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.