The origin of the Center for Creative Excellence-India was almost accidental.
The story starts with Varghese Keerikatte, a Kerala born Indian American who had spent more than fifty (50) years in the US as a student, social activist and NGO executive. Before he left India to the US for higher education, he had been a Gandhian village worker and was involved for several years in community development activities. He earned his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh and worked also as a planning professional both in Pittsburgh and New York City as well as with UN in Lebanon.
Politically and emotionally, he was always committed to social activism. Since his family is all well settled in the US and himself, being in fairly good health, Dr. Keerikatte felt that he should explore how his more than five decades of academic and professional experience can be productively used in fostering development activities in India? He came back to Kerala in 2013 with that mission in mind.
It was then, by chance, he came across an astonishing story (in the Hindu and Times of India) that 65-70% of college students from the SC/ST and OBC communities who were admitted to professional institutions in Kerala on a preferential basis (under reservation) dropped out, for one reason or other. But nobody seems to have bothered to look into why or what happened to the college dropouts?
Dr. Keerikatte felt an empathy with this problem and decided to look into what can be done about it? He met with Dr. K Pushpangadan (retired economics professor from the famous Center for Development Studies, Trivandrum) who did the report. He shared with Dr. Pushpagadan his interest in doing something to help the drop outs. The idea was further shared with a few other knowledgeable in Trivandrum and they all agreed that the drop out of the SC/ST and OBC students was a serious problem which called for a major effort to remedy the situation. It was felt that an institutional framework was needed to carry out such a challenging work
Dr Keerikatte is not a rich man and had very little personal resources to embark on a major project like this one. There was no assured source of funding for a new venture. Yet, his past experience and self- confidence gave him the courage to thrust himself in this work. Dr. Keerikatte and friends decided to set up a charitable Trust in India, with the idea to promote educational and economic development of the socially disadvantaged and underprivileged youth as well as poor women and their children. That was the genesis of the Center for Creative Excellence-India (CFCE-India) which was founded in August, 2013.
Dr Keerikatte went back to America and with the help of his friends there, he set up a tax exempt charitable foundation in the US, known as the Center for Creative Excellence-USA, Inc sees: www cfceusa.org) and through it, efforts are being made to raise funds from abroad to support the work in India. Nevertheless, our aim is to find as much as possible the needed resources within India itself to support the work.
CFCE-India is registered as a tax-exempt non-profit Trust, which is guided and managed by several prominent non-political persons in Kerala, under the leadership of Dr. D. Babu Paul IAS (retired.) a former Additional Chief Secretary of Kerala, who is also an eminent scholar and writer. Dr. Keerikatte has also decided to fully devote his time and energy to develop the Center in India and guide its activities. Except for occasional visits to the US, he spends all his time in the work in India.