Thursday, June 26, 2008

Update - Virar Communities

Vijaykumar will be checking out the background information of the villagers with the local tehsildar.As all the children are under the municipality for the mid day meal scheme,the entire belt is very much below the poverty line. and there is no other means of survival for these children except for the mid day meal.In fact as per his preliminary investigations, the local municipality does not get the food material regularly and is actually looking out for somebody who can get this regularised. But as far as the core problem is concerned ie the families and their source of revenue is something which needs to be looked into.

Virar communities

Our new volunteer Mr vijay has been actively trying to find out about problems faces by communities living in Virar...Please go through some of the mail trails of volunteers on this issue...

I did small survey among the peers working in Village Panchayat and Tahsildar office, revealed the followings:
Among the others, local children are currently facing problems of One: lack of regular food and nutrition: Secondly: Proper Education in the Municipality schools across the Districts.
Add to that, it was found that, many families struggle to meet daily needs and where some children rely on school lunches as their only meal of the day.
And in summer worst for them, as during the summer schools are not in session the school children faces serious problems to survive.
In this, regards now need to set priority among the Education or Foods. I think any body want to survive is the first most priority than educating them selves, any way I am thinking in this direction and how to take this matter ahead.

VijayTrivedi-DI Mumbai

We need some back ground information like - no. of members per family and no. of working members per family. Do all employable people getemployment and if not then why not.What is the main occupation of the people of the village ?Do the women also go out to work ?Do all the children go to school ? etc......I do not know if these villages are agricultural villages ???? What do the women of the village do ? Do they also work in the fields during the day? If they do then it would be difficult to start vocational training classes for them.

This info would help us to pinpoint the exact areas in which we could help. An idea is to start classes for children during the vacations and all children who come to the classes would get a free meal and maybe a small snack packet eg. peanuts and jaggery, chikki, etc to be consumed later. As you said, we can provide the raw materials and the women can get together or take turns in cooking it. Also, children who have siblings below the school going age could also bring them along for the free meal. Simple food like wheat porridge, mix veggie khichadi etc would be easy to cook and very nutritious. But this would very strictly have to be only for those children who attend the classes. Nutritionist Dr.Usha, one of the many doctors who help out DreamIndia from time to time, had said that we can implement this project very systematically starting with the weight of the children before the project starts and then keeping tracking of health and weight and then send the complete project report to WHO etc who may be able to help us implement the programme in other places also.

However, if we start this programme , we are going to need dedicated volunteers for at least a year in order to be able to see some results and record them. So, either we need to start a centre at Virar or get the co-operation of another NGO which may already be active in that area.WE WILL NEED VOLUNTEERS WHOCAN GO TO THE SITE REGULARLY.

Priti - DI Mumbai

Updates on Ahmed - Clears tenth standard with 68%

A very quick and cool update again.

Tenth standard results are out and our Ahmed has cleared the exams scoring 68%. Ahmed just called me to share this good news.

Mahendran, Baskar and myself we are working on identifying good schools in Pune for him. Will keep you all posted with further updates.

Our heartfelt congrats to Ahmed on behalf of DI team.


Birthday celebration at Apale Ghar DI Pune

On 8th of this month, all our friends from DI Pune celebrated the kids birthday in the month of June at Aphale Ghar. We got couple of cakes, one for the children and one for my farewell :-) [ this was a real surprise , thanks to DI Pune friends].

We played with the children for sometime. Later, we had a small cake cutting session. The children were pretty happy and excited to cut the cake. After this, we all joined the children for prayer. The prayer session at AG is a very special one, it lasts for almost half an hour, and at the end gives you complete peace.

With the happy smiles of the children in heart, we all left for the day from AG.


PS: DI Pune team visits AG every week. In case if you wish to be a part of the team, please do let us know.

Dinner @ Kaakum Karangal Old Age Home

This is a follow up update on the old age home visit last week. Yesterday, Parthy called the in charge Ms.Saraswati and confirmed with her that we would be providing dinner to the 43 inmates of the old age home at Thiruvanmiyur on July 6th, Sunday, 2008.

The plan is to provide dinner that would contain,

a) 2 or 3 ildies,
b) 1 Vada each and
c) 1 sweet each

We would make arrangements for this event coming weekend. Will keep you all posted with more updates as and when possible.

Please note that we would continue with this event every month, in case if you wanna be a part of this, kindly contact me by email at


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Visit to SC/ST welfare government school, Palavaakam

On 23rd June 2008, I visited the government school at Palavakam run by SC/ST welfare board of the TN government. There was an article published in a Tamil Daily called, Dinamalar about the school's condition and this inspired me to visit the place.

The headmaster of the school was very rude, may be he was scared because of the press coverage they had the day before. I introduced myself and requested him to list the requirements of the school that he thinks Government would require more time to fulfill. He said, "all my students would need geometry box etc..".When I asked him in specific about students being made to clean the school premises, he questioned me, " What you would be able to do about it?". I told him we can try and deploy someone to help the students and asked him to give all the requirements in writing.

Not sure what made him tell this, but he told me to write a letter in DI letter head and ask for the requirements :-) When I asked for his name, he turned other side and said, "Just address to the headmaster". Well, regardless of his fear, the students here definitely need our help in whatever ways possible. Very soon, I would be writing to the headmaster asking for the requirements in DI letter head. Will keep you all posted.

If you have any comments on the way I approached this situation, please do write to me anytime. Appreciate your feedback.


Visit to Kaakum Karangal Old Age home - Thiruvanmiyur

Yesterday, on 23rd June 2008, Parthy and myself, we visited the old age home of "Kaakum Karangal" at East Maada Street in Thiruvanmiyur. There are 43 residents inlcuding 3 staff members. The lady in charge, Ms. Saraswati was very cordial and explained us the situation of the home in detail.

a) They have all basic facilities at the home.
b) The residents are from various parts of Tamil Nadu.
c) Doctors come once in a week for check up, nearby Kanchi madam sends doctors as per need.
d) Looks like the owner of the place has asked them vacate the building very soon, which they are not very comfortable with. They are in the process of finding another rented structure.
f) Almost all residents left their home to come here because of the ill treatment they were subjected to by their children.

From what we saw, it looks like the old women are all leading a very better life than what they would have had at their own home. We thought we can get them bed sheets and some clothes, but they seems to have them all. Also, only last week some kind hearted donor gave new clothes to all of them.

Based on all these facts, Parthy and I, we have decided to arrange breakfast or Lunch or Dinner from outside for one day for all of them.

As the requirements of the home is more towards food, I think one day food sponsorship per month would be possible from our side. In case, if you are interested to be part of this, please feel free to write to me anytime.


PS: A few months back, our DI chennai members, Jaya Chitra, Divya and Vishnu visited the Kaakum Karangal Children home. We would follow up on that as well very soon.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Quiz Program by India Sudar @ Sri Ramakrishna Children home

On Saturday, 21/06/2008, my brother Hari and I, we attended the quiz program conducted by India Sudar (, our partner organization. We attended the finals of the event. The children were really brilliant and they answered many of the questions which were really tough to grasp.

India Sudar friends Udhay, Balamanikandan and a few more friends managed to conduct the event superbly. In the end, prizes and certificates were given to all those children who won. On behalf of Sri Ramakrishna home and children, the trustee gave us couple of books as souvenir.

On behalf of DI, we thank Udhay and IS for giving us an opportunity to be a part of this event.

Note: This event was done by India Sudar and DI was NOT associated to this event by any means. All credit goes to India Sudar.


Siva Shankar - B.Com Student

On 17th June 2008, one student called Siva Shankar came to my house . He was knocking each one's door here for help towards his college fee. He wants to join B.Com at Poonga College of Arts and Science at ECR road. I checked all his mark sheets and other proofs he had.

As I was convinced with the proofs he provided, I went to the college next day and paid his first installment fee Rs.3000.
Also, I met the principal of the college Mrs.Mala. She was so happy to hear about our work and requested us to conduct some soft skill classes for the students once in a month. I promised her that we will come up with a plan and execute it.

Best wishes to Siva Shankar on behalf of DreamIndia team.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Update on Ahmed

Dear All,

For the past one month, my Pune roomies and myself, we are involved in teaching English to Ahmed, son of a barber nearby our house. He has appeared for his tenth standard and would be getting his results in couple of weeks. Ahmed is a very good, hard working student. Even though he is from Urdu medium, he picks up very well all that we teach.

As a reward for his hard work and commitment and also with an eye on his future, we enrolled him for a computer certificate course called " PC - Operations" yesterday. The course is of 3 months duration and costs 2000rs. The best thing in this:it is gonna be the very first time Ahmed would get to use computer in his life.

We sincerely hope to see that this student does not gets in to his family business, but rather would become an engineer as per his ambition. Will keep you posted with developments.


"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

Child Rag Pickers

I called "The Hindu" office today to know more about this article. Unfortunately, I could not get the reporter who covered this article. However, I could speak to Ms.Vidya Venkat, who herself covered an article on rag pickers very recently.

You can read her article at

We had a lengthy discussion on rag picking and most of them, it seems, are living nearby Tidel park area. She told me in detail about their issues and the challenges we would face if we are to help them. In fact, it seems after this article government conducted a raid and put all these children at some home, but most of them are back to garbage yard again.

Will work with her and try our best to do something for these children. Will keep you all posted.


Visit to CPS School, Thiruvanmiyur

On 20th June 2008, I visited CPS School Thiruvanmiyur. The school is located at 29th cross street, next to Jayanthi theatre in Thiruvanmiyur. There are 153 students in the school and of course not all of them come to school regularly. The students from SC/ST community are alone provided with couple of free uniforms every year.

Upon discussion with the staff on the needs of school, we have come up these requirements mentioned below.

a) Trays for AB learning - 50
b) Bags - 153
c) Uniforms - 153 ( 78 boys and 75 girls) [ The teacher mentioned giving uniform only for those who are in real need would make others feel bad as almost all are from poor family]
d) Files
e) Locks - 10
f) A4 Sheets
g) Water drum

We are still in the process of finalizing the support we can provide. I am also planning to discuss with a few teachers known to me on what support the government provides to these kind of schools. Please watch the space for more updates.