New Delhi - April - June 2004
A Difference in the Making
On 16th July 1979, Deepalaya began its journey on the path to change. The fellow travellers included the economically and socially marginalized and concerned members of society. The purpose was to build a society based on legitimate rights, equity, justice, honesty, social sensitivity and a culture of service in which all are self reliant. The Investment was Rs.17,500 and a huge quantum of dedication and commitment.
25 years later Deepalaya reaped profits in the form of these thousands of smiles and confident steps towards a secure and dignified future.
COME JOIN DEEPALAYA IN CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF RESTORING CHILDHOOD. The year long celebrations was inaugurated by Smt. Shiela Dixit, Chief Minister, Delhi on July 16th 2004 at the FICCI Auditorium, New Delhi at 10.30 am.
Towards a New Dawn
Equal participation of both men and women is a crucial factor in ensuring sustainable development and improving the overall quality of life. Deepalaya's Gender Equity program essentially aims at ensuring this.
Over 700 women (from 18 slum clusters) in the age group of 16-30 years have been regularly attending awareness programs on para legal matters, leadership training, personality development, family life education etc. No, the intention is not to bring in a women's liberation movement but to inspire women to empower themselves and take decisions affecting themselves and their families.
Ten couples were selected from among this group, to highlight the fact that men and women together make a happy family. Their life stories was published in the form of a book titled "Ek Nayi Subah ki Aur" (towards a new dawn) which emphasises that mutual respect and cordial relations are necessary for a successful marriage. The book was officially releaed on the 18th of April 2004 by Ms.Jyotsna Chatterjee Director,Joint Women's Program in the presence of Rtn.T K Mathew, Secretary and Chief Executive Deepalaya and other staff and community members. Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Chatterjee complimented Deepalaya for its consistent efforts to bring women into the mainstream. She also congratulated the 10 couples for their
formula for a successful family life. Their life stories would serve to motivate many others to adopt similar practices.
Ms.Ambell with the trainees
In April 2004, a delegation from the American Express Bank visited Deepalaya School Kalkaji Extension. Led by Ms.Joan Ambell, Sr.V P Global Corporate Controller and Mr.Kevin Mahoney Sr.V P Global Reporting , the visitors interacted closely with the students and vocational trainees.
The visit was followed by Ms. Ambell launching the Deepalaya girl child sponsorship program back at their office in Delhi. Till date 42 sponsorships have been taken up by the staff.
Alumni in the Spotlight
I am Debashree Das, (nee Jana), and am the IIIrd grade class teacher at Starex International School in Delhi. I studied at Deepalaya till class VIII and then went on to complete my education from a government school . My father worked as a part time tailor and struggled hard to make ends meet. My parents being illiterate did not want the same fate for me and my two sisters. Deepalaya stepped in to help them achieve their dreams. It gave us education at minimal costs. The journey through Deepalaya has made me a confident, independent and self reliant individual.
The teachers always made us feel special, pushing us to excel in academics as well as extra curricular activities. I was one of the 60 children who went to the Netherlands on a cultural exchange program. Infact it is my teachers who have inspired me to become one like them. For this I am thankful to Deepalaya and my sponsor parent Mr.Thomas Grosche.
My best wishes to Deepalaya on completing 25 years. May many more needy children come up under your care and guidance.
Learning Is Now Fun
Shabash! Bahut Acche!" (Good, very good)-hearing these words of encouragement, Sita a hearing impaired child , puts down her earphones and runs back to her seat.She has completed a lesson on 'Domestic Animals' at the special education center at Deepalaya School in Okhla, (South Delhi). The encouraging words come not from her teacher, but from the computer installed there!!
At the Centre, moderately mentally-challenged and hearing impaired children are taught concepts of numbers, colors, objects etc through a special software. This has been developed by the "C are' n Cure Society" under Project SMART (Software for Mental Acceleration And Resource Training). The software is multimedia based and is available in both English and Hindi.
Nearly 40 children are benefiting from this package. "Learning has now become interesting and fun," says Sudhir Kumar the speech therapist. A fact reiterated by the other children, through sign language. Parents of the children are also invited to come and see their children working on the computer. And they go back believing in their child's abilities rather than disabilities!!
A Nurturing Environment
For hundreds of children working under harsh conditions at the Okhla wholesale vegetable market, there is finally some respite. In May 2004, Deepalaya opened a drop-in shelter, where these children can come for some rest, learning, sharing their problems, receive medical attention, and most important of all, get some kind words of affection and encouragement.
A survey conducted at the market revealed that the tender lives work under inhuman conditions and spend long hours at work (often as head loaders) and receive inadequate wages. Many children are working to supplement their family income. For those who live alone, every penny earned gets them two square meals a day. When that does not come by, they often eat the waste fruits and vegetables lying around which are usually rotten.
To sensitize the general public as well as the trade union leaders, shop keepers, and the truck drivers about issues affecting these children, Deepalaya regularly conducts street plays, puppet shows etc. Many have appreciated our interventions and have encouraged their "little workers" to join, once work is over. The drop-in shelter is located in the nearby slum where many of these children live. For the younger children, Deepalaya provides recreation, health and non-formal education. Vocational training in electricals and electronics, motor mechanic etc are being explored for the older children. Counseling on abuse, health issues, relation with society at large forms an integral part of this program. The project team is at present in touch with over 90 children.
Deepalaya also plans to refer the destitute children to its hostel at Deepalaya Gram, Gusbethi, Haryana.
Volunteers for teaching (academics/art-craft/ music-dance etc.) and counseling are welcome. For further details contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
School For All
Since April 2004, Deepalaya has been partnering with the Delhi government under the Universalisation of Elementary Education Mission(UEEM) in the slums of South Delhi. This program will formally mainstream children not covered under any education program. Eight hundred such children in the age group of 6-14 years have been identified to be covered through 20 learning centers. Of these, 12 have become functional. The program also reaches out to disabled children. The government will pay Rs.845/- per child annually. The curriculum, syllabi and course material are recommended by the UEEM. Due emphasis is also given to teachers training and refresher programs.
At the end of the year, the UEEM shall test the children. Those who secure above a particular grade will be mainstreamed into formal school.
In March 2004, the N L Berry Charitable clinic was inaugurated at the Sanjay Colony slums in South Delhi. Sponsored by the Berry family, the services include general diagnosis and treatment for common ailments. The clinic is a blessing for the inhabitants of the nearby slum clusters. "These people have been at the mercy of the quacks practicing in the area. They are now getting quality care at nominal costs," says Ms.Lalita the health worker.
A registration amount of Rs.5/- is being charged per visit. This goes towards clinic maintenance. Medicines are dispensed and complicated cases referred to the nearby hospitals.
Age No Bar
The age limit for admission at the RJRNDeepalaya School in South Delhi has now been extended to include adolescent girls and young mothers. They are now enrolled in the non formal education program which is supported by the Foundation Children of Tomorrow of the Netherlands.
A majority of the students here are first generation learners. Their parents however expressed an interest to become literate.The men encouraged the women to enroll as, they spent more time with the children.
The program along with literacy classes also provides for training in tailoring and dress making. Knowledge on health, nutrition and child care etc. is also imparted.
Like all children, students at Deepalaya look forward to vacation time. Not because school closes down but because it remains open!! But there are no studies .