New Delhi, Volume XVI No. 1, Jan - March 2008
The Shooting Star
Look what I won!
Nilofar Khan, a student of class X, Deepalaya School, Kalkaji Extn. has done us proud by making it to the Delhi State team in Netball.
It all began thus. A year back the Naz Foundation had approached Deepalaya to conduct a leadership program as well as netball training for deprived children. Ms. Deepali Sharma, an international netball player who has been volunteering for the Naz Foundation, trained a number of our students. Nilofar easily stood out with her innate skills for the sport.What is more, she was ready to put in long hours of training and pick up the finer points of the game. Her efforts paid off and she was selected for the Delhi State team. The Delhi team played five matches at Raipur in January this year, against Chandigarh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Chattisgarh and won all of them. An ace shooter her contribution was significant for Delhi in clinching the title. She was awarded a gold medal and an individual trophy for her efforts. Nilofar is now a National Level player. It had not been an easy journey to success. Initially, her father took strict objection to Nilofar wearing shorts or going out of Delhi. After much persuasion and counselling by the Principal, Ms. Shikha Pal, he relented and is today a supportive parent. The family today is thankful for all the opportunities and the encouraging environment which has brought laurels for their child. Nilofar’s confidence has increased greatly and she aims to become a regular international player for which she is training hard.
Regional NGO Award 2007
Deepalaya has added yet another feather in its cap by bagging the Regional Award 2007 (North India) in the medium category at the Indian NGO Award ceremony held at New Delhi. Resource Alliance and the Nand and Jeet Khemka Foundation in collaboration with COVA, Gram Vikas and SP Jain Institute of Management and Research conferred the award on Deepalaya for promoting best practices in accountability and transparency. Mr. A.J. Philip, President, Deepalaya received the award. The Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram was the Chief Guest and Mr. N. R Narayana Murthy, Chairman & Chief Mentor- Infosys Technologies Ltd. was the Guest of Honour at the award function.
Mr. A.J. Philip, President Deepalaya, receiving the NGO Award
Deepalaya was a clear winner as it was found to be the best in its efforts to provide a gamut of services that cater to the integrated development of marginalized children. The nominees were evaluated on effective and sustainable mobilization of resources from the local community, demonstration of efficient management of resources, good governance practices, transparency and accountability and the impact of its services on its beneficiaries.
The Finance Minister praised the selfless service of the NGOs. Undoubtedly the award would encourage the Deepalaya family to double its efforts.
Rocking to Jazz
Students of Deepalaya had a rocking time on 29th January 2008 as the world famous Theloniuos Monk Institute of Jazz performed for them. This Institute helps students develop imaginative thinking, creativity, a positive self image and a respect for their own and others’ cultural heritage. They were in India on an educational and cultural tour.
During their performance, the artists built an instant rapport with the children and shared their knowledge of Jazz with them. For the first time the children were exposed to knowledge about musical instruments like base guitar, drums and keyboard used in Jazz, as the group explained about each instrument in very simple language for the children.
Their programme was followed by lively dance and song performances by the talented children from Deepalaya. With dance as an add-on, Deepalaya children had a fabulous time
While the developing world invests its scarce resources in spreading education among its population rapidly, some critical areas get neglected. Just to cite two instances, the linkages between the schools and the teacher training institutes are weak. Also there needs to be greater synergy and exchange of ideas between countries to address educational issues.
These were some of the focus areas of the second Worldwise conference that took place at the Windesheim University of Professional Education at Netherlands between 8-16 February 2008. Nine countries had sent in their representatives.
Deepalaya, the only Indian NGO, was represented by Ms. Sudha Parthasarathy, Deputy Director Marketing. Deepalaya was chosen because of its existing contacts with the organizers. The conference was supported by Edukans Foundation and Oikos Foundation.
Making up the Indian way
Each of the representatives spoke about the experience of their counties in promoting education and the current challenges. The Indian experience with spreading education and the present day issues in the context of Deepalaya Schools were highlighted. All the students who attended the Conference were teacher trainees. The major points that emerged were: Education should be child focused and learning be made an enjoyable and stimulating experience. It should be made compulsory for the youth to meet the challenges of globalization.
All the representatives were taken on a tour of the Primary, Secondary/ Vocational and special schools where child-centered approach to education stood out. The infrastructure in these schools is child focused and the environment is creatively designed. Were we also to introduce these in full measure, our students would benefit immensely.
The students at the Conference were enthusiastic to learn about Indian culture and were fascinated by the Indian way of dressing, specially with sarees and bindis.
Annual Day Celebrations
Deepalaya School, Sanjay Colony celebrated its Annual Day on 9th January 2008. Mrs. Ethel Lowen, mother of Sharon Lowen, a friend of Deepalaya, was the Chief Guest. At the function, the all-round proficiency award, ’Manasa’ set up by Mrs. Lowen, was won by Ritu from Class VIII. There were scintillating dances, hilarious plays in English and group songs. Prizes for various categories were given away. An innovative Best Parents’ Award was given to Mr. Shiv Pratap and Mrs. Usha Devi for their support towards the over all educational development of theirchildren, Naveen (Class IX) and Shikha (Class VI).
Mrs. Lowen was extremely happy to meet Durga, the child whose corrective eye surgery she had sponsored.
On 12th January 2008, Ramditti J.R. Narang Deepalaya School celebrated its Annual Day. Mrs. Annie Koshy, Principal, St. Mary’s School, was the Chief Guest. The guests of honour were Ms. Shivani Wazir, Ms. Ambika Pillai, Mrs. Asha Narang, Dr. Virendar Sahgal & Mrs. Sangeeta Sahgal. There was a well conducted cultural program comprising of songs and dances. Seventeen children got awards for academic performance, art and craft etc.
On 4th March 2008, Deepalaya School at Gusbethi celebrated its Annual Day. Ruksar, a Meo muslim girl of Class VI played the role of Benazir Bhutto. Mr. Aas Mohammed, the Principal, felicitated Mr. Satbir Singh Sherawat, Block Education Officer, the Chief Guest who had been his teacher. Mr. Sunil Kumar Pandey, an invitee from Didi Fashion, Colvetta Foundation was the Guest of Honour. The Chief Guest promised to support the school in getting due recognition from the Government. The Principal presented the Annual Report of the school. A number of cultural programs followed and prizes were distributed to the children.
Deepalaya School, Kalkaji Extn. has been winning accolades due to its various achievements. The School has now been honoured by the Oxfordshire County Council in recognition of the international partnership the school has forged with Larkrise School at Oxford, UK. In part, the certificate reads as “This is to certify that Deepalaya School, New Delhi, India has been an important contributory partner in Larkrise Primary School’s Achievement of the International School Award”.
The association with Larkrise School began in May 2001 when Ms. Shikha Pal, Principal of the School, had visited them. Larkrise School, which has a large number of students of South Asian origin, wanted to establish links with schools in India and Pakistan. They chose Deepalaya from Delhi. Children and teachers from both schools have developed friendships and have exchanged letters, photographs, craft items etc., thereby developing a deep understanding and appreciation of each others’ culture.
HDFC’s Health Initiative
The HDFC Bank has extended a support of Rs. Five Lakhs to Deepalaya to fund its project on “Comprehensive health care for underprivileged children from six slum clusters in South Delhi”. Under the project, 1500 children will benefit and gain protection from, Hepatitis, T.B., Malaria, Dengue, Skin diseases and ENT problems. HDFC has taken an exemplary step and shown the way for other corporates to follow.
On February 21-22, Mr. Ramesh Dewan of Dewan Foundation, UK,
Mr. Daniel Khan, Principal and
Mr. Mike Dillion, Vice-Principal, The Grimsby Institute, London visited Deepalaya. The intention was to evaluate the training given at the Vocational Training Institute, Kalkaji Extension and see if it qualifies for accreditation from a University in the UK. They pointed out areas like curriculum for various courses, the pedagogy and hands on experience for students which could be improved further.
The visitors were full of praise for the high level of motivation among the students and the clean hygienic surroundings within the school. The computer section was rated as excellent with well organized systems and proper documentation in place.
The French Connection
Yet another instance of going international. Fifteen students from Deepalaya School, Kalkaji Extension are participating in a French Opera, ’Carmen of Bizet’, produced by the Neemrana Group. This connect came about through the efforts of Mr. Pascal Fautrat, a volunteer at Deepalaya who has been teaching English to our students for the past couple of months. Being a member of the Opera Group and thoroughly convinced about the multifarious abilities of our students, Mr. Fautrat made this possible.
The Opera is based on the life of a girl named Carmen, who is very beautiful but fickle. Twelve of our students (10 girls and 2 boys) are part of junior group while Anand, Nitin and Ratan have joined the adult choir group. All have been practising rigorously and the show will go public in April 2008. Anand, Nitin and Ratan have a passion for music and want to be Radio Jockeys if not playback singers. Once again our students have shown us what they can do if given a chance.
We take the opportunity to thank Mr. Fautrat and Ms. Gabriela, the Choir Director for giving the children yet another opportunity.
Environmental degradation is a serious concern, the world over. Inculcating a commitment among the youth, for the preservation and protection of environment, therefore, becomes an issue of paramount importance.
Six Deepalaya students participated in an inter school workshop addressing environmental concerns organized by Navdanya, at Aurobindo Ashram, New Delhi. The children were asked to write on how they visualized a better Delhi. They elaborated on their vision of the world they would like to live in and what they would do to make that possible. Though our children were hesitant initially, they warmed up soon and actively participated in the entire process. This exposure has helped them gain knowledge about protecting our environment.
Letter to the Editor
Steve and Chris, engineers from London, had visited various Deepalaya projects in February ’08. They were impressed with the work going on at Deepalaya. What they said is revealing.
Some excerpts: “We are fortunate to have been able to see the work of Deepalaya. We are really privileged to have been able to see and experience the other India. Most people from England get to see the Taj Mahal, the beggars and other tourist spots and go with mixed feelings about India. Our experience was a real education which no school or university can give us. Children happily learning, teachers full of commitment and everyone contented. It left us with a feeling of real joy and happiness. We would like to thank Deepalaya very much for the hospitality and for letting us get to know the excellent work it is doing. Our visit was a very uplifting experience and we would very much like to help Deepalaya with its work. Thank you once again.”
Alumni in the Spotlight
I am Arif Khan and have five brothers and one sister. My father is a metals scrap dealer and my mother is a homemaker. Me and one of my brothers joined Deepalaya while the rest studied at a government school. I was slow in learning initially, but improved over the years. The constant motivation and encouragement that teachers at Deepalaya provided, played a large role in this change. I did well in both academics and arts and sports and won many prizes in competitions.
Deepalaya had sent me to Mumbai in 2004 to take part in Seeds Educational Workshop organized by Schlumberger. At the workshop I learnt communication and other soft skills and these are helping me even today. Having passed my Senior Secondary Exams from Deepalaya through NIOS, I am now in the final and sixth semester of the multimedia course from Manipal University. My aim is to become a character designer in animation movies.
Education has made a big difference to me. My brothers are not as well educated and though we are now quite well off, they lack the opportunities that are open to me. Second, remaining in touch with Deepalaya even after leaving school benefited me as I learnt a lot from the career counselling workshops. I am grateful to Deepalaya and feel that no one should neglect his/her education.
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