Strength of solidarity
AFFILIATED to the Indian Association Dubai, Tamil Ladies Association (TLA), founded 25 years ago, is emerging as a meeting point for like-minded individuals who work towards the welfare of the society -both in the UAE and in India. With 125 members from the Tamil community, the association works towards promoting Indian culture and tradition, while promoting the talents of children.
"We are focused on the family," says Girija Muralidharan, general secretary. "All our entertainment programmes seek to involve the whole family, and encourage the talent of members' children." TLA has achieved remarkable growth over the recent years by providing a unique platform for Tamil families in the region to come together and share their concerns and happiness. Organizing get-togethers for all major festivals, TLA is hosting a Tamil New Year's Day celebration today at the Emirates English Speaking School at 7pm. "We have planned some unique programmes for the event," says Muralidharan"including a fashion show open to all members where ornaments will be made out of vegetables." Attempting to tap the creativity of all members, the event will also see song and dance programmes by children.
Founded with 20 members initially, the organization, asserts Muralidharan, is not "just about ladies. It is more family oriented, and we organize events every month for the families."
Having organized rangolis, cooking competitions and fashion shows in addition to quiz shows and regular interactive meetings, TLA is led by president Vijaya Mohan. The six- member committee also includes, in addition to Muralidharan, Meenakshi Gandhi (Treasurer), Sridevi Vishwanath (Entertainment Secretary), and Prema Umamaheshwaran and Latha Shekar (members).
"Membership to the association is open to all Tamilians," says Muralidharan, but people who have a genuine interest in the rich Tamil tradition are also welcome to the fold. Since we are affiliated to the Indian Association, we are also invited to take part in the Republic Day and Independence Day celebrations. We also take active part when any volunteering help is needed for the Indian Association."
TLA members were, thus, in the forefront during the previous "Amnesty period," and also mobilized relief materials during the" campaign for Gujarats earthquake victims.
The association is also involved in charity work in India. They lend monetary support to organizations who serve the needy. "Many people visit us for support but we look into the matter, and study the work of the organization before deciding to raise funds for them," explains Muralidharan.
An enterprising initiative of the TLA members was instrumental in the Indian consulate opening its auditorium for performances by various associations. "We had repeatedly requested the consul-general to let us use the auditorium," says Muralidharan. "Though we staged only one programme, the initiative has benefited various other associations immensely."
TLA is guided by Tamil saying, "Whoever comes to Tamil Nadu progresses" The association aims to replicate the same prosperity in the UAE for its members as well as the society.