New Delhi - July - September 2004
Fifteenth July 2004. A red letter day in Deepalaya's history. For the red carpet was laid out to welcome the children of Deepalaya to the Rashtrapati Bhawan,the official residence of the President of India, H.E. Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam. The occasion-the eve of Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Deepalaya.
Says Chandni, "From the moment he walked in, the President made us feel comfortable. He asked us our names and ambition and shared many jokes. He explained about the creation of the universe and the earth. We were asked many questions and he clapped loudly for all right answers."
The children were accompanied by the Deepalaya Board members and teachers. The colorful presentation on the Dances of India, by the students was appreciated by all. This was followed by song of unity,"Hum Sab Bhartiya Hain",(we are all Indians despite religous/regional disparities), a sentiment the President always highlights in his address.
The memorable meeting ended with recitation of a pledge specially prepared by the President. It exhorted the children to transform India into a developed nation.
The meet with the President was a befitting flag-off to the inauguration of Deepalaya's year long Silver Jubilee celebrations on 16th July 2004.The Chief Minister of Delhi, Smt Sheila Dikshit was the Chief Guest and the function was presided over by Dr.Kapila Vatsayan, eminent artist and Chairperson Asia Project, India International Centre. A large gathering of friends, donors, funding partners, Rotarians, staff and students attended.
The highlight of the day was the release of the publication,"Child Achievers" which narrates the life stories of children, who have made a success of their lives with the support of Deepalaya. The 'Achievers', were felicitated by the honored guests. Founding members, Board members and volunteers were also honored for their valuable contributions to Deepalaya. Corporates /Funding partners/Volunteers spoke highly of Deepalaya's commitment and professionalism.
Cultural programs presented by the Deepalaya students added further colors to the celebrations.
The Inaugural function was followed by a symposium on the 'Right to Education for The Marginalized' .The speakers were from the fields of sociology, judiciary ,the government and NGO sector. All reiterated that steps must be taken to make 'education for all' a reality. Deepalaya's contributions to achieving this was appreciated by them.
Having started with the child , Deepalaya's focus then moved to the 'family'. The 11th of September 2004 saw a "Celebration of Families" as the next obvious step to mark the second Jubilee celebrations. The occasion was marked by the release of the publication "Families that have made a Difference". The book shares the travails of 25 families and the role Deepalaya has played in shaping their life for the better. Speaking on the occasion Ms. Nirmala Deshpande, eminent Gandhian and MP emphasized that "Friendship begins within the family". A symposium on "Families in Different Faith Perspectives" marked the celebrations. Speakers shared the viewpoints from the Sarvodaya, Bahai, Hindu, Christian, Sikh and Muslim faiths. For presentations of the symposiums and the publications released, please contact us at www.deepalaya.org email@example.com
Alumni In The Spotlight
I am Harender, pursuing a diploma program in Electronics & Communications at the Pusa Institute,Delhi. My association with Deepalaya, goes back to when I was a pre-schooler. The Deepalaya balwadi (preschooler) was my first school.
My father earns a living as a petty hawker, my mother is a housewife and my two younger siblings are still in school.
Throughout my schooling, it was Deepalaya's constant guidance and support, which kept me going. My teachers have been encouraging, patient and have taught me to "achieve".It was proud moment for all when I scored 72% in my class XII exams. It is Deepalaya who has pushed me into joining this professional course -my parents could not afford this. Deepalaya has once again stepped in,providing me the with scholarship from Ms.Laj Rani, mother of Mr. Jyoti Sagar, a trusted friend of Deepalaya.Thank you Mataji.
I am confident of securing a good job after this course. My family will be more settled and this has all been possible to the organization's support. Thank you Deepalaya.
All Aboard And Off To School
August 2004, its 8.00 am but the village of Patuka (in rural Haryana) wears a deserted look. It has been raining all night. But as the bright yellow school bus enters the narrow lanes of the village, the air is filled with the excited shrieks of “bus aa gayi” (the bus has come). And then from all around, come the young students (a notable number being girls)- bags clutched tightly as they jostle their way into the bus. All aboard, the door closes and off they are to Deepalaya School, Gusbethi, least bothered by the rain.
No one would have ever guessed that this was to be the result of a chance visit of Ms. Louise Niehe, wife of the Dutch ambassador to India to the Deepalaya School, in Delhi,earlier this year.
Ms. Niehe was on an exploratory trip to recommend a good, reliable NGO to a friend wanting to support a cause in India. Her strong recommendation connected Bijenkorf a leading departmental store chain in the Netherlands to Deepalaya. As part of a nearly month long Glamour of India show, the store sold ethnic Indian products.50% of the sale proceeds of a bag was earmarked to Deepalaya The drive was widely publicized on the store’s website and other publicity materials.
A whooping 25,000 Euros was raised which went towards procuring the bus (a 32 seater) & partially subsidizing the cost of a 10 seater van to transport differently abled children.
Mr. J.C.Berger, the Director of the chain chose Deepalaya because, “I had a strong feedback that Deepalaya was nurturing tender young lives towards a secure future through education.”
The bus was procured from Eicher Motors Ltd. which gave a discount of Rs.50,000 on the cost of the bus and also offered free maintenance for the next two years.
The bus will facilitate children from the nearby villages to have an easy access to school. Moreover, lack of transportation was one of the major reason for the low enrolment rate of girls in the school. This has now been addressed.
Thank you Ms. Niehe for your valuable reference!
On The Move
This is Geeta, a resident of Dwarka, (resettlement area in South West Delhi) She could only move by dragging herself on the ground as her lower limbs are too weak to bear her weight. And a large protrusion on her back, makes it more difficult. She has always been confined to her house, children call her names & think she is funny. Her parents have left no stone unturned to get her treated. But with increasing age, it also became difficult to carry her around.
But that was the past. Geeta now attends a nearby government school,regularly goes for phsiotherapy and is gaining experience and confidence. All this has happened after she received a tricycle from Deepalaya.
The organization has been working in the area for the past one and a half years. The focus is on 'mainstreaming and inclusion of differently abled children, with special focus on girls."
The project, supported by the British High Commission, caters to a population of over 6000 households in seven slum communities in West Delhi.
The activities commenced with identifying the disabled and generating awareness on issues of disability. This spread the message that 'the disabled should not be shunned, but rather viewed in light of their different abilities". Within a period of six months, over 200 children were identified. They were provided with specialized individual intervention. The Namtech Business School (Delhi) and American Express Bank have also helped setting up therapy centers in the community, a much needed service.
Linkages have also been established with rehabilitation centers, Government institutions and other NGOs for providing necessary intervention .A core group of parents are also being trained to act as an advocacy group.
Since July this year, regular meetings are being conducted with Government and private schools in the vicinity. The agenda is to promote admissions and sensitize the teachers on issues of the disabled. Over 25 children have been admitted ."The response has been warm.Wherever we have been successful in
admitting our children, the school authorities are taking special care to help the children settle in well," says Iftikar Alam, Program Executive. Special education classes and therapy programs will soon prepare more children for admission. "I am now more confident about Geeta's future", says her mother Hansmukhi. And so are many more families, as their children surge ahead to a self reliant and dignified future.
Medics On Board
Not one or two but a total of forty cadets, trained in the basics of First Aid and more.
In August 2004, students of class VIII & IX, Deepalaya School were trained by the Medical Cadets Organization, Israel. The most important training the children received was with regard to the triangle of life-brain-heart-lungs and on the vital cardio pulmonary resuscitation. "This training has been very valuable, teaching me how to attend to minor health problems and save lives. In my neighborhood, I am now called "Chotte (junior) Dr. Saab", says Rahul Verma, a student of Class IX.
A Secure Bond!
To commemorate reaching a landmark of one million insurance policies, ICICI Prudential Insurance has extended its cover to deserving and needy children in five cities. In Delhi, the partnership is with Deepalaya. 10 students, have received the unique insurance cover. The one time premium of Rs.20,000/ child has been paid by the company. Each child will get the maturity amount of Rs.21,000/- at the age of 18yrs.
This money is to be used to support the child's higher education/business development, under the NGO's supervision.
The Bond has brought much relief to the families. "I was worried about how I would sustain my daughter Tamanna's education, with my meager income as a tailor," says Om Prakash, a resident of Gole Kuan slums. But with the Bond, he sure is a relieved father, confident of helping his daughter become a "Doctor".
This link with ICICI Prudential has been made through the GIVE Foundation, promoting online donations to charities.
Parent's Day Out
Students of the British School, (VIIth-IXth grade) New Delhi are proud parents. Yes! amazing isn't it. Five Deepalaya students are indeed happy to have such young,energetic and caring sponsor parents. This association started five years back, with grade VII sponsoring one child. They motivated their successors to do the same. And since then the family continues to grow.
"Each student contributes towards the sponsorship. And we make it a point to visit Deepalaya every year. Meeting the sponsored child adds further value to this relationship," says Mamta Govil, Community Services Coordinator at the school. Thank you dear children, we too are proud of you.
Are you on the lookout for trained manpower in the fields of electricals/ electronics, A/C and refrigeration, computer hardware/software, dress designing and beauty culture? Then please contact the Deepalaya Employment Bureau-we have a database of over 500 candidates trained at the Deeplaya Vocational Centres in Delhi and Haryana. Perfetti India has already absorbed candidates for industrial training at their plant in Haryana. Thank You Perfetti and a sincere appeal to all to come forward and give the children a chance. Contact 91-11-28525908 for more information.
To mark the Silver Jubilee Celebrations, Deepalaya presents a special range of souvenirs. T-Shirts (with and without collar ) are available in three sizes for just Rs.150/- each. Attractive coffee mugs will cost you just Rs.30/-each. (discounts on bulk purchase)
Bright and colorful Deepalaya Greeting cards designed by the children are also available. The cards are priced at Rs.8/-. (discounts on bulk order.)
Helpline To The Rescue
For authentic, practical,sincere and confidential cancer related information call 26711212. The service brought to you by Cansupport is available from 10.00am - 5.00pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Did You Know...
In August 2004,the Give Foundation has certified Deepalaya to be one of the 70 Indian NGO’s complying with the minimum norms of the Credibility Alliance –a certification that assures that all donations made to Deepalaya will be utilized well and all donors will know how their contribution has made a difference. More details available in the Annual Report 2003-04. Please contact us for a copy.
Letter To The Editor
In July, when I volunteered to teach at Deepalaya School, uncertainty was staring me in the face. But with each passing day and teaching period, I went on to establish beautiful relationships, which are stories in themselves.
The student's eagerness to learn leaves me amazed. They make a sincere and determined effort to reach out to their dreams with the knowledge that is being imparted. They work hard to seek opportunities with what is available unlike those who just assume opportunities for granted.
The encouraging and nurturing atmosphere the children have at Deepalaya leaves me touched. The staff all over is here with a mission in their heart. It's been a pleasure discovering Deepalaya.
Ms. Sakshi Kapoor - a volunteer teaching English at Deepalaya School, Kalkaji Extension