Cricketer AB de Villiers on partnering with MAD and mentoring students in India

By Apurva P
November 16, 2022, Updated on : Thu Dec 01 2022 03:37:55 GMT+0000
In a conversation with SocialStory, South African cricketer AB de Villiers and Jithin Nedumala, Co-founder and CEO, Make a Difference, talk about investing in children and what their partnership means to them.
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Former South African captain AB de Villiers has become a household name since he started playing in India, especially after playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Indian Premier League. 


The cricketer has now decided to strengthen his ties with India by signing up to volunteer his time for Make a Difference (MAD) to mentor two young people supported by MAD. 


“India has been incredibly kind to me over the years; it's changed my life completely. Spending time in India, your eyes open up to new possibilities, you see different cultures, you see poverty, see something of everything over India. Most of all, they see a lot of love. I received a lot of love and I felt time to give back you know,” says the cricketer.

Jithin, MAD

Jithin Nedumala, Co-Founder and CEO, MAD

MAD, a leading not-for-profit organisation working with children in need of care and protection in India, has developed a Prosperity Model, working with children from the age of 10 until they turn 28 years of age and settle down in life with stable income levels. MAD helps children with holistic solutions, individual care and attention, education, and customised programmes.


MAD claims to have an impact on 3,500 children every year across India, driven by 4,000 volunteers.


Talking about the process, Jithin Nedumala, Co-Founder and CEO, MAD, says, "The uniqueness of our model lies in it being volunteer-driven. We are simply delighted at having a global sporting icon like AB de Villiers sign up as our volunteer. Mr 360, as he is fondly known in India, and his support for our organisation will further strengthen our resolve to help children break out of the cycle of poverty.”


MAD works with children in constant need of care and protection, who are often neglected by society in "a lot of ways".


“In the ways we treat them, it almost comes across as what they get is what is left over from everybody else. And that does have an emotional impact on them. Having people like AB spend their time with children fundamentally changes the children's narrative. They realise that they're actually one of the most valuable assets our country has. These changes inside them really helps them grow,” Jithin says.


During the initial stage of his volunteering, AB de Villiers will mentor two MAD beneficiaries over the next six months: 18-year-old Ayan from Lucknow, who has just finished school and wants to play cricket at the under-19 level and possibly for India, and Anitha, who is 21 years old and studying journalism in Bangalore.


“I've been very lucky to get a decent social media following over the years. I think the first step is to really create awareness and not to try and do everything by myself. Just like cricket, you can only win games if you work together as a team. And then the most important thing is spending time with these individuals. I think that's going to be crucial,” says AB de Villiers.


(Video edited by Avinash Ramanath)


Edited by Teja Lele