sabu Jacob on January 6 this year.
“In this new avatar of our food security market we are giving not just an increased item list but also the convenience of shopping in comfort and higher discount rates,” he said. “This is going to add tremendously to the savings of a family that runs on a budget.” In the anvil is a pharmacy outlet that will be started within the premises within the next few months.
It was nothing short of a celebration with huge crowds thronging the Twenty20 ground where the food market is situated. “We are really glad the food security market is back in operation,” a resident said. “Look at the freshness of these oranges, the vegetables,” he said taking out the items from his shopping cart to show the leaves on the nodes which were still intact. “Nowhere do you get such fresh items at these rates.” Those around him beamed happily while they waited patiently near the checkout counter.
There would have been no better way than this to get the ball rolling on the New Year – the year the organisation itself is named after. The culmination will see Kizhakkambalam excel across parameters like quality houses for all, roads, infrastructure, employment and employability, mother and childcare, sustainable agriculture, potable water, education and sanitation. Operational from 2013 onwards, Twenty20, the CSR wing of the Anna-Kitex Group, has redefined responsibility and philanthropy with its scientific approach to issues beginning with the classification of the population depending on their economic status. The breadth of operations undertaken by Twenty20 goes way beyond regulatory compliances by weaving not just economic and physical themes into its development mandates but also social and environmental considerations as well. The aim is to ensure sustained and sustainable inputs to community growth, making long-term commitment to specific issues and forming strategic alliances. By the end of the current year, the village will also be a pilot model of sustainable growth, a model that is both scalable and replicable anywhere in the world.
A team of highly qualified and experienced social workers, engineers, doctors, nurses, project managers, veterinary and agriculture experts see that the projects are implemented in a systematic and scientific manner. Specialised social surveys decide the nature of intervention and approaches to issues are customised for maximum outreach and benefit. It is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach, nor does it go by the textbook. Factors taken into account besides the demographics include the fragile ecology of the region and the changing climate patterns. Thus Twenty20 has revived an extensive network of canals which once crisscrossed the panchayat spending millions of rupees which has, in turn, rejuvenated the ground water levels. In the scorching summers of Kerala, this replenishment is nothing less than a boon for the residents.
The provision of two-wheelers at heavily subsidised rates for the women of the village was another initiative which was widely lauded for the empowerment it brought about. Access to easy transport has enabled many of these women to start their own businesses – farm produce and homemade goods. The supply of white goods was another out-of-the-box move which has greatly improved the quality of lives of the people.
It goes without saying that much more needs to be done. The journey so far hasn’t been an easy one by any yardstick and challenges abound in the way forward as well. But when you have the unstinting support of the people, when you see the palpable difference brought about to lives, the newly emboldened aspirations of the youth, the happy smiles that encapsulates a million feelings, you know that you are well on your way.