New Delhi - July - September 2000
"I sincerely appreciate the efforts that you and your team at Deepalaya take to bring education to the underprivileged children of our country.
As a donor, it is very easy for us to write a cheque and forget the whole issue because we think our responsibility ends there.
But with an organization like Deepalaya, and with the logistics involved in the proper management of the funds as well as running of the school, it boggles the mind to think that our contribution is just a drop in the vast ocean in comparison to the work you and your team are doing. For this I would like to again extend my sincere appreciation and thanks for the wonderful work being done.
With Deepalaya, we are sure that our sponsored children will definitely get an opportunity and hope for a bright future. Keep up the good work".
Dik Virboom, represents our Funding Partner, Foundation for Christian Education-Holland, he was recently on a visit to Deepalaya. We caught up with him during his brief visit and busy schedule. Foundation for Christian Education has been associated with Deepalaya since ever since 1987, Mr.Virboom began, with a mention that Deepalaya was different from all other organisations. Deepalaya is the biggest partner who have structured projects which has a combination of school and the community.
Foundation for Christian Education initiated the partnership by funding
Deepalaya School in Sanjay Colony, Mr.Virboom mentioned, "this is a school where I saw children bubbling with enthusiasm, and are very cheerful. In other words we at the Foundation were happy funding an organisation which makes the deprived children experience their childhood".
When asked about the most memorable phase of Foundations-Deepalaya partnership, Mr.Virboom mentioned about the cultural exchange programme. He said, "exchange was a manifestation of going global, in real sense we experienced the partnership. The exchange has helped us in great deal, to raise funds and resouces as the people in our country specially the students remember Deepalaya children who were the cultural messengers. Similarly our return visit was another milestone in our relationship. Another unique feature of our partnership, is that Deepalaya has always innovated, and we at the foundation would keep our partnership intact in the years to come, and shall work to make relationship stronger".
Shovana Narain, renowned Kathak Dancer said, "I recollect, meeting Mr.Mathew in 1994 at Lok Nayak Bhawan. This meeting further strengthened my belief that everyone in the society should look beyond their Worlds".
"In the year 1995, I took up a sponsorship of a Girl Child, Urvashi Kulkreja who was then 4 years old, the family lives in Transit Camp and her parents are daily wage workers. Today I understand the child is in IV std and I believe with Deepalaya's intervention the child will develop nto an independent educated citizen, able to judge what's right or wrong.
She further said, "I believe organization like Deepalaya can bring a tremendous change by actually educating children, paving a way of setting a strong foundation for creating a better society". She shared her experience when she came to Deepalaya for the first time as Chief Guest in one of the functions, she was particularly impressed by the fact, "Girl" outnumbered boys in terms of participation in the cultural programme. She feels the need of the hour is to educate more girl children, this would lead to be a balance in the Indian society. Education should empower the girl child to think for their own well being and they should realize that they are not just a commodity but have a back bone and a spine too.
"I wish Deepalaya the very best in its mission of developing worthy citizens", She added.
Avinash Pasricha, noted photographer, has been associated with Deepalaya since 1998, when a mailer reached his home seeking his support for welfare activities. His association grew stronger when he visited Deepalaya School and the projects, he said, "I was impressed by the joy on the faces of children and the sense of responsibility of the teachers and social workers. However, I was quite upset to know the school is facing major hurdle of recognition". He went further to mention how he found a way out in his quest to do something meaningful and satisfying for the society. "I usually relate social work to my photography, this profession beside giving me a name and satisfaction has made me to contribute for the society. I always search for organizations doing worthwhile services for less fortunates of the society".
"I am glad to see, Deepalaya is taking care of all aspects be it health, income generation, gender equity but, what impressed me most is the focus on education. Education would be a catalyst to the understanding of Health & Family Planning aspects among the slum community".
Deepalaya a Friend at Adversity
Childhood is supposed to be the most memorable part of one's life, but in a country where there are millions of children who are forced into hazardous occupations such as glass and bidi making, fire cracker industries, childhood perhaps is more of a nighmare than a cherishable dram.
We bring you a harrowing experience of a child who belongs to Nepal. Dil Bahadur Thapa lived alongwith his mother, two sisters, a brother and an ailing father with no source of income. Because of the abysmal poverty at home he had to pick up any odd job to support his family, but he couldn't find a regular one. In desperation he ran away at the age of 7, from home in search of an opportunity.
At Kathmandu he worked in a way side restaurant. At times he was not paid, at times beaten and accused of stealing. As a result he moved from one place to another looking for better opening. At a young age of nine, Dil had experienced inhuman conditions with no hope for education, proper nutrition, no exuberance and worst of all no drams.
He had heard from his fellow work mates that Delhi is a place where one can get better jobs and it was a matter of luck that he came across a Hotel owner who brought him to Delhi and gave him a job in a hotel. He later left the job, as he had to often work late in the night but most of the time he was paid less or a paltry sum. He started working at a Taxi Stand, because of the harassment at the hand of police he had to move to New Delhi Railway Station.
He filled his palate picking junks or working as a coolie, often he slept on the platforms and often harassed of police intimidation. He was on the look out for a shelter (for street children) to escape the police harassment. According to Dil Bahadur "I heard about Deepalaya from some boys and came to the centre. At the centre it was like returning to my home, I got good and clean food, could take a proper bath, got medical attention and above all a place which respected the need of freedom. But he was accused of misbehaviour of other inmates of the home which led Dil Bahadur to leave the centre.
But he could manage to get admission in Delhi Brotherhood Transit home. According to Dil Bahadur,"I was innocent, the fellow inmates didn't do right! Having stayed awaya from home for years. I decided to go back home and never return back, but destiny brought me back to Delhi, since I could not find work."
When Dil Bahadur returned to Delhi, the officials at Delhi Brotherhood shelter were not ready to accpet him. In a hope to find shelter he contacted Deepalaya. It was more to his disbelief, that he was accepted at the centre with open arms. He is now 17 years, just appeared for his 10th class exams through the NOS. Alongwith his studies, he is getting a chance to work with the disability project and learning the basics of the office management, earns a stipend. Out of this stipend he deposits some moneyh in the bank from which he helps his mother, brother and sisters.
Like any other person he is fond of cricket and likes to watch "Shaktiman" serial, and he is also fond of music. According to Dil Bahadur, Deepalaya has opened the doors of a world in his life in which the needs and aspirations of the poorest and most disadvantaged are met. "Deepalaya is my friend at adversity", says Dil Bahadur.
Deepalaya-Nirmala Academy of Beauty Culture
Empowerment found yet another expression with the opening of the Deepalaya-Nirmala Academy of Beauty Culture. The academy was inaugurated by Jacqueline Lundquist (wife of U.S Ambassador to India) on 22nd June 2000 at the Deepalaya School, Kalkaji Extension.
Speaking on the occasion Ms.Jacqueline complimented the effort Deepalaya for the upliftment of underprivileged children by not only providing quality education but also vocational training. According to her, the scope of the profession of a beatician/beauty therapist is growing and developing.
She also appreciated the cultural programme presented by students of Deepalaya. She was enthralled when she saw the craft items made out of waste materials by students. She also spent some time with the trainees of this academy. One of the trainees applied Henna on her hand and received special thanks from her.
Mr.T.K.Mathew, Secretary and Chief Executive, Deepalaya presided over the function, Mr.T.K.Mathew said that Deepalaya has always been committed to upliftment of the girl child and women. He made a point that by educating/empowering the girl/women, we are actually educating and empowering the whole growing generation. Presenting the vote of thanks, Ms.Nirmala said that with the opening of this academy, we are ensuring employment to the underprivileged. This academy has been set up in collaboration with Ms.Nirmala, who is an accomplished and highly experienced beauty therapist and has been a faculty member of Shahnaz Hussain and Habibs. The academy will be offering diploma in beauty and hair dressing, and advanced diploma in hair dressing, make up, aesthetics, bodymassage, reflexology and aroma therapy. The course is designed for both males and females and housewives. On completion, the trainees can obtain employment or could establish ones own beauty clinic.
Secretary & Chief Executive's Visit to U.S.A
Mr.Mathew was in U.S.A to attend a conference organized by World Bank on the theme "Investing in Our Children's Future". The visit was very useful in developing new connections at the World Bank, International Youth Foundation, Quest International and the Rotary World.
This trip was combined with visits to various places in USa-Washington DC, McLean-Virginia, Baltimore, Chicago, Huston etc. A power point presentation was shared at International Youth Foundation at Baltimore on Deepalaya's vision and mission. Films on Deepalaya were shown at vaious occasions for creating awareness about Deepalaya's work.
Mr.Mathew met staff of Mr.Larry Summers, Secretary to the U.S.Treasury, Mr.David Fischer and Ms.Liza Andrews. The meeting was instrumental in knowing the procedures for registering 'Deepalaya Foudation' in U.S.A. The first meeting was also convened with the potential members and incorporators who agreed to become the first set of Directors of Deepalaya Foundation in USA. The draft Memorandum and By-Laws of Deepalaya Foundation were finalized at this meeting. A Deepalaya Friends group at Huston was also formed.
The trip to the U.S.A has turned out to be very frutful and brought in resources in the form of donations and sponsorships.
Shalimar Bagh Project-An Insight
The stream of migrants leaving rural areas and arriving in cities is difficult to stop and it presents almost all the cities across the country a key urban challenge. Today Deepalaya through its community participatory approach responded to improve living conditions in the slums of North West Delhi.
The project is spread in 13 slum clusters of Shalimar Bagh, Pitampura, Rana Pratap Bagh and Jailor Wala Bagh and follows the concept of PCMR (Planning Cum Micro Realisation), the process which endeavours to bring a new, peaceful socio-economic, socio-cultural order among the disadvantaged communities through participatory approach. The programme implementaiton was initiated in April '99, since then with regular dialogue with the community the development has been need based.
Deepalaya is attempting to stem illiteracy which stands as a major reason for social alienation of the slum dwellers. Addressing the demand for quality education at affordable cost, Deepalaya has established different educational units, balwadi, NFE (Non Formal Education) and REC (Remedial Education Centres) in the community, these are run by 40 social entrepreneurs who are educated individuals from the community. These band of entrepreneurs are symbols of community resource in Deepalaya's development process. The centres are reaching pre school education to nearly 700 children, 344 are enrolled in the Non-formal Education Centres and nearly 735 school going children are benefitted by education support in the Remedial Education Centres.
Living amidst inadequate sewage and sanitation facilities, the dwellers of squatter settlement are prone to diseases. Both preventive and curative health care are extended to the community by Deepalaya. Regular Health Camps, immunization and antinatal camps are held in coordination India Population Programme, awarness genration progreammes like baby shows, importance of breast feeding, sanitation drives etc. are conducted in the clusters. Besides issues like AIDS, Disability, Alcoholism and Drug addiction are addressed by organizing awareness programmes, Puppet Shows, Nukkad Nataks (street plays) and Jathas (rallies). In order to empower and hence to develop motivational skills among women, who lead a life of captivation within the slums and to provide a change from the house hold chores, Deepalaya is providing Income Generation activities giving them training in traditional skills and adult education programme.
The marginalized people in these communities have often lost their sense of community. In order to promote a feeling of belonging to a community, Deepalaya has facilitated formation of saving groups Mahila Mandals, Youth Groups and Informal Groups to fight the social vices and exploitation.
Training programmes are being organized from time to time to infuse self reliance by external and internal faculty. These trainings have helped Deepalaya to identify goal oriented leaders from within the community who would be a medium for continuity in development processes of the marginalized section.
The project reflects, Deepalaya's belief that the urban poor do contribute to the economy through the host of services they provide to city dwellers. So we cannot ignore their contribution, need of the hour is to develop an integrated approach which is sustainable and based on people's participation for addressing the needs of slum dwellers.
Emancipation of a Girl Child
Discrimination against women in India starts from the time a girl-child is born. It is so deep rooted in the culture that 95% of the people are not even conscious of it. All cultures seem to have special provisions for the security and well-being of the most vulnerable groups of society. Rubbing shoulders with their counter-parts, keeping in mind the prevalent gender bias against them.
A deeper vein of gloom hovers over the Indian society-Hatred for a Girl Child. They are denied the basic rights and privileges, education, a normal childhood. They bear the responsibility of doing the house hold chores, looking after siblings at home and ultimately ending up to a child marriage, thereafter, a miserable life with the in-laws.
Deepalaya in its pursuit for a rationalised society, has gone out to liberate the vulnerables through empowerment, capacity building and social transformation by establishing community based units, infusing in them confidence, self-reliance particularly in girls.
The girl child of today is a woman of tomorrow, likewise Deepalaya through its projects enlightens the path of the girl child in Sanjay Colony. Gole Kuan, Transit Camp, V.P.Singh Colony, Indira Camp, Gandhi Basti, Ramditti Narang School, where 49% children enrolled are girls. It is highly commendable that 77% who passed were girls from standard X and XII in 1999. All those who passed, got either distinction or first class. At present the Girl Child project has a total of 476 beneficiaries in pre school, remedial education and skill training Programmes.
Academic qualification is not all that is required in a facst changing atmosphere of industrialisation and urbanisation. Skill Development has become an important factor for ones sustenance. Deepalaya is actively involved in skill development of Girls by having courses in: Tailoring, Sewing, Typing, Short Hand. Computers, Beauty Culture, Embroidery and Knitting, Tie & Die. Painting and Handicrafts.
Lara Dutta, Miss Universe 2000, states "The greatest gift to a girl is education". Deepalaya has stood by its tenets of "Lighted to Enlighten" and meets the demands of the day of imparting good standard education at affordable cost particularly to those who are impoverished.
Vigyan Mela (Science Fair)
Vigyan Mela was inaugurated by Mr.T.K.Mathew on 14th June 2000 in V.P.Singh Camp. The fair was organised under the 'Restore Childhood Project'. It was a combined effort of the Youth clubs and Science clubs of various projects-Karpoori Thakur Camp, V.P.Singh, Deepalaya Formal Schools (Ramditi J.R.Narang Deepalaya School and Kalkaji Extension formal School) and Sanjay Colony School.
This has been the third year of the Mela. There were 12 stalls displaying various scientific models prepared by teh students. There was a windmill and functional television, a kateidoscope. the formation of Oxygen, using potassium chlorate, CO2 calcium carbonate and hydrochloric acid by the V.P.Singh Camp. Traditional method of water filtration and many more.
Models of Akashvani Bhawan and Solar Project were put up by Golekuan Project children. There were stalls displaying various ways of harnessing solar energy from Ramditti J.Rmnarang Deepalaya School. Seed germination through solar energy. Nukkad Nataks, plays on safeguarding environment and removal of pollution were very well presented/depicted. The spirit of the Vigyan mela displayed the scientific temper of the children.
Inauguration of Deepalaya Education Centre (Gusbethi)
Deepalaya which had made inroads into rural development in Gusbethi (Gurgaon) in 1998, reached another milestone by initiating the process of setting up of Deepalaya Education Centre with an objective of educating the street children.
The children were brought from railway stations, bus terminals and streets to this centre for rehabilitation to empower them with quality education and vocational training. The centre will impart formal education beside training in vocations like electrician, plumbing, tailoring, refrigeration etc. Foundation Stone for Deepalaya Education Centre was laid on July 4th, it was unveiled by Ms.Nirja Shekhar (Addl.Dy.Commissioner-Gurgaon).
Congratulating Deepalaya for its efforts she called upon the rural population to come forward and extend their full support and cooperation and most importantly derive the maximum benefit from Deepalaya an organization which has emerged as a truly development oriented organization. Foundation for Christian Education, Netherlands, has been supporting Deepalaya in its rehabilitation efforts of street children.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr.T.K.Mathew, Secretary and Chief Executive, shared with the gathering that working for rural areas always has been on the agenda for Deepalaya, which is being realized. By reaching the rural masses and giving them adequate opportunities for learning and livelihood, the process of migration from rural to urban areas can be curtailed and the associated problems can also be controlled.
The colourful cultural programme presented on the occasion won appreciation and admiration from all present.
The Best Worker Award
Recently the H.R.Department in Deepalaya initiated steps towards strengthening the Human Resource in Deepalaya. Tomark two decades of Deepalaya, the organization instituted "A best Deepalaya Worker Award" to recognize the contribution of individuals who have contributed to the fulfilment of Deepalaya mission.
The first recipient of this award IS Ms.Sunit Raj, a Development Associate with the Phase in Project of Deepalaya South Delhi Programme. The award constitutes, a citation, a Trophy and cash award of Rs.5,000/-. The cash award is the income out of Rs.40,000/- corpus provided by Mr.Simon Bell, Principal, A.T.Kearney, Delhi.
Sunita Raj has been associated with Deepalaya for a decade and according to her, "I never expected that the award will be conferred on me. This would be a motivation for me to further rejuvenate and rededicate myself for helping the vulnerable.