Efforts of international football star Ron Vlaar and Socio Economic Development Trust have seen Purbhani, Hingoli and Buldhani villages strive towards success

Ron Vlaar (second from left) with others at the event.

By providing financial aid and moral support for the development of a village in a country which he had never visited before, International Football Player and defender for Aston Villa, Ron Vlaar (30) has set a beautiful example of selflessness and humanity for the youth of our nation. Right from the age of 20, Vlaar has been donating a part of his earnings to the NGO Socio Economic Development Trust (SEDT) which works in the remote villages of Purbhani, Hingoli and Buldhani districts in Maharashtra. To felicitate Vlaar on his first visit to India, an interaction meet was organized by Paranjape Schemes Construction Limited on 25th June at The Westin, Pune.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Along with Ron Vlaar, Cess Tompot, founder of Yojana Project Help, Netherlands – partner of SEDT, Suryakant Kulkarni, Founder of SEDT and Peter Vlaar, father of Ron Vlaar, SEDT team and the Paranjape family were also present. Calling Vlaar a true role model for the youth, Shashank Paranjape, trustee member of SEDT said, “It takes a lot of passion to reach out to help people who belong to a different nation and culture altogether. Ron is a sports celebrity and he has the power to influence a lot of lives. We have arranged this opportunity for the youth to speak to Ron and listen to his experiences at Kerawadi. It is sad to see the children of Kerwadi struggle to live, I hope the youngsters present here visit these villages and get motivated by Ron’s contributions.”Illustrating the work done by SEDT, Paranjape added, “For the past 35 years, SEDT has worked tremendously in these villages” The NGO has done some remarkable work in this area. It has set up 122 schools, child care and women care centers, education and training centers for adolescent girls and support programs for HIV/AIDS affected villagers. “I took my children, Amit and Yash Paranjape to visit the Kerwadi center once,” said Paranjape, ” the energy of the place is so infectious that they themselves go to spend time with these kids now.”After 10 years of association with the NGO, Vlaar visited the childcare center at Kerwadi, Purbhani district last week. Filled with excitement after seeing the work done with the help of his donatiosn and SEDT’s work in the area. “When we left for India, I had some idea of what to expect as I was told about all the work which was happening here. As we entered these villages and I was shown around the schools, small science centers and the discovery science center, I was delighted. It was gratifying to see the children learn through the responsive models, play sports and live a better life. The discovery science center with 100 plus virtual and responsive models illustrating science theories reminded me of my school exhibits.” said Vlaar.The brand ambassador of Yojana Project Help, Netherlands which is associated with SEDT for 32 years now, Vlaar shared his early memories of Yojana and helping India at the interaction meet. “Even before I met Cess Tompot, founder of Yojana Project Help, I remember collecting money for India during school. At that time I was not aware of the need of these donations, but after seeing Kerwadi, I believe even the smallest of help can make a difference” he said, Uurging the guests, especially the youth present at the meet to visit Kerwadi once and work towards the development of villages.SEDT, an Ngo established in 1980 with an aim to make a difference in the life of the rural population of the otherwise neglected areas of Marathwada, has been working in 370 villages. The NGO works in the area of educational women empowerment, community health and hygiene to infrastructure, no education services and gender inequality. “It is sad to hear to women in the villages say that they have no access to toilets and have to defecate openly, many children walk out of villages to live in the city as there are no basic amenities provided; youth is losing interest in agriculture fearing poverty. The SEDT has a dream of developing villages and eradicating poverty” said Suryakant Kulkarni, founder of SEDT who left his job 35 years back to work for the villages in Marathwada. Speaking of Ron Vlaar as an inspiration, Kulkarni added, “It is great to have been associated with Ron for 10 years now. The trust that he has on us helps us work harder to make the most of his donation.

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Towards a better life in Maharashtra’s villages