How UAE's 'pencilman' has positively influenced the lives of people Filed on August 23, 2021

Supplied photo

Supplied photo

Supplied photo

It was in 2016 when he facilitated the largest collection drive of stationery and collected truckloads of pencils.

The UAE knows K. Venkatraman as the ‘pencilman’ but, through the years, his charity movement has grown beyond pencils and stationery, allowing him to uplift countless lives around the world.

The concept of joyful living can only be experienced when you are able to give back to the society, says Venkat, who has been in the UAE for more than three decades.

It was in 2016 when he facilitated the largest collection drive of stationery and collected truckloads of pencils. About 400 people had volunteered for that event and 300 cartons were given to the Emirates Red Crescent.

In 2017, he conducted another drive, this time to collect pulses for people in Somalia. Almost 25 tonnes of pulses were collected in one day, which reflects the kind of energy and enthusiasm with which the task was undertaken.

Venkat, as he is fondly called among a circle of philanthropists and humanitarians, is a professional chartered accountant.

At 62, he spends most of his time helping and reaching out to people. He has been able to influence a positive change in the life of many individuals in the UAE and India over the last few years.

“I am able to support 100,000 children in India and elsewhere in the world only because I am in Dubai. I have worked all my life in the UAE, my two children were born here and now they have settled in their jobs in the US. Dubai has given me a lot. So, it is my time to give back. I believe if the first two decades and a half are spent on learning and education, and the next three decades on earning well, the rest of the time in one’s life should be dedicated to giving back to the society in terms of your knowledge, wisdom, experience, and wealth.”

From running charity schools to supplying stationery and uniform to children to helping labourers, Venkat has been the focal point for people who need help. He has been instrumental in organising and helping scale up charity drives for Emirates Red Crescent and other humanitarian aid agencies. As a member of Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), Venkat has inspired the young members of the council to lend voluntary teaching services. “We have a programme called English on call, which endevours to give online English lessons to children in rural India. 50 members from the council have volunteered for help. It is important to focus on how to make giving more appealing to young people. By doing this, we can inculcate appreciation of the importance of charity at all different stages in a young person’s life.”


Suneeti Ahuja Kohli

Suneeti Ahuja-Kohli has been in Dubai long enough to call it her spiritual home. She loves to travel but plans to settle down in Koi Samui, Thailand eventually to spend her sunset years by the sea. For now, she writes frequently on personal finance, retirement planning, business news and features, health and almost anything assigned by her editor. Her sojourns can be followed on instagram (suneetiahujakohli), news and views on Twitter @suneetiahuja, and for the rest, there’s a Facebook account.

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