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` 50 September 2012
Your Voice is our Inspiration
What Ails the Indian Education System?
Dr. P. Kaliraj, VC, Anna University .
Grooming Happy Children Gowthami
The Joy of Onam Karthika Nair PAGE 69
Reaching Out to the Last Child
India PAGE 14
Yuvraj Singh PAGE 72
Shaheen Mistri, Teach for
Sankalp – Neerja Malik
New Approaches to Cancer Treatment
Notation for Success
The Heart MattersDr. V.V. Bashi PAGE84
Tanvi Shah PAGE 66
Diabetes and Heart Diseases Padmashri
EDUCATION THE WAY FORWARD
CEO (Global Operations) : Nischinta Editor-in-Chief : Swati Amar Deputy Editor : Namrata Amarnath Associate Editor : Malini Shankar Head, Graphics & Design :Ashwini Raje .Bhonsle Photography: Pavitaram Production Executive : B.Sabitha Marketing Coordination: Sivakumar Advertising & Mktg: R.Ravichandran Prashant Kirthivasan Circulation: Jaganathan, James Expert Panel: Karti Chidambaram Padmashri Dr.V.Mohan M.R.Venkatesh Mallika Badrinath Brinda Jayaraman Dr. Priya Selvaraj Vijaya Chamundeeswari Usha Subramaniam Chitra Mahesh Writer’s Panel: Nischinta (New York) Namrata (Jodhpur) Sumati Ramkumar (Holland) Gayatri T.Rao (Mumbai) Chandrika Radhakrishnan (Bengaluru) Priyanka Sakhamuru ( Hyderabad) Prof. N.Natarajan Padmini Natarajan Kanchana Rao Kirthi Gita Jayakumar Valsala Menon Geeta Canpadee (China) Radha Chandrasekar (Singapore) Kshitij ( London) Aarti Kamat (Kolkata) Anuradha Ganeshan (Bengaluru) G V Ashok Murthy (Bengaluru) Eve’s Times Group Volume 7 Issue 188 for the month of September 2012. Price Rs. 50/Reg Off : # 18/1 2nd Cross Street Dr.RadhakrishnanNagar, Tiruvanmiyur,Ch 41 E Mail: email@example.com Ph: 91 44 24526739/ 91 44 24521813 Printed by K. Elumalai at Sakthi Scanners (P) Ltd., No 7 Dams Road, Chindadripet, Ch 600 002 Published by Smt. Kamala Balachandran On behalf of Eve’s Times Group. Editor-in-Chief Lata Amarnath.All rights reserved Reproduction in any form is prohibited Eve’s Times Group does not take the responsibility for returning unsolicited publication material.
We are responsible for the safety of our children
How much do we value the life of a child? It doesn’t seem to be much if you go by the safety standards of the nation as a whole. Whether it is the death of infants in hospitals or in deep holes in roads dug up to filch ground water for commercial exploitation or in the school bus or even in the school premises, the sad truth is that we are not able to protect the life of our little citizens. And the horror of it all is that we don’t seem to care! When parents admit their children in schools, it is the responsibility of the school to ensure that children are safe, healthy and happy. On all the three counts, we have failed. From the moment tiny tots join school they are subjected to ‘academic pressures’ which steal them of their childhood joys. As they move to higher classes, the enormous pressure of examinations, marks, percentage and the entire rigmarole of thrusting intolerable burden on their fragile shoulders makes their childhood unhappy and they grow up as frustrated individuals. To add insult to injury, the school ambience is replete with management and teacher politics, teacher biases, corporal punishment issues, leaving them befuddled about the values they are supposed to develop. Growing up seems to be a disincentive as our children are intimidated by the great burden they have to shoulder even as parents and schools raise their expectations about them. School, many a time, seems to be the cause of emotional trauma among several children. The apathy, as an upshot of skyrocketing commercialism is spreading its deep roots in the society as the issue of the drowning of a child in the swimming pool of a so called premier educational institution snared its fistful of infamy and was hastily buried after taking action on swimming coaches. When a school professes to offer avenues for exclusive extracurricular activities, and charges a ransom on that score alone, is it not the responsibility of the institution to ensure no accidents occur, whether it is swimming, horse-riding or other so-called elite pursuits? In a country like ours where men and women of questionable personal qualities rise to positions of power and influence, it is not difficult for a premier institution to get out of such uncomfortable situations. Yes, these are just discomfitures for them- the tragedy that have struck families whose children fall from a hole in the floor of a school bus, or are crushed by the buses or drown in pools during school hours-such incidents are just inconveniences for these institutions that are turning out to be perilous venues to send our children.The anguish of the mother who has lost a child forever is soon erased from the memory of the public as she is left to languish in her lifelong sorrow. Again and again, such incidents are happening with frightening rapidity and nothing seems to be done about it. A few words that placate, a few people punished or a few thousand rupees changing hands to compensate for the loss of lives will never put an end to such callous incidents. We need stringent laws to monitor and control educational institutions that should honour their commitment toward parents who leave their children under their care with trust and confidence. There’s a lot to be done both in terms of providing a healthy, happy ambience to children to thrive and flourish as well as to ensure their physical and mental safety within the portals of educational institutions. Unless we make and implement laws and take action against institutions that cannot uphold their responsibility towards their students, they will merrily continue to be death traps for young and innocent children who , if their lives had not been terminated prematurely due to hazardous human interventions , would have grown up to be exemplary contributing citizens of our country. For a nation that cannot give a carefree and safe childhood to its little citizens, we must all hang our heads in shame! On that sombre note, I take leave, reminiscing the carefree days of my childhood and the loving teachers who instilled faith and trust in me! Ciao
9| What Ails
the Education System? Indian
The quality of education offered by top notch institutes like the IITs, IIMs, are of high standards- Dr. P. Kaliraj,Vice Chancellor (Officiating), Anna University.
For September 2012
13|Grooming Happy Children
What your child needs is unconditional love, acceptance and support-Gowthami
14| Reaching out to the Last
Teach For India takes education to the poorest of the poor and also creates value oriented leaders who will continue to work for the cause of education – Shaheen Mistri, Teach For India
EDUCATION THE WAY FORWARD
29| Kanchana Paati
Equation the Child
Dealing with Cancer Positively
72|YouWeCan- Yuvraj Singh 74|New
Dr.V. V. Bashi
19| Sankalp, Determination for Progress
Sankalp, an NGO for the education of the girl child also teaches girls the art of givingNeerja Malik
32| Spare the Rod and Spoil 84|The Heart that Matters33|Coaching
86|Diabetes and Heart Diseases- Padmashri. Dr.V.Mohan
21| A Journey ofTransformation 36|To Carry or Not to carry
The mission of Parikrma is to give equal opportunity to poor children
38|Right to Education 41|Off-Beat Career Choices 66|Notation for Success- Tanvi Shah
24| Advanced Technologies in 39|Never too late to Learn
The ease of access of information through online sources in the Internet and the media has risen over the years exponentially.
26| Double Trouble for IIT 69|The Joy of Onam-Karthika Teen Mag Contenders Nair 55|Generation Smart
The IIT Council recently proposed a common entrance exam for all engineering institutions. Another shocker was the inclusion of the 12th standard board exam marks for selection in the IITs.
80|Health and FitnessVijayachamundeeswari
57|Designed for Students 58|Bag and Baggage 60|Sole Story 61|For ur Eyes Only
27| Education System in China 83|Jus’ Ask Brinda
Parents give their single kid the best in the world. Be it a boy or a girl, they see to it that their child went to the best of the schools .
88|Salt ‘n’ Pepper Korner
89|Cook ‘n’ Smile Easy Recipes 63|Ice Age 4 64|Kreative Korner 93| Citizen’s Voice
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Tribute to the Nation
August issue of Eve’s Times is a tribute to India. A very well put together issue, the views of prominent people in the country on different topics were very inspiring. The positive approach of Infosys Founder, Narayana Murthy that today the changing world order offers us enormous opportunities to play an important role in global economy and that we should try to make good use of the opportunities will motivate youngsters. Karti’s views may be hard hitting, but are candid and reflect the reality of our country. His view that decision making is stalled by different people at different stages is now being staged out in the parliament. One cannot deny the fact that transparency and efficiency will bring an end to corruption. Kudos to the Eve’s Times team!
Prateek, Chennai via e-mail
traffic, bursting of crackers etc are not permitted. While I don’t mean to hurt the sentiments of any group of people, we should show sensitivity toward our neighbor even during times of bereavement or a ceremonial occasion such as a marriage. In Tamil Nadu during the months of Aadi and Margazhi cities reverberate with religious songs that are too loud. During deaths we can see many people putting chairs on the road and sitting with glum faces, not bothered about the fact that they are blocking the roads. Marriage processions and religious processions, especially during the ‘irumudi’ season is a common sight in the south. Of course, the north too has its own share of making noises, blocking roads and creating public nuisance. If any of us dares to complain to the police, you are frowned upon as villains. What’s the solution? Maya Chandar, Chennai via e-mail Even today we live in a world where the man has the last laugh. It has been brought out clearly by Chitra Mahesh in her interview with Suhasini Maniratham. What she says is true. Even today
No Fair Deal Indeed
We Indians are putting up a lot with great tolerance and forbearance. Definitely we are not getting a fair deal anywhere in the country. Whether you go to a
Letters to the editor
doctor with some health problem or you want to admit your child in a school or you even want to buy a consumer product, as citizens every act of ours begets unpleasant consequences and interactions. Consumers woes are untold and too many. Everywhere you need to know people, pay your way through or fight to get what you want. No wonder people have started protesting loudly against various issues we are facing today. Before the ensuing elections, it is time we somehow influence the masses, and try to bring responsible representatives who will change the country for the better.
women don’t have equal rights in the country and they have to put up a big fight to get anything. However educated a girl is, she is still responsible to running the household, taking care of the children and ensuring that the family is not disturbed and all members are taken care of. Who cares about the woman? Miriam Joseph, Bengaluru via e-mail Eve’s Times now looks elegant, beautiful and carries a lot of useful information. I am hoarding every issue of Eve’s Times with great care. All articles and views of people are very good and reflect the turmoil that is going on in the country. Madhav Kannan, Chennai via e-mail Legal articles in Eve’s Times are of very high standards and are very informative. It shows how important it is to have professionals in the editorial panel. A very good and useful magazine, Eve’s Times is different from all the magazines I have come across. Malarvizhi, Chennai
Red is the colour of Anger
Padmini Natarajan may have listed out just a few issues which makes the Indian see red, but there are several more day-to-day issues which irk the Indian psyche, but we are unable to do anything about it. In advanced countries, creating disturbances in the public by way of loud noise, huge processions blocking road
EDUCATION THE WAY FORWARD
The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself. -- Edward Bulwer-Lytton
What Ails the Indian Education System?
How does Indian higher education compare with that of other nations in terms of quality and standards? Higher education system in India is considered essential by everyone from all strata of society to reach higher echelons of society. Education system in India has top notch institutes like IITs, IIMs, IISc, NIT on the one hand and institutes that struggle to have the basic infrastructure on the other. The quality of education offered by such top notch institutes are of high standards and good quality. However when we compare our institutes with Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, London School of Business, Cambridge etc., we do have a long way to go.
ve’s Times is glad to bring out this exclusive interview with Dr. P. Kaliraj, Vice Chancellor (Officiating), Anna University, Chennai where he talks about the various facets of the education system in India.
live in a unique land which has a priceless social and cultural heritage. Today it is in a state of flux because of the influx of other global cultures. The rapidity of this influx is remarkable. One of the upshot of this trend is its impact on education. So far our educational structure has been such that it has been based on rote learning and the child is under constant pressure both by parents and the school to achieve. A child’s achievement is determined by the mark he or she obtains. The new trend is gradually bringing about a change in the thought process of thinking individuals, whether this system is good for our children. If you look at the classrooms, you have one teacher for 40-50 children. At the nascent stage of development when a child should get the personal attention of the teacher, this is the state of affairs in basic schooling. No two children are alike. Each child has to be treated differently and given personal attention to help them develop during this impressionable stage when personality formation happens. The odds are unfortunately stacked against the child and even before he or she gets started in life, they are burdened with the pressures we place upon them. We should have a relook at the entire educational structure and determine how much pressure is necessary for a child to perform to the fullest potential. Basic schooling should be such that it helps a child develop into a balanced individual to live a fulfilling life as an adult. Right from the 5th or 6th standard the child is under pressure to prepare for IIT, engineering, medicine etc, an age when he or she is too young to even understand his or her own interest and aptitude. The school, the system and the curriculum dictate that the child’s only focus is to prepare for professional courses. This grabs the opportunity from the child to savour the beauty of childhood and try out varying avenues of interest. Parents need to figure out what is important for the child at the end of the day. Is it important that the child grows up to be a balanced and happy individual and learns to effectively find his or her way in life? What is important to us? Is it about seeing your child flourish in her
individuality keeping her happy all the time? Or is it about making the child feel frustrated , reel under immense pressure such that even before your realize the extent of the damage you have done to your own child, some poor, unfortunate little one decides to end life, all for the sake of a few marks? How can you do this to your own child? What your child needs is unconditional love, acceptance and support. Once, in early school, when my daughter came up to me and said she was not happy with her school, I immediately changed her school. When a child feels it is not the right kind of school, we must give the child due credit and look around. I am not saying it is easy to find the right kind of school, but if you look hard you will find a good school where your child will be happy. Parents need to talk to their children and unearth what they need. The decisions start with us as parents. Unfortunately, we forget this is our own child first. A child’s future is worth all you can give. It is important to give the child a healthy education in a wholesome manner to guarantee her a good future. It is criminal that a child, whatever age ,is so intimidated by the system and feels so lacking in intellectual capabilities that she is pushed to the extent to kill herself. The child must learn to speak up for herself and approach a parent, teacher, counselor, friend, a friend’s parents or any other responsible person who can help her in times of need, understand her interests and aspirations, difficulties etc. Today, there are various means of conveying what you feel, even through messages! Finally, teaching is all about integral understanding about the process of learning, about understanding the child. Schools should employ the kind of educational products, systems, teachers, amenities and infrastructure that will go on to produce well rounded personalities. Teachers cannot take umbrage and say they are trapped within the system. Whatever they can do within the limits of the system they should go on to do. At the end of the day education is all about the child. The child is not a means to the end.
Grooming Happy Children
September 2012 13
odeled on the Teach For America, Teach For India has set new benchmarks in delivery of social service. Adopting young professionals and training them not just as educators but also as harbingers of change to the society has made Shaheen Mistri a champion for social change. Teach For India is an initiative that not only attempts to take education to the poorest of the poor child but it also creates value- oriented young leaders who will continue to work for the cause of education after their two year fellowship. Initiatives like Teach For India draw the attention of corporate to involve in building the educational sector through private initiatives. They also bring about a renaissance in teaching methodologies and stress the importance of amicable
Reaching out to the Last Child
Teach For India is currently in its fourth year of operation. From a cohort of 80 Fellows who joined us in May 2009, we now have a total of 506 Fellows teaching over 16,000 children, in 443 classrooms (across 164 schools), in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad.
bonds between teaching professionals and the children. But the greatest service such initiatives do are giving the child the freedom to learn and develop at their own place, given their skill sets, inherent intellectual capabilities and the ambience they live in, motivating them to perform better and better. No doubt, our country needs more initiatives from young leaders like Shaheen Mistri. Views about how this idea works remarkably and bridges the gap in education in Shaheen’s own word: Over to Shaheen Mistri, Founder and CEO of Teach For India. India is currently facing one of the worst educational crises in the world. Today, 8 million primary schoolaged Indian children are not even enrolled in school and of those who are, 42% drop out before even getting a basic primary education. Children in low income schools test a full 2-3 grade levels below their counterparts in more affluent schools. Teach For India
Fellows (as alumni of the program) will work towards fighting educational inequity in India, with their willingness and capacity to create change.They may go on to becoming CEOs making the corporate sector more responsible, or journalists highlighting key legislation in the media, or entrepreneurs developing low-cost technologies for underresourced schools.
The idea was developed in 2006 when I was working along with a group of people to reform education in India.We came together to seek an innovative solution to end educational inequity in the country. During this time, we met with Wendy Kopp, CEO and Founder of Teach For America, to discuss the feasibility of adapting Teach For America’s model to the Indian context.
believes that a child’s demographics should not determine his or her life path. Teach For India is a nationwide movement of the country’s most promising college graduates and young professionals who commit two-years to teach full-time in under resourced schools and who will go on to become lifelong leaders working from within various sectors toward the pursuit of equity in education. In the short run, Teach For India Fellows work as dedicated teachers to expand, in a measurable way, the educational opportunities available to thousands of India’s most underprivileged children. In the long run, regardless of the career path they choose after their Fellowship,
September 2012 15
When we engaged with a number of stakeholders within the government, at academic institutions and at corporations, we felt very encouraged by the favourable response we received. A few months later, a twelveweek study was launched by McKinsey & Company to determine the feasibility of implementing this model in India. The study concluded favourably and at the end of the process, a plan to place the first cohort of Fellows as well as a plan to grow the movement to scale for the next five years was put in place. Teach For India is currently in its fourth year of operation. From a cohort of 80 Fellows who joined us in May 2009, we now have a total of 506 Fellows teaching over 16,000 children, in 443 classrooms (across 164 schools), in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad. We recruit fresh graduates, young and experienced professionals with experience ranging from 2-10 years from across diverse sectors and academic backgrounds. A total of 43% of our Fellows have prior work experience. If you walked into one of our classrooms you would probably see children working in groups learning together and the teacher engaging with small groups rather than the teacher always standing in front of the room.You might also see our teachers leading students in chants or songs to help them learn. You would see children and our teachers smiling in class and enjoying what they›re doing. You might also see Big Goals posted in the classroom and messages about students, goals, achievements and aspirations. It›s really important to us that our teachers set ambitious goals for each student to make more than one year of progress in an academic year so that we can eventually close the achievement gap for our kids. Finally, I hope that you would feel a buzz in our classroom- or the urgency to make the most of the little time we have with our students. We teach with a focus on language and math because they are both areas of great need and we believe that with strong literacy and foundational skills in mathematics, our students will be better set up for more success in the other content areas. We also teach science, history and other subjects
required by the school. In addition to academics, we incorporate values into our instruction, expose students to experiences which could expand their opportunities in life and incorporate students, interests and aspirations into our teaching. Our adherence to the state curriculum varies by school but in our first year, we decided against using the state curriculum because we found it lacked rigor. Furthermore, if it wasn’t working for our students, we needed something that would push them more than the state curriculum could. We decided to adopt Education Initiative’s learning standards in language and the Common Core standards in Mathematics. We have designed our curricula around these two sets of standards. We know we cannot solve problems like low attendance and school dropouts alone and thus, we explicitly work with our fellows to help them engage with their school community and families of their students. By getting parents and other family members excited about what’s possible with their children in our classrooms and showing them the progress their children make when they attend school, we see high attendance rates.We aim to create classrooms that children want to attend and classrooms to which families want to send their kids! During and after the Fellowship, Teach For India also supports its Fellows by providing them with leadership development opportunities. Through the two years, Fellows are provided multiple platforms through which they can gain a deeper understanding of the education sector thereby predisposing them towards leading innovation in the sector. Monthly calls are organized where eminent speakers from the education field are invited to speak about their practice with Fellows. Fellows who are interested in social enterprise are encouraged to be members of the Social Entrepreneurship club in their city where they can meet similarly interested Fellows and brainstorm ideas, share knowledge and collaborate with one another on possible future projects. Supporting these structures is the Alumni Impact Resource Library, an online bank of education related data, development
Although Teach For India does not guarantee a job post the Fellowship, Teach For India provides advice and counsel to Fellows to help them make the best possible career decisions. Several corporate and nonprofit employers look at Teach For India Fellows for new employment, and many companies also offer deferrals to their current employees by allowing them to pursue the Fellowship with a 2 year work sabbatical.
At Teach For India, we believe that excellent teaching starts with excellent leadership.
sector reports and examples of opportunities and organizations in the education sector. This online resource serves to promote, among Fellows, greater clarity with respect to different post-Fellowship paths they might want to pursue. Not only do Fellows spend time thinking about how to create greater impact beyond their classrooms, they also practice doing it. Through their Be The Change Projects, Fellows choose to tackle one primary challenge to students’ achievement (after discussions with school communities and leaders) and create innovative and sustainable solutions to this problem. In the last three years, Fellows have conducted teacher-training programs in their school, launched sports development curricula, conducted adult-literacy drives and started ventures involving women entrepreneurs involving the communities. By designing, implementing and managing a smallscale project within and outside of their schools, Fellows invest multiple stakeholders and build their leadership and project management skills, developing a deep understanding of the barriers to student achievement and educational equity. Although Teach For India does not guarantee a job post the Fellowship, Teach For India provides advice and counsel to Fellows to help them make the best possible career decisions. Several corporate and non-profit employers look at Teach For India Fellows for new employment, and many
companies also offer deferrals to their current employees by allowing them to pursue the Fellowship with a 2 year work sabbatical. All these factors motivate the youth to join the Fellowship as they not only work towards making a difference in the society and experience a strong sense of fulfillment but also enhance their personalities by developing leadership qualities by working at a grass-root level. By 2016, we aim to place 2000 Fellows in 8 cities impacting 60000 students, other teachers in their school and the community at large. One of the challenges that Teach For India faces is to maintain a balance between scaling the movement quickly and continuing to maintain the highest levels of quality and impact. With a very detailed screening process and selectivity of less than 10% of total applicants, we recruit Fellows who have demonstrated excellence and leadership skills in different sectors and academic and professional backgrounds. At Teach For India, we believe that excellent teaching starts with excellent leadership. Teachers, whose students achieve remarkable results, employ the same tactics as leaders in any field. When Fellows join Teach For India, they undergo a grueling 5-week Training where they learn the theoretical aspects of being an excellent teacher and the practical aspect through teaching for 4 weeks in summer school. Throughout the Fellowship, the Fellows constantly meet their Program Managers who support and train the Fellows on a
continuous basis. This training is with regard to classroom management, teaching methodologies and planning effectively for lessons. Supporting our Fellows every step of the way, and helping build an unwavering nationwide movement, is a dedicated team of staff. Our core values - Integrity, Reflection, Sense of Possibility, Respect and Humility, Resourcefulness, Seva and Team Work- bind our staff together in a close knit work culture, creating an environment that helps everyone work towards our vision cohesively. In the long-run, I see Teach For India building a powerful and ever-growing leadership force of alumni. These Teach For India alumni, informed by their experiences and insights, will work from inside and outside the educational system to effect fundamental, longterm changes necessary to ultimately realize educational opportunity for all - ensuring that one day, all children in India will attain an excellent education.
September 2012 17
What the Fellows Say
Shashank Shukla, 2010 Fellow from IAF “The program helped develop in me a deep understanding of the problems facing our education system and further consolidated my decision to dedicate my life towards ending the educational inequity in India. The 2nd year of the fellowship introduced me to the “Last Child” i.e. the most vulnerable child on the street without adult protection and that has become the cornerstone of my understanding of what I wish to contribute to the puzzle of ending educational inequity. I will continue working nationally as well as locally through my own colleges to reach to the “last child” as the last child has given me lessons in courage, empathy and sense of possibility that will always stay with me.”
Sidharth Agarwal, 2009 Fellow from Genpact “I joined the Fellowship program because I felt an urgent need to serve the country while I was still young and could give the best years of my life to it. My teachers played a huge part in my life and were role models while growing up. I felt strongly about excellent education being a fundamental right for every child. Teach For India provided me a perfect platform. The Fellowship experience was a test by fire and hugely helped in developing my leadership. It grew my sense of possibility to make excellent education a reality for every child and my ability to effect that change.”
Shalini Datta, 2010 Fellow from Cognizant “I believed that to rectify the existing problems that plague our education system, we needed to bring about systemic change and not create our own parallel systems. My vision was all aligned with Teach For India’s whose mission is to bring about systemic change and end education inequity in the long run and hence, I decided to join the Fellowship. It has given me the opportunity to directly make a difference and bring about change in small measures every day.”
Sana Gabula, 2009 Fellow from GE “During my two years with Teach For India, I learned that belief in a vision and a positive attitude go a long way in making the seemingly impossible a reality. I saw first-hand the impact I had on each student led to a changed classroom and eventually a transformed school. I now tackle the complexities of scaling excellence across systems, working closely with government, schools, NGOs.”
ven on the dullest of days, Neerja Malik is a burst of sunshine, a ray of joyous warmth and a panacea for a grouch. Neerja is the perfect embodiment of positivity and peace – two facets that were her soldiers in her battle against Cancer, in which she emerged successful. With two surgeries for breast cancer in 1998 and 2004 behind her, Neerja is a fighter. But despite her own issues, Neerja has always remained unstinting in her efforts for society, particularly with her causes for Cancer through her role as a counsellor in Apollo Cancer Speciality Hospital, Chennai and through her NGO, Sankalp-Education for the girl child. Neerja’s tryst with educating girls came about when she became a trustee for her aunt’s organization, Sankalp, in 1991. “My aunt, the Late Kanan Verma and I were very close. I was literally brought up by her. She got married when I was about two or three, and when my parents went to London, I looked upon my grandmother as my mother, and all my mum’s siblings as my own. I would address them as Didis instead of Masis!” Neerja’s aunt set the ball rolling on Sankalp in 1991, when she began a small endeavour towards contributing entirely to the education of three young girls in Chennai. When she started with three girls, she realized that she could extend it further, to more of them. At that time, Neerja’s aunt was concentrating on girls who were in Class 8, but she realized she could start earlier, and also handle girls interested in college. “My aunt was very sure about her mission. When she started Sankalp in 1991, she was clear about being there for the cause, full time. At that juncture, I became a trustee, right at the inception.” Neerja’s aunt was motivated by the fact that a lot of girls were deliberately deprived of education. She went about her mission with a force, and spoke to teachers and principals to make sure that they would keep their end of the promise up by educating the girls, while she would take care of their finance. She then went on to begin vocational training so girls could pick up their skills.
Determination for Progress
Kirthi Gita Jayakumar Sankalp also teaches girls the art of giving.“It is a big circle – what Sankalp gives them, they should give to another. Since they are benefiting, they should ensure that others benefit as well.” Neerja Malik
Though Neerja was a trustee since 1991, she played an active part since November 2009.“Since I joined them in November 2009, when I had the Chaos Theory, the fundraiser where people came from Bombay, I made it a point to educate 100 girls each year, and 30 girls in college.” The institution was brought together with three illustrious women as trustees, along with Neerja’s aunt – Neerja herself, Girija Kumarbabu and Padmini Warrier, who have traversed the trajectory of the endeavour till date.
Late Kanan Verma Founder Trustee Sankalp
September 2012 19
Sankalp first started with one school in Shenoy Nagar, Chennai. Then, the Presidency School, Egmore, and more recently, a municipal School in K K Nagar joined up. Sankalp remains actively in touch with the principals and teachers, and sees which girls are good, and adept at their courses. “We ensure that kids who are ambitious, who want to be educated, who want to do well, and then we offer them the best that we can! Many of our girls are first generation literates.” Neerja remembers how her aunt worked without flinching, even when the girls were shoddy, had lice in their hair, noses leaking – it didn’t deter her one bit to know that they were unkempt. “She actually told me - Neerja, I will take care of it. You will see their transition – that is what keeps me going! And before I knew it, these girls were groomed; they indulged in many clean habits. By extension, their mothers and sisters were learning to keep clean habits, and to take to personal hygiene!” Sankalp has catalysed confidence in many a girl. With gusto, these girls celebrate every festival, irrespective of what religious beliefs they each stood for. There are get-togethers, activities during every occasion and events aplenty for the girls to shine in every vocation – dance, drama and music. “Besides this, on big days and festivals, we get the girls to come together through art in some form or the other, and we give the girls a gift of something that we know they will use and enjoy!” Working with girls and putting them into mainstream educational systems needed Neerja to involve herself with talking to parents.“Many a time, families are forced to make a choice between educating their son and daughter, in a lower income group. They educate their sons because it is an investment for their own future. But the girl is to get married, and that’s all they see for her future. But when we show them what their girls can become with the empowerment that education brings with it, they are enamoured, and we can see a shift in attitudes!” Sankalp also teaches girls the art of giving. “It is a big circle – what Sankalp gives them, they should give to another. Since they are benefiting, they should ensure that others benefit as well.”
Neerja’s tryst with education has enabled her to understand the system of governmental schooling with all its downsides. What does she think about the paper-tiger policies and insipid implementation of the same? “The fact of the matter is that there is a lot of money grabbing. With one hand on their hats and one on their seats, where is any implementation getting done by the authorities? If there was a third hand, it would probably be grabbing much more instead of handling concerns.” A professor from the United States recently averred that India’s education system has a lower qualitative attribute in comparison with its foreign counterparts owing to the fact that it is largely a compulsory non-profit sector. Neerja agrees. “In a for-profit organization, those who pay for the education of their children can make their demands, and the school itself will see to it that they are fulfilled. But in a non-profit, there are very few dedicated teachers who will willingly walk the extra mile, and still fewer who are willing to do it for frugal pay. Coupled with this is the fact that there is no training or standardization in a non-profit setting.” Neerja’s concerns for the world of education do not stop with the issue of standards. Competition in the present day has stultified the quintessence of the education process. From awarding trophies for showing up, to forcing children to handle too much pressure, Neerja says that all of the maladies in the education system stem from a heady cocktail of wrong attitudes and parental pressure coupled with an inculcation of their ambitions for their children. “On the one hand, back when I was a student, everything was in the attitude – the way of handling education. I participated in everything – and everything was taken in one’s stride. We won, or we lost – it was all rooted in the understanding that This too Shall Pass. But today, the scene is so different. Children are forced to show results – be it to get into college or a job, or, be it to live up to their parents, who by extension of the competitive attitude, tend to compare notes, try to project their children in better light, and
the like. The true value of childhood and education is lost in the process.” Neerja is the proud mother of two lovely children, Shivani and Siddharth, both of whom, with the unwavering support of their parents, have bloomed into wonderful individuals. “When Shivani and Siddharth made their career choices, I told them to just do whatever would give them happiness, because at the end of the day that is the most rewarding aspect.” Neerja is a beacon of light for many girls who will brighten the future of India like nothing before. Many of these lovely young women have gone on to become engineers, pursue nanotechnology, and even enterprising careers like the Civil Services. These women have carved a niche for themselves, and Neerja’s kind-hearted involvement has made an impact of incomparable value.
Would you like to be a helping hand in this catalytic phenomenon? You can contribute to Sankalp – any amount you wish – and revolutionize the country’s future. If you educate a Girl, you educate a Family. If you educate a Family, you educate the Nation. Though any amount is welcome, if you would like to go in for an institutionalized contribution, here’s what you can do: With Rs. 3,500 PA, educate one girl in School With Rs. 5,000 PA, educate one girl in College With Rs. 8,000 PA, Sponsor one girl in Vocational Training With Rs. 10,000 PA, Sponsor one girl for a Professional PG Degree Kanan Verma has educated 2330 deserving and needy girl children through schools, colleges and vocational training, empowering them financially, empotionally and mentally. In the remembrance of Kanan Verma, do aid our cause and send crossed cheques to ‘SANKALP’ C/o Neerja Malik, Managing Trustee, AL-104, 11th Main Road, Anna Nagar, Chennai 600040, India. Tel: +91 4426262113 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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CAN INDIA CARRY FORWARD THE TORCH OF TRUTH AND NONVIOLENCE GLOBALLY?
My petite little doll- special features on the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child
I love my mother-in-law- Celebrating World Mother-in-law’s Day
What is happening to national integration? Are Indians a single unity yet? And much more………………….
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4 Ur Eyes Only Ice Age
Designed for Students
Bag and Baggage
Like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework - Edith Ann, [Lily Tomlin]
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Notation for Success
Kirthi Gita Jayakumar
All along, I’ve never been anything “different”. I continue to be the same simple girl I was – with my own hopes and aspirations, ambitions and dreams, just like any other girl.
f ever there was an award for being the Most Down-to-Earth person, it would go to Tanvi Shah, hands down. Not one to let the many awards on her shelf define her, but rather her abilities and talents, Tanvi is a bundle of energy, a confluence of talents and a brilliant conversationalist. Far from the kind of person that brandishes her successes, Tanvi is rather the quintessential simple girl-next-door with a zealous passion for work and a love for life.
THE JOY OF
IS BEING TOGETHER
arthika Nair, the perky and vivacious beauty who hit the silver screen a couple of years ago believes that Onam is all about families being together. Karthika’s family belongs to the bandwagon of the few remaining families in India that believes in strong family ties. All members of the extended families come together to their hometown during Onam.
Karthika is in the midst of shooting for Annakodiyum Kodiveeranum in Tamil. She is also acting in Sattam Oru Iruttarai in
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DEALING WITH CANCER POSITIVELY
Cancer is a word, not a sentence. - John Diamond
fight for a care.
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YUVRAJ SINGH’S SPECIAL MESSAGE
’ve always believed that no matter how hard the battle, I can win it. I have fought against Cancer, and your support and love have given me the power to win it. Just believe in yourself and you will overcome any situation.
JUS’ ASK BRINDA
Eve’s Times is happy to announce that Family Therapist and Parent-Teacher educator Brinda Jayaraman will answer any query you want to ask relating to family and interpersonal interactions. Send in your questions to editorevestimes@ gmail.com or to our office directly.
have a shocking story to tell. I am responsible for a girl (who was my class-mate) to be pregnant. She was a very nice and kind girl and it was I who forced her into a physical relationship. Actually, I did it for fun. She believed that I loved her truly. She was deeply hurt when I told her that these things happen and that I was not serious about our relationship. When the truth was found out, she was severely punished by her parents and sent away to a relative’s house abroad and I am sure, they would have arranged for an MTP too. I don’t even know if she is alive because the last words she said to me was that she would not live after this humiliation and I will pay for my sin. After this, I feel very guilty and tense and I am not able to concentrate on my studies. I don’t know if I will be punished by God for ruining the life of an innocent girl. I get nightmares and I feel restless all the time. How can I get over this? If we look at mistakes (I am aware that it is a mild term here!) as learning opportunities, you have learnt an important lesson in life through this
experience-that you cannot afford to fool around with somebody else’s life. Write this lesson with indelible ink in your mind, so that you prioritize TRUST in any relationship. Regarding the physical relationship, I believe that she has equal responsibility, because she could have opted out of it! It is your betrayal that causes guilt to you and hurt to her. Both of you have to face it, as the consequences of your actions. Western influences have brought cultural changes in our life style and Indian society has become promiscuous, accepting premarital/ extra-marital relationships! Individuals have no qualms about changing partners and youth is the time when attraction towards opposite gender and curiosity about sexual relationships overpower the individual. You are no exception! If that girl decides to kill herself, it is because her coping skills are not adequate. Does every love failure lead to suicide? There is no point in brooding over the past, because nothing can be changed. Go ahead in life with your guilt, not as a punishment, but as a guiding light!
Course on Marital Counselling
Here is an opportunity for qualified counselors to hone their skills in marital counseling offered by Brinda Jayaraman. The curriculum is focused on Integrative Psychotherapy including Adlerian approach, CBT & REBT. Duration of the Course: 12 sessions of 2 hours each, twice a week (24 hours). Every alternate session will be case discussion or mock counseling session. Class timings We will have two batches to suit the convenience of people. Thursdays and Saturdays 11 am to 1 pm commencing from 6th September, 2012 or Tuesdays and Saturdays 6 pm to 8 pm commencing from 4th September, 2012 For further details, please call 9841003967 or e mail to ashabrinda@ gmail.com
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It’s the Heart that Matters
he World Heart Day being celebrated on 29 September 2012 is focusing on cardiovascular diseases prevention among women and children. We are happy to bring to you an interview with Dr.V.V.Bashi, Chief of Cardiothoracic Unit, MIOT. With World Heart Day 2012 adopting the year for prevention of CVD among women and children, what are your views about this trend in India? Heart diseases among children are usually birth defects. Many children are born with a hole in the heart, malformed valves and connection between the chambers of heart. Some of these are complicated and mortality is high in these cases. Most heart diseases among children cannot be cured with medicines. Using sophisticated echocardiogram we can look at the heart of the infant in the mother’s womb, which will give us an idea about heart abnormalities. Accordingly we can plan immediate medical attention after birth. In women heart diseases are not very common till they attain menopause because they are protected by their hormones. Once they attain menopause, they are prone to heart attacks. Women who smoke, have diabetes, are obese or have a genetic predisposition are prone to CVDs. Indian women are also affected by nomadic heart disease which starts with a throat infection, spreads to the heart and affects the valves.
Are CVDs on the rise in India? If yes, why?
n Smile Easy R ecipes
his time we bring to you two true Maharashtrian fare for Ganesh Chaturthi . Try out these festive recipes and earn the goodwill of your family and friends!
Rice flour Water Oil Coconut grated Sugar Dry fruits Milk Poppy seeds 3 cups 6 cups 3 tsp 4 cups 2 cups 1/2 cup ¼ cup 1tsp
For the cover Boil the water and oil and keep the flame on sim. To it add the rice flour, and stir till it becomes a ball and is steamed for 2 minutes Remove it from fire, cover and allow it to cool. Kknead well and keep aside. For the stuffing Mix all the ingredients for stuffing except milk. Place this mixture on medium heat and cook stirring all the time. Then add the milk, mixing well and remove from heat once it is totally dry.
Making the Modaks
Make balls of the rice dough. Make a small hollow in the center and place the stuffing in the middle. Now seal the open edges together shaping it like a top. Steam modaks for 10 minutes.
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In the picture from left to right the name of the officials : Mrs. Gemma Berly - RM-CC, Mr. Vijayaraghavan - RM-CRM Mr. D.D.Singh - ZM, Mr. Ravichandran -RM E&OS Mr. Masil Jeyamohan - RM P&IR Mr. Swaminathan - RM - Micro Insurance
LIC Golden Jubilee Foundation
was established on 20.10.2006 as a public trust as a part of LIC’s Corporate Social Responsibility. The objectives of the Foundation are to provide relief for poverty or distress, advancement of education, medical relief and advancement of any other objective for general public utility. The Foundation was created with an initial corpus of Rs.50 crore from LIC of India which as on date is Rs.110 crore. The interest earned on the corpus is disbursed for various projects spread across the country to charitable institutions which have been registered for at least three years and are engaged in doing charitable work for the poor and needy persons of the country. Since inception the Foundation has supported NGOs dedicated to the above areas through 218 projects which are located across the country and have disbursed an amount of Rs.33.13 crores
LIC Golden Jubilee Scholarship Scheme provides scholarships of Rs.10, 000/- p.a to children from economically weaker sections of the society to pursue higher education till they complete their graduation/professional course. Approximately 4660 students have benefited from the scheme so far.
56 Years of Service since 1956.
Life Insurance Corporation of India turned 56 on 1st September, 2012. One of the objectives of the Corporation is the use of people’s money for people’s welfare and the life funds are deployed for the best advantage of LIC policyholders as well as for the community. A new micro insurance product “Jeevan Deep” was launched on 1st September. This is an endowment assurance with an added feature of guaranteed additions along with provision of Loyalty addition. An immediate annuity product is available for ‘on-line buy’. LIC offers life insurance under Group policies to various groups.LIC also offers insurance coverage to people below poverty line under social security group schemes like Janashree Bima Yojana and Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana. The scheme Shiksha Sahayog Yojana is a free add-on scholarship benefit that is available for children of the members who are covered under Janashree Bima Yojana. Free add-on scholarship benefit is also available for children of members covered under Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana. LIC has won 27 awards in the insurance category, notable ones being the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand Award, Business Super Brands, CNBC Aawaz-Consumer’s Trusted Choice Award, ET Brand Equity Award, Golden Peacock-Innovative Product Award, Outlook Money Award and CNBC TV18 award
State Bank of India Donates Ambulance to Cancer Institute
State Bank of India, Chennai Circle donated an ambulance van and medical equipment to the Paediatric Centre of Cancer Institute, Adyar valued at Rs. 52.00 lakhs recently. The Chairman of State Bank of India, Pratip Chaudhuri handed over the keys of the ambulance van to Dr.Shantha, Chairman , Cancer Institute. During this occasion Sharad Sharma, Deputy Managing Director, S.A.Thimmiah, General Manager, Dinesh Kumar Khara, General Manager were present. This is among the several CSR initiatives by the premier national bank of India.
The Epic Re-written
Ramayana Thoomanigal, is the new book on Ramayana penned by A.Krishnan, retired Deputy Managing Director, State Bank of India released on 27 August 2012. In a function held at Narada Gana Sabha, attended by eminent citizens of Chennai the first copy was received by R.Thiyagarajan, Chairman, Sriram Group of Companies from N. Gopalaswami, I.A.S. (Retd.). Former Chief Election Commissioner and Sri Sankara Seetharaman, Industrialist and renowned Tamil Scholar were the other dignitaries on the dais. This book , written in Tamil will revive the interest in our epic among the younger generation and will make an interesting read for book lovers culture enthusiasts.
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Agada Diabetes Eye Care
Let there always be light in your world
Agada Diabetes Care No.8, Dr. Nair Road, T. Nagar,Chennai -600017, India Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com Ph: 91-44-3013 3721
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