Pratibimb… Reflection of being human

"Learning humility, purity and simple-living from those who don't take too much from the earth... Targeting the problems of hunger, disease and oppression that sadden their lives... Inspiring in each other trust, confidence and support for one another..."

An AID Delhi Publication, January 2010
With a new year setting in, the AID team is here with another edition of its newsletter, Pratibimb, a reflection of being human. Set in the background of love, warmth, support, kindness and responsibility towards fellow humans, it is an attempt to give back to the society what we have taken from it at each and every step. We have realized that we are indebted to this society as it has given us an opportunity to experience the wonderful colours of life. And there are many people who aren’t as privileged as we are! By being a part of AID Delhi, we have taken our first step towards bringing the colours of life closer to those who are under sourced, under privileged and require spectacles of love and support to see these colours. Join us!

To know more about us, you may reach us at:
AID India <http://www.aidindia.org> AID Delhi < http://delhi.aidindia.org> AID Noida < http://aidnoida.blogspot.com/> AID Pehal <http://projectpehal.blogspot.com/> AID Gurgaon <http://gurgaon.aidindia.org/> AID Jaagriti <http://jaagriti-india.blogspot.com/> AID Delhi on Facebook < http://www.facebook.com/delhi.aidindia> AID Delhi on Twitter < http://twitter.com/aiddelhi> AID Delhi on Wikipedia < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AID_Delhi> Parichay blog < http://parichaycommunity.blogspot.com/> Parichay website < http://parichayonline.org

If you want to join us in taking your first step towards helping humanity, there are more than one ways in which you may do so…

Become a volunteer! If time is a constraint, donate for the cause. You may donate by electronic transfer, cheque, or cash. To know more about how to donate, visit : < http://delhi.aidindia.org/bethechange/content/view/50/77/> Our mailing address is: AID Delhi, c/o R. Selva Ganapathy, Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi – 110016. Phone: 9891358457

12th Annual

Conference of the Association for India's Development
25 – 27 December, 2009

New Delhi, India

AID Delhi had the privilege to host the 12th AID India Annual Conference, where volunteers from across the country (globe actually), sathies/jeevansathies (people who eat, drink and breath social change) and distinguished external speakers came together for a couple of enlightening and inspiring days. It fully embodied the AID philosophy: The problems are interconnected, so must be the solutions. The learning curve shot up right from day 1, when we learned how Patent Laws & Globalization are affecting the common person’s survival by reducing her/his access to life saving drugs and medicines; how Swaraaj/Self Governance can bring real democracy in India through local, decentralized decision making mechanisms; how Appropriate Technology can bring about a positive change in rural India, with affordable pricing and locally available means; and how the herculean task of Waste Management can be carried out locally, in an exceedingly greener, and economically viable manner, using an internationally renowned, scalable model. The second day of the conference was an eye opener too when one of the AID activists highlighted the misery of Indian Farmers and Agriculture industry thereby suggesting that Organic and Sustainable Agriculture was the need of the hour. Two more AID Sathies/Activists enlightened us on the inspirational work AID-Odisha and AID-Bihar are doing. We also learned how AID Chennai created a success story with its innovative approach to education through Eureka methods. An informative session on Individual Social/Environmental Responsibility emphasized on plentiful simple ways following which one can lead a climate-conscious life, preceded by a session on Sustainable City Transport, in which Hamsini from "Behtar Dilli" stressed that it was high time we started converting to mass transport and reduced our dependence on private vehicles. The Final day was again quite educational wherein a prominent human rights lawyer and activist briefed us on Gender issues and showed how the elite and urban India was more culpable for female infanticide! AID veteran Balaji Sampath presented the organizational structure of AID India while AID Delhi volunteers presented the AID Delhi volunteer model. If one were to describe the conference in a single word, it would be “strength”: - To follow the footsteps, one day, of dedicated social change agents who gave up lucrative mainstream careers - To diversify, beyond informal slum education, into health, environment, education and other spheres, proactively exploring govt affiliations (to attain a sizable scale) - To clean up the mess within before looking outward, by making environmentally and socially responsible choices in our day-to-day living All in all, our commitment has been reinforced to “be the change we wish to see in the world”, which was exemplified by the fact that the resource-guzzling disposable (paper) tea cups used on day 1 of the conference were replaced overnight by (far greener) reusable glasses!

- AID Delhi

How

JAAGRITI

celebrated Christmas..!

Folks! We celebrated Christmas on a bright and sunny afternoon at Jaagriti where we had a variety of fun-filled and happy activities. With the help of our cheerful and ever smiling volunteers, we gathered the sparsely dressed little children who came braving the chilly weather of Delhi. We decorated the premises with Christmas trees, festoons and colourful balloons. Cold cream and snacks were also distributed amongst kids. The children, who were the most active participants in the occasion, cheered and jived on various bollywood numbers.

And it would be incomplete and unfair if I don’t mention about the show stealer i.e. our very lovable and adorable Santa Claus who came, played, sang and doled out chocolates to the largely restive but enthusiastic crowd. At the end of the day we cherished several innocent smiles and came back with hearts filled with satisfaction. We are determined to keep these smiles alive and to fulfill the promises that we have made to these angels. I am sure that posterity will be proud of us!

"I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy, I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy."

Pictures available at: http://picasaweb.google.co.in/anchitgoel/ChristmasAndNewYearCelebrationsJaagriti#

Origami classes at

JAAGRITI

“A chilly Sunday morning…lots of used A4 sheets in one hand…colour-boxes in the other…where the hell are you going ??”…that’s what an acquaintance in my society asked me when we met at the society gate. I just smiled back. The mission was to revive the arts and craft classes at Jaagriti. So we reached there at Open Skies site and found the class going on as expected. The attendance was good and the excitement quite evident when the kids spotted us. A hearty ‘Good Morning’ welcomed us and erased all my doubts about whether the kids will be excited about this class or not. We quickly made the kids sit in circles and assigned one volunteer to each group to help them. One of the kids took the paper and got his pencils ready as he thought we are going to paint something. He was puzzled when he was told that we are going to make something using only paper. Origami, the art of paper-folding, has been on our mind for some time for the project. What can be more interesting than witness a useless-looking paper turn into a bird or a frog or just about anything under the sun? So for our first class we chose a simple yet interesting shape … a jawsnapping dinosaur. As the dinosaur took shape fold-by-fold, the kids’ excitement was a treat to watch. Even the colouring part was fun, with someone drawing as many as two pairs of eyes on his dinosaur!! As we continue to dig the internet for more interesting origami, a word of caution to others who plan to conduct such sessions with kids: The number of pages missing from kids’ notebooks is directly proportional to the quality of Origami classes!! We plan to hold Origami Classes every week in the coming month. Volunteers are welcome.

- Ankit

Volunteer - Jaagriti, AID Delhi

PARICHAY

updates, December 2009

Handicraft and Spices Unit
Sale of spices at ST Microelectronics amounted to Rs. 10,400. Christmas stalls at three corporate houses yielded Rs. 24,000 in funds. Cutting and tailoring classes have been going on smoothly; trainees have learned designing few handicraft items besides drafting and cutting basic dresses like skirt, camisole etc.

Bal Vikas Kendra
Bal Panchayat was organized to discuss and resolve childrelated issues and problems. The NFE kids took their first assessment tests in December. Progress reports will soon be shared with the kids and their parents. Results of half yearly examination for school going community kids have been declared. All kids have performed well and secured good ranks. New syllabus for the first half of the year (January to April 2010) was framed and the classes commenced 6th January onwards. Bal Sabha happened on 30th Dec’09. At the Bal Sabha, kids shared their resolutions and dreams for the new year. A grand community lunch was held on 5th January, 2010 to welcome the New Year and to mark the beginning of a new session at Parichay, after a short break of 4 days from 31st December to 3rd January.

Gyan Ganga Project on Mental Retardation
After successful completion of the orientation-cum-training program for the community workers and surveyors, project survey work in two of the areas (Village Tukmirpur and Village Biharipur) has started and is going smoothly. Two of the community women have been trained to assist the surveyors with the surveys. These women shall assist with follow-up, home visits, counseling, and guidance sessions. They have been trained well and have become sufficiently confident to conduct guidance sessions on mental retardation. A change worth mentioning here is that the outlook of the women who help conduct such surveys and sessions has changed drastically. Total budget for this project is 2.63 lakh, out of which 1.52 lakh has been contributed by AID Pittsburgh. We have been able to arrange another 20,000 from Parichay supporters. We need to arrange Rs. 91,000 more for the successful functioning of this project.

- AID Delhi

“SAPNEY”… Dreams for a better tomorrow!
AID Gurgaon is running a fund collection and awareness drive through the distribution of its calendars themed SAPNEY - Dreams for a brighter tomorrow. Through SAPNEY, we have tried to capture the zillion dreams that the underprivileged and disadvantaged children in India carry in their hearts.

Aaakhon mein hain sapne hazaar, Anek rango se hai meri duniya sarobar, Aasha ke pahiyon pe main hoon savaar, Kya honge mere sapney sakaar...
More than raising funds, this is an opportunity to showcase the dreams of our children, to spread a word of goodness around, and to see their dreams come true in front of our very own eyes. The funds we collect through this initiative will go towards educational and developmental activities at different AID Gurgaon projects viz. Unnati, Disha, Prerna and Shiksharth, which impart non-formal primary education to the underprivileged children. Lets spread a 1000 hopes, lets spawn a 1000 dreams, lets awake a 1000 individuals to the wonderful world that we can have and that our children deserve... Check out the calendars online at: http://gurgaon.aidindia.org/sapney (Book you calendar by filling the online form at the end of this webpage) http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/photo.php?pid=3435533&id=655617099 (Leave your comments; post album to your profile)

How can you contribute to the cause Buy a calendar for yourself and gift some to your loved ones too! Spread the word; share the calendar with your teammates and tell them about it. Become our ambassador: Convince the HR department/CSR cell in your organization to make a bulk order. Alternatively seek permission to put up a stall in your company.

Contact points for orders or for any queries: Anshul Sachdev: anshul.sach@gmail.com / 9873469546 Munish Duvedi: munishdvd@gmail.com / 9999623000

PRAYAS

updates, November and December 2009

Prayas witnessed two months of successful events with the children and volunteers involving themselves in various intense activities. These involved a Picnic, a Balsabha, and a Visit to the waste management plant. Details of these events are given below.

Picnic 2009
An annual picnic was organized and the kids were taken to the Birla Planetarium and Doll Museum. At the planetarium, children were enlightened with information on celestial bodies, and they noted down important facts. This was then followed by a group lunch in Children’s Park. At the Doll Museum, the kids were informed about the various dolls and what they represented.

Balsabha is another successful event held periodically. This time the event was organized on a larger scale. Children recited “Kabir ke Dohe”, sang and danced to good numbers, did a play on “RadhaKrishna”, and a moral based story about carelessness in terms of health and hygiene. The kids had put tremendous effort in preparing the stage performances and performed them with remarkable confidence. They also gave speeches, in both Hindi and English, on prominent personalities of India like Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.

Balsabha

A meeting was planned and scheduled with the Waste Management Plant members. A group of retired personalities have started this plant on a piece of land given by the Noida Authority. They showed us how they have designed the plant, and also explained to us the process of waste management observed in the plant. In addition, they explained how they collect waste material from the city and cow dung from the milkmen; this waste material is processed into fertilizers in the pits which have been prepared within the plant in a very well organized manner. Other important activities that happened at Prayas include: Appointment of a regular teacher: A full timer teacher has been appointed at Prayas to teach and take care of the batch. The teacher has been discharging her duties quite effectively and it has been observed that within a short span of time, the enthusiasm of the children towards studies and other activities has increased. Interaction with the Government School: Regular visits are paid to the Govt. School. This is helping us build a good relationship between the school and Prayas. Feedback on kids’ academic performance is taken from the teachers. A proposal has been made to conduct an activity session at the school on Saturdays by any of the Prayas volunteers. This would help us increase the interest of students in studies. Id-cards: Another new initiative is the introduction of handmade low cost identity cards, which have been designed to ensure greater security for Prayas students. The cards have been designed by the kids themselves. Stall experience: A stall was setup at CSC, Noida on the eve of Christmas and New Year. Beautiful hand made products like cardboard photo frames, greeting cards and bookmarks were displayed at the stall. The products were designed by prayas volunteers and girl students. Though the entire setup was not at a very large scale, it was a great experience and made us aware of the demand and areas of further improvement in our products. We look forward to conducting more such fundraising activities in the future.

Visit to the Waste management plant

- AID Noida

CommuniServe @ Evalueserve

When I was a child I always complained about going to school and attending those long sleep inducing lectures. I had a comfortable life style, yet I cribbed about how things were? But in life, we all realize how much we have and how comfortably we are living only after we meet people who are struggling just to earn their day’s bread, people who strive to get minimum education and people who have to fight each day to just live. Four years ago we, who had realized this, started a not-for-profit organization called AID Gurgaon, the Gurgaon chapter of Association for India’s Development, for catering to the development of people, the greatest resource our country has. These four years have been a great learning experience for us. We had an opportunity to interact and learn from hundreds of volunteers, and most importantly we got a sense of REAL India. Initially, as is the case with most of the non-profits, we were struggling to keep up the momentum. Volunteer attrition was high and funds were limiting our ambitions. Despite persistent blogging, Orkuting, etc. and exploitation of personal contacts, things were not improving. We wanted to find a permanent solution to both volunteer attrition and intermittent flow of funds problems. And hence, we started to pursue Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative in association with AID Gurgaon, at Evalueserve, a company I am employed with. Initial days of association of AID with Evalueserve were full of uncertainties. We were pushing hard to make an impression within the organization. There were a lot many things that we were doing to get the visibility. We started with volunteer work within the organization. Under this initiative we imparted basic education to the house keeping staff in Evalueserve. Besides education, the objective of the project was to facilitate awareness of health, hygiene among house-keeping personnel. We also started publicizing our volunteering efforts with AID Delhi. Not only this, but we also initiated environment awareness and resource saving campaigns. We organized blood donation camps, exhibitions etc. All in all we started marketing our cause in the organization. And it helped; we started to get traction from employees as well as management. Not only more people joined the initiative but also funds started to pour in. To start with, we were getting funds generated through internal activities. But as we grew in size, bigger ideas started to shape up. In February’08, we ran company-wide fund raiser campaign. The result – we collected Rs. 200,000 spread over 12 months and added more than 100 volunteers to the initiative. The response was not up to our expectation but we were not ready to give up. We rethought our strategies for reaching out to people to seek support for projects we were running with AID and other NGOs. We formed a core team of 10 dedicated volunteers to drive the initiative in a more focused way. The step helped a great deal not only in spreading greater awareness but also in identifying a lot of passionate individuals. Also, while interacting with individuals across the company, core team found out that people have myriad of notions of what CommuniServe (the CSR team at Evalueserve) does. And a lot of what people had perceived was not the right picture of what we were doing and where we wanted to reach. To convey the message right and clear, we decided to reach out to all 20 groups and 2,000 employees in the company. And CommuniServe Road-show began. Over a period of one month, we sensitized everyone in the company about the impact we have had and our focus for the future. This activity provided enormous push to CommuniServe, for we identified 3-4 champions in each group and generated handsome funds to support our initiatives – monthly contribution increased from a mere Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 60,000. Today, I can confidently say that CommuniServe has established itself firmly. What started with a few people has now become a company-wide initiative. A number of employees at Evalueserve volunteer with AID. In July, we signed an MOU with AID Delhi under which we channelize Rs. 50000 per month for the various initiatives/projects of AID Delhi. AID volunteers come from companies in various industries. And every company wants to do something for the society. In fact, if you read the policy guidelines, I guarantee you mention of the word society and community several times. What I am trying to bring forth is that if your company does not have a formal CSR team yet, you can drive the cause. All you need is belief in the cause and rest would follow. I would like to end this note with a famous quote from Napoleon Hill – “What ever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve”.

- Rajesh Chaudhary, Evalueserve

Straight from the HORSE’s mouth..!
It is seemingly difficult to pen down my experience with Jaagriti, because as rightly said, beautiful experiences can only be felt. If I try to frame it as a beautiful picture, Jaagriti is all about children…their smiles - contagious, their enthusiasm - inspiring, their stories put me in awe, their efforts teach me not to give up on anything in life, their personalities make me play my different roles efficiently, their eye on the road waiting for their didi/aunty makes me feel responsible for their lives. I am glad I am a part of this wonderful project for it helps me stay grounded.

Jasraman Sayal Volunteer, Jaagriti, AID Delhi

It was a dream come true for me when I went to “Prayas” for the first time on 21st Mar 09. I interacted with the community kids and the volunteers. The kids were just lovable. After my first visit, I could not stop myself from continuing to meet kids. Teaching while having fun is a great feeling. Now I am a part of the activity classes, computer classes, and a number of other community initiatives/activities at Prayas. I visit kids’ homes every weekend to keep in touch with their parents. This gives them the satisfaction that their kids are being given personal attention as well. Sometimes I feel that becoming a software engineer was not that difficult a task but becoming a teacher cum friend for kids really was! Getting an opportunity to interact with the kids, teach them, play with them and understand their needs is a great learning experience for me. I feel honoured to be a part of AID Prayas. Linkan Subhudi Volunteer, AID Noida “The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.” …This is something that AID Gurgaon has been contributing towards – education which is not just for the sake of it but something which shall continue to help children for the rest of their lives. My first day at Unnati and Disha was full of excitement and curiosity. Initially, I had no idea on what to expect. But once I reached there, I had an amazing fun time with the children. Their enthusiasm, when it comes to studies or for that matter any activity, continues to surprise me. After taking few music lessons for the kids, I realized their potential and the talent they possess. Their grasping power is so strong that they learned an entire hindi song within three days and that too when none of them has hindi as his/her mother tongue. Last but not the least, kudos to the volunteers who have worked so hard for the admission of some of the bright students from these non-formal education centers into regular mainstream schools in Gurgaon such as Vivek High School, Literacy India Vidyapeeth and DPS. It definitely is a great boost to their confidence and a motivation for other students. My experience with these kids has taught me to value what I have and to do my bit for the ones who are not as privileged. Children’s smiles and joyous faces have made my every interaction with them extremely memorable and yes it keeps adding..!! Swati Sinha Volunteer, AID Gurgaon

CALENDERS by AID DELHI
Like every year, AID Delhi has got its calendars printed as part of AID merchandise. The theme of the calendars is Makaan (in line with the series of Roti, Kapda and Makaan with Kapda and Roti releasing during 2008 and 2009 respectively). The USP of these desktop calendars is that they are printed in 100 % recycled photo quality papers and eco-friendly non toxic inks which are removable for the recycling of paper. Makaan – About this theme “Every woman, man, youth and child has the human right to a secure place to live, to physical and mental health, and to overall quality of life. It involves more than shelter and extends to all people the right to live in security, peace and dignity”. Right to housing is essential to citizenship itself. AID and partner organizations work to empower people to make use of the Right to Information Act to fight corruption and obtain food rations, health services, job cards, and pensions. AID partners also help the landless obtain land for which they are legally eligible. In areas facing natural or human-made disaster, such as flood affected Bihar, cycloneaffected West Bengal, or civilwar affected Chhattisgarh, AID provides relief and supports long term rehabilitation so that people can rebuild homes, communities and livelihoods. Defending people’s right to shelter, right to live in their own homes and lands, and pursue their livelihoods is central to the work of AID.

The funds raised through the sale of calendars will be spent on AID NCR’s initiatives and its associated projects.

Roti, Kapda, Makaan (Food, Clothing, Shelter)... of these basic human needs, perhaps the one that is most elusive for the poor is Makaan.

Oh I want a customized one!
You are the person whom we are looking for! If you want to order more than 100 copies of our calendars with your company logo in it, let aid.selva@gmail.com know about it. Our partners: MyWebERA Visit www.mywebera.com to know more about our sponsors.

-

AID Delhi

“Pehal” - A Dream Come True!
Whenever I would see a child or a handicapped person on the streets asking for money, I felt a pang of pain. Sometimes I donated to a cause, sometimes gave money to beggars and sometimes just felt helpless. Gradually, I realised that they don't need my money or my pity, what they really needed was support and opportunities so that they could lead their lives in a more dignified manner. This realization led me to join AID, where I met so many like minded people who have constantly guided me and helped me achieve this dream called “Pehal”. Pehal was started on Children's day i.e. 14th November, and caters to children of construction workers, who are mainly Bengali migrants. These children usually spent their day playing with mud, running around and at times getting into socially unacceptable activities. Our main aim is to introduce them to education along with making them realise their potential. Getting this project in place was not an easy task and initially we met with a lot of reluctance from the workers. They feared they would have to spend money for enrolling their children with us and suspected our intentions. But, thankfully, a Pehal volunteer, who happens to know Bengali, struck the right chord with them and convinced them that it was for the benefit of their own children, and that none of their expenses was required. A well qualified teacher has been employed to provide them with primary education whereas our volunteers conduct the skill building classes. It is just the beginning, and as the name suggests, it is our first step. However, I am confident and hopeful that with the dedicated efforts of the erstwhile Aashayein team and guidance of AID NCR, “Pehal” will cross many milestones in future. - Prachi Aggarwal, Coordinator – Pehal, AID Delhi

AID Delhi partners with

LearningInq

AID Delhi has collaborated with LearningInq, a group that has been working towards effective scale-up of quality education for the bottom 10% of children. LearningInq has education centres in various environments targeting different kinds of high-need children, including urban poor, street and working children, rural poor, and children with special needs. In addition, they are working in direct intervention with the government on some of their educational initiatives. As part of the collaboration, AID Delhi shall help sustain some of LearningInq’s initiatives by making a monthly contribution of Rs. 15000 towards the cause. Together, we look forward to working to effect measurable improvements in the quality of education for the less privileged.

- AID Delhi

When the kids of PEHAL and JAAGRITI paid a visit to outer space!!
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open”. This famous quote by our beloved Jawahar Lal Nehru, was brought to realization at AID, when the ever enthusiastic kids of Aashayein and Jaagriti, were taken to the Nehru Planetarium, on the 8th of November, 2009. Inside the planetarium, the dome shaped roof projected a beautiful display of the solar system, wooing our kids and scaring some. A Well informative session of our solar system followed, projecting different planets and their surrounding environment with excellent visualizations. The session was followed by a visit to the museum, where different systems which exist outside the Earth’s surface were explained in detail, along with model replicas and pictures. The kids were then given refreshments, followed by a small gaming session. Kudos to the team of Aashayein and Jaagriti, for making this day a memorable addition to the list of initiatives working towards the cause.

- PEHAL AND AASHAYEIN
AID Delhi

More at

PEHAL
Colors @ Pehal

Colours signify the beauty of life, for they depict the richness of each and every thing around us. 5th December, 2009 was a day devoted to celebrate the joy of colours and art with the kids at Pehal. Our aim was to let the imagination of these tiny tots run riot, and to give them a chance to explore and bring to life the things that they have always thought about but never got a chance to really bring to life. The end result was lovely. From fruits to flowers to cycles to children playing in the field to beautiful designs, we saw it all! The zest with which the children responded to this activity was heart warming to say the least. So here we took one more step towards building the confidence of these children and this is just the beginning!!

Health Camp @ Pehal
Pehal moved on its journey to reach another milestone in December when a health check camp was organized by the pehal team. It involved a thorough check up of all the 40 kids studying at Pehal by an eminent doctor. As an initial step, a health record of each child has been set up. Volunteers were alarmed when they learned that almost all the kids at Pehal suffered from one or the other problem such as protein energy Malnutrition, anaemia, intestinal worms, double squint, mal hearing, vitamin deficiency, rickets, etc. Thereafter, it was decided that regular health check up would be conducted for the kids. Besides, a nutrition program has been formulated and implemented. Also, these kids lack proper clothing. Dear readers, please ask your friends and relatives to donate used warm clothes for the kids.

When bells jingled at Pehal
Christmas is associated with a feeling of warmth and love which reaches out to the ones we care for. It is all about sharing and feeling the joy of giving. Such are the feelings that marked the Christmas Day Celebrations at Pehal on 19th December. The day started with the volunteers assembling at the venue along with the teacher and the children. After that started all the preparations, from decorating the christmas tree to entertaining the children with a whole lot of stories! Santa did a marvellous job at making the children laugh and literally spread the joy! We even played a game called pin the santa's nose, which the children and the volunteers enjoyed tremendously. All in all, it was a wonderful day!

- PEHAL

AID Delhi

Prerna - A unique school for the underprivileged
Slumdog Millionaire was the biggest hit the world saw last year and the reason was the brilliant direction, fantastic music and more so the story line which showed a young poor boy beating all odds to win a million on a television show. While the world chanted ‘Jai Ho’, the movie became an inspiration for a billion Indians. But the movie’s protagonist was a one off case. There are millions of others around us who are not so lucky. After over 60 years of independence, it’s a pity that even today we are struggling to ensure basic rights to the children who are living in slums. Their right to education and to a certain minimum basic standard of living stands threatened because of over consumption and wastage by a few privileged people of the society. It’s an old adage that “things do not change until we change them”. And it was with this conviction in mind that AID Gurgaon started Project Prerna. Prerna is an education-cumtraining initiative that aims to bring education right at the doorstep for underprivileged children of the society. Prerna was started on 14th November, 2009 (Children’s Day), to educate the kids from slums. These kids are not able to attend regular government schools because of lack of awareness and poor financial condition of their parents. A permanent teacher has been employed under the project to teach these children on weekends. Right now there are two batches of 20 students each. The response to the initiative has been tremendous and the numbers are steadily growing. The project faced problems right from the start but the volunteers running the project were always up to the challenge. The contribution of Brigadier A.S. Yadav (Retd.) has been an inspiration for all of them. Brigadier Sahab, as he is popularly known, offered his vacant piece of land for starting the school. Since then, the sailing has been comparatively smooth for the project. The school is currently being run near Presidency building in Sector 14, Gurgaon. Prerna represents a small initiative by people willing to give back to the society. However the desired changes will come only when more of us start working for our society more proactively to bring about this change.

- AID Gurgaon

The potential of the cycle rickshaw
A cycle rickshaw is an integral part of Delhi's (in fact, the whole NCR’s) transport system. Yet, it is one of the most ignored and underestimated means of transport in Delhi. Cycle rickshaws have come a long way from the two wheeled pre-independence day carts to the three wheeled much lighter and easily maneuverable tricycles, which have reduced the effort of the rickshaw puller. What however has remained constant is the environmentfriendliness of these rickshaws. Cycle rickshaw pulling is among the few truly 'green jobs'. Some feel uneasy about one human being carrying another, but the truth is that the work life of a rickshaw puller is healthier and better than heaps of industrial labourers. The troublesome aspect in these jobs is usually not the physically intensive nature of the work, but more the hazardous and unhealthy confines of the work place. So, instead of guilt, board the rickshaw with pride, because you are promoting eco-friendly employment, a dire need of the hour. It may at times appear a tad expensive, but it’s well worth the gains of clean air and livelihood support to the poor. The idea is to promote these cycle rickshaws in conjunction with other modes of sustainable transport such as buses, cycles, car/auto pooling and the Metro. Most people who use swanky cars to commute short distances are hardly ever in a critical rush, and need to urgently wake up to the reality that the so-called status symbols (read luxurious cars) emit tonnes of greenhouse gases and end up occupying disgustingly huge parking spaces. There need to be dedicated cycle rickshaw stands on the lines of auto stands, and active campaigns to promote their use. Some good research is also being carried out across the country to improve the design of the cycle rickshaws so as to make them lighter and sturdier. The government needs to promote it because in the long term such improvisations will certainly help in reducing the emissions in urban areas, and improving livelihoods of a lot of people and their families by providing them with a respectable and steady source of income.

- Deepak Nanwani
AID Delhi

Shiksharth – A community school
started by Zariya and AID Gurgaon
Association for India’s Development (AID), Gurgaon recently started Shiksharth – a community school based out of Kanhai village in Gurgaon. Shiksharth aims to educate the children of the slums in Kanhai village and at the same time inculcate self esteem and confidence among them. The project is being run with help from Zariya – a group of Indian youth who have come together to provide solutions to various issues that concern the society today. The group intends to bridge the gap between the large social organizations and the lower section of the society. Shiksharth is their first major endeavor in the field of community service. Together AID Gurgaon and Zariya volunteers walked the length and breadth of Kanhai village to spread awareness about the importance of education. Shiksharth started in the vacant premises adjoining the village temple. The school was inaugurated by the village sarpanch Sh. Satish Yadav, who has been instrumental in helping the volunteers in their efforts. Not only did he help them get the land but also the support and faith of the villagers. At the inauguration function, the students were imparted a few lessons on moral values through cartoon movies. The average age of the students enrolled at the school is eight years. A retired principal has been associated with the school since the very beginning and helps the volunteers track the performance of the students and segregate them on the basis of their academic ability. The school started with 40 students and the number has been steadily increasing. The good news is that the children are coming to the school on their own without any pressure from their parents. Parents too understand the importance of education and are more than ready to send their children to school. This bodes well for the future of Shiksharth. The volunteers involved with the project aim to increase the student strength to around 125-150 with four teachers to take care of the teaching part. The school operates from 9am to 1:30pm on weekdays and 9am to 12noon on Saturday. The basic infrastructure for the school – the blackboard, the stationary and the furniture is in place. The volunteers now aim to impart gardening training to the students with help from the gardener of the adjacent park. This would help in spreading environmental awareness among the students, increasing the greenery in the village and would also be of use to the kids as a vocational skill in the future. The need of the hour is more such initiatives with more support from all sections of the society.
For pictures relating to Shiksharth, please visit: http://picasaweb.google.com/gurgaon.aidindia/Shiksharth

VolunteerXpress
Pen is mightier than a sword. In this case it's the keyboard!!! Bringing a change ain't easy I can see a tortuous road But oh what the hell I am a volunteer on board I am going to raise my voice Write against what I despise Bring up and don't suppress Come and join the VolunteerXpress... VolunteerXpress is a platform not only for AID Volunteers but for everyone to come together, and share their feelings and thoughts, discuss and brainstorm on various topics and issues of mutual interest, be it society, social service, politics, health, environment, any personal experience or anything which they would like to share with everyone. This blog is a concentrated effort to bring all the volunteers associated with AID and other social organizations to use it as a portal in voicing their opinions and mainly spreading awareness. Come, be a part of it now!! http://volunteerxpress.blogspot.com/ People interested in writing, may send their request to prachiaggarwal85@gmail.com/zulaikha.rahman@gmail.com to receive author invitations. We would love to see you participate!

Vocational Training - Sewing classes for women @ Unnati, AID Gurgaon
This project was started with the initial assistance of Literacy India to help adolescent girls and women in the Jharsa community learn sewing skills. Classes were started with 08 girls and later the strength increased to 14 girls .We shall soon scale the project to train 30 women, as more and more community women want to learn sewing. We requested our volunteers to donate for purchasing sewing machines and got a very good response. Today we have committed funds for some 12 machines. In the mean time we shall look for some experienced professional who can train these women in more advanced sewing skills, so that the women can start their own small vocations collectively or individually and generate income for themselves and their family. We endeavour to make this project self sustainable in the long run. If you wish to donate for this initiative, you may contact AID Gurgaon’s project coordinator Munish Duvedi at 9999623000.

- AID Delhi

While you walk ahead....look what you left behind

A normal day in India usually starts with noisy train platforms, jammed roads and over filled buses coupled with annoying background music of eerie sounds, as everyone struggles to reach work on time. The kind of picture we see as we move out of our homes depicts everyone's urge to make it to their future. However, a few days ago, whilst India was busy planning its future, a one and a half year old baby girl was being raped by a heartless, pleasure seeking individual, aware that everyone is too busy pushing each other around and trying their best to step ahead of every one who comes in their way! A ruthless individual got the courage to take a child and fool around with her and the child, just an 18 month old baby, went through the most monstrous activity ANY one could ever face. I understand, how a lot of other things happen in this world that could be termed 'horrendous'. What I don’t understand is why, knowing that a horrendous event took place in our vicinity, there wasn’t a pause. Why didn’t the noisy train platforms go silent, why didn’t the cars on the jammed roads drive themselves behind the rapist, why weren’t the over filled buses en route to justice? WE, yes me and you, have created a very sad world. I won’t even go into the much serious issues that have successfully been able to create unbearable misery. But I wonder, am I just supposed to hear about this and feel sorry.. I heard this incident on 20th November 2009 and found out that 19th November is popularly recognized as World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. I heard this for a reason. An individual can make a difference but the rate at which the evil in human mind plots and plays is much much higher than the existing 'difference creating' momentum. I am not sure how I would describe myself to stand against it. But I believe, there must have been some way in which that innocence in the baby girl could have been preserved. There must be a limit to all evil. While you sit with all the gadgets and branded clothes around you, a moment of thought on social issues existing around us, would be the first drop in the ocean of a difference, YOU could make. This incident is so overwhelming, I am really not able to express what I feel in words. However, it did make me pause, it truly did. The root lies in strengthening every existing system. I am going to play my role, I want you to play yours. There are ways - Lets figure them out.

- Zulaikha Rahman

Volunteer, AID Delhi

Saturday@Pehal
I crib about almost everything that I dislike. Perhaps 3-4 years into corporate life, you just live to crib about every goddamn thing that doesn’t go as per your expectations. My idea of a perfect weekend is to catch up with friends, go outdoors, have fun and party hard. But at the end of it all, I had still been cribbing about the pathetic state of our income distribution system and social infrastructure. Yes, that's one of the things I have always cribbed about while sitting in my a/c car and listening to the best of Rolling Stones or Kailash Kher. I would just pass a comment on kids, begging at the roadside, for money or food, but wouldn't dare to do anything concrete for them. No matter how much of money I give to any noble cause or how much of my time I give to an orphanage, but I couldn't dare to be a change myself i.e. to get my hands into dirt to clean it up. Heard about Pehal from somewhere and felt as if it would be another of those NGOs which are money making machines, rather than a facilitator of social infrastructure and change to the society. Reached the so-called "DT City Centre" in Shalimar Bagh (I had always thought that DT City Centre was in Gurgaon) at 10.10 AM and didn't know what to do. Started calling up all those people who always complain that I never talk and am always busy for them, and then Prachi called up and talked about the construction building opposite to the Mall. Woahhhh .... that was a not-so goodlooking sight!! Traffic Police guys (just outside the building) asked me where I was going, and my reply was "Sirji, yeh construction building mein jaana hai!". The guy said, "yahan parking nahi hai; kahin aur karo". My reaction to him was "FO, I'm taking it into that construction plethora; None of your business". Anyway, I was in there - the site for my first experience with Project Pehal. There she was ... Prachi ... ummm ... Why would a girl like her be standing in the mid of debris, waiting for people to pour in for the session? And the moment she started talking, I could easily judge the passion for the cause and the project in her voice. Oooops, the girl had just so much to say and that too so quickly - probably a zillion things going in her mind in a fraction of a second. And the first thought was - Is she a fakester who is just running a money-making business?? We will come to that later... ;-) So Prachi and I reached a room where around 30+ kids had assembled with an expectation that they can be a part of our formal education system. She started telling me about the initiative and how we plan to help these kids with proper education and a sense to live a dignified life. Fair enough, let's wait for the others to join in... Then came a couple of more volunteers - Swasthik, Nikita ... ummm these are all the names I can remember for now! :-( We started making arrangements for the health camp - getting our ammunition ready!! You know the funniest part about the morning - Mariam would pronounce her name as Mairam, and Ashradul would say it in such a way that you would hear it anything but Ashradul ... "Ashu, dost ... inke liye kuch to karna banta hai"... ;-) Bas yahich tha woh moment when I could associate myself with the cause! The health camp went quite well with basic profiles of the kids created by us and observations made by a nice looking Dr. couple! The health camp made us aware of where we stand and what all we need to do for the kids, so that they can live a life with clothes on their body and dignity in their mind. We need to work for the infrastructure, their personal hygiene, nutritional requirements and everything that a respectable life commands from the society. Trust me ... they need a life better than this! As humans, they deserve a life better than this. Oooops, I missed an important part of the morning ... Story telling session, "Cinderella" and guess what Nobody knows the actual story of Cinderella ... ;-) Well, I think the morning made me think about the value that I can add to the team and the initiative. Miles to go before I sleep ... Trust me, that's true for all of us if we need to convert this into success!

- Ashish, Volunteer – Pehal, AID Delhi

AID Delhi TREASURY

Fund details Total Funds available with AID Delhi Funds spent on Admin [Since April 09] Funds spent on Projects [Since Apr 09] Funds spent on Development [Since Apr 09] Funds spent on Environment Funds spent on Campaigns

In INR 610204.2 43125 321089 291000 33800 224050

Remarks N/A N/A All Educational Initiatives Munsiari Solar Light Including Green Gurgaon Campaign Including 2.12 Lac for "I am No Lab Rat"

Corporate Donors: RBS, Gurgaon; Evalueserve, Gurgaon; MywebEra, Chennai

- AID Delhi

SWEATSHIRTS for a cause

Design: Ankur Rohatgi; Editing: Smita Singla, Pratik Gandhi Team: Eaishvarya Sharma, Zulaikha Rahman, Deepak Nanwani, Pulkit Parikh If you wish to be a part of the publications team, please contact Smita at 9818333052 or Ankur at 9871818727.

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