New Delhi - January - March 1998
MANNUDDIN, PERSUIT TO BE INDEPENDENT
It's difficult to believe, Mannudin is disabled in his sitting posture when you see the cheerful confident boy at his small grocery shop. It's only when he starts moving that one realises the kind of trauma, polio can inflict. Polio paralysed Mannudin's legs when he was barely two years old, his aprents already bogged down with the immediate problem of finding a square meal was conftonted to face the disability which compelled them to leave Firozabad, their ancestral village, to look out for an orthopedic centre in the city. According to Munni Begum, Mannudin's mother, in the beginning we were hurt-we just couldn't come to terms with Mannudin's disability, we went to every hospital in the city but was of no avail.
Mannudin and his parents settled in Tekhand (Golekuan) slum clsuter. In the initial days, their survival was at stage as his Father, Man Khan's efforts to find an employment proved futile. Months later Man Khan managed to get a job in a Leather Factory but his poor health didn't allow him to continue for long and he was rendered jobless. The family was under great pressure, until a social worker of Deepalaya during her routine visit identified Mannudin's family. The major help, came from Deepalaya's 'Rojgar Dhanda Vikas Sangh' apart from providing education and other support to Mannudin. The family was given a loan of Rs.7,000/- to set up a grocery shop at Tekhand. Mannudin was brought into the special unit of Deepalaya to be educated among other children who like him were disabled. His brother too was admitted in Deepalaya School. Mannudin is a sponsored child, his sponsor parent Mr.Gangaramani is taking care of his education and other basic needs through Deepalaya's sponsorship programme.
Mannudin is now 15. He has his teachers helping him realise his drams of equipping him to look after himself and come to terms with his disability.
Mannudin feels much better at the centre, he has been mingling with normal children too, he never feels isolated, his teachers and family always made him feel wanted. After struggling during the initial days, instructors at the special needs unit are helping him to acquire basic knowledge of language, general knowledge and numericals. Mannudin also has a creative bent for clay modelling, cut and paste and he also does carpentary, he has designed small racks for his home.
Mannudin was provided with a tricycle through Deepalaya. Today he, with his mother, manages the shop and has repaid half of the loan amount. Mannudin confidently remarks that he wants to show the world that it is the will that makes a good entrepreneur, a pair of polio affected legs can do it no harm. Mannudin does find time to play marbles, relax talking to his friends and watching movies of Manoj Kumar, his favourite star!
Mannudin has learnt the art of Keeping accounts as he maintains the stock and accounts of the shop, since his mother finds it hard to manage home and the shop. Mannudin's friend Birender remarked, "during the last two years of their friendshi he know him as a normal person who has no fear, they take him to nearby play ground where they play cricket.
Mannudin today portrays himself as an individual who is in high spirits, strong will power and determination instead of being handicapped by a physical disability.
BELGIUM PRIME MINISTER'S WIFE VISITS DEEPALAYAWife of Belgium Prime Minister, Ms.Celie Dehaene spent an hour at Deepalaya school with the childrn. She was accompanied by a high ranking delegation hich included representatives of Belgium Government, Belgium and Indian media and Embassy officials.
The visit opened yet another avenue for Deepalaya to closely work with Belgium Government to promote equitable development of the Girl Child. During her visit she was taken round the Formal School, Vocational Units, Special unit of Handicapped and Non formal and Remedial Education Centres.
CHILDREN'S DAY CELEBRATION
On the occasion of Children's Day, Chacha Nehru's brithday Deepalaya attracted attention of the society and particularly the youth towards exploitation of children. During the 3 day long campaign which was named 'Red Nose Day', the Street and Working children cared for by Deepalaya visited some of the prestigious colleges of Delhi and presented street plays and skits on child labour. The campagin covered Venkateshwara, Jesus and Mary's, Lady Shriram, Hindu, St.Stephens and Indra Prastha college and some well known retail chains. An important part of the campgaign was to wear a 'Red Nose' to show concern and generate wide spread awareness about child labour.
Some of the well known luminaries like Mr.Rahul Dev and Mr.Samshir Rai Luthra rendered their valued support by their presence during the campaign.
As the name suggest 'ABHINAYA' "Acting", is an annual event of Deepalaya which integrates the two worlds, one of opportunity and other of deprivation. This year this annual exercise was held at Cambridge School Auditorium on 29th November and was participated by St.Mary's School (Safdarjung Enclave), Blue Bells School (Kailash Colony), Cambridge School (Srinivaspuri) along with Deepalaya School children participating in all the three acting teams.
The event began with the traditional lighting of the lamp by the Founder Members, Principals and the students of the participating schools whichw as followed by staging of first play 'Aparajita', by the children from Blue Bells and Deepalaya, the story line of the play focussed on girl child and depicted the success story of a little girl Aparajita who despite the social ostracism could rise above to fulfill her dream to be a doctor. The play reflected the feeling of 'never say die' attitude among the children.
The second paly 'Jag Uthi Insaniyat' was staged by children from Cambridge School and Deepalaya School, the play was based on Communal harmony. The play featured multilingual and multi religious groups of people their social and fundamentalists beliefs and practices. Varied emotions of these people in an emergency situation where rooted beliefs could affect each other wa eloquently presented. The play drives home the message of respect, love and harmony among the diverse religious and social groups.
'Vandemataram' a specially Choreographed programme featuring students of St.Mary's and Deepalaya keeping in view the golden jubilee celebration of Independence, was another item appreciated by all. Thus Abhinaya '97 drew a close with a fresh hope to bridge two different worlds of human lives, a world of ignorance & want and world of enlightenment & sufficiency.
DEEPALAYA AT C.P.SHOPPING FESTIVAL
The Connaught Place (C.P) Shopping Festival, a mega moth long event was held at the shopping mall of Connaught Place in the month of December and January. The festival attracted lots of enthusiasitc buyers and shoppers for the entire month. Deepalaya was supported by NDTA (New Delhi Traders Association) to raise awareness and funds for the slum, street and working children of Deepalaya. Deepalaya had a stall at the C-Block where distribution of literature, projecting documentary film, displaying exhibits were done to facilitate understanding of people about Deepalaya, its nature of work and achievements.
During the festival, Donation Boxes were placed in 53 shops and each shop had pledged a contribution to help the underprivileged children. Besides games and lucky draw were organised at the stall to raise funds from the shoppers. Children from Deepalaya school presented a cultural evening on Christmas day and also during the closing ceremony on 4th January. Deepalaya film was shown at the fashion show organised by well known designer Anjana Bhargava, which was an awareness building exercise.
INAUGURATION OF COMPUTER CENTRE BY SMT.SHIELA GUJRAL
Towards building sustainable partnership between corporate Giant-Tata Infotech and Deepaaya is in real sense was a unique match making by Partners in Change. The inauguration of the computer centre would certainly mark an event of greater co-operation among the corporates and NGOs. The dream of making Deepalaya children enter the arena of computer technology came true with the inauguration of the Computer Training Centre by Mrs.Shiela Gujral, wife of the Prime Minsiter of India, on 20th November. Addressing the august gathering Mrs.Gujral, praised the partners for adding hope to hearts of children of Deepalaya. Dr.Nirmal Jain, M.D, Tata Infotech, Mr.Shankar Venkateswaran, Partners in Change and Mr.T.k.Mathew, Secretary and Chief Executive, Deepalaya also spoke on the occasion.
Tata Infotech has donated 10 computers and 2 printers and technical faculty to train children in computers.
PULSE POLIO PROGRAMME ON 7TH DECEMBER & 18TH JANUARY
Deepalaya has been striving to reach health care services at the grass root level through co-operation and collaboration with government bodies. This effort is directed towards educating the community on promotive, preventive, curative aspects of ehalth care and facilitate the same through linkages.
Deepalaya's project Units have been activvely involved in Pulse Polio campaign since 1994 to reach each child in the geographical area of its projects and safeguard from dreaded Polio.
This year prior to the Pulse Polio Programme Day, an awareness drive to maximise participation amongst the community was organised at each project locations. Door to door survey and counselling by the Basti Sevikas, Poster campaign, Group meeting with the mother and Mashal rallies were organised.
The Pulse Polio programme this eyar reached 6944 children and was a timely step towards eradicating Polio.
INAUGURATION OF DEEPALAYA RURAL DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
On 6th January Deepalaya launched an ambitious programme in "Rural Development" at Gusbethi in Sohna which comes under Mewat Region. The centre which is named Deepalaya Rural Development Resource Centre (DRDRC) is envisaged to be an institution which will act a catalyst to promoting the welfare of communities in Sahsola panchayat with 5 hamlets in the first phase.
The centre was inaugurated Mr.Prasanna Kumar, Commissioner, Gurgaon. In his brief address he underlined the need for Community to take active part in their own development as government alone can't run development programme. Mr.Khusro, Chairman, Aga Khan Foundation spoke on the collaboration between Deepalaya and Aga Khan Foundation and the importance of Education and how it can bring change in the lives of the community.
Mr.T.K.Mathew, Secretary and Chief Executive, Deepalaya expressed his happiness that with support of Aga Khan Foundation Deepalaya would usher in an era of self reliance in the Mewat region through the spread of education.
Mr.Vijay K.Sardana, the CEO, Aga Khan Foundation emphasized the need for working together for better results. The Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon Mr.Devinder Singh, Mrs.G.Anupama, CEO, Mewat Development Agency and Mr.V.S.Yadav, SDM, Nuh, felicitated Deepalaya and exhorted the community to rise up and co-operate with Deepalaya and Government for their own good.
REPUBLIC DAY CELEBRATIONS
Celebrations at Deepalaya's Street and Working Children Project was different from the customary Republic Day. For many of the participants this was the first experience of celebrating Republic Day and many had not known even what this day meant! Participants for this special occasion were drawn from Banana Godown and New Delhi Railway Station where these children are left to live a life of drudgery and struggle.
The function began with ceremonial lighting of the lamp by the Chief Guest, Mr.Mathew (Secretary & Chief Executive-Deepalaya) and by the children. The children then presented a cultural performance which included patriotic songs, dance, drama and a Tamil song. Addressing the children Mr.Mathew said that though we are celebrating 50 eyars of our Independence, we have not been able to empower our weaker sections with education, who continue to be exploited in the hands of affluents with vested interests. He also stressed that children should not engage themselves in hazardous occupations. Children were given prizes for excellence in drawing and sports.
At Narang Deepalaya School spotlight of the function was 'News Reading Session', children read out news on the issues like Bravery Awards for the children, Bus Mishap, Bomb Blasts and safety measures to eb followed, Bharat Ratna Award conferred to Singer M.S.Subhalakshmi etc. Youths from Kabadi Basti presented imbuing patriotic songs and also recited poems, children were also given insights in to the significance of Republic Day Celebrations and on the constitution of India.
EYE CARE CAMPS
During January Deepalaya's South Delhi Project organised Eye Care Camps at Sanjay Colony, Indira Camp, Golekuan with support of Dr.Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, Sujan Mahitra Hospital and banarsidass Chandiwala Hospital. During the moth log campaign cataract detection camps were organised and patients were referred for operations. During the camps Doctors and Basti Sevikas educated the community on 'prevention of blindness', surveys were conducted in the areas to identify the cases and refer them to the hospitals. Medicines were distributed to safeguard the children from eye disorders.
During the moth long camps 400 patients were checked for eye related disorders, 25 persons were identified for operations and some were referred for spectacles. The successful conducting of camps were possible due to strong collaboration with countries premier eye institutes. As part of the collaboration Dr.Rajendra Prasad Eye Centre is establishing an Eye Centre at Sanjay Colony which would eb equipped with computerised ophthalmological Instruments.
DISABILITY PROJECT AN UPDATE
To many they seem disabled, the fact is they are differently abled. The disability project was started by Deepalaya in 1994 in South Delhi a survey was done in two slums, Golekuan and Sanjay Colony in Okhla. In the absence of adequate number of established institutions. Disability project needs a Community Based Rehabilitation approach and hence 2 teachers were trained in Community based rehabilitation and how to work with the disabled children and their aprents. Since then one special unit each has been started in Golekuan and Sanjay Colony. The centre also has a Basic developmental therapist and a special educator who provide technical input to the needs of these special needs children.
Deepalaya is now reaching out to over 70 children in Sanjay Colony and Golekuan. Spastic Society of Northern India is giving their support by means of training the teachers/instructors on teaching methodology and approach to rehabilitate the disabled.
These special children have special needs. Each child's need is different and individualistic attention is required according to his/her strengths and weaknesses. Deepalaya is catering to children who are suffering from Cerebral palsy, Mental retardation, Hearing and Speech impairedness, Orthopedic disability, Visual impairement.
Deepalaya's Special Unit for children follows multisensory approach which includes usages of 5 senses-visio, eharing,taste, tocuh and smell which is aimed at stimulation of all five senses. Special individual attention is given to build self esteem in these children, to make them confident and integrate them into mainstream. These children are also being taught to make diyas, candles and drawing to foster their creative faculties. For adults with disability, they are being given loans to start their own business, which would elad them to a meaningful life. For yough disabled adults Deepalaya has plans to give them vocational training so as to make them self reliant.