Students of the University of Madras in January went from door to door selling handloom, to give a helping hand to the weavers of Tamil Nadu. The 'Helping hand to weavers' or 'Kaitharikku Kaikuduppom' initiative of the the National Service Scheme (NSS) of the University received the Indira Gandhi Award 2010-11 as part of the 42nd National Service Scheme Foundation Day in New Delhi last week.

Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Ajai Maken presented the award to G. Thiruvasagam, vice-chancellor, University of Madras and Raja Hussain, NSS coordinator, in the preence of Ramadurai, advisor to the Prime Minister. The award carries a citation, trophy and cheque for Rs. Two Lakh.

The scheme was undertaken in collaboration with the Department of Handlooms of Tamil Nadu in the month of January and February. As part of the initiative, around 22,500 NSS volunteers from various university departments and affiliated colleges sold handloom worth over Rs. 3.8 crores, to help mitigate the sufferings of over six lakh weavers.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Thiruvasagam emphasised the need to sensitise students to understand the issues and problems facing the country and to train them in rendering services to the needy people. He added that the University of Madras undertook the project to help the deserving weaver community.