The following is a detailed report on the meeting that we had in Bombay on the 16th of April, at Mr Gawarikar's home between 8 am and 11 am. The meeting was attended by the following members:
We started by talking about retaining volunteers and the various way of doing this. This has been a topic for discussion for many many years now in various centers of DI and will continue to be so, as we are an organisation that do not employ people, but rather induct people who come forward to volunteer on their own accord. We figured out that talking to the vols and making them feel part of the DI family and more importantly, involving them in the community building process right from the beginning, will give them more sense of responsibility and that might keep them going for a long time. Rupesh also stressed the importance of creating leaders out of volunteers, and though this is not an easy task to achieve, we should strive towards this in order to build a better DI family. We would also be making the new vols attend one or two of our classes so that they get a feel of how we go about our tasks.
All volunteers will soon be receiving copies of official DI posters that are now available and it will be great to have them put up on various places in the city like Shopping malls, coffee shops and similar youth hang outs, our own office complexes etc. This might get us some more volunteers.
Padmaja has agreed to call up prospective karmayog vols regularly and try to induct them into the team. From time to time vols from other centers would also help her in this activity.
Since the email communication from the Mumbai has been falling short of desired standards over the last one year, this topic was discussed extensively. Jamuna has taken this up on herself and she will ensure at least bi-weekly communication of events happening in all DI-Mumbai centers. Either she will coax the center vols to themselves mail to the team about the various activities happening, or she will collect the info and herself mail about it. Request the entire team to co-operate and please follow this communication on priority. The Chennai team also discussed the same yesterday (Nata will send MoM for that in a day or two), so the importance of this can never be ignored.
Regarding the individual center news...
The team has been performing admirably over the years and that can be seen in the progress of the students out here. Now that summer is here, we have decided to do the following activities in the next two months...
Enroll 5 children for a MS-CIT (3-month) computer course - Sharvari will be keeping regular track of the kids and will liaison between them and the computer center to make sure things are moving smoothly. The other vols will of course assist her when needed.
Conduct aptitude tests for children - This will help us know what the children's interests are and also what career streams they are likely to succeed in. Sharvari is in contact with one such counseller and was supposed to conduct the tests this weekend, but I heard a couple of hours back from her that the counseller had some urgent work and hence had to postpone the tests for the following week.
Subscribe English newspaper to the basti for a month - This is aimed at encouraging the kids to read the newspaper daily. They will also have to read and explain articles of their choice every weekend and also get the meanings of new words that they see in the paper. I was supposed to subscribe the paper but could not do it before I left Bombay. Request one of theBorivali vols to please take this up.
Conduct competitions to kids of the three centers, at the pada - This is for encouraging competitive spirit among the children and also to help them mingle with kids of other centers. The competitions will be conducted sometime next month andPadmaja will soon find out from the pada if the people are willing to host the children for the competition. Logistics and arranging the competitions will be a nightmare but am sure the Bombay team can pull this off. Someone please start a new thread on this.
Outing for children - The Borivali kids will be taken out somewhere next month, center vols will decide on this soon.
The common notion is that there are a lot of kids that are interested in Khambacha pada and not so much in Gaundevi pada (Our main center). So out of the 5 vols present currently, two (Padmaja and someone else with her) will go to the former and try to start something in that pada itself. Since we have another NGO working there on Sundays, Padmaja will also contact them and DI will try to work along with that NGO.
Also since Child marriage is a common problem in that place, Rupesh suggested we work with NGOs that work for women welfare and get them to educate the people in the pada about the evils of getting their children married at an early age. Pooja and Padmaja will follow up on this. Once we are able to do this and try it out at Andheri, this can also be tried out at our Thane center.
We were also wondering how to make forays into villages in Maharashtra when we remembered a request for help from one of the schools in the Wada taluka of Mumbai. Vijay, our contact for this project, is coordinating with our vols and the school to help secure a water filter for the school. Once this goes thru, we will hopefully have access to the school children thru the headmaster and we can try and start a center at Wada. Since this taluka comprises of a lot of villages that are not very well off, we can try and form a team to work in some of these places. Padmaja and I are already in touch with Vijay for this and the guy (he seems like a very dedicated person) has put forward some ideas too. More updates on this in a separate thread.
Jamuna and Rupesh had also given some very interesting information on other NGOs and GoI schemes for education. All these will come in handy in our quest to make our nation a better place to live in.
Since we had conducted the meeting on a weekday morning, vols from other centers could not make it, understandably so. There were two very fruitful meetings back to back this week (The above one in Bombay and one in Madras, on Saturday) where we all shared very useful info within the team. Natarajan will send the MoM for the latter meeting.
PS My luggage, along with the paper that had the notes from this meeting, was lost during my trip to Madras. So in case I missed some points, please add them to this thread.