Association for India’s Development

Delhi Chapter Newsletter

July 2007

Table of Contents
From the editors desk Project Updates Aashayen AID Gurgaon AID Prayas Khoj Parichay Youth Task Force Nai Disha Volunteer Speak – Shikha Chunkee Reaching Out to Urban Marginalized in Slums – Samreet Kaur Coomon wealth games village and Yamuna – Siddharth Goyal A Story Untold – Shalini Sharma Volunteering…take a Plunge now - Riputapan Singh My Experience with AID – Ritika Subhash Intern’s Corner Eureka Kits and its implementation - Arpana Prajapati Internship for a month…..Experience of a Lifetime – Taruna & Shweta Report from AID Delhi Treasury Toon of the month A Reason to Smile – Kalindi Blueline Vs DTC – Roshan Jha Photo of the Month - Selva Volunteer Profile Siddharth Goyal - YTF Information Corner – Selva Contact us 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 5 7 8 9 10

From the Editor’s Desk
My calendar of July has been filled with AID activities. This month has been so productive in all our initiatives. The translation of Eureka kits to Hindi is over and it’s now ready for print. We will soon be circulating the copy of printed Hindi kits in schools. During my recent discussions with Balaji at AID Chennai, he gave me a valuable suggestion of approaching private schools with our Eureka kits. We will soon be having the science experiments kits from AID Chennai. Probably by the time you will read this article, it might have reached us. Youth Task Force web team has done a commendable job and they have been constantly updating the website every now and then. There have been forums, discussion, and more RTIs this month. A new team of volunteers has committed themselves to raise RTIs on PWD roads, MCD schools, and transport-related issues. They have already files applications on the issues related to PWD roads and MCD schools. The transport-related issues would also be pursued soon enough. Later in the month, our volunteers paired with experts to inspect road. YTF is also planning to be a part of Yamuna Jiye Abhigyan. They also plan to start their own publication team. AID Prayas reached a new milestone during this month. On 10th of July 17, many children from AID Prayas got enrolled at the local government school. We have also been able to convince the school principal and Basic Siksha Adhikari of Noida Authority to get a room for us to take classes. Two regular teachers have also been hired for the children. AID Delhi has successfully created a new association with the DFC people to print AID Delhi calendars for 2008. Thanks to the people who have been extremely committed throughout and have taken the complete responsibility of this activity. It has been decided to print a minimum of 1000 calendars in which already 400 copies have been booked by DFC themselves. AID Delhi is targeting its CSR cell to sell the rest of the calendars. We also request our volunteers who are working in corporate to come forward. They can do a meaningful lot by initiating a talk with their HR regarding this. The calendar would be a desktop one.

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We will also customize the calendars, that is, the company name can also be printed on the calendar. Both the theme and the price of the calendar will be circulated shortly through an e-mail. Our new collaboration this month includes joining hands with Jaihind Camp at Bengali colony, Vasant Kunj where a few individuals are running a non-formal school. We have also teamed up with IBM folks at Vasant Kunj, in their teaching initiative for the community, which resides near by their office as construction labors. We are also working on a project to analyze the standards of Indian dailies. The result of the survey will be circulated soon. On 20th of this month we had a health camp for Khoj children from Bhikaji Center. They were taken to Mrs. Sangeeta’s house where there was Dr. Zakir, who conducted the camp. On 21st of this month we had a health camp at AID Prayas and received an overwhelming response from the children, as well as from the community. Corporate Executive Board, a company based in Gurgaon, took up the responsibility of conducting the camp. Dr. Megha, who conducted the camp, was so impressed by our work with the community that she has shown a keen interest in conducting regular health camps, once in every two months. She also added that we can charge them Rs.1 or Rs.2 for the camp since we had such a response. The same company also conducted a health camp at Parichay on 28th of this month. Khoj children were also taken for an educational trip to doll museum and to national museum on 22nd of this month. Children enjoyed being there along with our volunteers and it was a good learning experience and a lot of fun for all. A special thanks to the interns who did a splendid job on analyzing the nutritious values of the food served at Parichay in our nutrition program. They will also continue working on the five-color meals, after they leave us. Thanks to the interns, who worked on building up on arts and crafts curriculum for us, which we now plan to use for several other projects as well. My hear-felt thanks to the interns, who have shown a keen dedication for their work on Eureka kits and its translation! On an ending note, I wish to thank all the volunteers who have spent a lot of time and efforts in driving our family and making each day a better one. I will also like to welcome the new joinees to our AID Delhi family. Happy Volunteering! -Selva AID Delhi

Project Updates: Aashayen
The project got the much needed push in the last few days of this month. The classes at Timarpur have started on a regular basis though the space still remains an issue of concern for us. Two new volunteers have joined Dolly and Preeti. Regular craft classes have also started which would be aimed at knowing the acumen of the kids in various vocational streams. We plan to talk to the principal of the MCD School nearby to resolve the space matter. The classes have been on hygiene particularly as the kids seem to be facing minor health hazards .We have decided upon putting up AID posters in the Delhi University campus for greater intake of volunteers in the coming days. -Nitin Gupta Aashayen Coordinator.

Project Updates: AID Gurgaon
The preceding month for AID Gurgaon was filled with a lot of activities. Since the last three months, we have been conducting regular classes at Unnati. Sumanji, the teacher at Unnati, is working really hard with the children. In fact, progress of some children is especially commendable. On July 28th, we were able to secure admissions for five children in government schools of Jharsa. Durga and Tara were enrolled in first standard in the Government School for Girls. Narayan was enrolled in third standard and Shiv and Sombeer were enrolled in second standard in the Government School for Boys. Further, we will keep endeavoring to enroll more and more students in these schools so that they can receive formal main stream education. Apart from conducting regular classes, we also organized some fun activities for these children during our weekend visits. These activities included playing indoor games, conducting drawing sessions and arranging dance sessions for the children. Such activities help infuse interest among children and motivate them to attend school more regularly. Moreover, such nonacademic excursions help children develop their creative faculties and develop their personalities as a whole.Further, in the preceding month, the number of active AID Gurgaon volunteers increased and we are getting a good response from them. If this continues, we can definitely arrange more activities and projects in the future. For the next month, we intend to arrange a medical check-up for children in Unnati. We also plan to arrange a handicraft exhibition on the eve of Independence Day with help from Literacy India. -Sachin Tiwale and Pallavi Tyagi, AID Gurgaon.

Project Updates: AID Prayas
In terms of achievement, this July was the most successful month for all of us. There are three areas where Prayas team has done splendid job. 1. The most significant achievement for PRAYAS was the admission of 19 kids in government school sec-15 Noida. We had to convince the parents of the kids and we faced no problem in that since their own kids were so much interested in going to school. And the credit goes for it to Anuradha; she is regularly meeting with school authorities regarding admission of kids in school & for getting a class room for regular evening class. The teachers have informed that while some kids have already adjusted, there are still some kids who find it difficult to adjust themselves in school and we have to work hard on them if we want them to perform better in school. In fact this initiative can be taken in other AID projects too, as Govt. is providing free primary education and after assessing kids we can work on every individual kid for his/ her weaker subjects. 2. Second achievement for PRAYAS is arrangement of regular classes at Govt. school from Monday to Friday with the help three teachers who are paid. Although Saturday &Sunday classes will still be taken by volunteers at Government School, and if needed these classes can be used for extra curricular activities i.e. Moral, Health, General Awareness, Crafts and Music classes in future. Arranging classes at Govt. School will save Rs.1000 /month from rent as well. 3. Third point to mention is Health Camp .With the assistance of a Gurgaon based Corporate Company; we had organized Health Camp for kids and their mothers. Response of this camp was overwhelming and we hope we will be able to do this on a 2-3 months frequency basis. Besides this we are facing a problem for Night classes (9 to 10:30 PM on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday ), as it is totally dependent on Pratyush and Dharmendra, so we require few more volunteer who can assist them for night classes . Anuradha Dharshan Coordinator, AID Prayas -

Project Updates: Khoj
Moti Bagh: No proper classes are held. Only interaction through games, story telling and rhymes are done with children for relation building purpose. This is likely to be continued for couple of more weeks in order to gain trust of children and for building a more friendlier relation with them. On 20th of July the children from this center were taken to Mrs. Sangeeta’s house for a fun visit and also for a general medical check up. Dr. Zakir Hussain has done the check up for us and has given a report card for all the children. Their health will be followed up with time and necessary steps are being taken. Ber Sarai: Change of education centre since RWA seems to be having a problem with the kids being around..so kids are trying to adjust with the new place. Some kids refrain from going to the new place due to the distance so efforts are being made to get back the old place(park in front of water tank in Sector 3). Bhikaji Cama Place: The dedication level of the kids has increased and they seem to grasp things taught to them very well. Asha and family are back. Soon craft workshop and classes are to be introduced. Jor Bagh: Number of children who are coming for classes has increased. There is an improvement in their skills in the reading and writing part. Plan for an Adolecent workshop is on the cards and the workshop would be held on 01st of August. Dilli Haat : Pooja and Arjun are regularly attending Schools. Interactions with parents is going on a regular basis and it is being told to their parents to take care of the educational expenses of Pooja and Arjun . Sandeep at this center is also doing well and have shown interest in joining school along with Pooja and Arjun. Apart from all the above mentioned events Khoj also had a fun picnic with the childrens to Rail Museum and Doll Museum on 22nd of July. It was really wonderful experience whoever attended it. (I missed the trip). -Selva AID Delhi Khoj is also looking for an office at South Delhi locality for its functioning. Anyone who can come forward and find a room for its office can call up Mr. Pawan at 9810406998 and discuss in detail.

Project Updates: Parichay
Parichay had a lot of events during the month of July. Parichay’s newsletter was released at the end of May and was widely circulated. We are also planning to introduce music classes to the children of NF-III (who are at school going level and children who are already going to school) children. A volunteer have come forward to take care of the expenses of the instruments which is required for it. Soon Parichay will have music in its curriculum. Selva has started to take H.E.L.P (Health Education Learning Program) and the first topic which was discussed was on “Dengue”. The class was for NF-III children and after the classes the children were ready to clean up their surroundings wherever they see a pool of water. He will be discussing about “Malaria” in his next session with the children. Taruna and Shweta’s internship has helped Parichay in introducing a lot of new recipes in its Nutrition Program. A few interesting recipes are Sabhudhan Kheer, Dry seeds Matthi., etc.,. They also conducted a cooking competition among the women, in which there were three teams who were working on the Nutrition Program. Prizes were distributed to the winning during their farewell. They have submitted a report which will be circulated shortly and have given us a presentation which is already available at AID Delhi’s website on the research they’ve done. They analyzed the Nutrition values of the food which we are giving in our Nutrition program. During this summer there were lot of activity classes for the children and one such class was introducing all the states of India to the children. That includes the discussion of culture, resources, food, capital and monuments of the state. Children have decided to cook every state’s food on a Sunday in every month. First such cooking event stated with Punjabi food which was prepared by the children themselves. Selva have promised them to cook South Indian Dosa‘s. Finally we also had a health camp on 28th of July organized by a company “Corporate Executive Board”. The camp was attended by all the children of NF-I, NFII and NF-III children and a few parents too. There were a lot of volunteers from CEB and they were interacting with the children and the parents. Children have performed a few plays and sang a song to entertain them. -Selva, Parichay. AID Delhi. •

Project Updates: Youth Task Force Project Updates: Parichay
Presentation by Mr. Manoj Kumar Mishra on YJA (Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan) for YTF volunteers. YTF volunteers decided to take part in mini-marathon to be held in August. A marathon vision meet held to clearly define the mission, vision, objectives & organization of YTF. YTF clearly recognizes its ultimate mission as ensuring transparent & corruption free governance & agrees to address that in short term by acting as an RTI support group, providing RTI expertise while actively taking up key governance related projects directly affecting society itself. PWD, MCD & Transport identified as primary projects YTF will directly work in. Website, fund raising, networking, creative identified as secondary tasks. Roles defined for most of volunteers. Swati, Aheli & Selva to act as coordinates for PWD, MCD & Transport respectively. All YTF activities divided between primary (directly pertaining to projects) & secondary (housekeeping). All project coordinators presented write-ups on their respective projects for volunteers. Design finalized for first 100 T-shirts. Suchi from NCPRI joined YTF & gave a presentation on Section 4 of RTI. All coordinators agreed to ensure Section 4 compliance in their respective projects. Saurabh presented an RTI presentation from JOSH for general benefit of volunteers. PWD team is gathering technical expertise in reading PWD files by meeting various road experts. Three volunteers were called for their first document inspection in PWD. After inspection, inspection reports were provided demanding copies of select documents. MCD & Transport projects still on drawing board, transport projects hopefully will start in full vigor by August beginning.

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-Subodh Prabhu, YTF, AID Delhi

Project Update : Nai Disha
The following activities were the main highlights of this month: 1.) English/Grammar classes are going on for class 4th and 5th. 2.) Computers are not working (Need repairing) 3.) Computer theory classes are going. 4.) Games playing like antakshari etc. 5.) Preparation for 15th august function is going on. We are searching somebody who can help the children in dance preparation. -Rajat Maheshwari, Coordinator, Nai Disha.

These kids are like any other kids, bubbling with energy and just waiting to get their fair share in society. As a novice volunteer, I realized that these kids just need a little motivation to overcome their inhibitions and fears about their acceptance in society and to hold on to their ambitions and desires. Therefore, we as the better-off citizens of the country should try to devote at least 6-7 hours per week to these kids for their development or indirectly for our society's development and for our inner contentment. We should volunteer for this cause and help these kids fulfill their aspirations. This will help bridge the gap between the two Indias that exist today. We as the citizens of free India are morally bound to maintain and further progress our country’s development with compassion and an ever-improving attitude. As it is rightly said - BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THIS WORLD. -Shikha Chunkee, Khoj, AID Delhi

Volunteer Speak : Shikha Chunkee Try and you can make a difference

Article : Samreet Kaur Reaching out to Urban Marginalized in slums
Slums have always been and still remain a bane of any governance or administrative body either at a local or a national level. Regular surveys indicate the deplorable state of living conditions in the urban slums of our country. According to the 2001 census, there are 40.6 million people living in slums in 607 towns/cities and they together account for 22.8% of the urban population. Although these are the official figures, the non-official bodies place the figures at close to half of the total urban population. The problems faced by such a large number of population increase exponentially and gain critical dimensions. For example, a study by Delhi-based NGO WaterAid states that only 50% of the slum population has adequate access to safe water. Its estimate is that 155 million out of the 280 million urban population, or 55%, enjoyed access in 1990, against the official estimate of 88%. According to a World Bank report on 27 metropolitan cities in all of Asia, Chennai and Delhi are at par with the worst-performing cities in terms of hours of availability per day. ‘Water-Wars’ are a reality in Indian slums already with long queues and heated arguments at the water taps norm of the day.

Everyday while commuting on roads, we see children working, begging and playing on the streets. At traffic signals, you must have seen children thrusting their wares in your faces and begging for money with a look which would melt anyone's heart. India has the largest population of street children in the world. Figures reveal that at least 18 million children live or work on the streets of urban India. These children can be found working as porters at bus or railway terminals, as mechanics, as street vendors and even as rag pickers. Ironically, with such an astonishingly huge figure of street kids we are envisaging a developed country and are hankering to be the next world power. Today, the India we live in is divided into two parts – a fast developing India and an underdeveloped India. This gap seems to be increasing and the only reason being our reluctance to participate in our country's development. So no matter how successful a person you are, in the end you should contribute towards your country’s development and society’s betterment. Society is an integral part of our life so why not start today by contributing to our society by empowering these kids the future of our country.

Serious though the problem of potable water in the slums, it doesn’t even begin to cover the wide scope of problems an average slum-dweller in an Indian Metro has to live with on a daily basis. Most of the slum population in Delhi comprises migrants and labourers who live in large slums where the quality of housing is poor, sanitation facilities are basic or nonexistent, and the settlements are over-crowded. Another survey by National Sample Survey Organization in 2002 revealed that only 15% of dwellings in urban slums have drinking water, toilet and electricity within their premises. A majority of the population lives in rented rooms of 10x10 feet, which is pathetic given the average number of 5 persons per family. Moreover, these people hardly ever possess voter cards. Hence, they do not vote and the government has no official records of these people. In the absence of a voter-id card, they can’t access the basic welfare schemes initiated by the government such as the food-rationing, bank accounts and the other financial schemes such as the micro-credit and the ‘Alpa-Bachat Yojna’. To make matters worse, even the government schools do not readily accept the slumchildren and make demands for the residential proof which is not a condition as per the law. Nevertheless, the people aren’t able to say as much on account of their ignorance or general indifference towards education. Thus, most of the slum children end up working at a tender age when they should have been studying, given the poverty of their homes and the apathy of the government. Most others fall victims to physical, mental and sexual abuse and an easy prey at the hands of pedophiles and such-like criminals. A first-ever study by the Indian government along with two civil society organisations -- Prayas and Save the Children -- and backed by the United Nations Children’s Fund admitted on April 9, 2007 that twothirds of children in India are physically abused while more than half have faced some form of sexual abuse. According to a recent statement by the labour ministry, India has 12.6 million working children between the ages of five and 14 -- the largest number of child labourers in the world. These children work in hazardous industries like construction, manufacture of ‘beedis’ and fireworks. Delhi alone has 41,899 child labourers. Two decades after a nationwide ban on child labour in hazardous industries was introduced, the government has now introduced a ban on child labour in hospitality sector and as domestic help.

This has been widely criticized by the activists who feel that such laws have worsened the situation by driving the child labour industry underground. And there’s no way to monitor such children away from the public eye. Heeding these concerns, India’s Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Choudhary wants an easing of the child labour ban in non-hazardous industries like carpet-weaving. She contends that the blanket ban denies children the right to a profession or livelihood by preventing them from picking up vital skills passed on by master craftsmen. Thus, it is fairly easy to see the inter-connectivity of the troubles in the lives of the slum dwellers. A number of schemes have been launched by the Central Government to tackle the situation – National Slum Development Programme (NSDP), Swaran Jayanti Shahri Rozgar Yojna (SJSRY), Night Shelters, Accelerated Urban Water Supply Programme (AUWSP) which provide a wide range of services to urban poor and slum dwellers. It includes identification of urban poor, formation of community groups, involvement of NGOs, self-help and credit agencies, housing and sanitation, community assets, wage employment etc. The National Slum Development Policy drawn in April 1999 should be reviewed and finalized. Stress should be laid on attitudinal changes among the authorities and the general public. General misconceptions about slums being the breeding-ground of crimes in the society need to be removed. Slum dwellers need not always be at the receiving end of doles but need to be made active participants in the urban economic and social processes. A constructive approach towards upgradation of living conditions and rehabilitation needs to be adopted. Most importantly, the stigma attached to being a slum dweller needs to be tackled with care. And this is where the role played by NGOs in Re-aligning the slum dwellers into the mainstream society comes into play. ‘Parichay’ is one such example of how far concentrated and dedicated effort could go towards changing the lives of thousands of people when they are provided with a little guidance and direction in the path of living. Started 7 years ago by Mr. Vijay Bajpai in the Delhi suburb of Tukmirpur near Bhajanpura, the population of the area is a mix of migrant labourers, rickshaw pullers and selfemployed people with no regular source of income. Mr. Bajpai talks of the guiding mantra in his endeavour.

“The NGO works with the belief that Sustainable Development can be brought about without any government support with the help of community and society.” The primary objective of ‘Parichay’ is the education of children and instilling of right values in them and to provide them a chance of living in a healthy environment. Till date, the NGO has benefited about 250 kids. Besides providing the kids with formal education, stress is laid on vocational training. Kids make products like notebooks, file folders, and carry bags and mobile covers etc. which are then marketed by putting up stalls in corporate houses, college fests. Besides, the NGO has also involved the ladies of the slum in a ‘masala’-making unit. The buying of spices, grinding, packaging and selling of the final products is all done by the ladies themselves. The NGO has successfully managed to secure the support of companies like HCL, TCS, ST Microelectronics etc. And the business has been doing exceptionally well right from the start. Says Mr. Vijay, “The turnover in the First year was Rs. 5000 and now in the Seventh year, we have set ourselves a target of 2.5 Lakhs that we expect to cross.” The aim of ‘Parichay’ is to make the people aware of their rights, to build up their self-esteem and to have them understand their potentials. This is exemplified by the ‘Self-Help Box’ which has been installed in the NGO office. Mr. Vijay explains, “Whenever the kids take something from the NGO, they pay a nominal price for it. The idea is to instill a sense of responsibility in the kids. Community Contribution overrides the problem of begging.” All the beneficiaries of the NGO are considered its assets and they share an equal responsibility as well as returns from the NGO. 75% of the share from the sales of spices goes to the women workers and 50% of the proceeds from the handicraft sales is shared by the children. And it has paid off too. Mr. Vijay asserts that he cases of Alcoholism, Drugs, Violence and Eve-Teasing in the community have reduced sharply since ‘Parichay’ started its operation here seven years ago. The NGO firmly believes in finding its resources and ideas from amongst the community its working. The plan is to involve the local people at each step and to maintain absolute transparency in the workings of ‘Parichay’.

The idea is to bring forth leaders from within the people and then hand over the management to the community itself. Given the success ‘Parichay’ has been, the NGO is planning another initiative soon wherein the mentally challenged and physically-handicapped people would be taken in its folds. Rani is a girl ‘Parichay’ considers its very own success story. She was a girl like any other with no dreams in her eyes and no plans for the future. At the age of 11, she got involved with the NGO, learnt stitching and also works at the ‘masala’ unit. Besides getting 50% profit – sharing off the sales, she gets to go out and meet people in connection with the marketing of the handicraft products. She’d also be getting her diploma in stitching from the government centre and hopefully, would be able to find a job with an export house. She says of her tryst with ‘Parichay’, “I used to sit idle the whole day. Now, I have a purpose to my life.” No doubt, ‘Parichay’ has been able to change lives in this sleepy community of 5000 people. They have been able to mobilize a hitherto idle community surviving at the fringes of the society and transform it into a responsible group which contributes positively to the society. Mr. Vijay Bajpai sums up the role of ‘Parichay’ in the entire process beautifully when he says, “We have been able to sell dreams to them.” -Samreet Kaur, AID Pune. Samreet have been interning with us in the summer for a couple of days and have been actively involved in AID Prayas. She is right now at Pune and she is willing to start some projects there and she have identified one.

Article : Siddharth Goyal Commonwealth games village and Yamuna
The Commonwealth Games are going to be held in Delhi in 2010. The games may not be as prestigious as the Olympics, yet the competition and the zest to succeed is of grand magnitude (Australia is one of the participating countries. Need I say anything more?). In spite of being just a 10 day athletic fiesta, the impact these games leave on the host city is long lasting. They also catalyse the process of development of the infrastructure of the host city by several factors. This will become more obvious to you in the coming three years when you will see dramatic developments in our city at a pace faster than Ram Gopal Verma manufacture films in his factory.

Sounds like a dream news for Delhites. Isn’t it? With all the infrastructure in and roads in place, imagine how much better life might become one day!!! Thanks to innumerable roads and flyovers you could tell your mom that you are going just a few miles away and would come back in a few hours and could actually stretch your peregrination to that shady cinema hall several miles away to catch the morning show of Payal Rohatgi’s latest without your mom getting suspicious at all!!! If only it were true! For, if indeed the ecological ramifications at the proposed site for developing various facilities for the event ma literally drown the city one day into such a morass it might actually take decades for us to recover from it. The proposed site is very close to the banks of river Yamuna and the most appalling fact of this whole business is the argument given by Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which will develop the site, for ignoring all warnings and remonstrations by various government (yes government) and non governmental organisations: Akshardham Temple is also built at the same site and has been there without any hassles for a long period of time and hence the site ought to be developed as it is “Desirable” [Source: Mr. Manoj Mishra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan’s presentation]. To set the record straight, we very much want the Commonwealth Games to be held in our city, but the proposed site should be shifted to some safer place. If the DDA goes ahead with its plans, it might spell doom for Yamuna (the lifeline of Delhi), which is already in a cadaverous state due to pollution. Just give a thought, what might happen to the people shopping in the mall one fine day in the summer of 2015, that was built at the site after the end of the games, when the incessant rains set off a deluge in the other lifeline of our beloved city. - Siddharth Goyal YTF, AID Delhi

Article : Shalini Sharma A story untold….
The story as yet to be said is the story of my encounter with Bhopal. Bhopal transcends beyond the topographical bounds and gallops into our very own soul. It does not put you in any dilemma about what it stands for. It makes no pretension. It does not hesitate in reaching you. It does not wait before it shows what it was and what it has come to be. Getting to Bhopal is a myriad of memories for me. I peek out from the window, taking in the rising sun, the chirping birds, the hustle of the wind all in me even as Bhopal express slows down for its final stop.

With one smooth gush it comes down to a still while the station is taken by a whirlwind. Coolies buzzing the station, sliding past me, even as I wave my hand in a gesture of ‘No No I can take care of myself’. On my way to the Sambhavna Clinic I am perplexed, ‘…there is nothing wrong with the city’. No mind boggling poverty comes raw to me and the usual city pollution that by any comparison to Delhi and Mumbai appears less and I ask, “Isn’t the city facing one of the starkest environmental hazards?” I reach the Clinic. It stands tall and poised amidst the urban slum- presenting the brilliant contrast between the distorted development and the sustainable effort at restoring lives. One can’t help but take pride in its spirit. As Nishant gives me a brief background of how the clinic was made I look around. Patients are sitting in calm frenzy. Children are busy playing near the small pond, counting the turtles and fish. Air and light are stirring the space in abundance. And I think- this doesn’t look like a clinic at all. It is so fresh and so beautiful as if it were a tourist resort. Yet, all notions of its being touristy get dispelled as you see the old and the budding alike waiting for their turn to meet the doctor. I move to the canteen where I wait for the survivor leaders to come. Rasheeda Aapa and Champa di rush in as they continue to smile at me. And I question myself- are leaders ever so accessible (well yes in theory but in practice???) Aapa gives me an account of the things she would like me to do as I keep looking at her in barefaced awe. She is so beautiful. And I wish I could look like her some years past my prime. Champa di is holding a girl of about six-seven years. Nishant tells me she is her granddaughter. I can’t help but notice the bubbly girl, so full of life and spirit. And as I smile she reciprocates with some vague change in her face. My heart reached out to her in deep anguish. She can’t smile. Yet she is smiling. But I can’t see that. She has a cleft lip. She was born with it. I feel guilty as I smile at her. I am confused what should I do with my smile. Smile is the first expression instantly connecting you with anyone. A childhood without this most innocent gesture is unbelievable. But she had no choice. As she continues to smile at me I get buried in the burden of my own conscience and feel utterly helpless. Sapna’s mother was exposed to the Carbide gas twenty two years ago. Working with Bhopalis is like sitting on the tide wave, you never know which way it would surprise you. And they make some of the craziest ideas doable. There is never a question Can we? But always, How to? So I find myself discussing how to make the dog piss on Tata products. Preferably Tata salt. The reason- Tata makes an audacious offer to clean up Bhopal so as to get Dow invest more in the country.

Survivors are stunned. Survivors are angry. After almost a decade it is still fake charity and not Justice. Next, I find myself marching the streets of Old Bhopal with survivors asking shopkeepers to say loud and clear-Tata bye bye!! As I am waiting for Hajira Aapa to catch up with the rest of us I see two women walk past me. One of them is carrying a little girl whose face is covered with the dupatta. Bhopal is still unbearably hot in summers and a veil is a normal sight. Just as I turn back to call Hajira Aapa I see the wind blowing the dupatta off the girl’s face. Her eyeboll is almost hanging out. I had never seen anyone like this before. I tell this to Champa di and both of us run back toward the two women. Champa di makes them sit in a nearby shop and ask them about the girl. I can’t help staring at the girl. And she stares back deep into my flesh and soul. She is nine but looks no more than a six months old. They live in the lane next to Champa di. Champa di didn’t have a clue to the existence of this girl till this very moment. Her mother tells us, “If people get to know about her, it will be difficult for her elder sisters to get married.” Her name is Shanu. Shanu’s parents were exposed to the Carbide gas twenty years ago. How would it be to open your palm and not be able to move your fingers? To have other children call you the devil child because you have two fingers joint permanently by birth. You want to accuse them. You want to point a finger at them. You can’t. Aamir told me how much he wants to play cricket with other boys who won’t believe he can catch a ball. I come back and try opening the lock with my fingers held tight. The key fell. Try flipping through the alchemist. The page crumbles in the process. Try writing my daily diary holding the pen. The pen moves only to produce some incomprehensible marks. I have an overwhelming desire to slap Warren Anderson. A slap is the best I could muster with a flat palm. Champa di tells me they thought of Chingari because they had Sapna. They dreamt how it would be to see Sapna smiling. Chingari- an organization that would work towards the treatment and relief for the second generation affected. Months later, in St’ Stephens hospital I see some men and women giggling. Free surgeries for their children had brought them to pearls of laughter. One of them tells me, “We never thought a simple operation could do this. Our son will no longer have that sad expression. He would have a complete face.” As I open the door to the second floor general ward a smiling Sapna opens her arms to me. Yes, a smile for real! Till then I had only Rashida Aapa and others tell me that many of the effects found in second generation can be treated or at least corrected. For instance cleft lips can be actually corrected. Missing palate can be created.

It calls for someone to pay for the treatment. It involves someone to do these operations wholeheartedly. But, it is possible. For many other effects which are not curable for instance, cerebral palsy one can create a fund to pay for child’s medical and other needs. But, it calls for someone to pay for this fund. It involves someone with a will to help. Most of all, it asks for a collective voice against such gross neglect as rendered to Bhopalis both by the Company as well as the government and a collective conscience for justice to be ensured. The story is yet to be said. It is still unsaid because we are to write it together. Our story of the change making or our story of us as the change in the making! As I see Aamir showing his fingers after his surgery, celebrating a new beginning to life I know change is possible. Absolutely possible! What do you think? - Shalini Sharma,Students for Bhopal.

Volunteering...take a plunge now: Ripu
Great job, good salary, loving family – isn’t it all that we ask for? Underlying all these wishes is the pursuit of happiness. Some things make us feel euphoric but sustained peace of mind can only be attained when we come a full circle – ending where we started. We all start our lives with nothing and will end with nothing too. All that we gain is through our surroundings, our community. And it is imperative that we give back to our communities. To win a rat race only to realize what we needed was not the winner’s prize, is a disappointing experience people go through in their middle ages. Why not work on it now? Why not break the rat race? Why not do something that sows the seeds for future happiness? How to do it? Volunteering - one word that encompasses a whole new world. When I started volunteering actively, I realized it is not a separate activity but a way of life. Depending on the time we have and within our constraints and responsibilities, there’s a huge realm of activities that we can take up voluntarily. It only requires a will to do something beyond the usual list of things we do everyday. A commitment - not to others but to oneself. A promise to change the world and make it better. It may seem burgeoning to begin with but it becomes so simple once we take the plunge. I have seen many lives being transformed after they started volunteering with AID, including my own. There’s a spark in every activist and it is contagious enough to hold you forever! Just do it, do not wait for the right time. The good time is now – so just look around and take the initiative. Let’s leave behind a legacy that coming generations can cherish! - Riputapan Singh, AID Delhi

My Experience with AID : Ritika
I have been with AID for the past two years. I was introduced to the various projects going on in Delhi by Mr. Anirban (the then volunteer coordinator). I started working with All India Confederation of the Blind. AICB was founded in 1980 and started as a oneroom venture in Model Town, New Delhi with a capital of Rs. 300 only. It began with just two departments, i.e. the English and Hindi Stenography Departments. The Rohini center was established later in 1988 where many new departments were introduced like the computer center for converting textbooks to Braille books, Braille printing machine department, recording studio etc. The entire executive committee of AICB (President, Vice President, Secretary General and two Secretaries) is comprised of visually impaired members. Mr. Kaul is the Founder Secretary General of AICB. He is also the Secretary General for Asian Blind Union, which is affiliated to the World Blind Union. The Confederation also has a special school for blind children in Gurgaon that was started in 1992. Every year, the Confederation organizes intensive training workshops for the visually impaired, which is attended by international delegates as well. Last year, the workshop saw participation from four Pakistani delegates. The participants are trained in mobility, computer education, cooking, basic daily living skills along with lectures on various topics including sex education, advocacy in legal matters etc. My association with AICB began in September 2005. There I met Mr. Vikas, who is the recording studio incharge, and he showed me around the entire campus that includes hostel for girls, a mess, reading room etc. They had a requirement for recording textbooks so I volunteered to help. Though the going was a little tough in the beginning, I gradually started enjoying the work, especially when I realized how important this was for the numerous dedicated students there. I have had the good fortune to be in company of such motivated children at AICB who’ve made me lot more patient and confident as a person and that has certainly made an impact on my personal and professional life. And I can confidently say that for AID as well. Through my association with AID- Delhi, I’ve been fortunate to have met so many driven and committed people, working for the sole aim of serving the society. I will always cherish the time I spent with AID-Delhi and I’ll certainly contribute as much as I can, from wherever I am. - Ritika Subash, AID Delhi

Interns Corner Eureka Kits and Implementation : Arpana
Hi All, On my last busy and sweaty Saturday afternoon, I tried refreshment. I happened to be in Hauz Khas and was approached by 2 children selling books. An idea came to me and I was quickly ready with pen and notebook for a field study. Here goes my on-the-fly report: Government of India has taken corrective measures and declared Child Labour as illegal. When I asked Dinanath Yadav whether he was aware of the same, the stark reply came as, “the Government does lots of things, how many you see followed?” He is the so-called ‘caretaker’ of all the street children whom I interviewed and to whom all the children report to. During my short course, I interviewed some odd-21 children selling books, magazines and toys to people whose vehicles stopped at the red-light. According to the survey statistics, I categorize them based on several parameters as follows: (i)Age Group: 7-10 yrs 11-15 yrs >15 yrs 5 12 4 (ii)Educational Background: Uneducated Educated till class 5th 17 4 (iii)Occupation of parents (Father): No other Earning member (Average Income* : 0) Vendor Fruits/Vegetables (Average Income : 50/-) Farmer (Average Income : 40/-) Rickshaw Puller (Average Income : 70/-) 2 brothers 2 14 3

*Daily average income Note: Nearly all of the children were from villages of state of Bihar. (iv)Occupation All children sold books, magazines, toys and newspapers year-round switching one to other randomly but limiting to these options only.

(v)Total Family Size (including parents, brothers, sisters and grand-parents): 0-2 2-4 4-6 >6 0 4 5 7 These street children carried out the work of selling books, magazines and toys during the time from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Some told that they also sell newspapers to at 8:00 am and work as help-boys with certain nearby vendors in evening. These children strictly confine their occupation in nearby areas of the red-light stoppage near Hauz Khas post office. During the course of survey, it was revealed that all of them had been working since 1-3 years and were reporting to a man name ‘Dinanath Yadav’ who had actually allured most of them from villages in Bihar to Delhi, by the prospects of a good job. These children were entitled to 25 percent share of the price of the item they sold, the rest being taken by their ‘care-taker’. For average of 10 magazines costing Rs 15/- sold per day, the average income of these children comes at Rs. 30. On meeting this man, he proudly claimed that he was training such groups of street children at several red-light stoppages of Delhi. It is worthwhile to note that the total number of children under him was reported to be approximately 350.Many of these children are actually staying without their parents in Delhi slums. Of the group I interviewed, only few actually visit their villages atleast once a month. That children are working in a profession totally distinct from what their background suggests or parents do in addition to staying away from family for long durations, is indicative of a closely-knit circuit of child-abductors and corrupt government officials. It comes as a surprise that neither children nor the ‘care-taker’ claim that they are pestered by policemen. Unwillingness on their part to talk on this topic makes me inquisitive to enquire about it in different way. Though Government has several measures in place to do away with the problems of street children, it seems the business is flourishing in a clandestine manner at a fast pace. The poor parents who are generally agricultural laborers are forced to send their children at very low age to urban areas like Delhi to earn money and support the family to meet the bare necessity. The employer derives the advantage of these children in unorganized as well as organized sector by paying them extremely low wages and extracting extra working hours. The labour law for provident fund and gratuity is not applicable for these children, which would otherwise have to be paid for adult workers. These children have no association to put forward their demands.

There are several measure already being taken by Government and NGOs to rehabilitate street children and provide them proper education, food, clothing and shelter. The two reasons which surface as prime causes for this grim situation are: 1. Extreme Poverty 2. Shrewd Industry Employers. Now the question arises how to prevent this dirty game? What can be done? Is a People’s Movement required? Its time when we start to think seriously about long term contributions in forms of research works. I researched a bit on search engines and and came across a unique idea of funding children rather than schools. This is currently being incorporated in form of Education Vouchers. Can the system work in India have to be discovered. Over with my traveler’s account. Time for updates. My spree with Prayaas went best in first two weeks but was jerked in last two weeks due to work personal front. The Eureka kits have in Hindi has proved useful for the kids. They are a enthusiastic bunch of smart students to be delat in special way to get maximum of their energy.Good news was that Prayaas volunteers were successful in enrolling near-about dozen students to Government School. Kudos to everyone out there!! Hoping for a wonderful journey ahead! - Arpana Prajapati, Intern, AID Prayas, AID Delhi

Internship for a month…. A lifetime experience : Taruna & Shweta
We knew that the best helping hand lies at the end of your own wrist but got a chance to see the larger meaning of this well-said quote during my month long internship at Parichay. As interns my we were assigned the task to evaluate and modify the Nutrition Program of Parichay that is supported by AID, Delhi. There is only one word that can precisely express the experience of working at Parichay and AID----DIFFERENT!!! An organization working for many different causes with a very different approach in a very different way from the rest in this field. The ideology of AID and the principles on which Parichay works are different from other NGOs because unlike them this organization does not believe in commercialization, pomp and show. Instead there is simplicity, sincerity, genuine hard work and selfless endeavor that fuel all the activities of this organization giving it an edge above the rest!!!

The belief they harbor in their volunteers is expressed from the fact that as interns we were given full freedom to experiment new things to achieve the desired goals. The constant support, guidance and appreciation that we received at Parichay and AID were the greatest motivating forces to work harder and better. It was a pleasure to work for the betterment of the children of Parichay – children who are extremely humble, innocent, loving, well mannered and untouched by the ill feelings of violence, jealousy, dishonesty and corruption. There is an easily identifiable sense of selfrespect and self-reliance among these children that makes them stand out in the crowd of contemporaries from the same area and this makes them different. Working at Parichay was truly a parichay to a completely different world that is seemingly different from ours but very much like ours. It has a lot to offer and we have a lot to learn from the people of this world. All that is required is the willingness and effort to bring the two worlds together and that is exactly what Parichay and AID are attempting to do. We are grateful to have received an opportunity to be a part of this endeavor and would love to continue to offer our services. It is because of these experiences that were different from what we had expected to receive before coming here that we call it an internship for a month but an experience of a lifetime. - Taruna Sanghi Shweta Sharma, Interns, Parihay, AID Delhi

Report from AID Delhi Treasury : Anuj
From this month onwards we have planned to circulate our donors name in the newsletter who regularly contribute Meal a Month as well as one time donors. We will be releasing the expenditure details once in a quarter. Ajay Grover Amit Gupta Amitabh Mishra Anoop Saha Anuj Grover Anuradha Aparna Bhatia Arpana Prajapati Arti Khera Arun Raj Bhanu Prakash Bhuvan Gupta C. Venkatesh Chirag Kapoor

CSR committee, STMicroelectronics, France D. K. Publishers Darshan Mehra Deepika Pant Divisha Saxena Gandhi Mathi Giri Gunjan Sharma Hiroo Moorjaani Kali Charanaya Kallol Chatterjee Malathi Kar Manish Agarwal Manisha Sharma Manisha Verma Mata Jai Kaur Public School, Ashok Vihar Meera Vaswani Monica Sharma Mukta Goel Naval Saini Nirmallya Kar Nishant Jain Nitin Gupta Nitin Mahajan Peeyush Kulshreshtha Pratyush Priyanka Khare Raj Rajat Maheshwari Riputapan Singh Sahil Sethi Samira Dash Sasmita Basu Selva Ganapathy Senthil Raj Shweta Mall Smita Gupta Soumya Roy Subhashini Ghorai Subodh Prabhu Sudip Basu Surya Malik Grover Tina Goyal Trapti Jain Tulika Gupta Vaishali Suryawanshi Please feel free to ring us up if you have contributed to Meal a Month and find your name missing in the list. - Anuj Grover, Treasurer, AID Delhi

Toon of the Month

News : 17 of Prayas Children get admission to Government School…..

- Sketch - Kalindi, Intern, Aashayen - Thoughts - Selva AID Delhi News: Government of Delhi Vs Blue line buses… bule line buses should maintain self discipline….. Govt. of Delhi

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Image- Roshan Jha, YTF, AID Delhi -Thought – Selva, AID Delhi

Photo of the Month : Selva - Adding colors to our life

Project: Parichay Photographer: Selva Date: 20th July 2007 Event: Prize distribution ceremony of the cooking competition and farewell to the interns from S.N.D.T, Mumbai Description: It was huge fun and just the prize distribution ceremony got over and the interns were about to leave parichay to get back to their college. Children were so much happy that their Nutrition Program has got so much of variety of new dishes as suggested by the didi’s and they were keen to take photograph with them. It was really a hot sunny day and the children along with their mother and the didi went on to the shadow and me at the Sun… Just was focusing them and got the rainbow in the image☺. The rainbow itself has known that their life is getting more and more colorful and it wanted to pose for the image along with the Parichay family. Soon the five color meal program will be worked out and really more color will be added not only to their life but also to their food.

Volunteer Profile
Siddharth Goyal Youth Task Force, AID Delhi. Siddharth Goyal is doing his third year computer science from Netaji Subash Institute of Technology. He has been with AID Delhi for about 3 months by now. He is an inspiration in himself, having lots of passion towards volunteering and social service, he has been associated with Khoj which is a teaching project and Youth Task Force which deals with RTI. He has always made his visions clear and choosed the way of volunteering and he has his own style which is one unique thing I found in him. He is the first guy who talked about brining discipline during the classes he held at Khoj and some how he was able to be successful in doing so. Being a computer engineer he can be more handy with time when he grows along with AID Delhi in developing VMS (Volunteer Management System). With Youth Task Force this guy have filed RTI on roads and will be filing more and have been actively involved in lot of net searches of the documents which we require before filing RTI’s. I wish he will be a great asset for AID Delhi and our association will remain forever. He is also a good writer and some of his thoughts can be read in his blog http://crazyideashere.blogspot.com/

Information Corner: Selva
Do you want to travel in Auto and the Auto driver denies to take you by the meter? . Please register a complaint immediately at the TSR complaint number 011-42400400 and file a complaint with the auto number. You can file a complaint as (i). Over charging and (ii) not abiding with the rules. The same number can be used for filing complaints on blue line buses if they fail to stop at a bus stop, overspeeding, driver / conductor smoking inside the bus or drinking in the bus. File a complaint immediately. If you need more assistance on it feel free to ask any of our Youth Task Force volunteer and they will guide you. More information of traffic rules and regulations can be read at http://www.delhitrafficpolice.nic.in/

AID India Chapters
There are more AID India Chapters blossoming these days and the following are in the budding stage and need our help for growing more. AID Chandigarg AID Jaipur AID Pune (already have some experienced volunteers) AID Kanpur AID Guwahati AID Bihar (yet to be started). Please get back to us if you can help in any way in any of the above chapter by referring to your friend / colleague / neighbor etc. that will help us in building more volunteer base there which would help us in initiating more projects at the ground level.

- Selva, AID Delhi

Feedback: aid.delhi@gmail.com Web: http://delhi.aidindia.org Phone: +91-9213797167 Send your Cheques to Publications Team Selva Ganapathy.R Coordinator: Selva Department of Chemical Engineering, Editors: Selva, Puneeta, Gauri, Pallavi, Charu, Kunal Indian Institute of Technology, Designers: Selva, Arvinder, Saurabh Delhi - 110016 Hauz Khas Phone: +91-9891358457, +91-9211467341