New Delhi - January - March 1995
DEVELOPMENT-A PROCESS OF CHANGE
Development means different things to different people. One can classify development into rural, urban, social, cultural, political, moral, religious, personal, collective, integrated whole or total and human development etc. Agents of divelopment also belong to different categories, government, corporate, non-government, voluntary, private etc. Development demands and needs are commensurate to material and ethical standards and quality of life and also embraces behaviour and attitudes. Development has quantitative and qualitative dimensions. Altogether development is a complex phenomenon. It is dynamic in its nature. While development literates some, it controls or dominates some others. Strategies and approaches for development applications make or merit.
We, in Deepalaya work towards Human (whole) development and consider it a process of change. A development paradigm is constituted around our beliefs, and philosphy. Appropriate approaches, strategies and methodologies are designed to effectively bring this phenomenon closer to communities with whom we interact. In this endeavor, we have evolved a policy. One of the strategies implementing the policy is to phase out from community area and program in ten years.
Deepalaya Plan Project in West Delhi, a collaborated project with PLAN International started in 1986 is under phase out. Deepalaya would withdraw by the year 1997. It is our attempt to ensure that we leave behind a better enlightened community who are organised, can take and have their own decision making mechanism, (CBO), the functionaries in the structures are adequately trained (HRD) to manage community affairs well, have resources (family and community funds) accumulated overtime through the practive of thrift, local resource mobilization (management by recycling and revolving fostering mutual help) and management by recycling and revolving fostering mutual help) and have appropriate linkages with external institutions (publci, private and voluntary) and a broad base for accessing resources both material and professional.
Some of these factors are end products of the development program. A glimpse of a few of the above are discernible in Deepalaya Plan Project.
As we phase out from DPP, we began phase in, in the neighbourhood. We count on your support to carry on".
Secretary & Chief Executive
A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE-ABHINAYA '94
For sixty odd school children, it was an occasion to cherish. The happy moments they shared with one another, those special moments of fun and creativity and above all the tie of everlasting friendship was more than they had hoped for. In fact Abhinaya '94, an inter school drama festival organised by Deepalaya on 14th November, where children from the slums and public schools performed on a common platform not only helped at mutual sensitization but also made the children aware about the existing realities of the social structure.
As twelve year old Nalin Mathur of Cambridge School, Srinivaspuri, it "initially I was a little hesitant to take aprt in a drama festival with them but once I visited their schiool and saw how talented and lively this children were, I had no hesitation whatsoever. Today I have a very good friend in Sultan of Deepalaya School".
In fact, Abhinaya which is being held for the third consecutive year has been a unique experiment and has been successful to a large extent in bridging the gap between these children. This year, Mavalankar Auditorium, the venue of Abhinaya '94 wore a festive look for the grand occasion. The hall was packed to capacity with sponsors and other distinguished guests arriving well in advance before th advent of the Chief Minister of Delhi Shri Madan Lal Khurana and the Guest of Honour, Minister of State Shri Krishna Kumar.
For the children of Deepalaya, DPS Vasant Kunj and Cambridge School, Srinivaspuri, it was the furition of the endless hours of hard work they had put in during the rehearsals. The function began with the lighting of the lamp and the mandatory address by the Honourable Chief Guests. the first program was the rendition of William Wordsworth's Man Has Made of Man by Ashok and Shikha of Deepalaya School. The two children had added their own words to the poem which stressed the need for compassion towards the less fortunate mortals.
The next item on the agenda was the much awaited play Raen Basera scripted by Chitrartha which showed street children and their colelctive efforts at improving their lot. The communication gap and the lack of understanding between the street and rich children was sensitively protrayed. In fact, Asif Naqvi, the director of Prayas theatre group who trained the children found them very talented and receptive to the whole process. "In fact the whole thing came out so smoothly as the children showed a lot of enthusiasm and grasped things very fast". Raen Basera which was based on the street child depicted human attitudes, emotional manipulation, harassments and miseries that they have to overcome for survival. The play is an experimental exercise where street children come back to the night shelters and narrate their days experience. The next item, a Rajasthani fold dance on Ila Arun's song 'Resham ka Roomal' was also well received by the audience.
The second play of the evening, 'Pani ki Kahani' was more symbolic in nature and highlights the eternal value of water which is a symbol of purity and is it bound by any man made barriers like caste, creed or status. 'Water is seen as the eternal life giver'. It was a wonderful evening and the children with their powerful portrayal stole the hearts of the audience. As one of the parents of a child of DPS Srinivaspuri it "I always felt that the slum children would be slow at grasping things and are inferior to our children in manyu ways but Abhinaya has opened my eyes and today I have realised that these children are as talented, creative and intelligent as any one can be".
In fact, the whole idea behind Abhinaya which is an annual feature is to dispel the existing myths between these two sections of the social structure and to a large extent Deepalaya has been successful. As Jatin of class eighth of Cambridge School put it, "My parents were not every appreciative of this idea and once they saw the play they were very happy and found the slum children to be good and talented. To make the sensitization more effective a common venue was selected for the rehearsals so that regular interactions took place between the students.
Thus Deepalaya's idea of maing friends through drama has proved to be a success. As and organisation working for social rehabilitation, Abhinaya is just the beginning. But when we at Deepalaya always believe that nothing is impossible and we should say that all this inspiration is due to the continued support we get from ur friends, sponsors and Donors and we are sure that they will continue to support us and bring meaning and light into the life of thousands of slum dwellers.
Chirpy, light eyed and bubbling with enthusiasm is thirteen year old Neha Khanna an eighth class student of Deepalaya School. But her small frame does not believe the fact that she is a girl with immense potential who can portray the role of King Lear's Cordelia to perfection and break into a Bengali folk dance with equal ease. But life has not been a bed of roses for this little girl. Being born in a slum and forced to live in a closed atmosphere denied of the basic necessities of life has its own constraints. In fact the silence and the lost look in her eyes when asked about her childhood said it all.
Her earliest memories are of her days in the LKG at Deepalaya School "I can remember those days of fund and bohime", she says with a smile. And rightly Neha has grown with Deepalaya. Today this girl who is just into her teens displays unusual awareness and maturity, something that is so rare in our times. Her academic performance is excellent and can match with the best of the elite public schools. But what is amazing about Neha is her versatility. Her impeccable English diction while she performs a play, the power to keep the audience enthralled by her performance, her graceful movements during a fold dance and above all her humility and gentleness.
What about her dreams for the future? "Well, I would like to take up the cause of the downtrodden" she says with conviction. "My ideal is mother Teressa. But I am no saint, I would like to enjoy the good things of life, but then I would like to share it with others". Born into a family that has to struggle to make both ends meet has not left any bitterness in her. Neha's father is a petty shopkeeper and has four children, she being the third. "Of course life is not a dream", but then "I always believe that what you give out you get back", she says with a smile. Neha feels that Deepalaya has transformed her life "My whole family has benefitted from its association with Deepalaya. Today all of us have a very positive outlook towards life". Neha is a shining example of Deepalaya tireless efforts and her message to all the young children is "you can if you think you can". Well said Neha and all of us at Deepalaya wishes you lots of sunshine and rainbows ahead.
A DREAM COME TRUE
Deepalaya has finally attained possion of 2 acre of pime land at Kalkaji Extn., Govindpuri from DDA for setting up the second Deepalaya school. The news was received with joy and happiness as it took us 6 long years of relentless struggle for this dream to become a reality.
RAGHUBIR NAGAR PROJECT
When Lutyens designed Delhi, he visualised a population of just one million, a capital that could symbolise India's dream and aspirations. Today Delhi has a staggering population touching ten million and bursting from the seams. The capital has attracted large scale migrations not only from various parts of the countyr but also from different parts of Asia. The result of all this is the mushrooming of slums and Jhuggi Jhopri clusters where the inhabitants are denied the basic necessities. Today there are around 1038 slum clusters in the capital crying for attention.
Raghubir Nagar, one of the largest slum clusters of West Delhi was one such slum plagued by a host of problems before Deepalaya entered the scene in 1986 as a part of DPP (Deepalaya Plan Project). Kallu Ram one of the senior residents of this colony recalls, "This place was totally disorganised, unemployment and alcoholism were rampant, children used to spend the whole day litering here and there, life held no meaning for us. "Today the situation has changed, more than 3000 families have come under the direct care of Deepalaya while thousands of other families have benefitted from their literacy and child care programmes. At the moment there are more than 35 balwadis functioning at Raghubir Nagar and most of them are doing two shifts a day.
In fact Deepalaya faced a lot of difficulties when they entered Raghubir Nagar in the year 1986. "The people looked at us with suspicion and refused to cooperate" recalls Jo Sharma, Director of DPP. But slowly and steady Deepalaya made inroads, their first mission was to introduce Pre-school and remedial School education in the slums and by the year 1987 they had around 400 foster child families with them. As time went by, Deepalaya started helping the inhabitants in getting potable water, housing and electricity connections. For this purpose small groups were formed which later became full fledged samities and identified the various needs of the people coming under them. Thus what started as a project providing free education to the children evolved into a holistic development programme involving the child, the family and the community covering education, community health, income generation and community organisation.
Today there are 23 samities operating in the four different blocks of Raghubir Nagar like Pachis Gaj, Sade Bara Gaj, Jhuggies and Transit camp. In fact one of the main reason behind the success of Deepalaya has been the total involvement of the community in the decision making process. Raghubir Nagar has been divided into 320 clusters with five panchs in each cluster. A dozen or more of these clusters together form a samiti which comes under the central coordination committee which monitors the project. These samities hold regular meetings wherein they deliberate over development plans, budget, housing, sanitation, thrift and credit facilities of their area. While Deepalaya funds these associations, they are encouraged to create their own funds through a rupee a day scheme and other programmes. While Deepalaya gives assistance to these samities, they collect back investments made on tangible program to create a revolving fund. It is not surprising that these samities have more than 4 million rupees among them in this regard.
Moreover Deepalaya takes special care to see that the office bearers of these samities are trained in accounts, office management and other skills. Mr.Devi Charan Aggarwal, President of the Ujala Samiti points, "For hundred of us, Deepalaya has come as a blessing. So many people who sued to while away their time drinking and smoking have started their own petty business. Moreover, the woman folk who never used to remove the ghunghat from their faces are actively contributing to the household income after being trained under various skills like knitting, sewing, embroidery and petty training. In fact more than 581 families have benefitted out of grants given to them for business development while 691 families have been given assistance for housing and other related activities".
Health care has been another priority area of Deepalaya. There are four health centres at Raghubir Nagar which are visited by child and T.B.Specialists. One of the major contributions of these health centres has been that the people of the slums have become aware of the need for immunisation, sanitation and other related activities. Today a number of families have their own latrines and syntex tank facilities.
But then child is the focal point to Deepalaya and utmost importance is given to the fact that every child in this colony has the right to education. There are around fifty centres providing remedial classes to children attending various schools while non formal education centres are run for the benefit of a large number of school children who have not attended school is these slum clusters. For hundreds of children life has changed dramatically. Deepalaya has broght light into their lives.
Today Deepalaya is all set to phase out of Raghubir Nagar as the community is on the path to self reliance. The awareness regarding education, health and community based income generation has been imbibed in them. As T.K.Mathew, Chief Executive of the organisation points out, "Raghubir Nagar is just a drop in the oceqan. We have miles and miles to go. And that is what Deepalaya is doing. Today the orgnaisation has spread out to 29 slum clusters of Delhi spreading visions of hope and progress.... all set for a better and brighter tomorrow".
T.K.MATHEW ELECTED SAFRG CHAIRMAN
Our Chief Executive and Secretary, Mr.T.K.Mathew has been elected as the chairman of South Asian Fund Raising Group for the year 1995.
Mr.Mathew who is the guiding light behind Deepalaya has been instrumental in the growth of this orgnaisation from its humble beginning in the drawing room of a Chittaranjan Park house to the largest operational NGO in Delhi. We at Deepalaya while wishing him all the best, is sure that Mr.Mathew with his wide experiece and vision will prove to be an asset for SAFRG ghiding it towards its goals.
DEEPALAYA BAGS TOP SLOTS AT BABY CONTEST
Pragati Maidan came alive to the sound of wailing children and the chatter of excited mothers during the Well Baby contest organised jointly by Ranbaxy and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 27th November as a part of their campaign to spread awareness regarding child health.
Around twenty foster children from various projects of Deeplaya participated in the contest which attracted more than 150 odd-tiny tots from the National Capital region of Delhi. The baby show was classified into three groups mainly 0 to 12 moths, 12 t0 24 months and 24 to 30 months. the criteria for the selection was based on the overall health of the child and the awareness shown by their mothers towards nutrition, health and sanitation.
Children under Deepalaya were adjudged winners in the 0 to 12 months category and 23 to 24 months category. Moreover Depalya could also bag consolation prizes in the 24 to 30 months category. Ranbaxy laboratories also organised a Polio immunization drive on 4th December at Sanjay Colony in which more than eighty children from the slums were vaccinated to protect the from the dreadful disease.
CLEANLINESS DRIVE AT INDIRA CAMP
Deepalaya's youth group Shiv Shakti Samiti undertook a Safai Abhiyan at Indira Camp in Naraina to create awareness among the slum dwellers about the need for cleanliness and proper sanitation in these slum clusters.
Early in the morning a rally was held by the children carrying placards with slogans like keep your houses clean and 'tan saaf, man saaf to rahe sansar saaf'. A cycle rickshaw playing patriotic songs and messages pertaining to cleanliness accompanied the rally. The youghts of the area then started the cleanliness drive by removing the filth and dirt from the drains and nalas. Roads and by lanes were cleaned and DDT powder sprinkled.
Later, Maj.Gen.Dinesh Chandra, Advisor, Deepalaya Plan Project addressed the gathering and exorted them to keep their surroundings clean. The Safai Abhiyan was spear headed by Mr.Anoop Kumar, President of the youth wing who said that similar awareness campaign against lottery and AIDS would be undertaken in due course. This one day cleanliness drive was coordinated by Mr.Vinay Handoo, Communication Advisor, Deepalaya Plan, West Delhi.