New Delhi - January - March 1999
Look into 20 years of Philanthropy
The year 1999, holds a special significant for Deepalaya. It marks 20 years of our philanthropic pursuit in enabling the children look beyond slums.
We take this opportunity to thank the donors, friends and well wishers for lending their valuable support in helping us reach the have-nots.
The memory lane began in the year 1979 when seven socially conscious individuals came together to serve the cause of the poor. In this issue we would look into the first ten years of Deepalaya.
Deepalaya was formally registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 on 3-12-1980. At this point the main activity of the society was running the school for the children from the disadvantaged sections of society at Chittaranjan Park in South Delhi. The first child enrolled was a half clad son of a local dhobi. In the year 1980 the school had a strength of 41 students, 3 teachers, a maid servant, a rickshaw driver and a principal.
the following year (1981) the members felt that Deepalaya should lay more emphasis on educating more children from the waker sections, providing them with books, uniforms and fee concession.
At this point, the school was restricted to class II for want of space, with the number of children growing to 76. The most significant achievement was the acquisition of a school van for which a loan was raised from the Federal Bank. This was also the year, when Deepalaya attempted its first ever effort at fund raising by organising a fete. A sum of Rs.13,595.72 was collected through publishing souvenir, entry tickets and eatable stalls.
In 1982, Deepalaya received its first grant from Movimento Sviluppe E Pace, Torino, Italy of Rs.1 lakh, in the year 1983, Deepalaya school had 131 students.
The year 1985, was a significant one, when 50 children of the school were supported by Aide et Action, Paris and Save the Children Fund, U.K. The support formed the 'sponsored section' of the school where the children from slums were supported by sponsor parents abroad.
In the following year Deepalaya entered into integrated Urban Development programme with support of Plan International (USA) which meant Deepalaya reaching out to larger number of desrving people in the slums and resettlement colonies through education, health, income generation and community development. Meanwhile the number of children in school grew to 194 and staff strength increased to 16, which included 10 teachers, 2 ayahs, a driver, a cleaner, a social worker and a clerk.
During ther year two Balwadis (reaching to children in the age group of 3-7 years), and 19 remedial education centres were set up for providing much needed coaching support to children attending MCD schools. At this point of time 560 children were attending these classes.
Meanwhile keeping in mind the interest of parents to enroll more children in Deepalaya, the society decide to start a second shift of the school in the afternoon and the strength of the school increased to 356.
In 1987, Aide et Action (France) and Save the Children Fund (U.K) extended sponsorship support to more children which now touched the 270 mark. Also the school acquired a mini bus with the assistance of Aide et Action.
Interestingly sponsorship adminsitration was started this eyar with an aim to serve as a vital link and medium for sharing information between the sponsor parents and students. The parents receive two letters from the sponsored child and an annual progress report of the society.
Meanwhile Deepalaya Plan Programme had benefitted 1370 families by integrated development. This year two health centres were set up to reach curative services to community. In the field of resources and skill development two sewing centres were set up with 26 trainees. Also two business development groups were initiated for the youth groups with provision for loan to set up small business establishments.
In the year 1988, full fledged Community Development was embarked upon at Transit Camp and Sanjay Colony in South Delhi. During the year, Deepalaya school obtained Essentiality Certificate, sponsorship recommendation for land purchase from DDA, Management scheme having been approved by Education Directorate. The strength of the school went up to 750 when Deepalaya entered into the second decade of its existence.
Urban community development in Kalkaji received much needed support from ICCO of Holland. With this assistance Deepalaya launched Literacy classes for women, non formal classes for drop outs, sanitation drives and promotive/educative approach of health. Meanwhile Deepalaya Plan Programme at Raghubir Nagar and Khyala covered 5000 families with 3504 sponsored children which was a tremendous outreach.
1988 saw the holding of first Deepalaya Pariwar Sammelan and the Adult Education Mela which were opportunities of learning collectively and understanding the mission of Deepalaya.
Thus the first decade of Deepalaya saw a humble beginning, with setting up a formal school and extending its reach to community development programmes in South and West Delhi slum locations. The decade truly initiated the translation of Deepalaya's mission of creating an enlightened community, a self reliant, self governed and exploitation free social structures.
DEEPALAYA AT THE CARNIVAL
It was yet another chance to reach out to the larger population by our presence at the Connaught Place Shopping Festival. This year the New Delhi Trader's Association (NDTA) sponsored the Deepalaya stall and expressed their solidarity towards the cause of children in the slums.
At the inaugural ceremony of the Carnival on December 23rd '98, Deepalaya children added a patriotic touch by their spectacular performance of 'Vandemataram'. During the month long shopping festival the Deepalaya stall created visibility and raised funds through sale of Greeting Cards, some pottery and other handicraft items.
At the concluding ceremony which was held on 27th December, Deepalaya children yet again won a large applause for their folk dance presentation.
A big thank you to NDTA for the collaboration.
INAUGURATION OF SKILL CENTRE
The Pilot Project of Street and Working Children, lays emphasis on empowring the working children with a skill necessary to protect their rights and provide them necessary support and assistance for rehabilitation.
Deepalaya has been working to provide institutionalized services and help the children to develop themselves into respected and productive citizens. In our attempt towards the above we have been able to admit 5 boys at Shramik Vidhyapeeth for motor mechanic course at R.K.Puram. Because of the distance (20 k.m from Shalimar Bagh) particularly for the girls it was decided to set up a skill training centre at Shalimar Bagh. Deepalaya express its deep gratitude to CSL Securities Pvt.Ltd, New Delhi whose donation of Rs.21,000 helped us in the purchase of 10 Usha sewing machines-4 hand and 6 foot machines and a fashion maker.
We are also thankful to Shramik Vidhyapeeth, a Govt. Vocational Training Institute for providing us with the technical expertise for the centre by deputing a sewing teacher and providing for the salary.
The material for training and other requirements of the sewing centre are being met by the project.
The centre was formally inaugurated on 1st December, 1998 by Shri R.B.Chhabra, Director, Shramik Vidhyapeeth at BK-II/39, Shalimar Bagh.
Mr.Chabra inaugurated the centre by making a trainee operating the sewing machine. Mr.Chhabra, later addressed the gathering, and spoke about various other courses conducted by Shramik Vidhyapeeth. Later, Mr.T.K.Mathew, Secretary & Chief Executive, Deepalaya encouraged the trainees to take the course seriously as it is a good opportunity to acquire a skill.
Presently two batches of 25 girls/women are attending the centre. Efforts are also on to start a similar course for the boys.
KHEL UTSAV '99
On 2nd January, 1999 South Delhi Projects of Deepalaya, celebrated Khel Utsav (Sports Festival). Around 550 children from all the eleven projects location participated in the festival which was held at the campus of the Kalka Public School, Alaknanda, New Delhi.
The utsav began with the traditional lighting of the lamp followed by the march past, flag hoisting and oath taking. Mrs.Asha Malhotra, Principal KPS declared the meet open. There were 12 events in all. Highlight of the programme was participation by the disabled children in flat race and pyramid making. There was real fun for the staff who participated in tug of war and pitcher race. Mr.T.K.Mathew and Mrs.Asha Malhotra gave away prizes.
PLATFORM SCHOOL AT AZADPUR VEGETABLE MARKET
The Street & Working Children Project of Deepalaya has been educating children at the centre in Shalimar Bagh. Here we had been witnessing a high drop out rate of children. This was happening mainly due to the centre being away from their place of work. The idea of the platform school, wherein childen could attend classes in their free time was conceputalised. It was felt that if the children could not go to school, school should go to them. Deepalaya launched its first platform school on 1st December '98 at the Azadpur Subzi Mandi Railway Station.
The school was inaugurated by Mr.T.K.Mathew. In his address he indicated that the effort was to impart basic education to children at the platform and later enroll them at regular schools. Children were particularly excited, while their parents were only too happy to find the school coming to their doorstep.
Deepalaya hopes this effort would play a major role in shaping a better tomorrow for these children.
WALK FOR LIFE
Recent Newspaper report warns that the AIDS virus is spreading at a menacing pace and in India one out of every 100 Indians is now infected with HIV.
To fight against this epidemic threat, Deepalaya joined hands with 'SPACE' an NGO working on AIDS awareness programme. In a move to generate awareness the "walk for life" was organised on 29th November '98 at India Gate on the eve of World AIDS Day. The march was joined by celebrities, social workers, students and common masses. The fact that AIDS is no longer a problem restricted to sex workers was broght home. Among the participants the largest representation was of street and working children who are a high risk group.
GERMAN SUPPORT FOR DEEPALAYA
The Disability Project of Deepalaya received a Maruti van donated by the German Embassy in the month of November. This van is of a great help to take these children to referral centres, institutions and offices from where they are to obtain treatments, disability certificates other services.
The German support will help us to strengthen our approaches and intervention in the life of disabled.
DISABILITY DAY CELEBRATIONS
It is a fact the the disabled in the slums have little or no access to the opportunities, information and programmes that are available for rehabilitation or participation in the development process. Parents are hard pressed for time and resources required for the basic care to these children. Deepalaya began a programme for the special children with an objective of integrating these children with the mainstream.
On the occasion of World Disability Day, Deepalaya organized a cultural programme for these special children. Drawing competitions for these children were held at Golekuan Project. The basic objective of the celebration was to lay focus on the ability of these children rather than their inability. Many of the parents couldn't believe their eyes, when they saw their children performing and taking part in competitions.
Nearly 95 disabled children participated in this meet. Prizes were given to the winners of various competitions and cultural presentations. An Exhibition was also oranised to educate the community in the slums on preventive aspects, need based therapies and on the basic rights of disabled.
The function was attended by distinguished gathering which included Ms.Shyamala, Ms.Madhu Grover, Ms.Ujwala Shankar from SSNI, Mr.Gulati of Nimble Orthotic & Prosthetic Appliances, Mr.T.K.Mathew and Mr.Y.Chackochan, Board Member, Deepalaya.
Deepalaya was a part of 'Walk to Freedom '98' organised on the eve of World Disability Day to show solidarity with the Disabled and draw attention to the rights of the disabled.
INTER PROJECT CRICKET MATCH
When the entire nation was eagerly awaiting the historic cricket encounter between India and Pakistan Series, Deepalaya held its first annual Inter Project Cricket Series at the Tuglakabad Fort ground.
The final was played on 20th January between the youth groups of Golekuan and Karpuri Thakur Camp eventually Karpuri Thakur Youth Club emerged victorious. Captain of the winning team felt this achievement would help the youth of the project strengthen their bonds among the group to think constructively for the welfare of the community.
PULSE POLIO CAMPAIGN
Deepalaya organised a pulse polio campaign by joining hands and seeking support of Delhi Government, on 6th December '96 and 17th January '99. The response was overwhelming with a total of 7717 and 7641 children having been administered polio drops on both the days respectively. The campaign included various activities organised prior to the administration of pulse polio drop, which were door to door survey by basti sevikas, poster making competition, individual and group meetings, nukkad sabha, candle march by street and working children, mashal rally, Lok Jagriti Abhiyan, film shows, puppet shows, basti sabha, bal sabha, mass propaganda etc. The enthusiastic response of the people made the programme a grand success.
We the students of Jesus and Mary College, Delhi thank Ramditti J.R.Narang Deepalaya School, for allowing us to do observations in the classes and for giving us help in completing our Project.
Though we have visited the school for a brief period, we have still got a feel of this school, the vision and the working.
The assembly of the school is very innovative especially the forum provided to the students to talk freely about themselves and their interests and reading of the daily newspaper which broadens children's horizons . In the class room each child is trated as an individual and not as a hoard of mischief makers. Even the Principal and the administrative staff know each child by his or her name and know their family backgrounds.
The vision of the school making 'English' as the medium of instruction is being carried out in action which is a commendable job. Each topic is done in full depth keeping in mind the child's previous knowledge and relating it to child's own environment.
Community involvement which is not visible in other school can be explicity seen in this school. The students don't have the fear of exams which is generally seen in students as the exams conducted are child friendly and with out time limit.
CULTURAL EXCHANGE PROGRAMME
Deepalaya would host a Dutch Group comprising 20 children from 20 different Dutch Schools and representatives from Foundation for Christian Education for a Cultural Exchange Programme. The visit would commence from 17th February. During the week long visit these children would be visiting all the Project locations and Deepalaya schools. The visit is second leg of the cultural exchange programme and follows the visit of Deepalaya children to Holland in 1997.
During the visit these children would be interacting with Deepalaya children, learning Indian traditions and culture, putting up a cultural programme with the ideas, experiences and exposure to each other's lives with objective of enriched mutual friendship and togetherness.