New Delhi - July - September 2002

Justice Varma Releases Book On Girl Children

It was busy in the Lecture Hall of the India International Centre, on the night of 12th September. Dozens of people had come to attend the release of the book "From a Little Girl to an Upright Woman - Metamorphosis!" by Justice J.S. Varma, renowned Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission.


book is the result of a seminar that Deepalaya had organized last October on Girl Child Education and Empowerment. The seminar and the book are made possible by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The book gives a unique and comprehensive overview of the status of girl children and women in present-day India. From a wide range of professional angles, the book shows that this status has remained pathetically low.


It is clear that we need a big change in the Indian male psyche to create equal opportunities for women. To achieve this change we should address social, educational, legal, organizational, religious, cultural and political issues - all of them. Only by such a holistic approach we can actually change the deep-rooted discrimination. That is why Deepalaya is promoting this approach in its Gender Equity Programme.

After the book release several eminent representatives of institutes working on gender issues spoke on empowerment of girls and women. For a copy of the book, please contact support@deepalaya.org or 91-11-28525908.

Alumni In The Spotlight

"I am Mukta Mandal, an ex-student of Deepalaya. I always remember those days at Deepalaya School; all the teachers were ready to help at any time, not only in my study but also in personal problems.

I come from a family of six. My father is a petty trader and my mother a housewife. My brother and two sisters are all studying in senior secondary school. I've completed my XIIth, Arts Stream, and I'm now doing my graduation from Delhi University. This has been made possible because of Deepalaya, where I received affordable, quality education.

Deepalaya always tries to give opportunities to its former students to achieve their goals in life. I am myself a good example of this. Deepalaya selected me as a teacher for Upper Kindergarten class. Here I can use my training and motivate more and more children to enroll. I thank Deepalaya for giving me this chance!"

Children Bag Praise And Prizes

The 7th of September 2002 will go down in Deepalaya History as a day of achievements. Our children won accolades at different functions across the city.

The lively cultural performance at HSBC Bank in Greater Kailash II (South Delhi) had all glued to heir seats. The occasion was a Customer Meet organised by the bank to thank their clients. "The confidence and enthusiasm the children displayed is remarkable", says Ms. Shahi, Manager.

The program included a Kathak prayer dance and a lively Haryana folk dance, but the highlight of the evening was a catchy folk dance rendered by the hearing impaired children of the Special Unit. "The presence of these children has touched us immensely and we congratulate the efforts put in by the Deepalaya team", said Richard Grover, Head of HSBC North India. He made a donation of 10,000 rupees to Deepalaya in addition to the dozens of toys given to the children.

The second function was the 28th Annual Day celebration of the Society of Young Scientists from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Members of Abhinaya Samuh, a street theatre group comprised of youth from one of Deepalaya's project locations, staged a play on "A Different India" - it depicted how the youth visualize India to be free from all evils and are concerned for the welfare of its citizens.

The third function was "Activity 2002", a fun filled mega event for public school students all over the country, organized by Digikore Active & Co. The venue was the Siri Fort grounds in South Delhi. Sixty-four children from Deepalaya schools participated in the two-day event in various activities and they bagged six prizes (four first prizes, one second and one third prize) in Hair Styling, Cartoon Making, Painting and Bindi Design. An achievement to be proud of, especially because our children were competing with elite public school children!

Boys Trained On Reproductive Health

From 27 to 29 July twenty-six boys of Deepalaya's Reproductive Health Project took part in a training camp on adolescent reproductive health, together with 81 other boys. The set-up of the camp was new. It was for the first time that Deepalaya jointly organized it with two partner-NGOs. It was also the first time that boys from different project locations were together in such training and stayed overnight at the training location. The overall experience was very positive.

The training was held on the grounds of the Bharat Scouts in Central Delhi, where the adolescent boys (age group of 17 and above) stayed for two night and three days. This was done to prevent them from leaving the training halfway down, as had often happened in past trainings.

The aim of the training was to increase the knowledge and skills of the boys regarding reproductive health. This includes important issues like conception and contraception, infertility, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases and sexual abuse. Before the training, there were many myths and misconceptions on these issues. One of these myths was that if a newly wed woman takes anti-conceptive pills, she would become infertile.

Research before and after the training clearly showed that the knowledge of the participants had increased dramatically. The number of correctly answered questions had drastically gone up to 82%. Similarly, the skill based questions showed an increase of one-third up to 94% correct answers.

The training was also aimed at changing the attitudes of the boys on reproductive health issues. The post-training test again showed a sharp increase in correct answers. The only issue where they still lacked awareness is the protection against sexually transmitted diseases. The trainers will reinforce this issue in an additional workshop.

The boys reacted very enthusiastically to the whole training. They praised the method - games and activities, the location where they stayed, the fact that they did not have to go home in between, and the interaction with boys from other parts of town. They found that the sensitive issues were dealt with in a pleasant manner. Supporting agency Pathfinder International was equally positive.

Cancer Camp Brings Out New Cases

Indian men love to chew tobacco. Everywhere they can be seen chewing a mouthful with a happy look on their face, and occasionally spitting the juice on the ground with a wide curve. Unfortunately, extensive tobacco chewing causes cancer. Cancer of the gums is the most frequent form of cancer in Indian males.

Deepalaya cooperates with the Cancer Society of India for the detection of cancer in the slum communities where it works. On 17th August, a cancer camp was held in Indira Camp slum in South Delhi. Punjab National Bank sponsored the camp.

In the weeks before the camp, Deepalaya staff had raised awareness through street theatre and wall posters. This worked, because on that day itself some hundred people showed up. In the end, 32 men and 48 women were examined. The medical staff detected men with cancer of the gums and women with breast and uterus cancer. Deepalaya is following up these cases.

Nominate A Journalist!

Every year Deepalaya awards a journalist for her or his outstanding writing on child rights. With this "Deepalaya Award for Child Rights" we hope to create more public awareness on issues like child labour, child neglect and child abuse. This year's nomination period has started.

Anyone can nominate a journalist who works for an Indian paper. To nominate someone, send in her/his articles that are published between July 2001 and August 2002. These articles should be in Hindi or English. If they are written in another language, please send in the English translation as well. Accompany the article by a proof of publication (a photocopy) and bio-data of the author. The deadline for both nominations is 1st November 2002. Send them to our Communication Division - see address at the back of the newsletter. A professional Jury will judge the nominations and present the two Awards on 10th December 2002, United Nations Human Rights Day.

Nandita Das With Her Sponsor Children

The famous actress Nandita Das has always had a close association with Deepalaya. In July she visited her two sponsor children Meena Kumari and Seema, who are studying in Deepalaya School Sanjay Colony. The girls were delighted to see their sponsor parent in real life!

Independent On Stage

All Deepalaya formal schools have celebrated Independence Day on 15th August. The children of V.P. Singh Camp School celebrated it with their counterparts of the municipal Rani Jhansi Sarvodaya School. Our school children and the hearing impaired children of the Disability Project enacted the independence struggle on stage.


On August 12th, two Hepatitis-B Immunization Camps were held in Gole Kuan and Indira Camp, two slum communities in South Delhi. Deepalaya had organized these camps in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Family Planning Association of India. Normally, a Hepatitis-B injection is very expensive, but Deepalaya has arranged that they are free for its beneficiaries. In all, 400 children were immunized.

Look Back At Last Year

The annual report 2001-02 is available. The report covers the Deepalaya's five programme areas of Education, Health, Gender Equity, Differently Abled and Institutional Care. Last financial year Deepalaya has made progress in all these areas. A growing number of children and adults benefit from our interventions. For a copy please write to support@deepalaya.org

Awards For Toppers

Each year, the best students of Deepalaya School Kalkaji Extension get an award for their performance. Recently, this year's Puzakken Master Awards for students in class VIII have been presented. Sanjay Sharma (best all-rounder), Jyoti Dhimar (topper in Maths), Devender and Sweta Shukla (toppers in Science) and Deepika (topper in English) have each received a citation, a trophy and books worth 400 rupees. Another award, the Adlakha Awards, consists of four certificates and four cash prizes of 500 rupees each. It has been presented to the best all-rounders: Vijaylaxmi of class VIII, Nishant (VII), Chandni (VI) and Akash (V). Congrats!

Wiz Kids

Twenty children of class IV-V of Deepalaya Ramditti J.R. Narang School (South Delhi) recently started computer classes in the nearby private Apeejay School. This school was allotted computers by the Rotary Club to help educate underprivileged children in the basics of computers. According to Ms Geetanjali Krishnan, principal of Narang Deepalaya School, her children have proved to be real wiz kids and have made great improvement in a short time. Shmeta, one of the class V students: "It's so exciting! This is the only way I can learn about computers and I really love it!"

Family Quiz

On 7th August, family planning awareness camps were organized in various project locations of South Delhi. The camps were followed by a quiz competition to test the people's knowledge on family planning (on the photo of the quiz winners gets a prize from her local community leader).

Three years ago, Sony Singh, a student from J.J. Camp in South Delhi, joined a training course at production house Cine India through Deepalaya's effort. She always kept dreaming of a career in the television and movie industry. Recently she has started working for Cine India. The start of a Bollywood career?

To The Editor

"I receive your newsletter regularly and I am very happy to know that there are organizations out there that are doing some real work with needy children. When you pick up a newspaper all you read is the bad news.. but it is in your newsletter that there is the real, and not sensational, good news. We need so much more of the hope that you offer."




Global CSR Excellence & Leadership award presented by ABP News to Deepalaya