Association for India’s Development

Delhi Chapter Newsletter

June, 2006

Table of Contents
Editorial Articles Procrastination @ Volunteering Events Operations Review Project Updates Timarpur Prayas Khoj Parichay Volunteer Profiles Sudipta Ghosh Aparna Bhatia Jyoti Gupta 1 1 2 4 4 4 5 5 5 6

Procrastination @ Volunteering
A few months back I was talking to one of the AID volunteers (actually I know only one). He was telling me about AID, how it works, what are their goals and so on. Soon I caught his enthusiasm and was all ready to go out and help the less privileged and ‘be the change’ as he puts it. I made big plans about doing this and that, and I realized two months later that I was still planning. I was waiting for the right time you see, a time when I would be relatively free. Isn’t this the story with most of us? We do want to help, but are so engrossed in our own lives that we just don’t have the time and energy left for anything else. Once in a while when we do stop to catch our breath, we realize that we aren’t doing what we wanted to and have given in to the mechanical lifestyle. And then we are filled with guilt which is soon replaced by bigger plans and some more procrastination. Now, what I don't understand here is that no one has asked us to do big things. I mean let’s face it, not all of us can dedicate our lives to this. But we do want to help, don’t we? A friend suggested me that I could collect money, may be put a few rupees, whatever amount I can in a box everyday and then use that money for some worthy cause. And as I start to think of ways to utilize the money, I would be more involved with the volunteering work. Isn’t this simple? But first I guess we need to change the way we think. All of us have our own share of joy and sorrow. And seeing someone else’s problems doesn’t make ours any smaller or less important, but it does help us appreciate what we have and use it wisely. We don’t need to go out and solve the poor man’s problems; we need to help him become self sufficient to solve his own problems. All we need to do is share a small part of whatever we have with someone who doesn’t have much. Even if we can bring a smile across the tired faces and make their day a bit easier, we have done our bit. Contributed by: Sudipti Pahuja (IInd Year – B.Pharma, Indore) Editor’s Note: The person being talked about in first para is none other than Anirban!

This edition features a pleasant dose of our project updates and volunteer profiles. Coupled with the complete coverage of Operations Review held on 11th June, this newsletter truly captures the pulse of AID Delhi activities. This newsletter also mark s a change in the responsibilities of newsletter coordination with Puneeta stepping up to take the charge from now on. She has already proved to be a good resource as a dedicated volunteer with Parichay and as an editor for AID Delhi newsletter since a long time now. I’m glad at her acceptance to coordinate and wish her all the best in taking this newsletter to new heights. As of now, newsletter is handled completely by Peeyush, Puneeta and me. However, we urgently require more volunteers as there is a lot to cover. Hence, anybody who wishes to contribute is welcome. Positive feedback and criticism are welcomed by AID Delhi newsletter team, so feel free to express your thoughts by emailing at Contributed By: Riputapan

Operations Review
The Operations Review (OR) for Aid Delhi was held on 11th June, 2006 at IIT. It proved to be an effective way of bringing forward the achievements and challenges faced by the projects that are initiated by AID as well as those that AID has collaborated with. Several commonalities were discussed, such as the need for funds and dedicated volunteers. The OR started with a wonderful play by Khoj children.

v Masala Making Unit: Only 3 women are part of the masala manufacturing unit. Parichay is looking for avenues to expand, for example, a center for 400 destitutes in Timarpur area can be supplied with masalas from this unit thereby accruing mutual benefit. v Handicrafts: Last years’ collections amounted to Rs.50,000 and this year the expected earnings are up to Rs.1,00,000. In new developments since March 2006, classes are being held for the wo men of the community and a newsletter has been published. Parichay has planned to organize a fund raising event and set up a library. The idea is to also build Parichay as a resource base as it deals with issues and problems that are interconnected in na ture. MOBILE CRECHES (Gurgaon) v Volunteers are involved in teaching basic Maths, English, and Hindi to children on Saturdays. v Recently, a clothes drive was held to meet some of the basic needs of children. v ‘Kids Yoga’ was held to break some of the monotony of teaching. The response of the kids has been one of enthusiasm. A need has been felt to generate health awareness. v The plan is to enroll the children into Sankalp which provides a more formal educational atmosphere and has better teachers. The aim is to teach higher Maths and English. v A move has to be made towards solving the problem of attrition. This can be done by getting the children to create things which can be sold and hence provides a motivation to the parents to continue sending their children. v Interaction with the parents of children has been thought as necessary, as well as to plan and track activities which would involve observing and learning from similar projects. v Problems faced are lack of proper infrastructure like class rooms, low attendance and low volunteer participation. NAI DISHA (Noida) v General knowledge and health awareness classes have been started keeping in view the holistic aspect of education. v Future plans include increasing the frequency of computer classes to make children more equipped for further education.

The meeting discussed: KHOJ: This NGO is dedicated towards teaching street children. They are operating at different places across Delhi. They plan for a greater involvement of the community and also greater interconnection between various teaching centers by bus or else, creating a common teaching center. More trust needs to be built amongst the children and then involve volunteers who can teach in their localities. However this requires increased funding and a greater number of volunteers. PARICHAY: Four programs running under Parichay were discussed: v Education: Formal education for 13 children has been sponsored and updates of their academic progress are maintained. Parichay’s plan is to admit these children into better schools. A volunteer is required to teach in English, preferably someone residing in east Delhi. However the location of Parichay is inconvenient for many volunteers. v Nutrition Program: This has shown some good results as health indicators among children have improved and school attendance has increased. A plan to conduct a health camp is on the cards.

v The need is to get sponsorships for more students and to fund further education from class VI onwards. v Problems being faced are that classes are held by Nai Disha only on Saturdays and Sundays. There is a problem of attendance of students and volunteers. TIMARPUR VOCATIONAL TRAINING (Timarpur, North Delhi) v This initiative is located near the DU metro station in a community consisting of 200-300 families. v Vocational training is provided to the girls of the community such as teaching crochet work v These women want employment and therefore this initiative can expand to include handicrafts, masala making, pickle making etc. in the future. v This apart, awareness on nutrition, hygiene, family planning and preventive health can get included. v Skilled teachers are required for the project as well as more volunteers and for this DU students need to be targeted. v There is a problem of infrastructure and there’s no proper room where the classes can be held. PRAYAS (Basti in Naya Bans, Sector 15/16 Noida) v Hindi reading and writing and basic maths are taught and the aim is to teach roughly up to class IV level. A plan is on to introduce computer classes. v However it is tough for the volunteers to teach and it is being noticed that the children are not grasping or retaining everything that is taught and discipline also seems to be an area of concern. v Some health awareness classes have been held. Volunteers want to make use of NCERT textbooks to teach children. v Future plans include beginning English classes, increasing Prayas’s penetration into the community by keeping parents informed of their children’s progress, holding health awareness camps, providing vocational training and adult education, especially targeting the women. For this, female teachers are required but the late timing and location could prove to be a hindrance. v Classes should be made interactive and entertaining through activity books etc. This is to ensure that children pay better attention.

VAPP – VOLUNTARY AGENCY PLACEMENT PROGRAM (LSR College) VAPP is a society in Lady Shri Ram College that hopes to foster the spirit of volunteerism amongst its students. Through this society students can be placed or involved with NGOs, groups or movements dealing with social, economic and political issues. The potential that AID and VAPP can mutually benefit has been identified. PUBLICATIONS The newsletters are coming out regularly now but reporting of various initiatives needs to be more frequent and regular. Due to delayed project reporting, the publication team faces a daunting task of releasing the newsletter on time. Another requirement is that of good articles to make the publications more interesting. A plan is on to introduce an html version of the newsletter. More volunteers are required for the newsletter and also to ensure good coverage of events such as the OR, Volunteer meets etc. H.E.L.P. – HEALTH EDUCATION AND LEARNING PROJECT v There are different levels at which an intervention can be made in the sphere of health care. The level which has been adopted is that of educating the community by creating awareness about health services. v Some dimensions of health education were recognized and then aids and tools for education (both audio and visual) were highlighted. v An important point reiterated was that information should be constantly reinforced. Therefore, Gunjan and Somendra plan to hold a series of 6-7 lectures for this. v For this project, apart from volunteers, doctors are required in order to give correct facts and other information. JOY OF LEARNING v JoL views children as a social asset who must be honed by giving them proper guidance and holistic education. Children need to start ‘thinking’ and analyzing and hence they require some soft education for holistic development. v The idea behind the project is to develop educational material, which can strike a balance between holistic and academics.

v Some health awareness classes have been held. Volunteers want to make use of NCERT textbooks to teach children. v JoL in Delhi plans to create a ‘kit’ for this purpose. Each kit would comprise of many sessions each lasting from half an hour to an hour. Different topics would be covered such as moral values, historical facts etc. To foster creative skills of the kids these sessions would be informal. A variety of media, including flipcharts, visual aids, story telling, games, physical activities, discussions etc., will be used to make learning interactive. v Kits should be cost-effective so that the program may be expanded in urban and rural areas. Choice of topics would be flexible and cover a range of issues. v Where volunteering is concerned it is suitable for those who can devote themselves to this project over a long period of time but do not want a heavy weekly schedule. v Talks are on with Kathalaya to train volunteers in Delhi, and Nai Disha will start JoL sessions with class V from July. v Future plans include collaboration with similar groups in India. MAATI v Maati is a women’s collective comprising of agricultural workers, students, and housewives in a remote area of Uttaranchal at the trijunction of the borders of India, Nepal and Tibet. It is a non-profit, unregistered group and does not believe in any hierarchy. It works on situational leadership basis. AID Saathi Malika Virdi is associated with this NGO. v Maati deals with various issues such as violence against women, domestic crisis situations, livelihood issues, and land rights. v Malika Virdi spoke of the acute shortage of water in hilly areas. A major issue was ecological and the urban insensitivity towards the effects of consumption on rural areas. Maati is working towards bridging this gap. v There is an opportunity for volunteers to visit this area and look at the way the Van Panchayat is at work and ecological issues are being handled. v Malika Virdi questioned the rollback of the state from its responsibilities, the increasing role of the market and individualism, which led to shrinkage of spaces where community living is more the way of life.

Project Updates: Timarpur
Activity Highlights: v Basic classes in English, Hindi, and Mathematics for kids have started. v The community is extremely positive and enthusiastic about the classes. v Vocational training classes will soon be starting. Meanwhile crochet classes for girls have begun. v There’s no proper place to conduct classes. Currently the classes are being conducted in a small space in front of a jhuggi. Aparna is still in touch with the local counselor and is trying her level best to seek permission so that classes can be held at the local MCD godown. Volunteers: Sudipta, Aparna, Anuj, Mukta, Vijayender

Project Updates: Prayas
Activity Highlights: Through his HELP project, Gunjan has been sharing good/healthy living practices with children at Prayas. He has been visiting them with flipcharts, dentures etc. and teaching them about good and preventive health. Volunteers: Gunjan, Rahul, Rajat, Abhishek, Shammi, Pheroza, Saurabh, Ashish, Pratyush

Project Updates: Khoj
Activity Highlights: v An educational trip was organized for the children. They visited a museum and children park. v Smita and Selva along with some other Steps volunteers will arrange for conducting Workshops/Seminars/Skits at various colleges such as Kamala Nehru, IIT, LSR etc, which will create awareness and turn out more volunteers. v Selva and Pawan will be preparing a requisition letter for the college. v Girish and Kshitij will be working on preparing Pamphlets for Khoj. v Avishek Jha has agrees to provide his room as office for Khoj where we will be keeping our stationary and other stuff. Avishek is interested in volunteering for other projects also.

v Jasmine is interested in teaching kids at Jor Bagh/Dilli Haat. She has come up with a splendid idea of making a movie clip on Khoj which can be used later in our fund raising activity. It will be just a clip of 5 to 10 minutes and not a documentary. v Selva/Girish will make efforts to get a handycam for the same and some volunteers from Steps who are already with Theatre activities and have done proper course in Editing and Direction will be shooting the movie clip. v A questionnaire will also be preparedwhich will be useful in ascertaining the socioeconomic back ground of each kid. v Jyoti Gupta has committed to take classes at Ber Sarai on Saturdays. v Fund Raising activity needs to be carried out. Resources: Fund-raising remains a critical issue at Khoj. Pawan and Zubair are putting in earnest efforts to arrange funds for the items listed below. We urge you to lend active support to keep this initiative going. (Donate Old or New resources as convenient and feasible) Contributed By: Selva

Volunteer Profiles: Sudipta Ghosh
Whenever I find new volunteers it remains a great opportunity for me to motivate and orient them. It interests me to see them remain motivated throughout. I have interacted with so many people, and will not hesitate to reveal that I can make out very easily from few initial meetings, about the commitment and devotion of the volunteer. Sudipta was just the type of volunteer I expected. Her dedication remains unparalleled. The journey to the Timarpur project started with a meeting which was hosted by Sudipta at PG Women hostel, North Campus, and the association with her proved to be the ground for Timarpur’s project. The journey has been tough, but she has a wonderful blend of dedication and compassion, and her grit amazes one and all. I remember when the space was to be arranged for Timarpur project, she garnered support from everyone around, talking to authorities and people around. She’s the one who can make flowers bloom in a slum, because she knows flowers bloom best there. Her compassion for people sends positive vibes to whoever she comes across. She was initially very hesitant to talk to the people of the community. But her compassion for people and her dedication to the cause enabled her to overcome the odds. Very soon, she realized that you do not need a training to share sorrows of the people. She is very active and she has remained devoted during those days also when she had to put efforts for her Ph.D work. She is a doctorate in Anthropology from Delhi University. AID team owes special thanks to her, and we wish her all success in life. She remains a great inspiration to us . Contributed By: Somendra

Project Updates: Parichay
Activity Highlights: v Parichay’s first step towards developing itself as resource center has been widely appreciated. Four interactive sessions were conducted on the topic “Understanding children and providing a conducive environment for their development”. The participants have shown a positive response to the session. v Four more sessions on “Let Learning Be a Pleasure and Teaching a Joy” will be conducted in the month of July. v Students are being trained in making hand made paper. v Classes are being conducted by Somen. There are not enough volunteers visiting the center. Contributed By: Puneeta

Volunteer Profiles: Aparna Bhatia
While I was telling you about Sudipta I boasted being very prudent of identifying people's commitment. Well, you know, no matter how often you interact with people, there are certain aspects of their personality which are revealed only when a call to action comes, and when it so happens, the most vibrant part of their personality is revealed to the amazement of all.

Here is someone who I thought, just feels concerned about the deprived people and feels good in feeling for them. To my surprise, I found there’s more to it than I know. Aparna has lent her support in various forms – the first thing I can recall about her is when North Delhi’s first VIM was held at her place. She also showed immense dedication when she initiated the activity of drafting a letter to the commissioner. These were the first steps to the goal, and were extremely critical to the project. Her suggestions, actions, critique is what we really value about her. She’s a great observer, and her simple solutions to practical problems come handy when the group needs it most. She has remained truly responsible to her duties. She has paid number of visits to this place, interacted with the community and laid the foundation for a social initiative. I am very happy to be surprised. The team wishes her all success in her future endeavor. Her dedication to the cause has helped us to learn a lot.

Volunteer Profiles: Jyoti Gupta
I first met Jyoti to have a word about AID. When I was briefing her about the things I felt that that this girl has lots of enthusiasm to get things done. While explaining various volunteer opportunities to her, I was surprised as she readily agreed to take the responsibility of designing a website for a project about which she knows nothing. Since then, she has been handling the responsibility of designing Parichay’s website. She is a second year student of Computer Science Department, IIT Delhi.

Contributed By: Somendra

"Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called 'Ego'." - Friedrich Nietzsche

She is energetic, enthusiastic and talks about AID and volunteers to her friends once every hour. She is also very enthusiastic about taking part in the Khoj community and have committed herself to taking classes to the kids at Bersarai on Saturdays. She is full of ideas, which reflects her deep thoughts about how we should be make a change. I think this will come handy for AID. She tends to be a bit lazy but shows good commitment for meeting deadlines. Probably, that comes along with her since she is an IITian. (We usually finish work by deadlines). So, she has been given one month’s deadline for Parichay’s website and I hope she will keep up the tradition of IIT. She has already taken some initiative, which she is sharing with Somen and me. I on behalf of AID sincerely look forward for a long association with her. Contributed by: Selva Ganpathy

Feedback: Web: Phone: +91-9213797167 DONATE TO AID Publications Team Online: E-transfer to ICICI Bank a/c 602201200299 Editors: Puneeta, Peeyush, Riputapan By Cheque: Mail cheques in favor of AID-India to :Designer: Puneeta AID Delhi,B121,MIG Flats,Phase-IV,Ashok Vihar,Delhi Coordinator: Puneeta