New Delhi - Vol XIII no. 1, Jan - Mar 2005

Celebrating Partnerships

On 28 January, Deepalaya held the third in its series of Silver Jubilee celebrations. The occasion, 'Celebrating Partnerships', was marked by the release of the document Sah - Vikas: Symphony in Symbiosis. The book outlined the various partnerships that Deepalaya has forged in the past 25 years, "without which it would have been difficult to create better opportunities for the marginalised sections of society", acknowledged Rtn T.K. Mathew, Secretary and Chief Executive.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder Sulabh International, highlighted that in the successful partnership between voluntary organisations lies the success of any development initiative. He stressed that the greatest of all partnerships an NGO can develop is with the very communities that it is working with. This also ensures continuation of the efforts initiated.

The celebration was followed by a symposium. The theme focused on NGO partnerships with corporates, government, international agencies, the media and the community. The speakers, experts in their respective fields, included Mr Shankar Venkateswaran, Ms Jankirajan, Mr Vijay Sardana, Ms Usha Rai and Ms Mridula Bajaj. Their participation ensured a fruitful symposium.

In true spirit of partnership, the youth organisation Pravah also performed the interactive Theatre of the Oppressed, which provoked much thought and awareness during the interlude. The next Silver Jubilee event, 'Celebrating Workers' is scheduled for 1st May, '05. Please contact 91-11-28525908 for details.

Life Skills Development

Deepalaya is running a number of often very practically orientated courses for children and adults alike. Yet once the training is complete, many face difficulties in finding employment for example, which in turn is often caused by inexperience and low self-esteem. In other words, some of the most vital elements of training are sometimes excluded - life skills. Skills such as good body language and communication skills, knowledge about interview techniques and how to prepare bio data are necessary in all aspects of life.

For these reasons a workshop on life skills was conducted by Youthreach in February, for the Deepalaya alumni. The participants found the workshop very useful and relevant to their situation and we expect to hold more workshops of this kind. Similarly, together with its international partner International Youth Federation (IYF), Baltimore, Youth reach has developed a curriculum and implementation model in life skills for health and employability for disadvantaged youth in India.

The programme aims to equip them with the social and vocational competencies necessary to help them succeed in an environment of global competition, instant communications and cross-cultural interactions. The model, which is being tested on 1,500 young people in Delhi, Bangalore and Mexico City during 2005 and 2006, will be replicated in other countries too, if successful. Trainees at Deepalaya’s vocational training centres will benefit from this programme, which in total will include some 62 lessons of 45 minutes duration each.

The first phase of the programme, the training of trainers, was held from 7 to 11 February and included skills in handling difficult situations and students in alternative ways. The trainers who attended the session were very happy with the training they received. “ A brilliant initiative which will help our trainers and trainees cope better with the challenges of employability and day to day living,” says Ms.Jyoti Venkatesh, Manager VTC .

Community Clinic

On 25 February, the A.P. Dewan Memorial Community Clinic was inaugurated at the Deepalaya School in Kalkaji Extension. Students of the school along with their parents and other members of the community were present at the inauguration, as well as Ms.Chameli Dewan, Mr. Mathew and Rotarians. The clinic, which is manned by a MBBS doctor, aims to meet the health requirements of the community, particularly common ailments, reproductive health and counselling. Naturopathy and yoga will also be offered at the clinic. A symbolic registration fee of Rs 10 for six months is charged, and Rs 5 per consultancy. Medicines are provided free of cost in collaboration with a local chemist.

The Dilliwala Did It!

Having raised a whooping Rs.8.14 lakhs in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, Rtn. T.K. Mathew, was rewarded the trophy for the 'top pledge raiser of the Dream Team'. The reward also included return tickets for two to any South East Asian destination. With talk of the 'legendary figure in the field of social services' and 'a Dilliwalla (Delhi resident) winning the funds race', the news will translate into valuable publicity for Deepalaya. The money raised will go towards rehabilitating many more street children.

Thank You dear friends for making this possible. We look forward to your continued support.

CWLA Exchange runs for another Year

In January this year, eleven NGO representatives under the umbrella of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) visited projects run by Deepalaya and other NGOs in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. This was the second consecutive year of the CWLA exchange and during their stay the representatives were taken to Deepalaya schools and Deepalaya Gram in Gusbethi where they also visited the local villages.

The exchange was completed in March when nine representatives of the Indian hosts visited the US for an exposure on institutional

care and to join the CWLA annual conference. Mr. Mathew also received an award as a special recognition of initiating the exchange and seeing it through for the second year, as well as for having successfully piloted Deepalaya for over 25 years.


Welcome to Deepalaya Gram!

The visits provided both parties with insight into children’s conditions in other countries and the resources available for dealing with them. A follow-up meeting will be held in April, when the Indian NGO’s will discuss the implications and scope for implementing a foster care programme in India.

Sports for the Challenged

In March, Sports Days for the differently-abled were held in the West Delhi locations. The categories included 50 and 100 m runs, some even involving biscuits and balloons, soft ball throwing and tricycle races.

Some mothers also took part in the events. All were cheered on by the rest of the community who in doing so demonstrated the success of the events, which ultimately were aimed at fostering inclusion of the differently-abled.

Seminar on Inclusive Education

On 30 March, Deepalaya organised a seminar on how and to what extent inclusion of the disabled has been addressed under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), a Government programme for the Universalisation of Elementary Education.Speakers included Mr M. K. Rastogi,(Vocational Rehabilitation Centre), Mr Pattanayak, (SSA),Dr Asha Singh,(Lady Irwin College),Mr.Mishra (Educ.Dept) and Mr.Manavalan (AFPRO). The seminar was well attended and provided for a fruitful discussion and exchange of information and experiences.

Holi at Swagat Kendra

The street and working children of Okhla Mandi organized Holi celebrations at Swagat Kendra (South Delhi) this year. The drop-in centre, is a Deepalaya project which seeks to provide street and working children with non-institutional care. The Holi celebrations programme were arranged with the support of the Okhla Mandi Youth Group. The children played until every inch of their bodies were covered in colours and all that remained were smiling teeth and happy gazes!

A ‘Diplomatic’ Visit

On 4 February a delegation headed by Mr.Poncelet, the President of the French Senate and including the French ambassador to India, Mr.Girard visited Deepalaya’s project in Gole Kuan. While in Delhi for two days of high-level meetings, the President and his delegation thought it also fit to see “the other side” of Delhi during their brief stay. Deepalaya was recommended to the French embassy by a volunteer on the basis of the quality of our work.

The President interacted closely with the children and the group left having made a donation of Rs. 14,000/- in addition to leaving Deepalaya very honoured by their visit.

Annual Day

Deepalaya Gram celebrated its Annual Day on 15 January ‘05. Mr Amit Nehra, Bureau Chief Dainik Bhaskar was the Chief Guest. The first Rajni Varma Memorial Award was given to two outstanding students at the school – Ms Manju Bala and Ms Sameena. It was a proud moment for both of them. At the event, it was also announced that the boys of Transit Home at Deepalaya Gram had decided to give up non-vegetarian food for a month and the resulting savings of Rs. 2800/- to tsunami relief work. A colourful cultural programme presented by the children of Deepalaya School and trainees of the Vocational Training Centre made the Annual Day an enjoyable event.

Children become Computer Literate

Thirty children of the Special Unit, Sanjay Colony attended a computer-training course in February. This was sponsored by NIIT. The course included basics such as using the mouse as well as more complicated topics such as writing a word document and opening an e-mail account. At the end of the course the children were rewarded certificates and a follow-up training will later be conducted at the unit at Sanjay Colony.

Science made Interesting

A science education workshop was conducted for the students of Deepalaya Schools in March. The workshop, which was arranged under the Shell volunteering scheme, required active participation from the children and was therefore highly effective as well as enjoyable for the children. Simple demonstrations and activities explained complicated processes such as respiration and circulation in living beings. For example, the children were asked to count how many breaths they take in a minute, to measure their own pulse rate, and to listen to their own heart through a home-made stethoscope. The talk will serve to inspire children for their future science classes, and to enlighten teachers regarding effective and enjoyable teaching methods.

Letter to the Editor

It's been more than five months with Deepalaya but it seems like less than five days. It is only when I look back at how much I have grown that I realise I have actually been here for quite some time.

As a Swedish-Australian development graduate, I have been volunteering with the Communications and Fundraising Division, writing the internal bulletin,this very newsletter, as well as formulating proposals and other documents. This has given me the opportunity to understand how projects are developed, funded and managed, and ultimately reach our beneficiaries. It has also given me insight into Indian working culture.

I have loved every minute spent with Deepalaya children.Some of them show such strength of character that I wonder what I have to give that these children don't already know. Most of my interactions have been with Deepalaya staff however. The people I have been working with are genuinely committed individuals who always remember the very people they are working for. Deepalaya manages to maintain a beautifully professional yet friendly atmosphere, and it has been both easy and fun to blend in as a foreigner and as a volunteer.

Liesl Karlsson-Ward

Alumni in the Spotlight

My name is Geeta Pal and I have been teaching at the Deepalaya School, Kalkaji Extension for the past two years while also pursuing my graduation. My father works as a clerk and my mother is a housewife.

I was enrolled in Deepalaya School in UKG. After completing grade VIII I moved to a nearby government school. But I could not continue there as I found the environment different and difficult, and I returned to Deepalaya to completed my schooling.

The reasons for coming back were what I missed at Deepalaya. The teachers made us feel so special and cared for us. Studying at Deepalaya gave me confidence in dancing, singing, debating and in drama – and with accolades. My family too is happy that I have had this chance to grow.

I had always aspired to be a teacher and Deepalaya has given me that opportunity too. I really am thankful to my sponsor parent Mr Deepak Bahl and Deepalaya – the two ‘deeps’ of my life have indeed lit up my life!



Global CSR Excellence & Leadership award presented by ABP News to Deepalaya