New Delhi -October - December 1996
GAJRAJ-LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT
Life for thousands of slum children is the same-poverty, drudgery and no opportunities to out of the vicious circle. Most of them give themselves up to their fate but there are a few who fight against fate and take charge of their livds. Gajraj is one such hero who is determined to change the course of his life through sheer hard work and discipline.
As construction labourers Gajraj's parents can barely support a large family of seven. But, there was a time when the family was small and Gajraj used to go to school. With the arrival of four more children, Gajraj being the eldest realised his responsibilities and dropped out of school to start working full time as Kabadi Walla to contribute to the family income. However he yearned to study and was well aware that education was the only means to battle out of this vicious circle of poverty.
So, Gajraj, after a strenous day's work started coming to Deepalaya's Non Formal Education Centre in the evening. Being a serius student Gajraj felt he could go for higher studies and become a teacher, if only he could continue his regular schooling. This he could not since, the Kabadi's work fetched good income with which he could give his brothers the opportunities not available to them.
It was providential for Gajraj when Deepalaya took two of his brothers in its formal school under the child sponsorship programme. This enabled him to give up full days work and join regular School. He took to crushing stones for a few hours in the night to sustain himself. Although the work was hard but he could attend school again. His non-formal education helped him in bridging the gap in his formal school studies. Gajraj has one vision in life-To educate himself so that he can educate other children of his kind.
Gajraj at fourteen is an inspiration for many in Golekuan. He has a disciplined routine of work, studies, teaching and play. Despite working in the night and attending school, he finds time to regularly teach young children in the neighbourhood. Gajraj says he wants to become a teacher and bring about a change in the lives of the children in slums.
Gajraj comes to Deepalaya's Non Formal Education Centre for extra coaching and is an active member of Deepalaya's Natak Mandali-a recreation forum for the teeenagers of the basti which also gives them social education.
Gajraj's self discipline protected him from the vices which grip the slum children early in life. With him in the forefront, the Natak Mandali enacts social plays for the community on topics like alcoholism, education, small family etc. He says that its his positive outlook which gives him the strength to do so much. Also he wants to be a role model for his younger brothers so that htey too develop the will to change their lives. With their collective will and hard work, Gajraj forsees a rosy future for his family.
FOUNDATION STONE LAYING CEREMONY
Deepalaya achieved yet another milestone on 24th August when foundation stone for the new school was laid by H.E.Mr.P.K.Dave, Lt.Governor of Delhi at Kalkaji Extension. The school will usher a new beginning in the field of higher education and vocational education for deprived children.
Welcoming the distinguished guests, Mr.T.K.Mathew, Secretary & Chief Executive of the roganisation described the 17 years long journey since its inception. He underlined the need for enlightening the community on importance of education, which would act as a catalyst for brining over all development.
Speaking on the occasion Mr.Dave, Chief Guest for the function appreciated the crusade being taken up by Deepalaya to foster an appropriate environment for the development of the underprivielged children. Also present on the occasion were Mr.Kirti Azad, MLA and Mr.Shish Pal, MLA.
Maitree Shree wa also held along with the foundation stone laying ceremony. Wherein the children from South Delhi, West Delhi and North West Delhi presented a colourful cultural programme.
IODINE DEFICIENCY CAMP
One day camp on Iodine deficiency was organised in Raghuvir Nagar by Divya Samiti on 7th September. Through the camp children and their aprents were educated on the importance of iodine in food. Doctors from AIIMS who were the resource person for the camp shared their experience on how to test for iodine in the salt, Iodine testing kit were also distributed to the participants. They also educated the participating community on various disorders that can result due to iodine deficiency like deafness & dumbness, mental disorder, miscarriages and complications in pregnancy.
TEACHER'S DAY CELEBRATION
It was long felt that the teachers working the various community based organisation in West and North West Delhi should have a forum to express their views and opinions on the issues related to development and problems faced by the teachers while working in the slums. Keeping this in midn two day long programme was organised on 3rd & 4th September to mark Teacher day.
The programme was quite unique where teachers could contribute by means of painting, quiz, role playing etc. to address some of the very sensitive issues.
First days engagement included painting competitions, test of creativity through whcih one could narrate various activiites undertaken by the teachers and also their observations of the environment. Quiz competition was also part of the days engagement.
On the second day teachers spoke on vital issues - "A change in the surroundings is required than running a Balwadi in community" and "Lak of teaching resources is the reason for degradation in the quality of teaching".
Role plahing was what attracted the most, topics addressed included role of teachers, problem of attendance of students. At the end of the celebrations prizes were given to winning teachers by the Project Director of Deepalaya Plan Project.
Some of the successful students who could clear their secondary and senior secondary examinations were awarded scholarships to encourage them to strive even harder in their academics.
Among the twenty six awardees was Shiela Varma whose performance in secondary examinations was spectacular and has made everyone in Deepalaya and Raghubir Nagar project proud. She scored 81.2% marks.
Ms.Tirki-Education Officer with Directorate of Education and Principal of Govt.Secondary School Raghubir Nagar addressed the children.
INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY
The day adds special significance when India ranks quite low in terms of literate population. On 7th September the neo-literates from Golekuan, Transit Camp & Sanjay Colony took pride in representing Deepalaya at the function organised by Delhi Saksharata Samiti and Govt. of India. The participants also took part in the painting and debate competitions. Deepalaya's Navjyoti and Sehyog Samities also had put up a stall at theliteracy mela organised by Springdales School (Pusa Road). It was an opportunity for the neo-learners to interact with the outside world. Ms.Kanti Devi, 30 years of age was adjudged the best neo learner and was awarded cash prize in a competition organised by Delhi school literacy project.
CATARACT DETECTION CAMP
Catarat detection camp was organised for residents of V.P.Singh Camp, Gandhi Basti and Sanjay Colony from 11th to 20th September. The week long camp was orgnaised with the active support of Mahavir International, a Delhi based charitable organisation. Doctors from AIIMS participating in this camp examined more than 300 patients and identified 50 cases for operation. Doctors, also educated the community about prevention of blindness.
Successful organising of the camp could be possible by active participation of all the Samities. P.A.Systems, posters and meetings were orgnised to motivate more and more people to come for the check up.
DEEPALAYA CHILDREN ON TIMES F.M.
For twenty Deepalaya children it was sheer fun and taste of freedom-an altogether new experience in Das Se Gyhara-Independence day special with Samshir Luthra.
For Mukta it was a dream come true, she couldn't have thought to be on radio and wojld get chance to interact and isng to millins of listeners. The talk which centred around Education and itnerpretation of Freedom by the Children, often took lighter turn with witty and crisp remarks by Samshir.
Children played their favourite tunes and spoke of equal opportunities for all. Shikha, another aprticipant spoke of need for educating their parents, so that India emerges as a stronger nation. Participants also included few handicapped children who shared their thoughts and dreams with the listeners.
Janbade Prafulla, sponsor aprent of Veena writes to her.
I hope you are doing well in all sphreres of life. I have received two drawings you had sent to me earlier and after seeing them I am sure you have a great potential to be a great artist of tomorrow. Keep it up.
I hope you will concentrate on your studies as well, as it is a safest way to rise in life and be a responsible person.
Feel free to communicate with me as and when feel like. I can read Hindi and I will try to write next letter in Hindi.
Be happy, do reply, Yours.
With a mission to make communities self reliant and independent in their process of development, Deepalaya has a policy of wokring in any project area for not more than ten years. The goal being that, withing the span of ten years, we empower the communities sufficiently for them to carry out the development process by themselves, making use of their own capacities and resources.
Hence, we adopt a system of Phase-In and Phase-Out. Phase-in is generally for a period of two eyars which is an awakening period for the communities to realise their needs and inculcate a desire for development.
Deepalaya's Phase In Project was launched on 17th March 1994 in 8 clusters of North West Delhi and 5 clusters of South Delhi. The plans are to further expand the project, taking the total number of clusters that are covered to fourteen in North West and South Delhi areas. The Phase In is currently on in the following clusters. BG-1,Sonia Park, Gouri Shankar, (Shalimar Bagh), S.P.Block, Gandhi Camp (Pitampura), Jailerwala Bagh (Ashok Vihar), Kishore Nagar and Kabir Nagar, Rana Pratap Bagh, Hyderpur.
The five clusters of South Delhi where the work has recently begun are in Khirki Village area covered under the Ramditti J.R.Narang Deepalaya school, V.P.Singh Camp (Okhla Phase-II), Indira Camp & Karpoor Thakur Camp (Srinivaspuri) and Nagal Machi Camp (Pragati Maidan).
With changing times social development has also evolved from the stage of charityh to welfare to self help. The change has helped to transform donor recipient relationship to partnership relationship.
Keeping the above change in mind the Phase-In Project has been adopted P.C.M.R (Planning cum Micro Realisation) methodology which is genuine effort to animate and interact with the community residents, enable them to prioritise their needs and train them to identify and utilize resources available with them. The emphasis has been on generating peoples interest to raise own resources rather than outside help and funds, and in the process equip the community to solve their problems on a continuous basis through collective and organised action.
The Phase-In Project, inorder to translate the abvoe concept into practice, individuals from the communities were identified to initiate this process. They are the Crusaders and Social Entrepreneurs traine dnad evelped by Deepalaya. As the name suggest, the crusaders are trained to possess qualities of progressiveness, innovativeness and creativity so that they can continuously make the community think ahead. On the other hand the Social Entrepreneur are taught to possess initiative, risk taking and decision making abilities to be able to offer a service to the community and raise resources for the same from these service receivers.
Phase-In Project concentrates on activities directed towards education, health, community organisation and skill training programme. The below tabulated data would throw further light into the overall activities and the beneficiaries.
In South Delhi too the Ramditti J.R.Narang Deepalaya School located in Khirki Village constitutes the ninth cluster of the Phase-In Project.
The efforts being made at the school is a wonderful adaptation of the PCMR, wherein the school from the very beginning is aiming to fulfill the eduction needs of the neighbourhood by ensuring effective integration of the community with the school activities.
The school presently has 80 children in the age group of 3 years to 8 years enrolled in the 2 sections each of U.K.G and L.K.G. Besides the school has identified two Social entrepreneurs to run a Non-formal educationa nd coaching class, with 25 children in each. Thus on the whole Phase-In has largely been successfully in creating and urge in the community to take development in their own hands, and ready for next phase which is utilization of resources from the community, by the community, for the community.