Saturday, December 20, 2008

Clean road campaign - Pune

Hey hello everybody... 
We all (Deepak S, Deepak P, Ashish and his Parents, Nupur, Ashwini, Gagan, Amit, Sameer D Sir,Preetam, Priyanka, Surendra, Swati, Jeevan, Jyoti..... (Junta pls add the names if I had missed out anyone..) )
Starting on with the Shramadan....
All of us... were there on the lanes of Donge Apla Ghar Ashram.... picking up the mud and clear off the big stones and mending the road... for a change we had all the techies sweating out on the scenic hillock of Donge.... Must say.. Kaka was there encouraging all of us and yeah working too....... it seemed as if we were on a great mission full of enthu and beaming energy cheering each other, laughing and cracking jokes too........ In nutshell an ultimate example of Teamwork by Team DI .......can be seen on the way to the Aapla Ghar Aashram at Donge the approx 1 Km stretch road was ready to use.
Kaam k baad Dhamaal
The evening program started off with the Marathi traditional folk songs more famously known as Barood sung by two elderly women.
Kudos to their energy level at that age too..... they were really awesome...... sending out the goodie goodie messages specially for the kids like being helpful to talking about the worldly pleasures to youth...their songs had it all......the best thing was the way things were presented. :) This was followed by the felicitation of the singers.
Bhogan time
The mausis of Apla ghar served mast mast traditional dishes with hot kheer as desert.....
Baccho ka Kamaal
Now starts the asli dhamal..........the AG kids did wonders....with their dancing and singing talents....offcourse with Deepak dada n Priyanka didi's creative guidance. Itta mast tha k Kaka ne bakshish b di... :)
All of us singing our gutts out in the moonlit chilly night around the campfire.....and ya how can I miss out...Amit playing his mouthorgan...kya fundu bajata hai yar good going... sahi mein had an awesome evening boss!!!
Thanks to all !!! (padhnewalo ko bhi.... :p )

Warm Regards,

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chennai - Valasarawakkam updates

Dear all,
Classes at Valsai is going on fine. Some 2 months back we had only 4 students coming to class regularly. The strenght drastically reduced from about 20 to just 4. Even we had some 8 girls coming to classes for some 4 weeks. But after their quarterly examinations girls stopped coming and some boys also. Think it may be due to their examination results.

As of now about ten boys are coming to classes. We regularly teach computers. The strength is consistent for the past 4 to 5 weeks. I think the parents of these students are very much worried about their MARKS now itself. Many students are going to tuitions now itself. And parents are feeling this class does not increase their performance in examinations. Hence I feel they are reluctant to sent their children. Probably from next year we need to take classes for Sixth students, who are relatively free from pressure of examinations and marks.

Thank god we have now 10 student and some 5 to 6 of them are really interested in learning and intelligent also. They are really gaining a lot from the classes.


Chennai Anna Nagar Update

Dear All,

Things have been moving at a slow pace in Anna Nagar classes. But thankfully - steadily.

Rains did hit our classes badly and water had entered a lotta homes in the street crippling the day to day activity of our kids and their families. Few houses don't actually have floors - which meant - water actually seeped into their homes from the ground also; bad state.

We did not have classes during that Saturday; Durai was able to go in on Sunday. However, we contiued with our classes from the following week. Last week, they did not have power supply for three continuous days - not sure if it continued after last Sunday.

Thanks to Amsa and family (the owners of our classroom) - they had already cleaned our class room by removing all the water that came in with all their hard work. This actually saved us a lot of time and start off the classes immediately.

The kids are in good shape and thankfully no illness or casualties because of the rains.

September 2008 marked the completion of the first year of our Small Savings scheme. With all the hard work and diligence shown by the kids, we were able to sustain the SSS for 11 kids (as planned). The second year of the SSS could have started on a better note though. Thanks to rain and Teacher's/Children's day celebrations the kids had in their schools, not much contribution came in from the kids for the months of October and November. As always, we were able to fill in and make up the initiative going.

Thanks and Regards,
Chennai Anna Nagar Classes.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Plans for Adyar school

Dear Friends,

I met Mr.Jayaram, the HM of the Adyar School today morning. Thought of giving you all a quick updates on the meeting.

  • Date for elocution competition, quiz and others: We have decided to conduct the program on Saturday, Jan 24th, 2009. The prize distribution would be done on 26th to mark the republic day.

  • Sunday, 28th, 2008 would be the day for Birla planetarium visit. Will speak to SV home and most probably club this together. HM requested me to get a written letter permission from each of the children's parents. There are around 15 of them and we would take care of it coming week.

  • Computers: Rotary club [ We know Mr.Rajshekar who heads this very well ], has already donated 5 to 6 computers, but they are just being kept idle in a room. HM agreed to let us check the state of the PC's and install them properly this Saturday after the class. I have told him that Dream India can deploy a computer teacher paying a salary of 1500 - 2000rs per month. Until we find a teacher, I would be visiting the school on day time to teach children.
Just a very pleasing note: Looks like even during that terrible weekend when rains lashed Chennai, Children had come for the classes. But HM asked them to leave as he knew it would be tough to conduct classes. "We have got a bunch of kids who are really sincere and it is our duty to ensure we give them the best" - This is what each volunteer at Adyar feel.

Each of the projects above would be shared with all city group with complete documents. I have copied only Chennai and Bangalore because people from nearby can plan to join one of the events.

Dream India

"Hesitating to act because the whole vision might not be achieved, or because others do not yet share it, is an attitude that only hinders progress." - Mahatma

Updates from Chennai Chapter

Dear Friends,

Chennai is still recovering from the recent heavy lashing of rains and this has resulted in postponing a lot of events planned by us. However, I am writing this to you to all to give you an overall idea of what we plan to do in the near future.

Adyar Class:

The Adyar class is going on fine. We have 15 students who attends the classes regularly. These children are really eager to learn and classes these days happens for more than 2 hours. The students simply do not want us to leave.

Plans for Adyar:

  • Children to share their work on Dream India Year book within two weeks. [ It is half yearly time, so all would need extra time.]
  • Children's trip to Birla Planetarium
  • Trying to conduct a workshop on create stuff using clay. I have already written to Mr.Vincent about the same. Details on what it is
  • Conduct elocution competition, Quiz program and others for students from 6th to 10th. This would happen sometime n January.
  • I would be meeting the HM tomorrow to discuss about all the proposed actions above and also about a computer center for school.
SV Home:

SV home is badly affected by rain and children have been sent home. I am in constant touch with Kamala madam to find the latest information about the situation there.

Plans for SV home:

  • Trip to Birla planetarium [ Mostly would like to combine this with Adyar children ]
  • Set up library at SV home.
  • Set up a computer center at SV home.
  • Would meet madam to discuss about Dream India year book work.

Have spoken to Alli madam about kids work for Dream India year book. Will keep you all posted.

KK Home:

Have to discuss with in charge to see if the residents of the home would like to contribute for DI year book. Will keep you posted.

Vishranti Home:

Chandru and I, we visited this old age home yesterday. This home is already getting a lot of help and have very big contacts. We would have nothing to do here for now. The residents are very well treated and the infra structure here makes one think of the poor condition at KK.

Also a few of our volunteers joins the reading sessions at T.Nagar blind school and St.Louis in Adyar whenever possible. I would be visiting couple of government schools at Shollinganalur and Semanjeri [ there was an article in local daily ] soon to figure how we can help these corporation schools.

Please share your thoughts and ideas on the proposed plans mentioned above. I have given a complete picture of what happens on DI Chennai chapter in and around Adyar area.

Dream India

"Hesitating to act because the whole vision might not be achieved, or because others do not yet share it, is an attitude that only hinders progress." - Mahatma

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Children's Day celebrations...

Dear Friends,

DI Chennai team had wonderful time this weekend, thanks to the special children of Vasantham and residents of Kaakum Karangal.


Children's day:

As per the plan I met our friends Poornima [from Young Helping Minds], Jayasree [from India Sudar ], Partheeban, Vimala  at T.Nagar to leave for Vasantham Special School for  the Mentally Challenged. We reached at around 9.30 a.m. Meanwhile, Nagappan [ YHM ] also joined us at the school.

Hari and his friend Manjula, Chandru and his friend Durai reached Vasantham in a while few minutes. Senthil and Ramesh also joined us around 10.30am.

The programme started with lighting of Kuthuvilakku (traditional lamp).  Mr.Suresh Kamath, MD- Laser Soft Infosystems Limited and Mr.Kannan, retired IPS officer along with a few others wished the children with a special message.

Fancy dress competition really cannot be better than this.We had doctors, teachers, cop, old man,Thiruvaluvar,Swami Vivekananda, Pandit Nehru, Common man, Mahatma, Vegetable vendor, Goddess amman, Lord Krishna, tribal people and what not?!!! It was really an awesome display by kids and they even shook legs for the tunes played. It was a perfect treat to our eyes and heart!

We also had special performances by children from the same locality.These kids of around 10 -15years of age save their pocket money, collect funds from people and contribute regularly for their brothers sisters at Vasantham.

Another kid Pooja aged 10, a trained dancer of Jaya TV fame had a small performance to make the occasion more special [Watch the video ].

Prize distribution was followed by vote of thanks and National anthem. After that, a few of our friends joined us in serving delicious lunch to the children. Following this, we had lunch and left with our hearts completely filled with love of the special children at around 3 pm.


This week we had Hari, Elavarasi, Vimala, Chandru, Nithi, JP, Partheeban and myself at KK home. We had ordered "kal" dosai and vada for all the residents.

After the prayer session, we served the dinner around 7.40 pm. Regular visits to KK have made most of close pretty close with the residents of the home. They feel comfortable in sharing lot of things with us. Last weekend, when I went to KK I had told them about my mother's eye operation. This time, the first thing they asked me was about my mother's current health condition.

A few of them said that they would prefer coffee for vada. So, we have decided to prepare coffee at home and take it for them during our next visit.

They were extremely happy and told us that "Only when you people come, we feel so nice and happy to speak".

We were at KK home till 9 pm discussing lot of things. We have the feel of family with them.


Unfortunately, we did not take any snaps this time, sorry about that.


Overall, children of Vasantham and residents of KK filled the Sunday with joy.




Monday, November 17, 2008

Visit to Vriddhashram

Hi Everybody!,
Sunday we visited Vridhashram in Gorai with 39plus8 volunteers of Borivali centre.From National Park to Bhainder Stn east then crossing over to west side catching ST bus then to Kishangopal Rajpuria Vridhhashram at Uttan Gorai Rd,tel.022 28450158.(contact shri Paresh Deshpande).
We were received wel by their staff,and offered freshly made Alu pohe and hot tea at Dada dadies(Nana Nanies you can call) were received at the Shiva Temple by our children as you can see them in photos.Introduction program jncluded greeting cards made by children,presentation of handkerchiefs and Sashtang Pranam.
Followed by cultural program,prize disribytion by the hands of dada dadis and seeing the actual Drawings made by the children
Break for lunch,Dada dadies were escorted to their dining rooms and we took lunch we carried,in temple.
In this temple only we had played gams till 3;30/4.Then return journey..
High lights;
1)Entire program of keeping children was managed by 3 teacher-students and their friends,including holding of drawing competion.

2)Escorting was also assisted by them and for return journey Shri Shashi has given required support for escorting from Bhainder west till Kulup wadi.(this was very crowded and bit torturous too especialy when everybody was tired.

3)Sharvari escorted children up to their doorstep as Geeta had sever headache.

4)On return journy we waited for 1 full hour at gorai rd for bus for such a long wait there was mandatory bathroom call,to be answered.Then as all buses were completly packed and not stopping to allow us to board,we were foeced to divert rout to Uttan Naka and then tn Bhainder,adding to cost,time and trouble.

5)There was very good cooperation from childre too(they were warned,if they don't they will not be joijning for nrxt tour....probably this worked).

6)We learnt some thing from Teacher-student(and hope they also learnt something from us)

7)I think this activity was enjoyed by everyone including volunteers,Senior citizens,staff of Vrudhhashram.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Visit to Aarey Milk Colony pada

DI took the children from our Borivali center to meet the kids of Gaudevi Pada in the Aarey Milk colony area, Goregaon. The following is a small report from Mr. Gawarikar on the event:
Hi everybody!
As we planned we went to Devipada centre with 39 children and 6 volunteer,including 3 from teachers collage,who will be with us for 4/5days.All our kids enjoed outdoor activity and games and were fully charged.Three volunteers from teacher's collage has done very good job and mixed with chidren very well(though 5/6 of boys are very difficult to manage).From Kulupwadi to Borivali Stn and from there to pickinc spot we went by BEST Bus.On return journey we had to split group in two so as to in to bus comming from Mulund almost full(and this happend to be working day).Only thing happend were;

1)Pada children did not mix well with these children.
2)I forgot to take 1st aid kit(2/3boys needed them,while playing).
3)As usal 3/4 girls wommited in bus due to motion sickness,as we carried plastik bag this was managed some how.Return journey we had no problem.

We noticed that;
1)children are very well interested in picknik and outdoor activities.We must use this and bargain with them to increase their attendence(even boyes who are difficult to control).  
2)New teachers are very well accepted by children.

Subhash Gawarikar

Visit to National Agro Foundation

Our team at Chennai got the opportunty to visit the National Agro Foundation which is located at Taramani, Chennai. This prestigious institution is involved in introducing innovative farming methods to  farmers across the nation and also instigates rural development by assisting Self Help Groups and the like... A more detailed report on the visit will soon follow...As for now, here are the snaps of the event...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Diwali at Airoli, Mumbai

ello frnds…

Diwali is celebrated every year by us. But this time the Airoli slum-communities & volunteers got the opportunity to celebrate Diwali with a difference. Our Airoli team came together & had the real blast with the kids of the 4 slums & their parents. Children thronged to the celebration like flies & hence changed this event into a real festival.


Arun & Ameeta took the responsibility for getting Chappals & sweet packets. There's no doubt they would have had a tough time with the local retailers for this. But as the rates of crackers have gone through the roof so I & Kailash decided to go to Kopri, Thane, which is its big wholesale market. Even plates/glasses/snacks/chocolates were purchased from the wholesalers in Mulund. Heartiest Thanks to all these retailers/ wholesalers for supporting this cause by selling the stuff at discounted rates.


Then came the D-Day, 29th October, unraveling lots of surprises... Around 60 children made up to this event! We got a mind-boggling response from Sector-17 parents & kids. Almost everyone came except 3 kids. So me & Arun rushed there immediately for them. Also Special Thanks to Ramesh (Amita's husband) & Arun who hurried for sector-19 kids & families especially sarika & her parents who have emerged as the biggest challenge before us. It would have been gr88 if Airoli-Gaav parents too could make up for this event but anyways we will try to rope them in on Children's Day celebrations.


Kailash, this time too got his friends, Surendra & Prakash, involved in this event who extended their unparalleled support for everything & not just LCD projector & speakers.

We still remember the frenzied screaming of the kids when the cartoon movie was beamed on the white wall ;-) Such projection left them open-mouthed & elated them so much that they started jumping & hugging the wall during the display ;-) Cartoon plays & Marathi children songs were shown but their energies knew no bounds when they saw their photos flashing on the wall-screen. Their every snap was followed with loud cheers & whoops! The moments which none of us will ever forget! Then came the dance party… Believe me some of the kids like rahul, surekha literally stole the show when they started rocking their bodies. We have decided that we are going to start other classes like singing/dancing/music for them so that such beautiful talent does not get nipped in the bud. We have to start exploring their other potentials.


Arun & I rushed for snacks & ice-creams. I still remember those moments... Samosas were not ready & we started getting calls from Kailash & Ameeta that the kids are getting restless. Thanks to Ameeta whose charisma & prowess helped cushioning the excitation levels of the kids. Also our ardent student volunteers Suraj, Shila, Soni, Vineeta  & Jyoti Mane played an instrumental role in each & every activity of this event. They also drew beautiful rangoli in the premises. We also had some lovely cute junior volunteers with us ;-) Manisha, Ishika, Rishabh (Kailash's son & daughters), Akshata (Ameeta's daughter) & her 4 boys from Nagaland whom she looks after.


Beena came all the way from Mulund & also got in some of our close school friends—Jay & Chandan. Jay & Chandan were always there with me right from the day when this project was in its very nascent stage…just a sunday teaching activity. This was the first time they had come to meet the kids but still they have been one of my biggest motivators for this project.


Sincere thanks to Kochha Madam who graced this pro-poor occasion. At the age of 78 yrs, she is a 'hyper-active' lady who has successfully shouldered many big responsibilities in the educational sector & still managing some of them. She is also one of the trustees of Senior Citizen Welfare Association, Airoli who has almost 300 members. She has promised to do her best for this project as we also need senior people with us who can share their time & wisdom with the younger generation for this cause.


After snacks came the real event. The thing, all the kids were waiting for. Crackers!!!

Oh my god!! It was nearly impossible to overrule the whims of these kids when they saw the lot of crackers being brought for them. But it was wonderfully managed by Kailash, Arun, Beena, Ramesh & our student volunteers. The small girl—Doorpata—jumping around exuberantly waving 2 fooljadis in her hands…. The smiles & whoops of the kids on seeing the sizzling butterfly-like crackers…the thrill & enthusiasm levels of all the kids.. These are some of the moments that can only be experienced.


Sweets & Chappals were not distributed on the same day due to various reasons…

Firstly, It was a total chaos wherein lots & lots of children had joined the celebration...all their brothers & sisters….& 4-5  even from nearby residential areas… so distributing the things to only few of the selected ones especially when all the kids are at such high spirits would turn out to be disappointing for many.

Secondly school of our kids is going to re-open only on 10th November. So lets distribute Chappals to them personally in their tuition classes later so that they don't lose them during vacations.(Chappals will be distributed on Children's Day celebration)

Thirdly all of us felt it would be more impacting if the sweet boxes are personally distributed to the family instead of just the kids. So next morning 8 am, Arun, me & Kailash made a triple seat on the bike ;-) collected the sweets from the school hall & distributed them to all the slum families of all the sectors. What a morning! It was a mind-boggling experience. Take one more good news. We are going to admit 4-5 more kids in the school after Diwali.


Incredibly grateful to all the caring hearts who graced this event with their incomprehensible enthusiasms that made this event a whopping success!


Also attached are the snaps of the Teacher Training Program organized by us for the student volunteers on 15th October. This too was a real eye-opener for all of us as Ameeta nicely explained the pchyocology & mentality of the kids, growth process of their minds & some fun- filled ways to teach them. This training program was conducted because many of the student volunteers were facing some problems in teaching these kids but today we understand its natural & we have started working on the various methods/tools/ techniques that needs to be adopted for teaching these kids. Luckily, our student volunteers have their vacations going on now. So their time will be nicely utilized for making such items/materials & even the posters for the college to create more awareness about this activity.

warm regards,
Rupesh S.Gesota

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Diwali Diya Dhamaka

Glad to announce that Mumbai team has successfully completed Project Diya at Pada, Aarey colony. Congratulations to each and every team member involved in this marathon project. The Pada women and children have shown great enthusiasm and spirit for this project which is an extremely positive sign for us. 

There were approximately 20 families involved in this project from both Gamdevipada and Khambapada and have hand painted close to around 3000 diyas.

The marketing of the finished diyas was certainly an uphill task for us, particularly because of so many constraints like recession, dull market, lack of volunteers, time etc. Despite all this , we have managed to sell all the diyas .Most of the sales were carried out though stalls at various places :

1) Oberoi Mall ( Two days)
2) NMIMS college ( one day)
3) Patni computers ( two days)
4) TCS ( two days)
5) HSBC Bank ( one day)
6) Victoria House ( one day)

This project couldn’t have been successful without the efforts of:

Priti: For her unending support at all the stalls and co-ordination for executing various orders.

Abhinav : For getting us the permission for a stall at Patni Computers , where we have had an awesome response for not only Diyas but also people wishing to volunteer for us!!!

Pooja and Viraj : For all the coordination of the stocks and distribution of the same. And of course for all the invaluable help at various stalls

Rupesh , Sheetal and Mrs Shraddha : For helping the kids and children come out with such creative designs on the diyas and spending so much of time at the Pada in monitoring the whole activity.

Marshneil : For all the efforts to get a stall at TCS

Sarvanan : For getting a stall at NMIMS

Arun and Rupesh for all their help at the Patni stall and Ravinder and Kailash for helping us in selling the Diyas

Hope I haven’t left out anybody. This is a tremendous achievement for the Mumbai team as such a large scale project is probably the first of its kind in the Mumbai DI chapter.

The details of the costing and the complete project report will be emailed in 3-4 days as the data is scattered and might take some time in compiling the same.

Some of the beautiful lamps can be seen below...

Wishing a very happy and a prosperous Diwali to our entire DreamIndia family.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Report and snaps of Diwali celebration at DI Chennai

Dear Friends,

Wish you all a wonderful Diwali. I take great pleasure in drafting this mail regarding DI Chennai's Diwali celebration at Anna Nagar [on Oct 25th ] and SV Home [ Oct 26th].

Anna Nagar: [25th of October 2008, Saturday]

Last week, Divya informed me about the plans of having Diwali celebration with our kids from Annanagar class. Following this discussion, we decided to get sweets, snacks & crackers for the kids. Divya & Vishnu ordered sweets & snacks at Anna Nagar, and I took crackers from the gift box donated by Parthy. Around 4.30 pm, I joined Hari, Vishnu, Durai, Divya and Arvind who were already conducting classes at Paadasaalai.

Within few minutes, we got the kids sit in a big group and started distributing sweets and mixture. Meanwhile, Ms.Neha (Reporter, Times of India) joined us along with a couple of photographers. Divya introduced us to her. Ms. Neha enquired about DI's early days, other city chapters & our future plans. She also did speak to our kids to know how effective our classes.

Children sang few movie songs. We had a photo session with kids, following which crackers were distributed. The kids were extremely elated and thanked & wished us all a very happy Diwali.

Thanks to Divya…. I too got a chance to collect my order of the wonderful diyas made by our children last year.


SV Home: [26th of October 2008, Sunday ]

Last week, we got to know that all the kids (90 of them) will be at SV home during Diwali. Kamala madam also told us that they were not able to get any new dress & crackers for children this year, though they had planned to prepare some sweets for the kids.

Thus, we decided to celebrate Diwali with these children by providing them with sweets, snacks and some crackers on the 26th of October 2008 (Sunday). Parthy gave crackers worth Rs.2000 [ two gift boxes ] and I managed to get one from my end. Hari ordered sweets and snacks.

I reached SV home around 4.15 pm with my sister, Dr.Mangalam. Even the auto driver, Mr.Natarajan (in whose auto we travelled) joined us. He was well aware about DI and was very happy to be a part of the special evening.

The kind of reception we get from children at SV home is beyond word to explain. As soon as the children saw us, they were all smiling and running towards us.

We then got to know that a charitable trust gave new clothes for all children on that morning. However, not all kids were able to get their dresses stitched as it was last minute surprise. The kids were excited to show their new clothes to us. Meanwhile, Hari joined us for the photo session.

Later, we distributed sweets and snacks to the children. We were also provided with Diwali sweets made by them (Athirasam & Muruku). We had a prayer session before staring off to eat. The children told me that they did special prayer for DI.

Following this, we distributed the crackers and started off with the main part of the evening…..bursting crackers (Sparklers, Flower pot, etc).The auto driver Mr.Natarajan made sure that all the kids got equal amount of crackers. It was nice to see each kid enjoying with crackers.

One kid came to me and said, "Anna, all noon we were hearing crackers' sound across the gate and longing for our own crackers. Now we got all for us. Thanks anna"

In the mean time, Kamala madam discussed with Managalam about conducting medical check up for the children once in 3 months.

We would be visiting the home in few weeks time to discuss about library and trip to Birla Planetorium for children between of 9th to 12th standard.


(Don't miss the video)

I have attached the project documents for your reference. Overall, Diwali is for and made by kids. Thanks to the children for making our evening a special one. I can wholeheartedly say that this is one of the best Diwali celebration after 3 long years.



Dream India

"Hesitating to act because the whole vision might not be achieved, or because others do not yet share it, is an attitude that only hinders progress." - Mahatma

Friday, October 24, 2008

Report on DI Hyd's Diwali celebration at Kukatpally Children home

Dear Friends,

It is with pleasure I write to you about the diwali celebration of DI Hyd with 41 children of an orphanage in Kukatpally. We have been associated with home since 2005. In 2005, we had got uniforms for all the children of the home.

Plans for event:

* Geethanjali and myself, we had planned for our DI Hyd team celebrating diwali with the children.

* Geethanjali made a personal visit on 12th and discussed the plans with Mr.Raghu.

* Based on her feedback, we decided to give sweet boxes and crackers for the children and a small gift too.

* Samyuktha, Geethanjali's friend ordered for 45 pencil boxes, sweets and kara mixture pack for the children a day before.

* We ordered six packs crackers @275rs each from Spencers near by. Each pack contains 28 items which would be kids friendly.

* It happened so that Parthy and myself we had to visit Hyderabad for a personal work last week and thanks to sincere efforts of our DI Hyd friends, we too got a chance to be a part of this event.

The d-day:

* Parthy and myself, we reached the place with the help of Geethanjali around 12.30 PM.

* Unfortunately, Mr.Raghu was admitted to a nearby hospital as his blood sugar count
increased a lot.

* Mr.Raghu's daughter was very kind and she explained us about the operations of the home.

* The home is run by donations from people like us. She said they would need some assistance towards school fee of the children.

* We hadn't got crackers at that moment and when we checked with her, we found that they would need crackers for the children as well. So we decided to order crackers as per plan.

* Just a note: She was carrying an infant [ snap in album] and we assumed it would be her kid. But soon we found out that the 2 "days" old kid was found in nearby dustbin and brought to the home by policemen. It was shocking to say the least. Most of us might have heard things like this in movies, but to see it in reality was really painful. Looks like they did not even cut her umbilical cord and was full of blood when police found her in dustbin.

* Vijay, DI Hyd member who joined us recently through our dear Deepak P of DI Pune and his friend Sudarshan reached the place by now.

* As we ordered crackers in the nearby spencers shop, Geethanjali and Samyutha too reached the home.

* We also had couple of friends from a nearby college visiting the home.

* It is was so nice to see that the children are being brought up extremely well. They were so kind and wanted us to sit only mattresses. We had to really convince them to be seated on the floor with them.

* With six volunteers and 41 kids, we were all set for wonderful time.

* The kids sang a few prayer songs for us. This was followed by our volunteers distributing pencil boxes to each of the children.

* We had kids reciting rhymes and it was a pleasure to see the children dance for "teddy bear" rhyme. [ Videos are in Album, dun miss out ]

* Soon after this, kids sang movie songs and danced too.

* Our friends, thoughtfully, had bought sweets apart from 45 packs for the children. After distributing this, we handed over the 45 packets of sweets and mixture to the in-charge to be distributed later as it was about lunch time.

* The children sang a few more songs from movies for us.

* It was 2 PM by the time and we decided to leave as children were about to have lunch. With hearts completely filled with the innocent smiles of the children, we all left the home.

* Soon after this, we all had a small meeting where we discussed about the events at other chapters and also the future plans for DI Hyderabad.

Overall, we had wonderful time with the children and they made the day for us all.


Dream India

"Hesitating to act because the whole vision might not be achieved, or because others do not yet share it, is an attitude that only hinders progress." - Mahatma

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chennai updates

Dear Friends,

I take great pleasure in updating you all with recent activities of DI Chennai team.

KK Visit:

  • As planned, on Sunday, Oct 12th, 2008, we visited Kaakum Karangal and served dinner for all the inmates of the home. 
  • Many of our friends like Hari, Chris could not join us because of the heavy rain and a few others for their trip back home as it was a long weekend. 
  • Elavarasi reached the home around 7PM, soon Parthy and myself joined her .
  • Hariharan and JP was the next to reach with which we started the prayer session.
  • Soon Ravin and Kartik reached the home and we all started serving dinner for the inmates.
  • We served 4 idlies and one vada to each of them. We had ordered 50 packs so that we can ensure all of them eat well.
  • Most of them asked us about other friends and we told them that they could not make it because of the rain.
  • We also bought 100 bananas and gave them two each.
  • A very important point to note is the time we spent with them. With each visit the love and affection those elderly parents shower on us in increasing a lot. Many of them opened their hearts out and it became quite emotional at times.
  • On a personal level, all the volunteers contributed some amount and we gave 1050rs [ 25rs to each of the inmates] as they needed some amount for a few needs. [ Note: This particular donation was not done on behalf of DI E&C Trust ]
  • Attached project reports for the dinner visit.
Adyar Class:

  • The class on Saturday went on really well. We had 18 students attend the class. In a month's time, we should be able to figure out the number of students who would be regular. Most of the students who were present for last week class did attend this week's class too
  • We had a few new students join us.
  • We divided the students to 4 groups and gave them each a situation of "Meet and Greet" and asked them to perform the same in English. 
  • They were given 10 minutes time to prepare for the event.
  • Response from students was really good. Many of them tried speaking in English without minding the mistakes.
  • Each team was asked to perform the same in Tamil once the English part was over. 
  • Parthy corrected the homework of the children.
  • After each session, volunteers and other students gave feedback for the team that performed.
  • 5 students who performed well were given one pen as a token of appreciation.
  • Session went on well past 2 hours. 
  • JP, Parthy, Ravin and myself we handled the class this time.
  • We have planned for elocution competition for these children. Gave them each a topic and asked them to prepare for the same both in English and Tamil.
Snaps       [ contains KK and Adyar class snaps ]

Srini's class:
  • As Srini has exams this month end, Ravin is giving him special coaching to clear the exam on "Probability"
  • They have had couple of sessions already and Ravin is sincerely working in making sure Srini's clears this paper. [ Whole of his class skipping this paper this time without appearing for it].
  • We would start the spoken English class once exams are over for him.
Valasarvakam Class:

  • The classes here are going on fine.
  • We have also started classes for girl students here.
  • Apart from weekend classes, we also conduct computer classes these days.
  • We had Arunan and a few more new volunteers join the team.
Anna Nagar Class:

  • Classes are going on fine here too.
  • We conduct personality development class at TVK school every Saturday apart from the weekend class.
  • Plans are on to celebrate kids birthdays every month.
Will keep writing to you all as much as possible. 


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dream India website down...

UPDATE TO THE BELOW (13th Oct, 2008)
Problem sorted out. Website will be up in a day or two...

Dear friends,
The Dream India website is currently down because of some technical issues... We are working on it and will resolve the issue soon...

Sorry for the inconvenience caused...

DI team

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chennai team celebrates Gandhi Jayanthi at SV home

Dear Friends,
I take great pleasure in writing to you about the DI Chennai's Gandhi Jayanthi Celebrations at SV Home on Oct 5th,2008. As told already, we had plans for conducting elocution competition, quiz programs and cultural programs for and by the children.

Day before the event:

· Our quiz team [ includes volunteers from the USA, UK and India ] was working hard for more than 3 weeks to get the questions ready.

· On Saturday evening, we got all the questions that we wanted. Parthy took a print out of all the quiz questions, project documents and reached my home around 10 PM.

· We carried the banners, books and other materials for the event and reached his home around 11. Later, we started working on collating all the questions and arranging the pictures and videos ready. Around 1.30 AM we completed this task.

· On the same day, Ramya and Viji had "Dream India E& Trust" printed on the trophies to be given. Parthy's cousin Manikandan [ thanks to him for spending time off work] placed the order for food at Saravana Bavan, Poonamalee.

The D-day:

Around 7.30 AM, Ravin, Parthy and me, we started from Parthy's house. Ramya [ Janaki's sister ] joined us on the way and we reached the SV home around 8.15 AM.
We found the kids getting ready for the event by decorating the stage etc. Mahi reached the home in a few and soon we started the work of putting the banners etc.
Chandru was the next one to reach, soon Mani [ Young Helping Minds volunteer ] and Hari joined us.

Mahi and myself, we went to the market to arrange for sweets, gifts for chief guests and a few other stuff.

Parthy, Ravin, Chandru, Mani, Hari and Ramya took care of conducting prelims for the quiz.
The quiz prelims was started around 9.45 AM. Small kids were set as groups while the elder ones were asked to write the prelims individually.

Almost the time the prelims got over, Divya and Vishnu joined us at SV home.
Soon after the prelims, we gave chocolates for all the children and started with elocution competitions.
Mahi and myself were the initial part of the panel of judges. Soon Dr.Subashmani and Vishnu joined us.

25 kids participated in this competition. They really did well. Quite a few students had the stage fear etc, but given the fact that "this was their very first stage appearance " it was awesome effort.

It was almost 11.45 AM by the time elocution competitions got over and we decided to conduct quiz shows after lunch.
Around this time, Parthy and Manikandan along with Chandru got the lunch from hotel to the home.
Now started the small round of confusion, we were not sure if the food would be enough for 110 kids.

As madam and cook confirmed we might fall short, Chanru, Mahi, Hari, Parthy and myself we rushed to Hotel Udupi nearby and ordered 30 plates of Veg Biryani.
Senthil reached the place along with his friend Ramesh during this time. Ravin's friend Anand too reached around the same time.
Chandru and Mahi did an awesome job by carrying very big vessels all the way from home to hotel.

Soon as we reached the home with food and had complete confidence that food would definitely be enough, we started serving lunch. It was 1.00 PM exactly.
To make sure kids do not feel hungry, we had served biscuits to them all around 12.00
Our volunteers, led by Mani from YHM started serving food for all the children. They really liked the food and ate well.

Almost this time, Hari and myself, we went around to get ice creams for all the children. [ There is no refrigerator at the home and with the kind of temp that day, ice cream would have melted in a minute ].
A few of our friends had lunch so that they can conduct quiz program on time. Parthy, Mahi, Hari, Senthil and myself we too joined them soon.
Mani [ YHM ], after his tremendous work in conducting elocution competition and serving lunch, had to leave as he had some work.

Ravin, Divya, Vishnu, Chandru and others had made some changes in the quiz design to include the six extra students madam had requested us to be added.
We had a total of nine teams. Almost at this time, my brother Hariharan and sister Karpagam joined us.
After 3 rounds which included general awareness, Sports and Indian Independence, 3 teams were eliminated and we reached the stage of six teams as per original design.

We had rapid fire round with negative marks and 2 other teams were eliminated after this round.
We had the final four teams competing for the 3 prizes.
The first two teams were really close in by points and with each correct answer the kids were in awesome joy.

It was special sight to see the kids jump in joy after getting the answers right.
The chief guests for the function vasantham Mrs.Alli Murugesan madam along with her family reached SV home at this time.
Vishnu was the scorer and he announced the winners at the end.
After the wonderful round of quiz, we had introduction of the chief guests, Dr. Subashmani and madam.

Ms.Kamala madam, in-charge SV home, gave small gifts to the chief guests.
Dr sir spoke and thanked us for the making the day special for kids.
Later, we had cultural programs by children.
We started with prayer song, followed by patriotic songs, dance and skits.
"Made in India" dance was awesome. Parthy and myself we too danced with kids.
The best was "BaradhaNatiyam" dance by two girls.
The skits by kids were really funny.

Soon after this, we had prize distribution by chief guests and all our DI friends.
Divya and Vishnu had to leave sometime before this.
Alli madam spoke about the function and gave a few ideas to kids to decorate themselves for dances etc. She thanked DI for making the day special for these children and getting her a chance to be a part of the event.
After this, we requested a few children and volunteers to share their thoughts on the event.

Passed out student pursuing teacher training now: " We were all unlucky I should say. We never had such lovely brothers and sisters visiting us to conduct competitions etc. I really thank for bottom of my heart all my brothers and sisters here. Also am happy that my sisters are all blessed to have people like you. My special thanks to Kamala akka for only because of her am what I am today. "

Uma, student: " I could not make use of the opportunity to the best today. But thanks a lot brothers and sisters for conducting giving us all a chance to be on the stage for the first time in life. This is the first time ever we had quiz shows in our home and thanks to you and Kamala akka for arranging all this for us. Thanks to all chief guests who have come here only for us."

Rohini, Student: " Thanks a lot to all brothers and sisters of DI for giving us this chance. First time in life, we could be on stage. Thanks to Kamala akka for arranging all this and getting us prepared for the event".

Chandru, DI Volunteer:" I got to know Natarajan 3 months ago. The day I went with TCS team to serve the Tsunami affected people would ever remain in my memory and today, I have this day as an addition to this. I am happy to be here".

Anand, DI volunteer: " This is the first time I am attending a function conducted by DI. Thanks to Ravin for introducing me to DI. I am happy to be here with you all. I request you students to make best use of the opportunities and wish you all the best".

Mahi, DI volunteer: " I should have been on my way to Pune, but Natarajan told me about this function and I decided to spend the day meaningfully with you all. Am so happy to be here and wish all my sisters the very best".

Ramesh, DI Volunteer: "This is the first time I have come to attend a function conducted by Dream India. It has been a year since I reach Chennai. Am basically from a village and have always thought of the fast paced Chennai with no care for others. Added to this, the engg college students next to my Arts college always behaved like BIG brothers and this lead us to believe that all software guys are bad. But for first time I am seeing software professionals like these people. Sundays comes every day, but the "real" Sunday has come for me only today. I request you friends to visit my village areas and conduct something for our children too. I promise to do my best for the same.".

Kamala Madam, In-charge SV Home: " I have no words bigger than thanks to tell. Many people have come to our home and I have told about the educational needs to almost to everyone, but it is only Dream India who listened and brought things in action. It has been my long desire to conduct competition like today for my children and thanks to you all it happened today. The newspaper project too helped our kids to prepare for the event today. I am falling short of words to express our sincere thanks to you all. I promise that our kids would be ready to participate in all kind of events that DI plans for students in future".

Natarajan: " Thanks to you all children for making the day very special for us all. We are indeed blessed to be with you all. Ramesh, we promise to conduct some programs at your village areas soon. We were actually looking for trusted sources and we are happy to have found you. There are lot of brothers sister across the globe who worked all day for making this event a successful one. Though they are away their special wishes are with you all. Once again thanks to all for making this day a very special one".
The event ended up with us all singing National anthem.

Later, we got the project reports signed and took groups snaps with children. We had an hour long interaction with kids and left the home with our hearts completely in joy around 7.00PM.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Update on Mumbai education project

We have been supporting the education of a milkman in Mumbai for the last three years and recently our volunteer Padmaja and her father have been helping the daughters in preparing for their examinations. This e-mail is about how the children are faring in their exams...

Hi everybody,

This is a small but quite a significant update on the educational progress made by Raju the milkman's daughter in her studies. She is currently in Std X , and has just given her unit tests in the last week of August. She has scored 71% overall ( equivalent to almost 82 % when compared to the State board pattern of correction).She has secured 29/30 in Geometry and 22/30 in Algebra.Previously she was weak in these subjects, but she has worked very hard on her concepts and has done exceedingly well.She has scored more than 85% in Science as well.

She aspires to pursue a course in Biotechnology . We at DreamIndia sincerely hope that she is able to fulfill her dreams and this could turn out be an yet another success story in the making..

Dream India

New center at Airoli

This is an e-mail communcation from Rupesh, who has started Dream India's latest chapter in Mumbai, Airoli. We have managed to pull in NSS volunteers from a nearby school and this mail is regarding the plans that Dream India has made to involve those students.

Hello friends…..
As you must be knowing we had motivated 20 Mehta college students about our airoli project. Zillions of thanks to DreamIndia for giving a proper formal approach to college about this project. The number has gone down to 16 now. No needs to worry these 16 are like 160! Yes there was an inertia period wherein these ‘raw energy’ was spread about and not much concentrated but we hope after Sunday’s event we will definitely get the desired response from these passionate lot. Padmaja we really missed you a lot. I wish you get some more dedicated volunteers for our other centers. All the student volunteers here wanted to talk to you.

Arun, Kailash, Beena, Dipti really made the show a huge success. Kailash had also invited few of his friends in this event whom he felt could bring a lot of value to it later. I requested for his laptop he arranged for the projector on the spot. Excellent effort! Arun made gr88 motivational speeches using examples, arranged for the tea snacks, xeroxes for the students. Beena had brought the pens, papers etc for the students. And all these from them without being told about this. Fortunately we don’t have just team members in our project; we have Leaders!!!!!!!!!! We don’t we thought we had already spoken a lot about the project, commitment, seriousness etc.
But as well said pictures speak more than words we showed them 2 videos which made them realize the importance of team spirit and leadership. We then discussed some serious issues too like..

Filling up of 3 registers, keys of the rooms, some shuffling and filling up of the teaching slots, daily college meeting for 10 minutes by all, register entry for the same, showing all the 4 registers every week, girls to leave at 8 pm, agenda for the meeting between students and school teachers (Yes, It happened today, all attended it !!!!!!!!!!), ways to solve queries and doubts by meting teachers 12-6 pm, making a matrix of kids v/s books, uniform received, importance of balance of both the subjects to kids, students having the email account so that we all stay connected as a community and much more.

We also told the students to inform us beforehand about their exams and camps so that we can plan for backup volunteers during this period. These students are having exams from 2nd October to 12th October. So a pause from them. Challenge phase for us!

We also gave them some good news/motivation about their English speaking workshops, training about teaching and understanding kids from Ameeta Iyer, President of New Era Foundation. She is an excellent lady doing loads of work in navi-mumbai area mostly concerning counseling the teachers and schools. Much more about her. Will tell you later.
One of the 3 places where tuitions are going on in the morning and evening is her office/hall. And you know what? I had just spoken to her once personally and when the college denied for giving its premises for tuition activity, just one phone call to her did the magic. She was leaving for her native for 10 days but she handed over the key to us so that our activity does not get disturbed!!!!!!!

We also further motivated the students by informing our future plans like vocational training to the elder girls, computer courses, medical camps, stress relieving programs for the parents, picnic with the kids etc….
Finally we also handed over 5-6 copies of the paper to these students appealing other students of the college to our project. But I feel we have to get some picture posters now to make this awareness more effective.

A great power-packed Sunday which I will never forget in my life !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rupesh Goseta

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Reading Session in chennai

First, thanks to you and your friends for sharing this info with us. I reached the place at 10.30. Mathimaran was waiting for me and we got introduced with ourselves. The place was teeming with the visually challenged friends and volunteers. From Mathi, I came to know that there were about 150 students and slightly lesser number of volunteers. I was surprised when I saw a foreigner who had come over there as a volunteer.

One of the coordinators then introduced me to two students, Govind and Shanmugam. They are doing their M.Phil in Tamil Literature at Presidency. I recited them two chapters from ‘Kudumba Vilaku’ and two chapters from another Tamil subject whose name I don’t know how to translate to English J

I was amazed by their listening skills. I asked them how to proceed, whether I should read it twice and so on. Pat came the reply that it’s enough if I read it for them once. They grasped the entire stuff in just one reading. Wow!!!

It was a great experience reciting Tamil literature. I did this last during Tamil classes in my school days J. I felt like Solomon Papaaiya, when I was reading the classic literature J

I also interacted with Govind and Shanmugam, nice guys. They told me about their daily lives and how they study and so on. They stay in a hostel in Saidapet and go to college daily by bus. They were asking about my studies, my work, hobbies etc.

I told them that I also wrote exams for visually challenged people as a scribe. They got my mobile number and told me they will contact whenever necessary since getting scribes were difficult it seems.

We fret over trivial things when something goes wrong but all such things are nothing compared to the problems and challenges these people endure. We should definitely learn from their self-confidence and the way they fight the struggle in their daily lives.

During the course of the reading session, water and tea were being served. After the session got over at 12.30, lunch was provided to all the students. There were many volunteers serving food and organizing the anna dhanam. Since I had got some personal work, I didn’t participate in it and will lend a hand the next time (not to eat but to serve food ;) )

All in all, it was a very nice experience and now I am spreading the news to my friends and will try to bring in more volunteers.

Best Regards,

Hari Prasad K.