New Delhi - July - September 2003
Dewan Memorial Hall Inaugrated
On 11th August 2003, the A. P. Dewan Memorial Hall was formally dedicated to the students of Deepalaya School, Kalkaji Extension. The Dewan Foundation set up by late Shri A. P. Dewan, eminent bureaucrat and senior Rotarian, has extended a support of Rs. 11,00,000 for the paneling of the side walls and roof, installation of the sound and light system and the curtains (main, middle and rear).
"We are extremely happy with this value addition to our school" says Miss Shikha Pal, the Headmistress. "Until now, the children only had an empty hall where all programs were held. But from today, they have an auditorium as good as the elite public schools of Delhi".
Present on the occasion were members of the Dewan family, senior Rotarians including the District Governor (District 3010) Rtn. Rajesh Batra, The DJ elect Rtn. Suresh Bhasin, friends, supporters and staff of Deepalaya. Speaking on the occasion Rtn. T. K. Mathew Secretary and Chief Executive Deepalaya fondly recalled Shri A.P.Dewan as a great Philanthropist and an honest and upright senior bureaucrat who has served the Government and the UN. Shri Ramesh Dewan, s/o late A. P. Dewan reiterated the Foundation's commitment to realizing the vision of his father, of giving the underprivileged a chance to come up in life. The association with Deepalaya is one such endeavor to empower the masses.
On this occasion, the Watch Repair Training Unit (also supported by the Foundation) was inaugurated. This has provided yet another opportunity for the community youth to equip themselves with a skill, putting them on the path to dignified and self-reliant future. Deepalaya is already running vocational Training Programs in Computer hardware/software, Electrical and Electronics, Maintenance and repair, Dress designing and beauty Culture.
Alumni In The Spotlight
I am Ashok Singh and am in my final year of graduation in Biotechnology from Jamia Millia Islamia University. I am keen on a career as a medical technologist. This would not have been possible without the support I got from Deepalaya.
I come from a family of six. My father is a petty trader. My parents could not afford to educate me in an English Medium School. Deepalaya provided me and my family with subsidized quality education through the support of my parents.
My days at Deepalaya were the most cherished moments of my life. Patients listening, love and affection, constant guidance and encouragement are the qualities my teachers had. Not just the children, even the poor parents were given a lot of respect.
I thank Deepalaya for boosting my confidence and pushing us to strive for a better future.
Ensuring Healthier Generations
Eighteen-year-old Hema, a resident of Sector 15-A, Dwarka (in West Delhi) is working as a telephone operator in a private concern. Her marriage has been postponed to after she is 21. Nothing exceptional is it? Yes, it is.
Her family migrated from Madhya Pradesh 15 years ago,. She completed schooling till class VII. Thereafter she was withdrawn and stayed at home. "After all she was not going to be a earning member in the family after her marriage", said her parents.
But contacts with Deepalaya, four years ago changed this scenario a Project focusing on reproductive and child health supported by Pathfinder International was implemented in that area at the same time. The main focus was to delay age of marriage and to develop responsible sexual behavior among adolescents.
Hema along with four other girls, was motivated to attend the trainings. They formed a group called 'Mehak' (Pleasant odour) and took up the responsibility of educating their peers. Parental opposition, ridicule by the boys soon brought problems to this effort. However, the project then expanded its reach to the community and parents groups. As result it enhanced parental support for Hema. Hema continued her undaunted efforts as now her parents too were convinced that this knowledge would ensure a healthy life for the future generations.
Today Hema is happy that she got a chance to improve her future. "I'm able to talk to my peer group on issues related to reproductive health. Even the older married women approach me for help. I have also convinced my parents about postponing my marriage".
A similar initiative on reproductive health begun at the Deepalaya School, Kalkaji Extension. positive Steps (a Scottish agency, committed to promoting good health and social welfare throughout the world) has collaborated with Deepalaya for imparting reproductive/ sexual education to the young adolescents population at the School. Our interventions in Dwarka have shown that in the absence of accurate targeted information, children in the community get exposed to incorrect information on sex and sexuality, thus hampering their growth. This project spanning a period of 3 years will focus on orientation and training programme for teachers, training and counseling session for students and distribution of IEC materials.
Bollywood's Lagaan comes to Okhla
There they were, on the stage in their bright and colorful costumes calling out to the world, " Apni Jeet ho unki har ho", a famous number from the Oscar nominated film, Lagaan. This and many other colorful program marked the Annual day Celebration of the Deepalya School, Sanjay Colony on the 4th of September 2003.
Present on the occasion were Ms. Nandita Das, actress, Mr. Soumaya Sen, advertising professional, Mr. Barry Glover- First Secretary and Ms. Vandana Singh from the New Zealand High Commission, other friends and supporters of Deepalaya. The guest complimented Deepalaya's efforts in helping the underprivileged access quality education.
Prizes were also distributed to the students who had shown exemplary all-round performance. The prizes were sponsored by Avinash and Poornima Gupta ( USA) who are sponsoring 24 stdents at Deepalaya. The Indira and Jai Foundation Cleanliness awards were also distributed ointhis occarion.
Sharing Profits with the Non-Profit
The corporate world is increasingly realizing its responsibility towards society at large. Why not? After all involvement in community issues adds to its credibility and image. The corporate's business is sustainable only when it builds better community relations. Moreover, the association also gives the corporate community the personal satisfaction of being involved in improving the quality of life of its own community.
Deepalaya too can boast of many such partnerships. Not just the financial support, these associations make our children feel that they too are an integral part of society and can contribute their valuable bit to the nations building process.
In July this year, Pizza Corner organized a fun day, for the students of RJRN Deepalaya School. They were taken to its nearby delivery outlet cover where they learn how to prepare pizzas and were also allowed to try their cooking skills.
Later they had fun on a ride on the giant wheel and the water ride at Appu Ghar (an amusement Park0. The aim of this "day out" was to have the staff interact with the children and give them an opportunity to express themselves to various fun filled activities that were organized.
Luxor writing instruments Pvt. Ltd. organized drawing and painting competitions at the different project locations. Over a 1000 children participated and gave vent to their creative energies. It was tough selecting the prize-winning entries. The prizes sponsored by Luxor were given away by Ms. Usha Jain, wife of the MD.
The American Express Bank Ltd. (TRS) has extended a support of Rs. 60,000 for the playground development at Deepalaya School, this bond was further strengthened when the children celebrated Friendship Day wit the staff. They presented a colorful cultural program, and then went around interacting with the staff and making new friends.
The AMEX team has also undertaken a plantation drive at Deepalaya Gram Gusbethi.
Tele Atlas, a Belgian Corporate invited their 15 sponsored children to their office in Noida. The children had a great time, enjoying computer games, magic shows and of course receiving gifts. Mr. Phillippe Van de Casteele, MD (India) escorted the children throughout the visit.
Standard Charted Bank organized a community service week in September'03. Staff were encouraged to donate materials in kind. The materials (toys, clothes, stationery) were handed over to the students to Deepalaya School Sanjay Colony on the 23rd of Sep'03.
Eye Care in Mewat
The Rajendra Prasad Center for Ophthalmic Science, one of the country's premiere Institutions recently conducted a Cataract Screening Program at our rural development project in Tavru (Haryana). This included awareness and motivation campaigns, Screening people in the age group of 40 and beyond, surgeries and postoperative care. Since July the programme has covered almost all the 84 villages of Tavru Block. 777 patients were screened, 189 were identified for surgery. Of these 65 have already been operated and the process is on. The patients are brought back to Base Hospital in Delhi and then transported back after three days. Follow up camps are also held to check progress.
This program not only restores vision but also dignity and will to survive. No longer are the aged at the mercy of others due to their falling vision.
The center is already associated with the Deepalaya's Projects in Delhi.
Interact club at Deepalaya School
On August 19, 2003 twenty-two children of Deepalaya School, Kalkaji Extension became the proud Charter Members of the Interact Club, a Rotary sponsored service club for school children. Mahender Pal (class XII), Ritu Pal(XII), Laxmi (class XII) and Hassim (class X) were elected as the main office bearers. Four directors were also elected to assist in the work.
Being member of this prestigious club gives the children an opportunity to develop leadership skills, help and respect others and understand the values of individual responsibility and hard work. And they will not fail to do so. " Good Luck dear children."
A Caring Hand
The New Zealand High Commission has extended a grant support of RS. 1.65 lakhs for the lodging, daily care and education of street children at Deepalaya Gram (Gusbethi). This partnership will help restore childhood to these vulnerable groups of children.
Naya Gram Swaraj
In 2001, as a part of its strategic planning for the future, Deepalaya has partnered with Chirag, one of the largest NGO's in Uttaranchal, a newly formed state in the hills of Northern India. The project aims at developing self-sustainable villages following the pattern of Gandhiji's Gram Swaraj. The villagers through a process of facilitation will decide the project frame/ objectives, period, budget etc. it is envisaged that in 'Naya Gram Swaraj' people will drive all action themselves.
The intervention is being carried out in 5 villages of Takula Block, Dist Almora, Uttaranchal. The villagers are also excited about the concept of real development. We too are.
The Deepalaya Christmas and New Year Cards will be available from 15th October '03. You can choose from over twelve designs, all made by the children at different projects. The cards are prices at only 8 rupees each. Call at +91 11 91-11-28525908 or e-mail to get a catalogue.
Annual Report Available
The Annual Report 2002-2003 is available. The Report highlights Deepalaya's Gender Equity Program Deepalaya's and also the progress made in the other sectors: Education, Community Health, Differently Abled and Institutional Care.
Changing priorities of foreign agencies have reduced funds for Deepalaya. The strategy to combat this is to source Indian funds. Indian institutions and individuals now account for 39 percent of the total funds raised as against 21 percent two years earlier.
This year's report also meets with the norms laid down by the credibility Alliance, establishing Deepalaya as a transparent and credible organization. http://www.credall.org.in/. For copies of the report please contact at (+91 11) 91-11-28525908 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters to the Editor
Devoted, transparent and professional are three words that characterize Deepalaya for me. This was my home for two years when I was posted at the Communication Division. I was genuinely impressed by my colleague's zeal and surprised by the strict procedures that were used to spend funds. I often visited the projects in the slums and was really amazed by the power and the dedication of the staff, working in such circumstances. More than that, the enthusiasm of the children from the slums and streets left me astounded. I have never met such bright, energetic and talented girls and boys! I have left Deepalaya with a pain in my heart and I will surely keep in touch with you. Thank you all, for this wonderful period of my life.
Freck Van Orsouw, a VSO Volunteer