New Delhi - October - December 1998
With profound grief we would like to inform our readers, Mr.C.M.Mathai a founding member and former President of Deepalaya breathed his last on 2nd August '98. Till his death, he was actively inolved in uplifting the downtrodden specially the children. We salute this noble soul and pray to almighty to open gates of heaven for his soul to rest in peace.
Rajesh, Bridging into the Future
For 16 year old Rajesh, the unending hustle and bustle at the Okhla Railway station, proved to be a boon, when he was forced to give up his studies at the young age of 8 years and support his aprents and younger brother. His father, Ram Sharan had been working as a daily wage construction labourer but was forced to give up active work after being diagnosed suffering from a heart ailment.
Rajesh chose to seel boiled eggs at the platform, expecting brisk business in the cold winter days. He began, with much apprehension but soon settled down to earning 40-50 rupees a day.
But Rajesh had never imagined that the protection of law would be harrasing him at his job. The beat constables wanted their weekly commission.
Rajesh's eyes filled up as he recounted the day, the cosntables seized his pan, stove and wooden cart and threw the eggs away "he waited all night at the police station to recover his belongings but to his disappointment this too turned futile. He was pushed away from the station.
Shattered by this experience, Rajesh realised he couldn't give up. He organized resources to restart business but didn't dare to venture to the platform. Instead he set up his kiosk on the access road to the station, just outside Deepalaya school at Gandhi Basti slums. Needless to say this was distracting to the students and let a lot of undesirable elements hanging at the entrance of the school. Requests by the teachers to shift elicited no response. Finally, an attempt was made by the Principal. It took her a while to crack the hard nut which revealed a young child, who wanted very much to enjoy the joys of childhood, but had been forced by circumstances to do otherwise.
Ms.Bose asked Rajesh if he would like to resume schooling. "Would that make me leave my kiosk-asked a pussled Rajesh. But no, he wouldn't have to as Deepalaya provided flexing education to the needs of working children. Rajesh was submitted to class IV of the Remedial Education Centre. It took him time to get used to studying with children young to him but he got over it.
Today, Rajesh has once again gained confidence to put up his stall at the station in the mornings. He is particularly fond of mathematics as it helps him with business also. Talks are on with the local MCD school, to get Rajesh admitted to Regular Education Stream.
Ramsharan, recovering his health, is glad that Rajesh has got back to education. He would be able to manage the kiosk in Rajesh's absence and Rajesh, once dreamt of becoming Akshay Kumar, is now interested in developing his entrepreneurship skills.
Vijaya Gujral Foundation Award to Deepalaya
The Seventh Vijaya Gujral Foundation Award was presented to Deepalaya for its contribution in the field of Education. The award ceremony was held on 16th September at India International Centre. A citation and cash prize of Rs.1 lakh was received by Mr.T.K.Mathew, Chief Executive and Secretary from former Diplomat & member Rajya Sabha Dr.L.M.Singhvi. In his key note address, Dr.Singhvi stated "it was a sin to salute those hwo did not deserve it but a greater sin not to salute those who deserved it". He lauded the role of NGOs like Deepalaya for reaching out to the underprivileged. While receiving the award Mr.Mathew, described the award as recognition of 18 years ong crusade and said that such recognition encourage Deepalaya to carry on with humane task of helping the down trodden. The Vijay Gujral Foundation Award was instituted in the year 1988 in memory of Shri Vijay Gujral, a statesman and philanthropist known for his concern for underprivileged. Also present on the occasion was former Prime Minister, Mr.I.K.Gujral.
Fantasy Fair and Maitree Shree
On 10th October invitees who came to attend Fantasy Fair at Deepalaya School (Transit Camp) were taken for a journey down the fantasy lane... houses hanging from the sky, a housing colony on river, walky talky tree etc. Deepalaya has always worked towards providing a platform for childrn from the slums where they could share their thoughts, experiment with their ideas which in turn improves the literary faculties.
Under the Restore Childhood Programme, Deepalaya has up Science & Entertainment clubs when are trying to build a scientific temperament and reasoningability among the children. Series of discussions and brain storming took the shape and the form of a Fantasy Fair as outsome. The children were provided with materials like chart papers, colours, thermocol, clay so that they would give shape to their imagination in presentable forms.
These models were on display on 10th October. The exhibition was inaugurated by Mr.Pavan K.Verma, noted Journalist, later while addressing the gathering he lauded the role of Deepalaya in enabling the child to look beyond slums but expressed dismay at the fact that there are very few contributors for such cause, from among the well-off.
Balladin, from Golekuan who finalized a human being with five heads, said that if one had five heads one could watch four different movies at a time and study with the fifth. Children from Manav Kalyan Vihar created comparative models of Taj Mahal of today and of future with future. Taj Mahal stained of smike discharged from illustrating the damaging effect or pullution.
Maitree Shree, annual sponsor child and parent meet was also organised the same day. A colourful cultural programme including Quawali and a play on dorpsy was prsented. This was an event with essence of hopes for a future to make the world a better place to live through imaginations of citizens of tomorrow.
International Literacy Day Celebrations
A nation is advanced in proportion to the education and intelligence spread among the masses .... Through education comes faith in one's own self'. Swami vivekananda. On International Literacy Day, Deepalaya launched a week long campaign in Golekuan, V.P.Singh Camp, Indira Camp and Alaknanda. counseling for literacy, organizing literacy rally, holding of Rangoli Competition, Antakshari and staging of cultural programme by the participants were main programs. The project is supported by the World Bank-IPPVIII-India Population Project.
On the concluding Day, prizes were given to all the winners by Dr.P.P.singh, Director-IPP. He talked authorratatively of the Dropsy disease. Later addressing the gathering Dr.Ms.Karuna Singh (Sr.Medical Officer-Innovation Schemes) spoke on Literacy of women for family Development stressing on the point how can literacy help women to manage resorces. Mr.T.K.Mathew while delivering the keynote address on empowerment of women, pointed out that education alone empowers and offers a window to the outside world.
A discussion session was held on Dropsy to disseminate information on the disease.
In another function organised at Gandhi Basti Project embroidery competition was organised to commemorate 'Literacy Day' supported by Anchor Threads-Coats India.
More than eighty women and girls participated in the competitions. The aim was to encourage greater participation of women.
Teacher's Day Celebrations
Mention of the word teacher at once evokes love and respect, and Teacher's day is an appropriate occasion to express gratitude for their commitments.
Teacher's Day celebration in Deepalaya School (Sanjay Colony) reflected the same feeling among the students. The day commenced with students of the school taking charge of the school.
The Principal of the school, remarked she felt the students were keen observants and they did maintain strict discipline for the day.
She appreciated the way students handled the running of school, which made her believe that these children are capable of assuming responsibilities.
Ritu Pal who assumed responsibility of the Principal in the afternoon shift remarked, "this is a day in a year when we can experience the commitment required to be a teacher".
Rally against Fire Creckers
The Children of Deepalaya Street and Working Children Project voiced their concern at the use of child labour in cracker industry by taking out two different rallies in Shalimar Bagh and Paharganj on 15th and 16th October.
150 children participated in this rally. Children had prepared placards and banners carrying slogans concerning child labour, child rights and pollution.
Awareness Generation and Prevention against AIDS
In recent years AIDS pose a serious threat to mankind and in a country like India there is spurt in the number of HIV infected cases. Despite Government's best intentions in generating awareness among the people about AIDS not many people are informed of safe sexual practices and rpevention of AIDS.
To provide a sense of direction and to make AIDS awareness campaign more effective and people oriented Deepalaya launched AIDS awareness programme on 16th July at Raghubir Nagar slum clusters. The programme is funded by Australia Agency for International Development.
Ms.Gillian Mellsop, First Secretary-Development, Australian High Commission pointed out in her address, "since Deepalaya has experience of working with younger generation, it was felt appropriate focus could be created about AIDS awareness among the slum dwellers".
Initially the programme was launched in West Delhi which included locations like Raghubir Nagar, Khyala, Kirti Nagar and at present the programme is extended to areas in North West Delhi, Shalimar Bagh, Rna Pratap Bagh also from October the programme has been launched in Golekuan Project of south Delhi. Deepalaya organises groups of women, men and youth, training them to be peer educators, conducting awareness drive among the slum dwellers, industrial workers, local medical practitioners. Regular gynae and health check ups for women, counselling sessions on safer sex, besides video shows and nukkad nataks (street plays) are being organised at project locations.
On 10th October "AIDS Abhiyan Samiti" of Golekuan Project took out a Jatha spreading awareness on AIDS. Kishori one of the social workers who spearheads the campaign explained, in early stages within the group itself they were hesitant of discussing the various reasons which could cause AIDS. Also major challenge for them was to disseminate information among the women. But as days progressed the group could overcome this mental block, now after exchange of views they decide to stage a street play "Omi Ki Ek Choti Si Bhool" depicting how ignorance can lead an individual towards the AIDS catastrophe.
Pavan Kumar, palay wright of the play, explained many of the facets about this deadly disease was unknown to them but while conceptualizing the script those facets were clarified by the trainers.
Inauguration of Deepalaya School
We have schools in Khirki, Gandhi Basti and Sanjay Colony, but this is the nucleus school expressed Mr.Mathew, Chief Executive and Secretary while addressing the Inaugural function of New Deepalaya school at Transit Camp in Kalkaji Extn. on 1st August.
It was a significant moment for Deepalaya, everyone in Deepalaya were enxiously waiting for this day since August, 1996 when the foundation stone was laid. Eventually the three storeyed brick structure stood before us, marking fruition of years of anxious moments, hardwork and sheer zeal to reach out to underprivileged.
The school will reach out to 2,500 children, providing quality education. The three storeyed structure has 32 classrooms, laboratories, auditorium, library and all prescribed requirements of a school under education act, importantly an elevator to integrate handicapped children with the mainstream.
The inaugural function commenced with dedication ceremony conducted by Saffargan Metropolitan of Marthoma Church Rt.Rev.Philipose Mar Chrysostom who blessed Deepalaya and the children on this solemn occasion of dedicating the school building.
Maneka Gandhi, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empwerment who was Chief Guest at the function described her bond with the children of Deepalaya which resulted in her coming to Deepalaya twice in span of six months. She thanked Deepalaya for assuming responsibiity of making our next generation literate.
Also present on the occasion were Mr.Philippe Fallisse, Charge of Development-Belgian Embassy, Mr.Murata (First Secretary) and Mr.R.Y.Tanabe (Minister Deputy Chief Mission) Japanese Embassy inagurated the elevator and Mr.Jerry Matsial, High Commissioner, south African High Commission while congratulating Deepalaya presented a cheque for Rs.30,000/-. Other distinguished guests included Renu Sood Karnad-HDFC and Mr.Roger Breden, Country Director Plan International.
Deepalaya extends its thanks to individuals, corporates, foreign missions, funding roganisations for helping us to turn the blue print into a magnificent structure.
Narang Deepalaya School, Exemplification of Corporate Partnership: Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer a new phrase in Indian Corporate circles. Big business corporations entry on the world's political and economic scene is one of the major developments in the half of the 20th century. The activities and operations of the Corporate bodies and its impact on the various segments of the society at national and international levels have become the focus of much interst and concern. Today, companies are not asking why they should be socially responsible but how they should effectively meet their social obligations. Corporate partnership recognizes that companies would like to be good corporate citizens and get involved in effective social development interventions that can make a lasting difference.
The Ramditti J.R.Narang Deepalaya School is a perfect exemplification of this relationship and was a very novel concept for Deepalaya at the start of collaboration between the Ramditti Jiwandaram Public Charitable Trust and Deepalaya. The school started in February 1995 with a handful in LKG and at the end of the academic year 97-98, the school has grown to class III with a student strength of nearly 300 children. 70% of the seats are reserved for children whose family income are below the poverty line. This was Rs.1,000/- p.m to begin with and has now been revised to Rs.1,500 p.m. The remaining 30% seats are for children whose family income is upto Rs.2,500 p.m. The school has a graded fee system again depending on the family income.
The school is planned as a nodal point for reaching out to the community. Interaction with the community became inevitable as regular intervention became necessary for motivating parents to send children to the school. Hence the community activities in the fields of education, health, socio-economic areas and special issues have been undertaken on a large scale during the last academic year.
Being a joint venture, the school is managed bya joint committee, who meet every quarter. The school runs in 2 shifts with a Principal who is the overall incharge with 12 teachers in the academic year 97-98. The community project is also headed by the Principal and supervised by a Programme Executive and assisted by all field staff who interact with the community. The fruitful results of this partnership has been a dramatic improvement in the standards of Pinky and Chandan residents of Jagdamba Camp who moved on to join the Vidya Niketan after having completed their IIIrd std in Deepalaya Narang School. Pinky daughter of the school ayah and Chandan, son of a local kabadiwala, took the entrance exam for class IV at Vidya Niketan. They both are doing well and were awarded an annual scholarship of Rs.10,000 from the school. They have adjusted well to their new environment, come back regularly to meet their ex-principal and old teachers. It does give on Deepalaya team immense satisfaction on seeing Pinky and Chandan on the road to development. Ramditti J.R.Narang Deepalaya School is just one example of Corporate-NGO Partnership, both the partners have realised the need to collaborate towards building a educated, sustainable exploitation free society.
This year National Children's meet of Aide et Action's during the period of 31st July to 2nd August in Hyderabad saw children of Deepalaya bagging the first place in Quiz Competition. The meet was attended by children of more than 15 NGOs from all over India. Well done! children fro keeping Deepalaya flame glowing.
Well done Krishna!
Krishna Kumari, your accomplishment in this year Xth std examination has made us proud! Krishna, 15 year old, beaming with confidence replied on her success. I still can't believe, I have done it, It could have remained a dream without Deepalaya's intervention. Krishna's father Suman Ram is a Security Guard and lives with his four children in a rented slum cluster in Sanjay colony in Okhla. For Suman Ram who barely earns Rs.1,700 after sweating for 12 hours a day, this success seems to have given him hope for future. Shobnath, an instructor in Remedial Education Centre at Sanjay Colony Project felt, he would continue to teach needy children and there should be more centres catering to children from a particular class. He hoped Krishna would continue her effort for a bright future.. All the best Krishna for your future studies.