Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dream India and YHM Celebrates Republic day at Adyar Corporation School

Dear Friends,

I take great pleasure in sharing the report and snaps of Republic day celebration at Dream India, Chennai. We wanted to conduct elocution competition and quiz program for the children of Adyar school on Children's day (14th of November 2008). However, due to various reasons we were not able to make it possible then.

Last month, we had a discussion with the head master of school Mr.Jayaram regarding the plan of conducting elocution competition on Republic day (26th of January, 2009). We started our work for this project from the first week of January 2009. First, we decided on the topics and questions for elocution and quiz competitions. A formal letter with the details of the competition was drafted and handed over to the head master. He passed on an official announcement to the children.

We decided to conduct both the competitions prior to Republic Day (i.e. on the 24th of January 2008) inorder to avoid making the chief guests stay for a long time inspite of their busy schedule. Thus, the competition were conducted on Saturday (24th January 2009) and lunch was provided for 375 children.

[ the four simple and humble but great minded personalities ] time is utilized well. It is then we decided to conduct all the programs on 24th, Saturday providing lunch for all 375 children.

24th, Saturday, January 2009:

As per our plan, shamiana was put at the school on the previous evening. We put up DI banners in the morning. After school prayer, we started with the elocution competitions for the children. Children from 6th to 10th standard participated in the same. It was heart warming to see 10th standard students participating in the competition inspite of their revision exams. Almost all the children spoke very well. On the whole 27 children [on an average: 5 kids per class] participated in this event.

The elocution competition was followed by cultural programs by the children. Village folk songs, dance, drama and what not, we had the privilege to witness all the special talents of children for more than an hour.

Around 1 pm, 375 special lunch [Veg pulav and Kurma ] which we had ordered had arrived. All the kids, staff, volunteers had wonderful lunch.

Post – Lunch:

Ravin, Kalam Nagappan and Bose took over post lunch programmes and conducted quiz competition for the children. Sathiya Priya and Roshini scored the competition.

We had conducted a screening test for 150 children on Friday to select 27 kids [9 team with 3 kids per team]. For every two rounds, three teams were eliminated. There was healthy competition between the last 3 teams. The VOC team that won the show with 65 points.

We had many questions posed to the audience too and the kids responded wonderfully. The joy on the face of the participants and children answering the questions correctly was a treat too watch. The children prepared really well and rightly so, quiz competition was highlight of the day.


Kids were tired after a long day. Around 3.30pm, they were served with tea and biscuits. We announced the winners of the competitions and requested them to be present on 26th January to collect their prizes. With smiles on their faces and complete joy, all the children left for the day looking forward to an eventful Republic day.

Mujeeb, Shyam, Ravin, Roshini, SathiyaPriya, Hema and her friend, Poornima, Sreeni, Nagappan, Ponumudi, Bose, Muthukumar, Muthu, Hari, JP, Ramya and Nata – If not for these folks and a lot of friends who prepared the quiz questions sitting miles away, we would have not been able to conduct a competition keeping 325 kids occupied. Right from arranging for shamiana to water, the efforts put in by our folks cannot be described in words.

Special thanks to the HM and staff too. Couple of them were awesome and took special interest in getting their students ready for quiz and elocution competition. With the day going well than expected, we left the school with another big day [26th] awaiting.

Republic day, 26th, January, 2009:

On Saturday we learnt that the chairman of the corporation zone, Mr.Jayaraman would join us on the Republic day. The plan for the day was

  • Flag hoisting
  • Prize distribution
  • Chief guest lecture
  • Inauguration of computer classes
  • Cultural programs by children

The best thing that happened was the four special guests who honored us with their presence. They all readily accepted to be there at school. We could only invite them via email and phone. This shows the simplicity of these gentlemen.

1) Mr.Suresh Kamath – MD , Laser Soft Infosystems Limited – Sir needs no introduction. One of the simplest and humblest person on earth. He is really a great source of inspiration for us all.

2) Mr.Kannan, Retired IPS officer – Another simple and humble gentleman. The only IPS officer who never carried weapon with him. He always thought and worked on the path of ahimsa even while dealing with criminals.

3) Mr.Ramakrishnan, Teacher - He has been teaching and guiding the children of rural schools for the past 35 years. He has been an example of dedication and hard work for many of us. He is father of our dear friends Janakiraman and Ramya.

4) Mr.Srinivasan – Moderator IV2020 group – The fatherly figure who guides us all in India Vision 2020.

The day began with Mr.Jayaraman, Chairman, hoisting the national flag. This was followed by march past by the children. The coordination of the children was excellent and all of us found the march past amazing. All of us took the National Integration oath by repeating the words of the leader of the march past.

Mr.Jayaraman in his address requested the children to follow the words of great Dr.APJ Kalam and also promised to IV2020 group that he would do his best to support our efforts. His address was really good and was inspiring.

This was followed by prize distribution. The children who won in the elocution and quiz competition were honoured with prizes by chief guests.

1st Prize – English – Tamil Dictionary, a big trophy and DI certificate.

2nd Prize – Kalaamai Kaelungal [Ask Dr.Kalam] book, a medium size trophy and DI certificate.

3rd Prize – My Experiments with Truth( in Tamil), small Thirukkural book, a small trophy and DI certificate.

Following this, Mr.Suresh Kamath wished all the children a happy republic day. His address was very short. However, his presence by itself was inspiring. Sir is a man of actions than words.

The headmaster then presented the superb works of the kids of Vasantham to the chief guests.

Mr.Ramakrishan's address to the children was one of the best. The video of the same would be shared with you all by Ramya. He gave many practical tips to the students and also announced Rs.1000 and Rs.500 cash awards for 1st and second rank holders of 10th standard.

Mr.Kannan in his lecture shared his wonderful experiences with Mr.Suresh Kamath. He also shared this experiences in north east with a small story.

Mr.Srinivasan in his lecture recalled the "I can do it, we can do it, India can do it" oath administered by Dr.APJ all IV2020 groups last week during Action2020 Unconference. All the kids repeated the same in Tamil and English. The energy level as we repeated those golden words as said by the great man was simply beyond words.

Later, all the chief guests and HM Mr.Jayaram, formally inaugurated the computer classes. Following National anthem and chocolate distribution, the children left for the day.

Couple of things to be shared:

Chief guests were presented with special momentos (paintings done by special children of Vasantham Special School).

Prize: The children were very happy to get trophies. They even told me, "Brother, we have never got something like this in life and feel so happy to get something like this".

One of the staff members explained, " The dictionary is really comprehensive and the book Kalaamai Kaelungal is excellent. We have planned to read one question and answer in the school prayer every day".

The above reponses made us believe that we made the right choice of selection for prizes. All of us left for the day with complete joy and satisfaction that kids thoroughly enjoyed the event.

It was almost the same team that facilitated a successful event on Saturday, carried on for Monday too. A few friends from TCS Anusha, Shwethabh, Narmadha and friends too joined us on this day.



Dream India

Friday, January 30, 2009

Impact of our actions - a small example

Dear Friends,

I am sure most of you would remember the recent trip with Adyar children by Chennai team. The details of the same if you want to recollect

Last week, I happened to speak to one of the volunteers Poornima who conducts classes and organized this trip as well. Looks like as we were travelling back from circus show, couple of children sitting next to her posed a question, " Akka [ sister ], looks like the ticket cost is around 120rs, how do you manage to spend so much on each of us?". Poornima replied, " We know it is bit costly, but we would like to give you all the best and all of you to come up very well in life. There are many of our friends who are miles away but still want you all to come up in life. We just want to make sure you all come up good in life".

Hearing this, one of the kids replied next moment, "Akka, I feel so happy to have people like you. For sure, I will become a doctor and serve many poor people without collecting fee". The other said, " I would definitely help poor students whatever be the position am in future".

We would not know for sure if the kid would really become a doctor or so in future, but it is the spirit which we she uttered those words that counts. We might teach spoken English, Grammar, language or whatever, but it this seed " I am here to serve others" that would count for the future. We can safely say, all our action, how small it may be, are definitely sowing the positive seeds for future India.

Just want to say - I am really proud to be a part of this wonderful team.

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, January 27, 2009

Ponni zooms to top of class

Dear Friends,

I take great pleasure in sharing the wonderful news that our student Ponni has scored 84% in her fifth semester examinations to top the department. For a girl who comes from a Tamil medium background, the performance of Ponni is just amazing. Without any doubt, Ponni is a jewel in our DI crown.

I take this opportunity to thank Ravi, Udhay and Siva for letting us know about Ponni three years back. Also, credit to Mr.Kalyan and Mr.Murali for their superb support to her.

Let us hope all along this life time journey of ours we would continue to make DI 2020 possible for as many families as possible.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Excerpts from UnConference 2009

Hi All,
A group of NGOs with a vision to transform India on the lines of Dr Kalam's dreams for the nation, participated in an informal conference titled 'UnConference'. Dream India, India Vision2020, India Sudar and many more NGOs and individuals like Dr Kalam himself, Dr YS Rajan, Dr Santosh Babu (IAS) who set brilliant examples to the peoples of the nation participated in the conference that was held in Chennai on the 17th of January. Please find below excerpts from many people who attended the conference:

dear friends

We had earlier announced about the Action 2020 - UnConference by India Vision online group. The UnConference was held at Chennai on Saturday the 17th Jan 2009. 100 leaders/founders representing 35 social service organisations participated in the event. These 35 organisations are backed by nearly 10,000 young professionals and students. These organisations are already in social service activities silently and they are already working in 500 plus projects covering 1.5 laksh beneficiaries, with funds outlay of Rs.50 lakhs. (with own / sponsored funds without any Govt. support)

The purpose of this UnConference was to synergise the creativity of the youth and the expertise of elders. Many eminent people participated in the event and shared their experiences. The day long event provided great opportunity for the youth leaders to develop strategies for working together with other like minded organisations for achieving Developed India by 2020.

During the morning session, Dr Y S Rajan (Co-author of the book India 2020 with Dr Kalam) interacted with the participants over phone from Delhi. In the afternoon session, Dr Abdul Kalam, interacted with them for more than 20 minutes and shared his views over phone, from Delhi. He also administered an oath to all - "I can do it; We can do it; India can do it:". The participants repeated the slogan in loud voice jointly with Dr Kalam three times. At the end of the day, the participants returned home with charged energy and with more motivation to achieve their goal.

We will be releasing the most inspiring interaction session with Dr Abdul Kalam separately. Meanwhile, we are releasing the 4 minutes visual feature telecast by Kalaignar TV in their news channel on this event today. Though, the narration is in Tamil, you can watch this visuals to understand the magnitude of the event.

Please click to watch

Prime Point

Report in The Hindu

dear friends

As already informed earlier, Action 2020 - UnConference was held at Chennai on 17th Jan 2009, organised by India Vision Group. The highlight of the session was the interaction session by Dr Abdul Kalam over phone with the young participants. After his speech over mobile phone (which was fed to the amplifiers), he also answered questions from the audience.

Ms Nandini of Bangalore (from Changes group) asked him how to end corruption. Mr Prakash of Chennai (from Bhoomi group) requested Dr Kalam to give an inspiring quote to be repeated to the school children.

At the end of his speech, Dr Kalam requested everybody to say in a louder voice along with him the slogan - "I can do it; We can do it' India can do it". This powerful slogan inspired the entire audience and enhanced their commitment and enthusiasm to work for the Nation.

Please listen to the complete interaction session ( 19m 30 s - unedited) in the following link

Please also visit the already circulated links for a brief report and

Prime Point

Saturday, January 24, 2009

DI and YHM invites you for Republic day function at Adyar Corporation School, Chennai

Dear Friends,

We at Dream India and Young Helping Minds [ YHM ] take great pleasure in welcoming you all for the republic day celebration at Adyar corporation school. Please extend this invite to all your near and dear ones. For any questions, please do contact me at 99406 75570. Thanks.


Saturday, 24th, 2009:

Time: 8.30 AM - 4.30 PM

Morning: Elocution competition followed by lunch provided by DI and YHM.
Evening: Quiz Program followed by cultural programs.

The students strength is expected to be around 300 - 350. The more the number of volunteers we have the better. Please feel free to join anytime of the day.

Monday, 26th, 2009:

Time: 8.00 AM - 11.30 AM

Chief Guests:

Mr.Suresh kamath, MD, Lasersoft.
Mr.Kannan, Retired IPS officer.
Mr.Ramakrishnan, Teacher.
Mr. Srinivasan, Moderator IV2020

We would also formally inaugurate the computer classes for the children on this day. Prize distribution would be followed by cultural program by children.

We take pleasure in welcoming you all. Please feel free to contact me at 99406 75570 for any questions. Expecting your presence on both the days,

With regards,
On behalf of Dream India and YHM team.

"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

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Report and snaps of DI Chennai events - Happy New Year 2009

Dear Friends,

I take great pleasure in writing to you about the trip with children from Adyar school and our monthly visit to Kaakum Karangal on the 28th of December 2008 (Sunday)

Before I continue with the report, I would like to express our sincere thanks to the members of Young Helping Minds –YHM (one of our partner organizations) who are part of our regular weekend classes at Adyar and other related activities.

Carrying out the arrangements for the trip was not very easy…it was a little tedious. However, with the support of Shyam, Poornima, Parthy, Kavitha, Sreeja, Krishnageetha, KrishnaThaara, Umesh, Murali and Mr.Mani (Build Future India),things were made pretty easy and the day was a memorable one for the kids and for all of us.

Trip with children from Adyar class:

On Saturday (27th of December 2008) many new members (Sreeja, Divya P, Krishnageetha & Mr.Mani) visited our class at Adyar shool. After the class was over, we informed the children about the plan for next day and the way they have to behave through the day.

After 2-3 hours of struggle running here and there to find a van to accommodate 30 people, Shyam, Parthy and myself, found a travels who promised to provide us with 25 seater van for Rs.1500. In the evening, we bought snacks for the kids. Meanwhile Poornima got first aid kit and ribbons ready. The ribbons with Parthy's and my contact numbers on it were used as identity for the kids and were tied in their hand.

On Sunday (28th December 2008) morning, we reached the school at 9.15 am. Kavitha, Poornima and Krishnageetha had already reached the place and were with the children. We started off to Birla Planetarium at 9.30 am. Umesh and Murali joined us at planetarium.

Children had great fun (that is clearly shown in the pictures ) in playing at the park at planetarium. There were devices which would help us find our weight, height etc using scientific principles. The kids tried them all and we were in time for the movie on astronomy. The children could not relate much to the movie as it was in English. However, the comments they made regarding what they saw showed their interest to learn.

Around 11.50 am, we left for the circus. Initially, we had bought Rs.90 tickets, but later after seeing the seating arrangement we decided to exchange it for Rs.120 tickets. This gave closer view for the kids with elephants, jokers moving very close to them. All of us had great time at circus with the kids. We bought ice cream and snacks for the children as we knew it would be a day of late lunch.

After non-stop entertainment for 2 hours, we left for the next destination, beach (the most awaited place for the children). The travel time was filled with singing and dancing in the van especially for songs such as "Naaka Mooka" and "Anjala anjala" (the latest peppy hit tunes)

On the way, we picked up the food parcels (special rice and chapathi which were ordered in advance) from Bharani restaurant. Around about 4.30pm we had lunch at the beach. It was a very late lunch.Thanks to the snacks because of which children were able to manage till we had lunch KrishnaThaara and her sister joined us along with Mr.Mani at beach.

It was mere fun here! All of us (Children and volunteers) stepped into the water in the beach and were completely drenched. We were there for about one and half hours. Words cannot describe the amount of joy we had. We left for the school around 6.15pm and reached at 6.30 pm. The children left home wishing all of us a very good night and thanking everyone. The children called us after reaching home as we had asked them to do so.

Overall, it was one of the best trips we have ever had with children. Most of the snaps would show the kind of love the children and volunteers share. It was absolute fun.


Kaakum Karangal (KK):

The visit was scheduled to happen a week earlier but got postponed because of some needs at KK. Kavitha, Parthy, Krishnageetha stayed back after the trip for KK visit.

Myself and Kavitha collected the dinner (50 sets of chapathi coffee) from Bharani hotel and reached KK at 7.30 pm. Ravin, Thilak, Shyam, Sajitha, Rajshree and Vel joined us at KK.

As usual, we started off with prayer, but to add a special note - during the prayer, one of the residents mentioned that the name Dream India itself brings smile in their face. They also gave a new year greeting card to Dream India. There are a lot of friends in DI who do not want their names to be put in public but continue supporting this project. The heart felt wishes from the residents of KK makes me feel so emotional and proud to be a part of this group. For many of our DI members who are staying miles away from the country, the special wishes from these people would transcend the physical distance and reach for sure.

After the prayer, we started serving dinner. Though we had 50*2=100 chapatti for 42 residents, unfortunately we ran short of it. However, Shyam and Parthy managed to get few more from a nearby hotel. Thanks to them for their timely support. The highlight of the dinner was the coffee, that was served. A few of the residents told me personally that after a very long time they were all having such a good quality coffee. In fact, during every visit we get feedback from the residents and thus decided to include coffee in the menu. It makes us sad to think that even such a small thing like coffee does not reach them daily.

After distributing the bananas we all left the home around 9 pm. Earlier, we had certain concerns from management regarding our interaction with residents which was considered to be beyond the level of what we should. I had a fear of some restriction, but it did not seem to bother us or make a big issue when we reached there.

If the children made the day as one of the best, the elderly made the evening a pleasant one. It was a perfect "Sunday" ….. a day that most of us are longing and working for. I am sure most of you who were not a part of this special day in person would love to be so.

Here are few snaps to make you also a part of it…


Wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year 2009. Hope we get to start the new year seeing the smiles of the kids and elderly alike in the snaps.



"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