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Western Koothu in West London

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Hundreds of Tamil youth in Britain attended a cultural show with a twist in West London last Saturday. The Tamil Youth Organisation’s (TYO) branch in Britain, in cooperation with several University Tamil societies, successfully held their second 2005 event – titled ‘Western Koothu’ - at the Greenford Assembly Hall.

TYO said there were two objectives behind the glitzy event. The first was to raise funds for the Knowledge Centre or academy that is being built in Visuvamadu, Vanni. This centre is to allow young Diaspora Tamils visiting Vanni on teaching holidays to lodge and work from a permanently available base. The current centre is a pilot scheme and is being funded by TYO branches in Canada, USA, Australia, Germany, France and many other European countries.

The second reason for holding the ‘Western Koothu’ show was to attract more Tamil youth living in the UK to TYO and its projects.

‘TYO aims to foster an appreciation and understanding of the linguistic and cultural richness of Tamil among the second and third generation Tamils living outside the tradition Tamil homeland,’ a TYO official said.

‘It also wishes to encourage youth in the Diaspora to help those underprivileged youth living in the Tamil homeland,’ she said.

The Western Koothu show included performances by the Tamil societies of University College London (UCL), Imperial College, Leeds University, Surrey University and Kings College’s Sri Lankan society. The societies also make up the United Kingdom Tamil Students Union (UKTSU) which is affiliated to the TYO.

The audience were enthralled by the performance by MC Subzero and Krishan. The ‘blind date’ spoof was a hilarious piece of theatre, albeit with a subtle blend of social messages.

There was an ‘east meets west’ catwalk, dances and karaoke to Tamil popular and cinema songs.

A documentary on TYO’s ongoing projects, produced, naturally, by TYO’s own media unit, was played shortly before the interval. The documentary introduced TYO’s aims and structure and allowed each subsection to pitch to Tamil youth at the event to join them.

The event organisers say they were delighted with the success of Saturday’s events. TYO-UK and its affiliate University organisations say they raised a sizeable sum of money for the teaching centre and convinced several Diaspora to join up.

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