Proud Moments For Deepalaya
On 27 March 2003, children from Deepalaya and other NGOs participated in a drawing and painting competition organized at the Rashtrapati Bhawan,the official residence of the President of India.
Deepak Sharma (X), Preeti (III), and. Savita (II) from Deepalaya were among the winners. The highlight of the day was, when the President, H.E.Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, came to see the paintings and made a second round of selections. Meena (III), Komal (V) and Ramesh (V), received a special Presidential prize each.
Meeting the President was the most exciting experience for the children. For Komal, the 'encounter' with the President was unforgettable. "I could not sleep that night." A framed copy of the photograph hangs in her home, reminding her of that "wonderful occasion".
On the same evening, Deepalaya children also received accolades for their essays on 'Water' at the Jal Utsav celebration at Dilli Haat. The Australian Ambassador, Ms.Penny Wensley gave away the prizes. She appreciated the efforts made by Deepalaya in giving the marginalised an equal opportunity and to come up in life like others who are endowed by their birth. Another group of students from Deepalaya along with their counterparts from the Vasant Valley School, (an elite public school in S Delhi) presented a play, 'Water - A Celebration of Life.
According to Ms. Fre Houft, a Dutch theatre artist who trained the children, "bringing together the two groups was very smooth. I am very impressed by the hidden talent in Deepalaya students and wish them and the organization all the very best in their endeavors."
In April 2003, over 30 students participated in competitions and workshops organized by Katha (a charity) at the India Habitat Centre. Chandni of Class XIII won the first prize in an on the spot debate competition. She spoke on "Is space on earth being properly used" Deepa of Class V recited a poem on "Life" and bagged the second prize.
The children also participated in the Technology Day celebrations at the National Science Center. Deepashree won the 2nd prize in the poster making competition.
In May 2003, Vijaylakshmi and Chandni from Deepalaya School, Kalkaji Extension participated in a discussion on the legislation for establishing a National Commission for Children.The students said that we got "an opportunity to speak from our hearts, for after all, this is for OUR CAUSE".
On the 5th of June 2003,Deepalaya students participated in the World Environment Day celebrations at The Park,New Delhi.Renowed artist Manav Gupta judged the entries in the drawing and painting competition .Five children from Deepalaya bagged prizes. The children also painted on a canvas alongwith Manav."I had to stand back and just observe after some time as the enthusiasm of the children just took over the show. The strokes of the brushes indicated that there was an artist hidden in each one of the children. I am sure Deepalaya will encourage this talent and help the children further,"he said. Representatives of The Park also appreciated the children and have assured furthure association.
Our children have made us proud. All this has been made possible by the support and encouragement from all our friends, donors and sponsors. Thank you for joining hands with Deepalaya in our mission to enable the economically and socially deprived become self-reliant and enjoy a healthy, dignified and sustainable quality of life.
Alumni In The Spotlight
"I am Soni Singh preparing for XIIth grade from the Deepalaya National Open School Program. I am also working as an Editor at Cine India International, a production house.
My father is a petty businessman and mother a housewife. My sisters and me are all students of Deepalaya School. The subsidized and quality education is definitely harnessing for all of us a better future.
What I shall always value of my years at Deepalaya School is the loving care and guidance I received from everyone. My teachers always encouraged us to be ambitious and work hard to fulfill our potential.
This confidence I have gained after all my years at Deepalaya. Constant guidance, encouragement to be ambitious and work hard to achieve one's goals is what I learned from my teachers. One of my dreams is to make a film on Deepalaya and I am sure that will happen in the near future."
Marching Towards Self-Reliance
On April, 2003. Rtn. T.K.Mathew Secretary and Chief Executive Deepalaya inaugurated the Abhilasha Public School at Mayur Vihar I, East Delhi.
The school, which caters to local children and those from the project areas of Deepalaya, is the brainchild of Meena, a Social Entrepreneur (SE) at Deepalaya's East Delhi Project.
The SE concept, promoted by Deepalaya. is one in which individuals are identified, motivated, trained and developed to gain self-employment or work with beneficiary communities. They invariably belong to the same socio-cultural milieu.
Meena, a trained teacher first approached Deepalaya for a job in 1999."The idea of becoming a SE appealed to me and I started preschool and remedial education classes (tuition) in Rajeev Camp in Mayur Vihar Phase-I.
"The quality of teaching soon attracted more and more students and we advised her to recruit more candidates as SE's,"says K C Pant, Manager Programs. Today, Meena has become a mentor to four more SE's who are educating more than 250 children together. "We have regular review meetings, where we share our experiences and learn from each other," says Meena.
How did the School come around?
"The constant guidance and support given by the Deepalaya team boosted my confidence levels and I decided to set up the school." The School is till class one and has a strength of 45 children. Children from the Deepalaya Centres are also admitted. The School also offers support facilities to government school students in the neighborhood. Today, Meena is motivated by the smiling faces and enthusiasm of her students and "plan to add on a new class each year."
The SE concept has thus become a reality in creating independent, service providers with self-reliance and sustainability as the overriding value.
Reaching Out A Viable Alternate
What happens when Raj Bahadur, a 40 year old illiterate watchman wants to move up in his company's hierarchy? He cannot, as he lacks the necessary academic qualifications which is a pre-requisite. Another victim of the lack of access to educational facilities in the country.
The Government has finally woken up to the fate of Bahadur and many like him and has taken steps to improve this access, in collaboration with NGO's and other civic organisations.
The Open Basic Education certification is one such initiative in which Deepalaya has become a partner. It is a facility to certify standard IIIrd ,Vth and VIIIth grade through distance learning. There after standard Xth & XIIth certificates are no distant and difficult dream to achieve.
Under this System the course materials are prepared, and coaching is given by Deepalaya. Question papers are set and examination conducted in collaboration with external bodies like the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and the District Institute for Education and Training (DIET). Certification is facilitated through National Institute of Open Schooling.
For the first time Deepalaya conducted examinations for standard III, V and VIII learners in March 2003. The answer papers were evaluated by DIET.
The learners from different Deepalaya units have come out with excellent results. The community is satisfied as this process will help in dealing with migration from one school to another or migration from one state to another. The overall quality in the non-formal education centres of the organisation has also been improved significantly due to the attraction of a certificate.
The Open Basic Education system has created a new opportunity for the unprivileged children and youth nurtured by Deepalaya. Tthis will help in establishing proper systems and procedures - not only for a transparent certification but also to bring in quality education.
A New Beginning
Another cherished dream of Deepalaya is being realized by the generous support from the Government of Japan for Hostel cum Rehabilitation Project for Girl Children. The Embassy of Japan in India, under its scheme "Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects" extended a grant worth US $78,854 to Deepalaya on February 11th for the construction of the girls' hostel. The hostel will be located in Deepalaya Gram in the village Ghusbethi, 60 kms from Delhi.
This hostel will reach out to run away girl children who live and work on the streets, girl children of sex workers and girl children of life term convicts. Our objective is to rehabilitate these children by equipping them with education, vocational skills and a congenial environment which will nurture their personality, confidence and leadership abilities.
Partnering With Government Schools
Nearly 1.5 million children, 18% of the Delhi's population are out of schools. Even though the government has the largest network of schools in the National Capital Region (NCR), the infrastructure is inadequate and the quality of education poor. Since free education is offered, mostly children from poor families study in these schools.
Driven by its mission to promote and provide quality education to the economically and socially deprived, Deepalaya has started working with 16 government run primary schools under the Municipal Corporation. The focus is on establishing a cordial relationship with these schools and organizing parents and community members into "pressure groups" who will work with teachers and administrators.
These groups link up with government and non-government bodies to provide facilities like libraries, playgrounds, urinals, drinking water and anything else that is not available. Teachers are trained in better teaching methodologies, which enhances the academic and latent talents of the students.
According to Mr. Pradeep Kumar, Manager Programs, "this initiative has been welcomed by the schools. A gradual change is seen in both the teachers and the children and more importantly there is an increasing acceptance of us."
The joint activities include drawing and essay competitions, quiz contest and a yoga demonstration in the 16 government schools where 1651 children participated. The theme for the drawing and essay competitions were "Ideal Teacher" and "Environment" respectively. The quiz contest was based on educational subjects and current affairs.
Support For Special Children
Deepalaya in partnership with the British High Commission has started a new project for "Mainstreaming and inclusion of differently abled children, with special focus on the girl children". To be implemented in seven slum locations of West Delhi, the Project would focus on identification of the differently abled children, awareness generation, assessment, intervention and mainstreaming. The project will work on group formation involving parents/ teachers and community members and in conducting training of parents, SE's and differently abled children. Advocacy and networking with govt. bodies, NGOs will have equal priority.
Affordable Technical Training
Quality IT training is now more accessible to the youth, especially girls from the lower income groups in 85 villages of the Mewat region of Haryana. The Juniper Foundation (USA) is backing a software-training program in Tavru (Haryana) where the central office of Deepalaya's Rural Development Program is based.
The Center, equipped with four desktops, will train a total of 64 students (eight batches of eight students each) in a year. This training in computer applications and computer skills will last six months for each batch. At the end of the training, the students will be better prepared to seek avenues of employment so far not accessible to them and escape the vicious cycle of poverty.
At The Receiving End
Mr.Jyoti Sagar, eminent lawyer and Friend of Deepalaya, has extended support for upgrading the skills of the teachers at the Deepalaya School, Kalkaji Extension so that quality education at affordable cost becomes a reality. Teachers at Deepalaya are not paid at the Government prescribed rates. The project is to sustain their motivation and constantly upgrade their skills in providing quality learning environment. The training will focus on values and attitudes congenial to teaching the underprivileged, developing an aptitude and capacity for teaching slow learners, student and parent counseling and better planning and time management skills as also use of modern technology and teaching aids, making teaching and learning enjoyable.
A Secure Future
On Monday, June 2nd,2003 the Foundation Stone was laid for the hostel for girl children at Deepalaya Gram in Gusbethi, Haryana. The Home, supported by the Japanese Embassy will reach out to girl street children and girl children of sex workers and life convicts.
Speaking on the occasion Chief Guest Mr. Prem Singh,(Vice Chairman Foreign Investment Promotion Board Govt. of Haryana), lauded the efforts Deepalaya is making towards Girl Child and Women's Empowerment and Primary Education. Also present on the occasion were Mr. Akira Kido, Second Secretary, Japanese Embassy, Mr. T.K. Mathew, Secretary and Chief Executive Deepalaya, Board Members and representatives from the corporate, government and non-profit sectors.(Photo:Mr.Kido lights the lamp as Mr.Prem Singh looks on)
To The Editor
"I am very impressed by the work done by Deepalaya, especially the thrust on education of downtrodden. Your Annual Report is well documented and gives a complete insight into Deepalaya's activities.
"Metamorphosis" is the best commemorative document on Girl Child Education and empowerment of women. I am hopeful that the findings, will be implemented in the true spirit as girl's education is the only way to spread education fast. The success stories have delighted me, especially the work done by Mrs. Geetanjali Krishnan, Principal, Geeta Pal and Mukta Mandal. Such efforts definitely produce good teachers/students. Three cheers for Deepalaya".
Mr. Jyoti Prakash Malik,a regular donor.