Social Media is a big platform where you can share your thoughts, moments, projects and events. It is a community, sometimes we call it a social family. You make friends, inspire others or even get inspired. With all the positives aspects of the social media platform, we are inspired by different ways.
This one event on social media that had struck my attention last year was “Palm Roots”, a charity event to give back to our homeland. Held by Jananie Baskaran from Toronto. She was such an inspiration and when I contacted her she was very friendly and liked the idea.
Jananie Baskaran was born in the Middle East and migrated to Canada in the early 2000s. She holds a degree in Health Science and works for UHN in Toronto and she also works for her own photography business called Called 3D Media, where she offers commercial and fashion photography services. Other than photography, she likes to read, mostly non-fiction and obsessed with movies and film-making. If she is not taking photos, we know where to find her; her living room either reading books or watching movies.
We often think how can we give back to our homeland? We don’t know where to start such as we don’t have the proper support, the proper tools. Moreover, the financial part plays a big role.
And she is back for the fifth time in a row with another PR2018. This year we will see many other artists point of view along with hers. Their work will be displayed at her next exhibition on the 4th of Nov 2018. If you are in town, do not miss this amazing event held by Jananie Baskaran.
What’s behind Palm Roots?
The intention of Palm Roots is to create a bridge that connects the Tamil community in Toronto with the community in Sri Lanka, especially in the North and East. It’s a way to remind the younger generation to always give back and support our community in our homeland, no matter how successful they become.
Where did you get this idea?
Palm Roots was initiated after my first trip to Jaffna in 2013 when I saw the present condition of Tamils specifically in the North, even after the so called “end” of the 25-year war that took place in Sri Lanka. We are blessed with so many privileges in our lives, that we tend to take for granted. Whereas, the community in North/East Sri Lanka is still facing a constant struggle to afford basic necessities like food, shelter, education etc. I felt that it was my responsibility to make sure that my community in North/East Sri Lanka were able to get back on their two feet and have a better future than what their generations have gone through in the past.
Who supported/helped you during this travel?
It has always been my family. The trips I’ve gone on so far have been with my parents and brother. They have been so supportive of this initiative and always make sure we visit places where we can learn more about the history of all the places we visit – especially in Jaffna.
What is your long and short term goals?
So far, I think I have been achieving the short term goals I’ve had in mind for Palm Roots – which is to help children have easier access to education by providing them with funds or support in any way, to continue schooling. My long-term goal has been to create a brand for myself and to make sure that photography is appreciated for its true value. Another long-term goal would be to ensure that children in North/East Sri Lanka grow up to become well-educated leaders who are confident enough to represent our identity on bigger platforms and fight for their rights in an ethical way. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I would love to continue seeking charities and following up with the ones I’ve worked with so far to make sure that the children supported by Palm Roots are continuing to get the support they require through Palm Roots and other sources as well.
Are you planning to do one next year?
As of now, I can’t predict what next year holds. Organizing an event like Palm Roots is a tedious but worthy effort. In addition to organizing the event itself, it also includes all the background work that usually isn’t considered. This includes travelling, visiting and photographing places or moments that people would be interested in purchasing for their homes/offices, choosing photos, editing, printing/framing, executing the event and then taking care of funds and ensuring that it reaches reliable charities who are in desperate need to help people. It takes a ton of effort to put together the event every year while balancing my full-time career as well – so let’s see how things go!
What is your future plan? And Why?
I haven’t been a person to have a 5-year or 10-year goal or have everything planned out for my future. Life has its way of presenting obstacles and blessings my way at the most unpredictable times. So I’ve tried my best to go with the flow and take things as they come. It’s the best way to make sure you’re ready to conquer your battles on a daily basis while appreciating the things and people you have in your life at the moment because you can never predict if they will remain tomorrow.
Who is your inspiration?
I have always been inspired by Princess Diana. I continue to look up to her for being the beautiful, graceful woman she was, regardless of how people in her environment treated her and for her unconditional passion for helping the less fortunate. It’s hard to believe that she passed away more than twenty years ago but still remains a huge inspiration to many, including myself.
What would you like to say to the older and younger generation?
My sincere request to the older generation would be to support the efforts that the younger generation is putting into art forms they are passionate about.
Art is something our community has always looked at as a hobby or a side job and never as a career. But there are many artists who are proving that success in the arts can be achieved as long as passion, hard work and luck exist. I would love to see more individuals from the older generation participate in events organized by the younger gen and be more supportive to artists of our generation. Every individual is a star in his or her own way. All they need is encouragement and support to find their passion and continue to aim for success. I have been extremely blessed to have the support of so many people for Palm Roots so far and hope it continues to grow.
To the younger generation: I think it’s our responsibility to find something we are truly passionate about and pursue our dreams regardless of who chooses to support us or not. Many times, I see individuals who are extremely talented but choose not to act on their skills because they expect opportunities to find them or use the older generation’s lack of support as an excuse for their fear of failure. Many spend time criticizing what another person is doing to achieve success instead of focusing on their own path to success. People always recognize those who hustle so continue to pursue your dreams and work hard to succeed; the support and respect will come to you on its own. Failure or success – it all starts with the decisions you make, so choose wisely!
Who would you like to thank?
There are so many individuals who have continued to support me throughout the journey of Palm Roots so far. I would definitely need to thank my family, friends, community members/media for their ongoing support and positivity. Specifically I’d like to take this opportunity to thank three individuals who have been a huge pillar of strength since my first event in 2013 – Gary Anandasangaree, Thiva Paramsothy who have been my mentors for many years now and Shaji Nada, CEO of Ideal Group and his team for their continuous support with Palm Roots. In proud to partner up with their team for Palm Roots 2018 and will always be grateful for their motivation to continue pursuing my dreams.
PHOTO CREDITS: Ninaivukal, Puthinam Media