Association for India’s Development

Delhi Chapter Newsletter
Table of Contents
Editorial Project Updates AID Aashayein AID Gurgaon AID Prayas Parichay Khoj Jamghat Tara Articles You must act and demand – Nitin Goyal 16th August 1997 – Deepesh Gambhir Volunteer Speak – Shilpa Singla Photo of the Month ROTI 2009 Contact us 6 8 8 10 11 12 1 2 2 3 4 5 5 5

December 2008
Editorial

It’s a pleasure for me to wish you all a Very Happy and Cheerful New Year. With all your support and efforts it has been another eventful year in the calendar of AID Delhi. New initiations, collaborations and new areas of work for us and we’ve been able to do it quite effectively thus by causing a little difference somewhere. Over all the difference which was created do matters. The month December as always went so quick with lots of celebrations in the air, but we also managed to do a lot of events and activities in this month. One of them which are to be mentioned is the candle vigil which we did for paying homage and tribute to the Mumbai victims, it brought in lot of energy awakening in the set of people who participated and contributed. As Deepesh rightly pointed out “we specifically deny the fact that these candle vigil doesn’t cause a difference”. The candle lighted is just a spark which has ignited all our spirits and the fire will keep burning. So keep the flame ignited and creating difference is very next to us and with collective efforts we would do it. The next one would be our AID Prayas at Noida moving to the next stage with a vocational training class getting rolled with the help of AROH foundation, Noida and a new class room which is getting its shape with the help of Literacy India which would function as a Non Formal School full time. So far at AID Prayas we’ve been able to make a significant contribution in a finite set of lives but this step would lead to the same at a broader level. Finally the month ended with AID India Annual Conference held at Bangalore where people from the country came down together to discuss the work going on at the ground and it had a lot of informative sessions which evoked a lot of knowledge. . It was really proud when people appreciated Delhi’s work and full credits to all the volunteers who keep the spirit up and make it happen all the time.

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Lets all welcome this New Year as yet another beginning for the tremendous efforts we all put in and achieve new targets and scale up ourselves to make a huge difference. A Very Happy and Cheerful New Year and a Happy Reading!!! Selva Ganapathy R aid.selva@gmail.com +91-9891358457

Project Updates: AID Gurgaon
Activity Updates: 1. AID Guragaon 2009 Diary launched. 2. AID volunteers Visited new basti's around HUDA School in sec-54 and identified ~15 potential students. Unnati Updates 1. Nutrition programme implemented on daily basis. Courtesy RBS. 2. X-Mas celebrated at Unnati.. courtesy Maruti ltd & LI Events planned in next month: 1. Cloth distribution drive. 2. 26 january Celebration + Education kits distribution. 3. Reaching out to corporates for contribution to HUDA school 4. Set up a new team of volunteers from area around sec54 so that new project has regular volunteers. Puneet will focus on this new project and Anshul will manage Unnati activities. Special Needs/ Issues: Collaborate with Goonj for clothes for students. Project Location: Gurgaon Sec 31 Regular Class timings: 10.00 hours – 13.30 hours Regular volunteers: Anshul, Puneet, Rachit, Shankar New volunteers this month: Abhishek, Gaurav, Rashmi Contact Information: Puneet - 9811621209, Anshul 9873469546 Puneet Sharma p.sharma83@gmail.com +91- 9811621209

Project Updates: AID Aasahyein
Activity Updates: 1. A get-together was held for aashayein volunteers at Berco's CP. Neeru, Rupin, Aman,Tanya, Kavita Aunty, Arongdi and Amit attended it. 2. Christmas Celebration with aashayein kids on 25th December, Neeru brought bells and santa caps for the kids. Project Location: Timarpur ( 10minute walk from Delhi University metro station ) Regular Classes: Weekends - Saturday : 4 pm - 6 pm Sunday : 10:30am - 12:30 pm

Regular Volunteers: Neeru, Rupin, Kavita Aunty. New Volunteers: None Contact Information: Neeru Malhotra – 9971661422

Aman Nigam amannigam@gmail.com +91-9873779905

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Project Updates: AID Prayas
Activity Updates Our new Class @ Sector 15A This month has been eventful at Prayas and a period of path-breaking change. As part of the larger dreams we have dreamt for the children of Prayas our new school’s classroom has been finalized and the internal work to make the class ready is in process. Selva, Prasad & Rajiv have been putting some great effort into managing and coordinating with the Contractor and owner for executing the Cleanup, Plastering & Painting work at the school. We are targeting Jan 11th as a date to inaugurate and officially announce this milestone to the world. The Library - Begins @ Prayas

We are looking for some good children's books that can go into our shelf - Comics English & Hindi, Children's story books & anything you feel that can be relevant to the reading skills of 1st, 2nd & 3rd Std. Christmas Activity - Teamwork This was one session that most people who missed it would really regret not being present. - 33 Kids - 6 Groups with each having a child leader - 8 Volunteers for guiding - 8 Pieces of Chart Paper - A lot of colors - ONE PICTURE - A Tree in its most youthful

bloom :)

The Objective: The Value of working together. The Process: Each team was given a set of colors and a sheet to work on. The sheets were all charted out with pencil on what colors to use and what is the direction to take. Each set of children were lead by a child leader who was initially briefed on what work needs to be done by them. They then selected their teams and went in to work. The leaders were given an additional objective to see that all the children in their team were involved in the work done. The Moral of the Activity: The final picture was a sight worth calling an achievement. The kids themselves were able to explain the moral of the story at the end of the activity - Working together we can achieve more.

We finally started up the library at Prayas and have been receiving a surprising and enthusiastic response from the children. Thanks in a big way to Selva's initiative that this took off. Sajjad has been given the task of - The librarian, and has been doing the task well. Although, we currently have only a few books and it has started off in a plastic bag has a long way to go.

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Events planned in next month: Vocational training for community women with the help of AROH Foundation and Non Formal Education Classes at the new centre with help from Literacy India. Project Location: Naya Bans, Sector – 16, Noida. Regular Classes: Pioneer – Tuesday, Thrusday 20.30 hours – 22.30 hours Eureka – Tuesday, Thrusday and Saturday 18.00 hours to 20.00 hours. Class – II – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – 20.30 hours to 22.30 hours and Saturday and Sunday 16.00 hours – 18.00 hours.

Volunteers by heart: Anuradha, Ruchi, Neha, Kavita, Sugandha, Darshan, Anand Bhai, Vikas, Kannan, Charu, Atul, Arun Raj, Tarun, Nikhil, Rajiv, Punam, Nikunj, Selva and Ritesh Mittal New Volunteers: Manpreet, Sourabh, Ankit Arun Raj arunraj.connect@gmail.com +91-9910908774

Project Updates: Parichay
Activity Updates The happenings as always are in abundance Some directly related to the kids and some to those who are closely associated with Parichay.

1. Yousuf's awful accident is the first thing that's on everyone's mind who's been in touch for the past few days. The child, while he was coming back from the school, was knocked down by a car. He is suffering from multiple fractures in the leg and is under a very painful treatment. Darshan's lent a very active support in raising funds for the treatment of the child. He did it all in a day, much to everyone's relief!! 2. Those who have been to Parichay would know that there are no care organizations for the mentally challenged in the area. The parents and the society at large lack awareness and knowledge about the causation, characteristics and potentialities of the disabled and people with special needs. Given Vijay Bhaiya's special interest in this area, we have envisioned a new project for the mentally challenged. The project will have three phases: Awareness, guidance, and counselling Setting up special schools and rehabilitation center Research and development The total cost of the project is estimated to be 2.53 Lakhs. AID Pittsburg had decided to support a part of the project. So far we have received confirmation for Rs. 1.6 lakhs. Funds need to be raised for the rest of the expenses. Anyone who's interested to know the details of the project can get in touch with me or Vijay Bhaiya. A project proposal has been forwarded to AID Seattle and though we are yet to receive a reply from them, let's hope that things would turn out to be positive and the project can be initiated soon. 3. Anirban networked with a good number of prospective sponsors this month. Have been coordinating with them and I think, that the no. of sponsored kids might rise from 21 to 30 in the coming academic session. While this is a good number, we need to have a backup plan in place to tackle the situation if one or more sponsors turn out to be defaulter 4. Kids celebrated Christmas at Parichay by singing carols. 5. Naval’s uncle brought school bags to almost all the kids. 6. Parichay’s Volunteer of the Month: Sadhika, who has been volunteering for about 2 months now. She teaches Maths and this week has been helping them with Yogic exercises. The kids do Pranaayam and some other aasanas with her help. She’ll be resuming the Maths classes from next week. 4

Events planned in next month Regular Stalls, Trip for Children on 18th Janurary. Project Location : Tukhmirpur, Bhajanpura. Regular Class timings: Any day and anytime Regular volunteers: Selva, Deepti, Naval, Puneeta, Kalindi New volunteers this month: NIL Contact Information Vijay Bhaiya – 9810753425

Project Updates: Jamghat
Jamghat organized a four hour awareness walk where members of Jamghat accompanied volunteers and educated them about the state of homeless people. The walk included twenty five volunteers from RBS, Makemytrip.com, and members of the general public who walked from Golcha Cinema in Daryaganj to ISBT. Along the way, they caught a glimpse of the conditions that homeless people live in. Theater and our outdoor home projects are going regularly. In the outdoore home project the children are taught about health and hygiene and education sessions are carried out and apart from that they are also are shown movies as well. Events planned for next month: Streetplays on Global Warming Project Location: Ladoo Sarai and Jamma Masjid Class timings: All the days Volunteers: Suchita, Abhinav Contact Information: Amit Sinha - 9818705715 Abhinav Kumar Gupta +91-9868371533 kumarabhinavgupta@gmail.com

Puneeta Chugh puneetac@gmail.com +91- 9891217839

Project Updates: Khoj
Activity Update: 1. Teaching has resumed at Ber Serai. 2. New strategies being implemented at ber serai. The centre is being handled by Zubair and Abhinav currently. 3. Interaction with children at RK Puram has begun. 4. Identification of new sites besides the current locations is underway. Events planned for next month: Activity session at Prabhat Tara every Saturday. Trip for Children to Red fort and Bal bhavan on 3th January. Project Location: Ber Sarai Class timings: 15.30 hours Volunteers: Shashank,Annie, Gauri, Amrit, Neetu, Abhinav Contact Information: Zubair- 9868486272 Pawan- 9810406998 Abhinav Kumar Gupta +91-9868371533 kumarabhinavgupta@gmail.com 5

Project Updates: Tara
Activity Updates: Started a workshop on health related issues. Events planned in next month: TARA annual Function before the community splits and the construction workers finally move out to a new site and begin a new life.

Special Needs/ Issues: Children of TARA are moving out of a comfort zone they had build for three and a half years to a new site with their parents, they will have to change their school and adapt a new lifestyle altogether. To help them out of the frustration, disappointment and to help them welcome their new home with a good feeling is what volunteers of TARA are trying to do. Project Location: Academy of Third World Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia. Regular Class timings: 14.00 hours to 16.00 hours Regular volunteers: Arora Kulsoom Rashid and Avneet

The situation is so bad now that we feel lucky when we reach home alive in the evening. Today, I demand new fundamental rights - guaranteed by my Constitution:
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The right to a secure, safe and peaceful life The right to good governance and accountability of public servants

What amazes me is humans’ tremendous ability for destruction. Life can be so beautiful if only we chose to make it. We love in a wonderfully beautiful world, populated with largely humane people who just want a decent, happy, secure life. But still we human beings go to great lengths to search for violence, hate, greed and destruction. All this knowing fully well that we can't take any of this with us. What remains after us in the this world, is a count of work we did (good or bad) and beauty we left behind (art). If we want money and power, we can get it by legitimate and happy means - a businessman can be rich and powerful and yet create jobs, sportsmen and stars from show business can get both fame and wealth, politicians can do good for their country and get much greater power from the love of their people than any wheeling-dealing can get them. We have such great examples in Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Look at the respect our great leaders have earned from their good work – from what Pt. Nehru achieved in establishing a strong foundation of our democratic institutions; Sardar Patel did for our unity, Pt. Narsimha Rao achieved for India in economic prosperity, and what Shri Atal Bihari Vajpeyi did for our foreign policy and infrastructure. The big question is - why don't our politicians care for good governance? Why do they persist with their callous self-serving inaction? Fact is that it's a carefully studied and crafted system. I talked to my servant today whether he knew about the attacks in Mumbai. He gave a sheepish smile and said he was not even aware. He said he never watched TV (he doesn't have one) and can't read a newspaper. The conversations in his social circle never revolve around current affairs or politics. I asked him who he votes for. He belongs to a remote village in MP and said he votes for the candidate who belongs to the place nearest to his village, because that candidate is most likely to do something for his village (though never does). 6

New volunteers this month: None Contact Information: Kulsoom Rashid - +91-9871551545 Kulsoom Rashid +91- 9871551545 Contact us at: taraproject@gmail.com

You must act and demand – Nitin Goyal

When the Indian Parliament was attacked in Dec-2001, the politicians were scared out their wits with the threat to their own lives and sent the army to the Pakistan border. But now thousands of innocents are dying every year in regular terrorist attacks and they just don't care. They are so extremely callous, that after the worst terrorist attack on India this week snuffing out hundreds of lives (which shocked the whole world at large) the deputy CM of Maharashtra - who is also the home minister in-charge of ensuring security of Mumbai - declared, "itne bade shahar mein ek-aadh aisi ghatna hoti rahti hai" (such small incidents keep happening in such a large city). Would he have uttered the same brazen shameless words if some of the dead innocents were his close family members? Or worse (as he would see it), of his bosses? If lives seem so cheap to him then why doesn’t he remove all his security?

Political parties don't matter, because none make a difference to his life in a village. There is never any development, there is little or no crime. Inflation doesn't matter, because they grow or produce most requirements within the village. Inflation is actually good, because they would get better prices for their produce.

Because educated people will get exposure and power of independent thought! They might get exposed to the good media, and might get exposed to possibilities of development. They might start getting ideas about wanting good governance. If the Government actually did something to bring development and prosperity to the masses, it might upset its apple cart. Prosperous people have something to lose from instability. And they may start demanding good governance. Not good for the politicians. Have you seen the "intellectual" level of the vernacular TV news channels meant for the masses? That would give you an idea of what seems to work for them. The bulk of the votes cast in elections come from people of rural or lower-economic background. And that’s where the politicians concentrate on – keep them poor and uneducated and milk them for power. I'll repeat here a statement of a friend I quoted in an earlier article: "Every people deserve the governments they get." Mr. Seth could not have been more right. The lower classes don't care about good governance, and the upper ones sit in our comfortable cocoons worrying about our next bonus because we have learned to work the system to our advantage; and the problems are anyway just TV news - they are not happening to us. Well, here's the reality check! It IS happening to you now. The terrorists are targeting you now – in posh markets and five – star hotels. Good governance will happen only when the population demands it. Stridently! Continuously! And then punishes the non-performing politicians at the ballot-box. Politicians need to realise that we are not pawns in their power games. We are human beings with emotions, needs and families. And all this is possible only through a massive peaceful civil movement like what Gandhiji started. Raise your voice, write to newspapers, appear on TV, talk to your friends and relatives in media and ask them to talk about it, write blogs. We need a continuous series of massive public rallies, like the anti-war rallies in the west. The kind of public movement that brought down the monarchy in Nepal.

He said a lot of people vote for the candidate from their caste or community. They have little to lose and little to gain from bad or good governance. They are not even aware of the benefits of good governance - so they put their votes on narrow partisan considerations.And politicians want to keep things that way. During the last Haryana elections, my father was visiting an acquaintance in a nearby town – Badshahpur. He reached to a festive atmosphere in the town and there was great excitement all around. He learned that one of the candidates for the state assembly had arranged a kushti dangal - a wrestling competition – during the day which was a great success. There was also plenty of good food and free booze. The electorate was simply electrified and everyone was saying that this candidate was a great guy as he arranged a kushti dangal and that they would vote for him. The candidate did win. Gurgaon is swamped with Bangladeshis. They are present in every nook and corner, and most labourers at construction sites and many maids in homes are Bangladeshis. They can easily get voter ID cards and blindly vote for a particular party, because they have been told to do so by their elders. So the party encourages such illegal immigration. There are crores of the min the Country now. Stories of liquor and money being used to win votes are legendary and have now even been captured on TV camera. But the Election Commission does nothing more than issue notices. Not even a single candidate has ever been disqualified. So there is no fear for politicos. Why do the Governments don't improve the education system of the country? Why do they not take steps to bring actual development in rural areas? Why is there no improvement in the agriculture sector? Surprise, surprise. It’s deliberate. 7

We need millions of Indians on the streets in peaceful protest across the Country, every month. Else, the politicians would conveniently gloss over this attack in a few days, and YOU would care only when you loose a loved one! Will the media take up the challenge to bring this about? Nitin Goyal nitingoyal72@yahoo.com

For how long will we sit and wait for the govt. to improve our living conditions when we ourselves are not willing to work for it. “Even god doesn’t helps those who do not help themselves”, then how can we sit and point fingers at govt. when we ourselves haven’t done much to improve the system. The time has come to accept our system for what it is, take charge of it in our own hands and start improving on what we have rather than passing the buck. If we start counting today, we will find innumerable problems that our country faces but the solution can be found in only one thing. As a story goes, “If you want to feed a hungry man for a day, feed him fish. If you want to feed him for life, teach him how to fish and he will feed himself for life.” Similarly, if our people are people are educated, we can find solutions to our own problems. Education is the foundation for our growth, the beginning of solution for our problems and the power which enables us to face our ills. Education of each and every Indian is not the solution to the problems they face but it enables them to find the solutions to their problems themselves. If we want ourselves to be a force to reckon with in the world, if we want our future to not to be so bleak as our past was and as corrupt as our present is, then the only way is – To get educated and To educate. Not to look up to the govt. to spread education but to own up our own/self responsibility in this task. Do it by ourselves – Fight by staying within the system, and not adopt a holier than thou attitude. Take a mission to educate at least one Indian in your lifetime. Deepesh Gambhir deepeshgambhir@gmail.com +91-981067778

16th August 1977 - Deepesh
16 Aug 1997 00:23 hours

It is 23 mins past midnight. Yesterday my/our country completed 50 yrs of independence from British. The occasion was celebrated by the Govt. (that too with delayed organization efforts) but not the people of India. As I could see in Delhi, Chandigarh and in the train, the day marked nothing special for the people, except for the 3 holidays it offered. It was a day in normal routine for people; with the only exceptions being the functions organized by the Govt. at the Vijay Chowk where entry was barred from most of the places. For Delhiites it was a case of usual diversions in their daily routine and nothing else. People are fed up with the system and the ever increasing political corruption. For them the 50th anniversary of independence holds no nostalgic moments, no chance for present and no hope for the future. It is imperative for us today to break free from the thoughts of, “What the British did to India?”. The time for “whom to blame?” and “how much to blame” is over. It is now high time to accept the problems that are there today and then work for a better future. For far too long a time now, we have blamed the foreigners for the mistakes in India. What is urgent now is to take responsibility of our development in our hands; and our hands do not mean ‘in the hands of our Government’. Rather, every citizen of India has to take the responsibility of his/her own development and his/her country. And if we can not take the responsibility of development of country, at least take our own responsibility and stop blaming the Govt. and the system for our condition. 8

Volunteer Speak – Shilpa Singla
Being an AID Volunteer for over a year, I had been craving to visit an Indian chapter of AID and witness how all the efforts of various chapters are put into practice by our volunteers. Thanks to Selva, Nikunj and Shruti, who made it possible for me to visit Parichay site during my trip to India.

It was the afternoon of November 28, 2008, when I was accompanied by Nikunj and Shruti to visit Parichay. This site is located in East Delhi in a town called Tukhmirpur near Bhajanpura. While on our way to the site, I couldn’t believe that the area was actually a part of Delhi; roads were gawkily narrow for even one car to pass by properly, not to mention they were all broken and unsanatized. Our first stop was at Mr. Vijay’s office, founder/caretaker of Parichay. He gave us an introduction about Parichay and took us on the site where classrooms were located. I was expecting some rooms rented in a proper building, but to my very surprise Parichay is located in middle of slums. The very first sight of this area shocked me completely. The place was all stenchy, there was garbage and mud all over on the ground level and a few small rooms at the upper level. There were two rooms rented out where classes take place and another room is rented for Masala Unit; this is a community of women who make spices. One of the mottos of Parichay is to make the chapter self sustainable and our volunteers help Parichay in meeting its goal by selling these spices. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the room and learn about it in details since we didn’t have access to the room and women were working on something else at that moment. Parichay follows non-formal form of education. Classes are divided into three groups based on age, NFE I, NFE II and NFE III. An amazing noticeable thing is that the students from NFE III help their community by teaching NFE I and NFE II students. Our next stop was in the actual classrooms. In the first class, there were these 4-5 years old children learning their lessons. It was really good to see these 13-14 years olds teaching the NFE I students with full dedication. The second class that we went to was NFE II, where kids were learning how to add numbers. One out of the two NFE III students teaching in this class holds an ambition to become a doctor on growing up. It was really astonishing to see how these kids are not just gaining basic knowledge, but also making themselves aware of their environment and holding dreams of becoming professionals in life and thus giving back to their society, and that too at such a young age.

One of my biggest concerns was if the parents of these children actually understood the importance of education; but it’s the efforts of Mr. Vijay and his dedication to the chapter for over eight years now, that has made the community aware of the significance of education. Parichay is soon going to start classes for mentally challenged children and help the disadvantaged kids with basic awareness of life. I was truly overwhelmed with the vision of Parichay. It is high time for us to promote education and general awareness amongst people from such areas and help people like Mr. Vijay in running such chapters. It is us who can help a 14 year old to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor, or others like her to accomplish theirs. Shilpa Singla shilpa.singla@gmail.com

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Photo of the Month

Event: AID Delhi’s candle light vigil for paying homage to the Mumbai victims Date: 14th December 2008 Venue: Jantar Mantar Photographer: Arvinder Singh Rooprai

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ROTI 2009

Lord! Give enough that the needs of this family are met, So that I don't go hungry, and neither does the mendicant.
~ Kabir, 15th century mystic and poet parabrahma svarupam.

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ROTI 2009

India is famous for its amazing variety of food, range of crops and myriad preparations. Perhaps more precious is the Indian cultural perspective of food not as a commodity but as a life-giver for all, indeed as a form of the divine: annam parabrahma svarupam. To feed an unexpected guest is an honour. The farmer, regarded as annadata or giver of food, is not simply someone who makes a living out of cultivation; just as a scientist is a symbol of learning, of technical advancement, not just someone who works for pay in a laboratory. To raise awareness about the struggling farmers, AID volunteers around the world held candlelight vigils on October 2, 2007 the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi which brought together over 3000 people across the world. AID volunteers pledged to support possible solutions with grassroots partners, through changes in public policy and in our own lives. And then there are choices that are personal but could be just as significant. Do we know who grows, harvests, packs, transports and markets the food we eat daily? What do they earn? What do they eat? Do they have homes? How far does our food travel? How much fuel is used in transport and cooling? Are we fooled by the cosmetics that give it a "fresh" look at journey's end? These questions highlight our power as consumers to tilt the market away from vegetables steeped in pesticides, waxed fruits, and legumes coated with metanil yellow, towards organically grown vegetables, low-input grains, fairly traded to give the farmer a takehome wage rather than mounting debt. Can we exercise this power? What if our common humanity depends on it?. Wishing you peace and joy in 2009. Selva Ganapathy. R AID Calendar Team aid.selva@gmail.com +91-9891358457

Feedback: aid.delhi@gmail.com Web: http://delhi.aidindia.org Phone: +91-9818248459 Send your Cheques to Selva Ganapathy.R Department of Chemical Engineering, Publications Team Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi - 110016 Hauz Khas Phone: +91-9891358457, +91-9818248459

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