New Delhi - April - June 2002
Deepalaya has started a new fundraising programme, called Direct Dialogue. In this innovative programme, recruiters go on the streets and conduct face-to-face fundraising.
"We want to enrol more support from the general public", explains Communication Officer Avijit Dey. "Our recruiters are trained to convince people to donate to Deepalaya on a regular basis, for instance every month. With the donations of hundreds of people we can sustain our programmes. A regular income ensures enrolling more and more marginalized children."
A regular income ensures enrolling more and more marginalized children."
The Deepalaya recruiters visit high-profile marketplaces, office complexes, entertainment areas and tourist spots in South and Central Delhi. "It really gives me satisfaction when I can convince people to sign up for a donation", says recruiter Manish George. "We could prove that Deepalaya is a credible organisation and we invite new donors to visit Deepalaya projects. Seeing is believing, after all."
And the public admits that this face to face interaction has made it easier for them to get a better picture of the organization. To quote, "When I heard that your organization is reaching out Education to children in slums, I got interested and decided to stop and listen further. Your recruiter Richa convinced me that only when we all get together can we hope to change the world. My financial contribution is very little and I want to involve more in this great work," says Mr.K K Kesavan who got to know of Deepalaya at Dilli Haat.
A Budding Entrepreneur
Saroj, 20 years old, was born with cerebral palsy with mild mental
retardation. "It was as if God was punishing us for some misdeed," says Radhey Shyam, his father. "We did not know how to manage him and kept him locked indoors."
It was with much persuasion from Deepalaya that Saroj was sent to the Special Unit at Sanjay Colony. That was six years back. Today he is an independent, outgoing young man, taking care of all his needs, has functional knowledge of arithmetic and is a contributing member of his family. He was trained to attend to phone calls at the Deepalaya South Delhi office and once he was confident, Deepalaya coordinated for the allotment of a telephone booth at Transit Camp in April this year.
Today he is the proud owner of SAROJ TELECOM CENTRE at Kalkaji Extension. Saroj manages the booth throughout the day and his daily earnings range from Rs 250 - Rs 400, from which he earns a percentage. He looks forward to expanding the Centre with more lines and a photocopy machine.
Vocational Courses Get Very Popular
The unique approach of Deepalaya of integrating vocational education into formal education is getting immensely popular among students. There has been an increasing number of students getting enrolled in the vocational courses of their choice.
Deepalaya is committed to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor and provide quality education to its beneficiaries. Having catered to more than 55,000 children through its seven formal schools and other educational units, Deepalaya aims to provide a comprehensive and a unique package of education to its students in order to develop their overall personalities.
While most schools follow the conventional approach towards curriculum teaching, Deepalaya follows a unique approach combining vocational education within the formal system of education. Most of the formal schools in India merely provide their students with an educational degree; leaving them no choice but to invest another 2-3 precious years in pursuing a vocational course to get a job.
Deepalaya offers its two thousand students enrolled in formal schools an opportunity to acquire skills having a "demand in the market", such as electrical and electronic skills, beauticulture, computer software and hardware, air conditioning and refrigeration and dress making.. The classes are held within the school premises and they are charged a minimal fee for these courses. To conduct the vocational classes and provide certificates Deepalaya has come into collaboration with professional organisations like Jan Shiksha Sansthan (Shrameek Vidyapeeth) and ET&T.
With an educational degree supplemented by a skill, Deepalaya students are ready to face the challenges of life with greater courage and enthusiasm.
Last year, there were 635 children following a vocational course. 153 boys and girls were doing Computer Software, 57 Typing. Two hundred girls did the Tailoring Course, 130 girls Beauty Culture. Nearly a hundred boys did the Electrical, Electronics and Refrigeration courses.
Child Rights Under Fire
A three-day United Nation Special Session on Children was held in New York City from the 8th-10th May' 2002 . It was a unique meeting of heads of state, government leaders, NGO's and children themselves. One of the 800 accredited NGO's was Deepalaya, represented by the Secretary and Chief Executive Mr. T.K. Mathew. His visit was sponsored by the Japanese Arigatou Foundation.
This 2002 session was a follow-up of the 1990 World Summit for Children. At the end of that summit, a plan of action was drawn up to improve the living conditions of children all over the world. This plan had set specific targets to increase access to health services, provide better sanitation, reduce the spread of preventable diseases, create more opportunities for education and protect children in danger. In May, the participants reviewed the achievements since 1990. They also renewed their commitment to take action in the next decade.
Mr. Mathew returned disappointed from New York. "UN sessions like these involve a lot of talking, a lot of beautiful promises on paper and millions of dollars. However, the actual outcome is not very hopeful. Instead of Child Rights, governments are now talking about child welfare. This dilutes the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which has been ratified by all countries of the world except three. One of these three countries is the USA. Their apprehension is that child rights may dilute parent rights. And they think children can't have rights if they don't have responsibilities."
Other controversial issues were reproductive health education, education and capital punishment for children below the age of 18. The NGO's present at the session called the final document on these issues 'extremely weak', 'shameful' and 'sidelining the Convention of the Rights of the Child'. They returned home without a smile on their faces. For more information: www.unicef.org/specialsession
Reaching Out Across The Boundaries
A Deepalaya Team managed to recruit over a hundred sponsors at the Dubai Shopping Festival held in the month of March 2002. The team created awareness on Deepalaya's activities among hundreds of Non Resident Indians and International visitors.
'A month long shopping extravaganza' is how the world describes it. But we at Deepalaya call it a wonderful opportunity to get in touch with the residents of UAE. Our request was accepted by the Indian Association Dubai, and a stall was allotted to Deepalaya, free of cost at the Global Village (at the Festival City Dubai) Gay happy pictures of the children and the TV screening capsules of activities of Deepalaya attracted the attention of many a passer bys to the stall, highlighting the needs of children from the slums and streets of the Indian Capital "We had been hearing so much about this Festival, we thought it was time the Festival heard of us" says Mr. Mathew, Chief Executive, Deepalaya. Widespread publicity in the print and AV media also generated a keen awareness among the residents of Dubai and adjoining cities. Funds were also raised by selling souvenirs and stationery made by the children and women of the community.
The Indian Association recruited more than fifty sponsors, to help educate children at Deepalaya. More came in from all those who wanted to contribute their bit to make the world a better place to live in. "I was attracted to the stall by the colorful artifacts. But as my eyes went over the smiling faces and my ears heard all about what was happening at Deepalaya I knew I had to join in with this effort and help my country become a better place to live in", says Sankari Mohan, a Dubai resident and now also a sponsor at Deepalaya.
Towards A New Horizon
A Youth Club, exclusively for differently abled girls began functioning in Sanjay Colony (South Delhi) since April 2002! The eight members of this group are involved in education, training and income generation activities.
The Group was formed to help the young, adolescent handicapped girls in the community develop self confidence, channelize their energies and make optimum use of their time to pursue a gainful occupation. Of the eight members, six are polio afflicted and two mentally challenged.
The group meet every afternoon and learns to weave carpets (daris), make bags and tablemats using raw materials easily available in the community. Responsibilities are assigned depending upon the mental level of the children. They also learn to make snacks and savories once a week and also try different hair styles or personal grooming styles once a month.
Daily interactions with each other have improved their social skills. In addition they are learning about money and time management, banking and post office skills and also work ethics. Educational tours and outings are organized to help enhance learning.
Today, the carpets are regularly marketed in the community and to Deepalaya contacts. "We want more and more people to purchase our products, we can also contribute to our families and make better use of our lives", says Soni a member of the group.
Life after Deepalaya
What happens to the children educated by Deepalaya? A Pertinent question, because our aim is to offer them a chance in life and enable them to look beyond slums. Have we succeeded in this? From now on, each newsletter will feature one of Deepalaya's alumni. In this issue meet Patrick William (22), who lives in Transit Camp, South Delhi.
"My parents came from Tamil Nadu to Delhi in search of work. They've never been to school, but were keen on a good education for their children. My sister, my brothers and I all went to Deepalaya schools. I started in nursery school and completed IXth grade. The teachers were excellent. I noticed that students who came from government schools couldn't speak a word of English. But we were taught good English in Deepalaya School. My language skills certainly helped me to get my present job as a driver for the British High Commission. Without Deepalaya I would not have achieved this."
Progress in Deepalaya Gram
Deepalaya Gram (Village) is a project at Gusbethi, a village in Haryana, some sixty kilometres from Delhi, which caters different facilities for children and villagers. There is, a rehabilitation home for about thirty street children, a primary school for both the village and street children, and an agricultural demonstration area.
Recently, the construction of a set of new staff quarters in Gusbethi was completed. Under construction is the Technical Institute, financed by the Japanese Embassy where Deepalaya will conduct vocational training programs. Both buildings have been designed by the architect Ranjit P. John. The Dutch Education Foundation has financed the equipping of the vocational training courses.
Self-help groups meet
Hundreds of women from the villages in Mewat, (a region in Haryana where Deepalaya is running its Rural Development Project), met on 30th March to celebrate International Women's Day. The women belong to self-help groups that have been formed with Deepalaya's intervention. The Mewat Development Agency sponsored the meeting.
Speaking on this occasion, Chief Guest, Ms Jyotasana Chatterjee, (Director, Joint Women's Program and prominent advocate of women's rights), stressed that the empowerment of women is incomplete without the encouragement and involvement of men. She also praised Deepalaya's achievements in setting up self-help groups, through which women get awareness on health, education, banking and saving. These groups also help the women to become less dependent on the men and take decisions for themselves and their children.
A Celebration of Talent
On the 18th of May, children of Ramditti JR Narang Deepalaya School put up a cultural program for hundreds of visitors at Dilli Haat. They had been trained by Khel Khel Mein, a group of young volunteers who had organized a two-month workshop in theatre, music and crafts. The result was a puppet show, a musical performance and several drawings - all conceived and presented by the students. Ms. Geetanjali Krishnan, Principal of the Deepalaya school "I was initially reluctant to go ahead with the public show, but today my children have made me proud. They have shown the Delhiites the artistic potential of children in the slums."
New greeting Cards
From August onwards, the new Deepalaya greeting cards will be on sale. You can choose from more than 40 designs by prominent Indian artists, including designs for Diwali and Christmas. They are only 6 rupees each (discounts are possible for bulk orders)! Call or e-mail us to get a catalogue.
To the editor
"I started teaching in Deepalaya (Panchsheel Vihar Branch) as part of my S.U.P.W. curriculum. At first I was very apprehensive about the response I would get from the students. But I was overwhelmed by their acceptance and enthusiasm from day one.
After speaking to the Principal, I decided to train the class IV students in classical music, the response was very encouraging... there is so much of talent in these children. I am so glad I am able to train them. Infact being with the students at Deepalaya has boosted my confidence.
My X Board results were declared during the period of my association with these kids. I shared sweets with all my little friends and that was the best celebration I could have had. I hope to continue my association with these children in the months to come and help them further" says Surbhi Sethi class XI student of Modern School, volunteering at Deepalaya.