New Delhi - October - December 2003
Gifting smiles on Children's Day
For the children of Deepalaya, 14th November 2003 brought in loads of smile and joys. The day is celebrated nationwide as 'Childrens Day' to commemorate the birthday of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the country's first Prime Minister. Chacha Nehru was known for his love for children. There was a celebrations galore across the various projects to mark the day. At the Deepalaya Schools, the teachers put up variety entertainment programs for the students. Pizza Corner sponsored a painting competition at the Ramditti JR Narang Deepalaya School.
The highlight of the day was a visit to the studios of Radio Mirchi a popular radio station. As part of its Gift A Smile -Make a Difference Campaign, the station exhorted children all over Delhi to donate their toys, books and clothes for the underprivileged. The items collected were distributed among the children at the Studio.
"I could not believe my eyes, there were so many toys which all of us can now play with," said 5 year old Henna from the Gole kuan School. Toys of all kinds and for all ages will now be used to set up Toy Banks at the different project locations.
"May Peace Be More Than a Season, May it Be a Way of Life.May the Coming Year fill your World with Beauty and Serenity" -
Deepalaya Board and Staff wish You a Bright and Prosperous New Year
Alumni In The Spotlight
I am Dil Bahadur, 19 years and hail from Nepal. My family consists of my mother (a TB patient), my younger brother
and two younger sisters. My father died when I was 6 years. Financial constraints forced me to come to Delhi, eight years ago. I joined as a helper in a taxi stand at a monthly salary of Rs. 400. It was a a life of oppression and exploitationwith no fixed hours of work, . But I needed the money to send back home.
Finally I could not take it any more and ran away to the Railway Station six years ago. Here I came in touch with Deepalaya workers at the platform. It was a refreshing change, to have someone speak to me in soft, kind words. I joined the Transit Home and completed my education till VIIIth and enrolled in Open School for higher education.
I have also trainined in motor mechanic course and driving. Today, I am working as an attendant in the Deepalaya School and earn Rs.3500/pm. But more important is that I am a respected member of society and look forward to completing my education. My siblings are in school and my mother too is recovering. All this has been possible because of the constant support, guidance and encouragement from everyone at Deepalaya.
Boost for Girl Child Education
On 25th November 2003, Deepalaya's girl child education program received a major boost. In its first international grant program, the Associated Merchandizing Company (AMC) & the US based Target Corporation, donated US$12,500 (INR 5,69,892) to promote education of girl children at Deepalaya School, Kalkaji Extension. Eminent actress and social activist Ms. Nandita Das presented the cheque at a glittering ceremony held at the India International Centre, New Delhi. Speaking on the occasion Ms. Das endorsed Deepalaya's credibility and transparency and congratulated AMC and the corporate world for looking beyond profits and reaching out to support to such deserving causes.
The grant is part of AMC's global program to help those who are providing children and youth with accessible quality education. Says Mr. Sumantra Dutt, Director (Financial & Logistics Services) AMC, "We shortlisted eight NGOs and took a market feedback. The response about Deepalaya made us confident of extending the support to them. We believe that by educating a girl child you are educating an entire family".
The school currently has 650 students, 40 percent of whom are girls. Efforts are on to increase the ratio to at least 50 percent and this funding will help subsidize education and enroll more girl students.
Acknowledging the support Rtn. T.K. Mathew, Secretary and Chief Executive mentioned that issues like right to education for girl child and child labour would also be addressed under this project.
An enchanting cultural program was presented by the Deepalaya students. Women's empowerment and related issues are increasingly drawing the attention of NGOs, civic authorities, bureaucracy etc. Deepalaya recently organized a seminar on "Gender and Decision making in Families". The participants included representatives from the social sector, government departments and community members etc. The gathering agreed that although the situation was changing for the better, concerted efforts were still needed to give women an equal status within their families.
Special Moments for Special People
Disability is a term often linked to disabled people. But does that in any way mean they are not able? At Deepalaya we see them as having abilities, which are DIFFERENT. Once given a chance, the differently abled CAN prove themselves.
At the Sixth International Abilympics held at Delhi in November 2003,hearing impaired and slow learners from Deepalaya performed a colourful dance at the valedictory function. It was a memorable occasion for the children. More than a 100 children from Deepalaya alongwith their parents attended the program. The Abilympics was an eye opener for the parents. Said Triloki Saha, father of Brijesh, a hearing impaired child," I always felt that children like Brijesh have no secure future. But seeing all the people who participated has made me change my mind. I am now determined to do all that is possible to help my son come up in life".
Deepalaya also participated in the World Disability Day celebrations on 3rd December. This years the focus was centered around the theme of 'Inclusion'- to change people's attitudes towards issues concerning the physically and mentally challenged. And this cannot be done by one single individual / organization. On the eve of World Disability Day, in partnership with NCPEDP, Deepalaya put up over 25 solidarity booths in different parts of the city. The purpose was to generate awareness and make the public pledge theirsolidarity with the differently abled. Over 10,000 pledge forms were filled in on this occasion.
The Namtech Business School has supported a therapy centre at Dwarka at West Delhi . Since June this year, the Deepalaya team has been working for the Mainstreaming and Inclusion of the Differently abled (particularly girls) in Sector 15 and 16. The children identified needed this crucial intervention .
Progress at Deepalaya Gram
Activities at Deepalaya Gram at Gusbethi (Haryana) are growing. This is the hub of our Rural Development Program where street children are being rehabilitated. Right now efforts are concentrated on the boys and soon street girls and other vulnerable groups of girls will join. Demonstration of innovative agricultural practices is also going on. The Deepalaya school now has over 250 children enrolled and girls account for over 60 percent, thanks to the Nanhi Kali (Tiny Buds) Project sponsored by the K.C. Mahindra Education Trust.
The technical courses are gaining popularity. Over a 150 youth are enrolled for training in dress making, electrical and electronics repair and maintenance, air conditioning and refrigeration, computer hardware/ software. Dress designing is becoming popular among the village girls and women. "The money I saved by stitching clothes for my family members helped us pay off a loan", says 22 year old Jahanara. The need for qualified staff is thus increasing. The Mewat area is educationally backward and trained people are difficult to find. It is therefore necessary to get people from outside and provide accommodation to ensure higher retention.
With the support of the Edukans Foundation, Netherlands we had built four single room quarters (with attached bath and kitchen) which were inaugurated and the foundation stone for four more laid in November 2003 at Gusbethi. Present on the occasion were Dr. John V. George, Senior Police Officer. The Edukans Foundation was represented by Dr. Dik Verboom (Co-associate for Projects abroad) and Ms. Liana Hoornweg (Project Officer). The boys of the Deepalaya Home presented a colorful program on the occasion.
Water Harvesting at Deepalaya School
In tune with the need for water conservation,Deepalaya took the step of water harvesting at the school at Kalkaji Extn. This has been possible with the financial support of Coca Cola India & the technical assistance of the Central Ground Water Authority. The school is now equipped with a recharge well and three harvesters. Water levels have increased and will benefit not only the school, but also the nearby areas. The structure was inaugurated by Mr. Robert Blake, Charge'd Affaire, US Embassy on 15th October 2003 as part of the Annual Day celebrations of the school.
With the support of the Indian Cancer Society and Punjab National Bank, a cancer detection camp was organized at the VP Singh Camp and Gandhi Basti project locations in South Delhi (with a population of app.10,000 people). Of the 160 persons screened,60% were identified with pre-cancer symptoms. They have been referred for further investigation and treatment.
The tentacles of cancer are fast spreading,not guided by social or economic conditions. Such preventive screening is crucial for poor communities as the disease gets controlled at the right stage. Sincere gratitude to PNB for this financial support.
Students raise funds
VIth Grade students of the American Embassy School helped Deepalaya's fund raising by selling cards worth Rs.1,00,000. This year the cards were designed by the AES students on the theme of Holiday Peace and Harmony. "This year the children have been really excited about selling their own creations and the whole exercise has become more meaningful for them",said Steve Carrozza the team leader from AES.
Credit Cards update
Deepalaya has now signed up with American Express Bank, to receive donations through Amex cards. Apart from sending an authorization by mail, you can walk into our office of Janakpuri and make a donation through your Amex Card. We are already receiving donations through Masters, Visa and Diner cards. For more information call at (+91 11) 91-11-28525908 or write in to firstname.lastname@example.org
Come share their dreams
Deepalaya table calendars are available for sale. Depicting the dreams and ambitions of our little friends, the calendar (size 8'X 5.5' with two color printing) is priced at just Rs.35/- Every purchase will help the children move closer to achieving their dreams.
Youthreach, one of our partner organizations has recently brought out a book 'If I were Rain' a visual testimonial tribute to the children of India living on the streets in poverty, exploitation and exclusion. Through their voices, art and poetry the children express their dreams and challenges. The book is priced at Rs.750(postage extra).
For copies /further enquiries please call at (+91 11) 91-11-28525908 or mail to email@example.com
Letters to the Editor
"We are delighted to note the progress of Deepalaya, an organization for the welfare of the children. It is also heartening to note the dedication and selfless service of the staff and the part played by them for improving the lives and uplifting the spirit of the underprivileged children. It is our pleasure to be associated with Deepalaya, a worthy institution for the society. Wishing all the staff and the children all the very best now and always."
Mr. Avinash and Ms. Poornima Gupta, (U.S.A.) sponsoring twenty five children on annual basis since Aug 1997.