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.