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.


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