Sweet music can be heard from the Infopark campus in Kochi even during the harsh summer. A closer look would reveal the colourful singers - birds that visit the IT park to quench their thirst in the birdbaths arranged for them by techies. IT professionals have kept earthen vessels filled with water at various spots on the Infopark campus for birds to sip water as well as to frolic.
In fact, the ‘Birdbath Challenge’ is the latest initiative of Progressive Techies - a collective of IT professionals. The challenge has been taken beyond Infopark to all parts of the country where the techies here have friends and connections. After arranging birdbaths in Infopark, each techie challenged at least five others to set up similar facilities at their place. The challenge soon became viral on social media and thousands of others all over India took it up. Photos of the birdbaths in each location soon flooded social media.
At Infopark, there are volunteers to ensure that the birdbaths are always filled with water.
However, the activities of Progressive Techies are not confined to Birdbath Challenge alone. The collective rises up every time there is a crisis and offers its service. The Kerala state president of Progressive Techies is Anish Panthalani while the Infopark unit is headed by Bagish M Bose. Initiatives like birdbath challenge are implemented by secretary Abhishek Jacob and other volunteers.
Some of the other activities of Progressive Techies are:
‘Karthumbi’ umbrellas are made by the tribal folk of Attapady. As the Adivasis lacked marketing skills, Progressive Techies took up the task. Now over 3,000 Karthumbi brand of umbrellas are being sold in Infopark alone. The sales, which were started two years ago are now gaining strength.
Rice bucket challenge
This initiative is launched during Onam every year. A box is placed on each floor of Infopark and in it anyone can deposit packets of rice. The venture was started in 2017 and Progressive Techies collect up to 5,000 kg of rice. During the first year, the rice was distributed in the tribal hamlets of Thattekkad. In 2018, the techies focused on the flood-hit areas and gave away rice packets to people in around 200 camps.
‘Lesson one - a helping hand’ is another activity of Progressive Techies to support needy schoolchildren. Kits containing books and study aids, schoolbag, umbrella and lunch bag are arranged during school reopening. Poor students of government schools are the beneficiaries.
A life-saving mission implemented by Progressive Techies on a regular basis is blood donation. The collective conducts various programmes to promote this noble task and at least 50 patients get blood from techies in Infopark every day.
Aimed at meeting the treatment expenses of poor patients, an amount of Rs 100 is collected from each of the 200 members of Progressive Techies every month. The total sum, Rs 20,000, is utilized to help desperate patients in the nearby locality.