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“I was taught that the world had a lot of problems; that I could struggle and change them; that intellectual and material gifts brought the privilege and responsibility of sharing with others less fortunate; and that service is the rent each of us pays for living, the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time or after you have reached your personal goal’s” Marian Wright Edelman ‘Volunteering’ for a cause is a result of a transition from being aware of an issue to feeling responsible for it. This transition requires strong efforts from an individual to inculcate the aspect of ‘serving’ in to their regular lives. No matter how much our routine lives keep us tied, we can serve, even if it is through donating an amount as less as Rs.10. The AID NCR Publication team, in its efforts to continuously provide a platform for everyone to read about the endeavors AID volunteers invest themselves in, proudly presents its edition of PRATIBIMB for the month of MAY and JUNE. It was through the collective efforts of our volunteers namely, Aditi, Aakanksha, Varun, and Vikramjeet that this edition has taken its present shape. The cover page was beautifully designed by Tanvi. In this edition, Sejal Parikh, introduces to us the right to food campaign and gives her opinions on the same. Munmun Nath, then goes on to highlight the ills associated with food wastage in the country. Anvita Shukla describes the experience of attending her first AID operational review meet, whilst Sneha Kothawade pens down the inspiring story of an individual and his journey towards serving the society. Anvita, further, carves out a beautiful poem describing the life of a farmer’s wife. Kartik and Mohit, jot down their experience of volunteering with AID and in the end, Moon Garg addresses the challenges likely to be faced by us in sustaining the environment. Updates from our cells- Environmental cell, Treasury, our projects - Paathshala, Prayas, Pehal and AID Gurgaon and our partner projects - Jaagriti, Jamghat, L.E.U. foundation, LearningInq and Parichay provide you with insights on the efforts, the AID Volunteers are making, towards making this world a better place to live We hope, as always, this edition, serves to be an inspiring and enriching read for you. Zulaikha Urooj Rahman (Publication Coordinator) In order to be a part of the publications team or to contribute to the newsletter. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FOOD FOR THOUGHT …..………………..1 WILLFUL WASTE BRINGS WOEFUL WANT……………..5 CAMPAIGN UPDATES……………………...6 AID NCR-OPERATIONAL REVIEW MEET……………………........7 SQUASHING HIS WAY THROUGH……………………..8
AID JEEVANSAATHI :
MR.BALAJI SAMPATH........9 ENVIRONMENTAL UPDATES……………………..10 BLUE HAZE…………………..10 VOLUNTEER SPEAK………………..……….11 TREASURY UPDATES………………..……11 AID NCR PROJECT UPDATES…………………12-16 MY EXPERIENCE WITH AID…………………………...17 AID NCR PARTNER PROJECT UPDATES…………………18-21 SUSTAINING THE ENVIRONMENT ………………22
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
BY SEJAL PARIKH
Arjun Sen Gupta puts it at 77%, N. C. Saxena estimates it to be 50%, while the Tendulkar Committee's figure is 37.2%. They say that differences of opinion are healthy. I am not sure whether I agree in this particular context! The reference data used for all the three estimates was the same. The figures vary only because of difference in ways the mysterious poverty line is defined by each. Of course no prices for guessing what the planning commission picked up! For them, the lesser the better! So, now we know that 37.2% of our citizens are officially poor. In parallel to this, UPA-II has been working on its National Food Security bill, which effectively strives to increase food in-security in some ways. Food security as defined by the bill only includes distribution patterns (even worse, giving no entitlements to APL card holders unlike the current situation), while disregarding the issues on the production side. As if it was not enough, several plans of cash transfer or food coupons that are being discussed within the future framework of the Public Distribution System (PDS) might prove to be a grave threat to the food security. For a long time, PDS, despite all the corruption, has been ensuring two major aspects of food security in some ways. One is to provide subsidised food to the poor, and at the same time, guaranteeing Minimum Support Price (MSP) to the farmers while. Procurement of grains in this way, by the government also works towards ensuring that the food production in the country meets the demands of its population. With the introduction of direct cash
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE RIGHT TO F OOD CAMPAIGN
[Note: As a part of my fellowship with CHC, I volunteered full time with Right to Food campaign for a few months. This is an attempt to present my own perception of the campaign to the fellow AIDers.] With drought at its peak during the early years of the 21st century, starvation took many innocent lives, of those who could not find themselves food or work. Even after numerous reports of starvation deaths, Union government of India did not declare a state of famine. High levels of food grain buffer stocks were not released to the needy, and rumours were out about the plans of either selling it to the open market or dumping in the sea (as the government was at sea on figuring out the right usage of it)! These were those years, when People's Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) in Rajasthan took the lead on questioning the system with the help of law. A PIL(Public Interest Litigation) was filed in the Supreme Court in April 2001, arguing that the right to food follows from the fundamental "right to life" enshrined in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution as it is impossible to live without food. It also demanded that massive food stocks (about 50 million tonnes of grain at that time) should be immediately used to prevent hunger and starvation. Going further in the demands for the relief work in drought affected areas the petition asked to (a) provide immediate open-ended employment in drought-affected villages, (b) provide unconditional support to persons unable to work, (c) raise the PDS entitlement per family, and (d) provide subsidised food grain to all families. The case resulted into some landmark judgements passed by the Supreme Court, in terms of regular interim orders related to the implementation of many schemes (such as PDS, ICDS, Mid-day meal, old age pension) under the case, after converting them as legal entitlements. This PIL was the pioneering stone for the Right to food campaign, which has now grown strongly as a movement. The initial petition focused on the drought situation prevailing at that time, especially in Rajasthan, but later on, the case has been focusing on the larger issue of starvation and malnutrition for all the states in the country. Time and again, 'interim applications' have been filed resulting in interim orders, directing central and state governments to take necessary steps. The Supreme Court has also appointed commissioners for the purpose of monitoring the implementation of the interim orders. At present Dr. N. C. Saxena is the commissioner and Harsh Mander is the special commissioner, both of whom now have been appointed as members of National Advisory Council headed by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. The commissioners in turn appoint advisors in each state to assist their work. The National Food Security Act brought up by UPA-II has been a key item on the recent agenda of the campaign. For more information, kindly visit – http://www.righttofoodindia.org/.
transfers or food coupons, there lies a serious concern on the production aspects. The purported idea behind cash transfer or food coupons is to get rid of the corruption issues with PDS, but the expert arguments prove that otherwise: There is no clarity as to whether this cash entitlements will take inflated food grains prices into account. While buying from open market, there's no way to know what prices are given to the poor by the private shops. In case of food coupons, just like in PDS, there are high chances of the private dealer charging commission to give food grains in return. There is also a possibility of giving out low quality grain at the rates of normal quality grains. In case of government licensed fair price shops, at least there are better mechanisms of monitoring such issues (provided there is a will to do so!).
Instead of strengthening the PDS and looking into important matters related to the errors in exclusion and inclusion of BPL card holders, promoting local production, procurement and storage, etc.; providing nutritional security by including pulses and millet; blind promotion of such cash transfers or food coupons will only serve to dismantle the food security of the country
Already indebted majority of the poor may find the cash a handy tool to get rid of their debts; hence this won't necessarily make them hunger-free. If given food coupons, they may again exchange it for cash to pay their debts. There can also be black marketing of food coupons, as it happens with Grains in PDS. Duplicate or fake coupons too are very much a possibility too. There are issues with cash transfer via banks or post offices. The access to bank is already a challenge in many rural places and opening bank accounts at such a massive scale is in itself a big task. Already some of the NREGA cases have reportedly been suffering from delayed payments due to bank and post office transfers. Here too, people may lose out some money on commission to those who help them withdraw it. In the Indian patriarchal system, where, primarily men are the decision makers with regards to spending cash, there's no assurance of this cash being spent on food. Cash transfers or coupons assume that food is available in every part of the country, where as the reality is different in many parts of rural India, where private shops do not exist in the first place.
Hence, instead of strengthening the PDS and looking into important matters related to the errors in exclusion and inclusion of BPL card holders, promoting local production, procurement and storage, etc.; providing nutritional security by including pulses and millet; blind promotion of such cash transfers or food coupons will only serve to dismantle the food security of the country
"When India achieved independence, more than 50 years ago, the people of the country were much afflicted by endemic hunger. They still are." - Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize Winner
WILLFUL WASTE BRINGS WOEFUL WANT -THOMAS FULLER
BY MUNMUN NATH
I am sure after watching this inspiring short film by Ferdinand Dimadura, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGNmvNIgqlY&feature=player_embedded) all of us feel a bit guilty about the times we ordered food more than we could eat or complained about the taste of our meal. This video is a gentle reminder of the fact that we are immensely privileged to have food on our plate, something which we often tend to take for granted. Food waste is a common occurrence in developed countries. Roughly 30 percent of food in the United States goes to waste, costing some $48 billion annually, according to a Stockholm International Water Institute study. In American restaurants, 27 According to a report by percent of all food consumed is thrown out, which is equivalent to a the United Nations World pound of food every day for every American. Closer home, in India, a Food Programme, India whopping Rs 58,000 crore worth of agriculture food items get ranks 94th in the Global wasted every year. According to the Ministry of Food Processing Hunger Index of 119 Industries, this is mainly due to lack of post-harvest infrastructure countries such as cold chain facilities, transportation and proper storage facilities. Such colossal waste is unacceptable in a country that is home to 230 million hungry people, the highest in the world. According to a report by the United Nations World Food Programme, India ranks 94th in the Global Hunger Index of 119 countries. What’s worse, malnutrition itself accounts for nearly 50% of child deaths in India. To eradicate hunger by 2025, India plans to develop a food bank similar to the Global Food Banking. Loss due to wastage could also be reduced increasingly through improved post-harvest storage infrastructure and quick processing of the raw food materials by canning, bottling, drying etc. To do our bit for this cause, while eating out, let us not order more than we can finish. Let us plan before shopping for food, learn about the practices of food storage, and understand the meaning of food date labels. To use Gandhi Ji’s words, there is enough food in this world for our need but not enough for our greed. Therefore let us adopt these good food practices and encourage others to do the same. Our small steps will surely go a long way in making a difference.
BY PRADIP KUMAR
The Bhopal Gas Tragedy, What picture does this incident paint in your mind? This disaster which took place 26 years ago still haunts the local population of Bhopal. And the ones who were left bereft are still suffering. Many rallies/dharnaas have been carried out to question the government and demand justice. And it was on the last Friday of June, when the volunteers from AID NCR and hoards of people came all the way from Bhopal, to express their grief and anger they’ve been subjected to for the last 26 years. The major blow came from the GoM which declared compensation only for 7% of victims, leaving the rest 93% in lurch. There were tonnes of media houses covering the event; while they spoke to the victims, I could sense the pain in the victim’s voices. What a shame it was – This plight has been unheard for the last 26 years! Post this, the masses gathered at Jantar Mantar and sang songs, shouted slogans and held out a rally in the evening which was stopped by the police. So they all sat down on the road instead and an agreement was made that a group of 6-7 people each, representing an NGO/Group will go to the PMO to submit the memorandum. For me, it was a day for connecting with the Bhopal Gas victims and the activists who’ve been fighting tirelessly to get justice – be it by trying the guilty in court or vouching for better compensation, health care and drinking water. Post the tragedy, these are bare necessities, the victims still continue to fight for, in a country which claims to be the "World's largest democracy".
I humbly wish and pray that we do not witness any more of such incidents in India. God forbid, even if it does occur, the government should provide comprehensive support than simply being hell bent with its polices.
AID NCR- OPERATIONAL REVIEW MEET
BY ANVITA SHUKLA
The Operational Review Meet (ORM) serves as an extremely good platform to bring all volunteers together and discuss visions, achievements, issues and challenges. In addition, the updates from our AID comrades inform us about the efforts that they are putting in to make the projects successful. This always kicks back in the adrenalin and passion to work harder. The AID NCR ORM was held on June 27th at IIT Delhi. It which happened to be the first ORM I ever attended and it clearly left me motivated. Community service, indeed, is an area which requires a constant drive and motivation to sustain. We were briefed about, Vijay’ Bhaiyya’s undying efforts towards community development and his inputs on his new project Gyan Gangaa, which caters to mentally disabled children. The survey that he did across the villages showed shocking revelations about the plight of mentally disabled children in the area. Also his efforts towards community sustainability had started showing results, wherein the community members have learnt how to take care of themselves, and fight for their own rights. Next, representatives from AID Noida, AID Gurgaon, AID Faridabad and AID Delhi shared their latest developments, achievements and vision. On account of environment day, Pulkit Parikh, shared his experience of "tour-de corporate", promoting the concept of "Go-green" and presenting viable ways for the same. He also discussed the micro-financing of cycle rickshaws and deployment of low smoke chulha initiatives. Our guest speaker Ms Pushpa shared her experience of the struggle for the people of "Bhalaswa Lok Shakti Manch". Her narration of the chain of events - the obstacles she encountered, the toil she put in, and the results she got - was electrifying. The efforts that Ms Pushpa has put in showed tremendous results as the women of Bhalaswa Lok Shakti Manch have come up to fight for the rights. The events she narrated were : the fight to secure the right ration card for the under privileged, getting to improve the standards of the nearby schools to benefit children of the community, making the community members aware of RTI and using it in their projects. Next in line, Mr.Ramendra from Delhi Shramik Sanghatan narrated his experiences. He shared with us the process which they used to follow for the screening process of schools. Then, we had Sukriti talking about her journey of returning to AID, her works at the strategy planning level, and how she can help in our projects. The event ended with Selva's speech. This could be his last ORM for AID NCR, and he managed to sum up his experience in quick 4.5 minutes, where he told us that we can always try to intervene at the policy level, to get results quickly. The enlightening speeches from various speakers, indeed, raised our determination towards serving the community.
SQUASHING HIS WAY
BY SNEHA KOTHAWADE
He can be mistaken for another naïve local in the small village of Reetha but for the sparkle in his eyes. Harendra da, can be found outside his shop, the one that doesn’t sell chips, cold drink or mobile coupons like the other shops around that area. “Rhododendron juice, first try, and then buy”, he says gushingly in hesitant English. He can offer you juices of mulberry, Kilmora (a local fruit) and also dried sugarcoated peach. Fresh plums and apricots are always available in plenty, as they are stocked for the chutney, jams and jellies which he prepares. He is not only an entrepreneur, but a dreamer, in a region where people don’t bother going beyond conventions of farming. His story then sounds novel, for he has changed 8 jobs in the past two decades. He took up a job at Dehradun Motor Works immediately after his education. Though earning a decent sum, machines weren’t his cup of tea. His love for nature pulled him to a job as a government forest office at Kashipur. But here it was the mundane approach which made him quit again. He moved back to his village finally, and he confesses, for the good. Here he joined Chirag, an NGO based in Uttarakhand, to guide the forestry program initiated in the early 90’s. Gradually he moved towards sustainable agriculture and fodder management. Cultivating various fruit species to check for suitability, profitability and growing superior fodder like Golni, Rai, Napier and Gucchi occupied him at Chirag’s experimental farm. This heightened his desire to help the fellow farmers of his community and he formed an independent group called Kisan Vikas Sangathan in 2000. He organized campaigns for a minimum support price for produce, insurances to save from climatic uncertainties, and other issues that faced the community. One case he prides himself in is when he got together all the SHGs, NGOs and also journalists to rally against a property developer from Delhi who had lawlessly occupied large forest areas of Khabrad and was pumping large quantities of drinking water meant for the five nearby villages. The case is actually pending in the high court, but Harendra Da’s efforts ensured that a part of his land was now open for fodder and wood collection to the villagers. From a sangathan, now he has registered an organization and called it Jan Prerna. He had noted that farmers sold fruits to the whole seller. These would then be processed into jams, jellies and juices elsewhere and sold at a much higher price. During his stay at Chirag, he had undertaken a 6 month course in extracting juices from fruits in an inexpensive manner. And the only thing which now kept him away from setting an enterprise was money. He took loans from NABARD and a regional bank to set up a small scale unit in Reetha. His unit today directly engages 15 villagers, mostly girls, working on 45 different items. Besides whenever a farmer has his fruits ripened too fast, and no more fit to be sent to mandi, Harendra da buys it, for his jams. Despite such achievements, his innocence is palpable. He requests for a copy of his interview as and when it is published with a child like excitement. For now, I am only happy that I can take the story forward of this unsung hero.
“Sometimes constructive programs that help the poor organize better can make a difference, but at other times it becomes important to organize the poor to struggle and to stop them from losing the rights they already have. It is only a combination of struggle and constructive action that can ensure that problems of poverty, education and health can be effectively addressed. The last nine years of work has taught us that nine years is not enough! We realize that to make a long-lasting impact, we need to work over a much longer period – ensuring that the ideas we develop are internalized within the system. This recognition of our work only further strengthens our resolve to work harder and longer on these problems” – Balaji Sampath
BY AAKANKSHA PUROHIT
Mr. Balaji Sampath, is one of those AID Jeevansaathi’s who have influenced at AID at deep levels. A graduate from IIT Chennai and Ph.D. from University of Maryland by qualification, he chose to be a full time volunteer for AID. His work has been instrumental in building AID into a large nation-wide organization with chapters in several cities from a local organization that it was in 1997. Back in 1997, he spent some years to understand the dynamics of rural India and NGOs , by working with the Tamil Nadu Science Forum (TNSF). He worked with TNSF in their "Arogiya Iyakkam” health program, community education, literacy and computer training programs. He also helped them organize village libraries, savings groups and information centers. Arogiya Iyakkam program was judged one of the top ten programs in the world by UN based on its impact. He then coordinated several parts of these programs across states; building volunteer base, motivating and training local workers. He later joined the People's Health Assembly (PHA) as a national coordinator. In 2000 and 2001, along with Dr. Sundarraman, he helped conceive the Hundred Block Plan (HBP). The idea was to involve local community of villages in solving their own problems, to develop the skills of volunteers in villages and let them plan. Thanks to his persistent efforts, HBP is now a reality with large-scale AID participation. He has been a firm believer of sensitizing more and more people to issues and motivate them. He almost single-handedly started the AID-Chennai chapter and mentored the new volunteers by organizing joint programs with the TNSF. He is an AID Jeevansaathi since 1998 and a source of constant guidance and inspiration.
10 PROMOTING GREENER, HEALTHIER COOKING!
by Anvita Shukla
The night looms larger As she lights the chulha The daily chores as always, remain pending She an ordinary housewife, her husband a farmer Blue haze settles down in a full moon light She oils the lamp, looking out for the glimpse of the retreating husband, If she might.. She briskly tidies the cozy little house Shooing away a scurrying mouse! Her husband returns exhausted from all day’s labour Washes hands and sits down for a meal to savour She has already put her little children to sleep. The husband quietly takes a peep The day is done, another life’s battle won She quickly finishes her food, Humming a folk song or two She is an ordinary woman but has no time to brood... Life has set a challenge, she has accepted it too! She quietly opens the box of steel To take out a slate and few battered notebooks, sharpens her pencils Strong and independent, that’s what they make her feel She has to attend a night school She hurries and crosses the village’s pool This is a woman who knows her value, Unlike celebs, and painted faced women, She doesn’t bigmouth women’s liberty Content with her life , taking it all as good omen But she sails thru life, merrily past the Blue Haze, It thins as she cuts across it , the farmer’s wife This lovely life and her small world shines through her face.
By Pulkit Parikh
AID has moved forward with the installation of biomassefficient chulha’s of in one of the slums in Noida. The
exploratory phase wherein we tinkered with about half a dozen samples has concluded now. The Rs. 650 model from the organization, Envirofit has been deemed the most - actually the only - suitable model by the community. It's been deployed for a few weeks now at 4 different households. From early anecdotal evidence, it cuts the wood consumption back by about half the amount, and reduces smoke considerably. The facts that it's potable (unlike the traditional 'mitti ka' chula) and it cooks food much faster are also valued by the community users. We are now talking to various other organizations working with Noida slums to scale this up. We are also beginning to explore rural possibilities. However, an individual's reach is very limited in such matters, so we urge you to come forward with your contacts/associations (native place, a relative in civil services, social workers you know, etc) to assist us in reaching our goal. For more details, please visit: Envirofit-1
The low-smoke chulha embraced by households of the Naya Bans slum
11 VOLUNTEER SPEAK
By Kartik Sharma
By Selva Ganapathy
During the first quarter of the financial year 2010-2011.
I had always been thinking to jot down my experience with AID (Pehal) over the last few months and how I have evolved as a person after being associated with this noble cause. Whenever the thought of writing down comes to my mind, a plethora of experiences shower over me and I would like to share some of them with you all. I get that sparkle in my eyes as I remember my first day at Pehal, when I visited the construction site a few months back. I have had a few volunteering experiences before, but this one was close to my heart as one could see the grass root realities. It was a small classroom of 20-30 children and when I entered the classroom, they were excited and asked for my name. I didn’t realize how a few hours passed by while interacting with them and listening to their innocent tales. I came back that day with a feeling of satisfaction and gratitude that I had never experienced before. When I met them the next week, I was surprised to see them remember my name and shouting a “Good Morning Bhaiyya”unanimously. It is difficult to express that feeling in words, for one needs to be in that scenario to experience it. As weeks passed by, Pehal started becoming an integral part of my life and I couldn’t imagine my weekends occupied with anything else. Gradually, we shifted from the construction site to the adoption of two MCD schools in Shalimar Bagh, and we touched even larger number of lives. Suddenly, the workload increased and we were all running around to arrange for classrooms, teachers and books for children. We enjoyed every moment of it and the sense that this will be fruitful for the future of these children--overpowered any feelings of fatigue and exhaust. As time went by, I became so attached to Pehal, that in whatever way possible I tried to explore opportunities for the evolution of Pehal. Since, I work in Deloitte and we were planning to organize some event for CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), I suddenly pitched in with the idea of partnering with Pehal and that seeded the “Impact Day” event, which marked the successful beginning of enhanced partnering with the corporates. I hope to organize more such events in future and make AID a renowned name in the CSR initiatives of organizations. As I look back, Pehal has added a new dimension to my life and given me new friends, hope and a purpose. Pehal is no more an organization/initiative for me; it is a family to which I would like to associate myself as long as I exist. As they say: “It is tiring yet inspiring”, in the same manner the journey with the AID has been exhausting but truly satisfying and fulfilling. I really look forward to the journey ahead with a smile
Funds raised Funds spent Funds raised by Meal a Month Funds spent on Education Funds spent on Livelihood Funds spent on Nutrition
Rs. 403000/Rs. 494000/Rs. 182581/Rs. 269180/Rs. 70630/Rs. 47522/-
Note: This report has details of Funds raised by AID Delhi and Gurgaon of NCR and doesn't account AID Noida details
AID NCR Project Updates Sangharsh.Seva.Nirmaan
Our association with other projects of AID motivated us to do something for the immediate society we reside in .With a dream to make a difference, the team of Paathshala, went to the slums in Faridabad, surveyed them, and finally found a project area for operation, near the old Railway Station. Our aim is to eradicate poverty through the most diligent wayproviding easy access to education. The typical rigidness of the members of the community and their outlook towards education, basic literally skills is very disheartening, and we figured the best way to influence their mindset is to impart awareness through their kids. Hence, we named our project as “Paathshala” As the name suggests, “Paathshala” has started with the aim of providing basic education to the underprivileged children and later enroll them in schools where they could receive formal education We had interacted with around 40 underprivileged slum kids, who are now a part of our regular 6-day school that provides a basic platform for their development and enrichment. Moving ahead in future, we shall not confine ourselves to education, we would continue to invest efforts in endeavors that would lead to the development of the community
With a new batch this year, more space was required to accommodate the children. With mutual consensus Prayas funded the extension of the Prayas centre. Appointment of new teacher for Senior & Eureka batch: To maintain the regularity of the classes a new teacher has been appointed. Now we have two teachers taking regular classes at Prayas centre. Mentor Graphics has sponsored a quarterly amount of Rs.9,000 towards sponsoring the teacher's salary at Prayas. Also it has been decided to give
special attention to the writing skills of the kids, to enable them to be able to express their feelings and ideas confidently. Efforts to revise the concept of Balsabha: There have been proposals to have some competition based actives for the kids like extempore sessions. This would help in exploring skills, stringing of ideas, team work, sense of accomplishment, and increasing knowledge.
AID NCR Project Updates Sangharsh.Seva.Nirmaan
Environment Day celebration at Balsabha: It was Good fun with knowledge sessions on the Earth, air, water, trees, animals and birds. Kids became acted as different things and did advertisements to save those earth elements. Women literacy program: Most ladies have performed very well in the last test. The Literacy program started with basic books of school going kids. If the attendance increases then the classes will be extended to both days in the weekend. It will be more structured and organized once we will find some material for advocacy on women reproductive health and hygiene. We hope to get some help from Jaagori. We also plan to have vocational trainings for the women. Birth certificates for the community kids: Most of the kids don't have proper birth certificates. For Prayas kids going to schools it is a mandatory requirement to have a proper birth certificate. As an initiative volunteers are getting together to get the birth certificate for the community kids. Transportation for the Prayas kids going to School: Prayas has bought a cycle rickshaw. It was completely funded by one of the volunteers. The cycle rickshaw will be given to one of the community person who has been unemployed for some time. This rickshaw will provide employment opportunity to him and reliable transportation for the students. The cost of the rickshaw will be recovered in small installments. Small step of initiation at Govt. School intervention: Prayas volunteers held a small session at the school as a start up activity. We interacted with more than 75 children studying in classes 2, 3 and 4 and conducted various group exercises to evaluate students grasp on the different subjects. We came across challenges faced by school authorities, which included, lack of accountability amongst teachers, the rule that each student must pass introduced by the government leads to decrease in quality of education for the students, limited support provided to teachers to help the slow learners in their classes. Library program: Prayas is planning to loan books to the government school library. AID NCR will fund books for the Prayas library in case a need arises at a later stage. The government school student’s participation will be monitored over a period of 1 - 3 months. Based on the response, new books for the library will be bought. Teachers of Prayas have endorsed NCERT books for the library. Prayas teachers will also provide a list of publishers and a list of books from their school library. Books in the existing Prayas library have been segregated in 2 sets: Basic Level Reading for Class I and Class II students, Medium Level Reading for Class III, Class IV and Class V students. An online inventory for library books will be created. Interactive sessions at Prayas: Prayas volunteers went to Parichay. We had a detailed discussion with Mr. Vijay, the one who manages the project. We discussed on ways to connect education to the daily lives of the
student as it helps them find actual value in the knowledge. We also plan to do documentation for all the activities as it helps in continuation of activities by new volunteers. AID veteran Prasanna's visit to Prayas: We had a very interactive session. Key points discussed included having no hierarchy among the volunteers, keep evolving constantly to have a deeper impact on the society. Old volunteers should deal with new initiatives and let new volunteers handle existing activities. He also strongly recommended regular sessions among the volunteers.
AID NCR Project Updates
We are trying to have an Aaganwaadi/Balwadi through government. The application has already submitted for Aaganwaadi.
Prerna: A dental and health camp was organized with special help from our dentist and physician volunteers. Kids identified with immediate need for treatment were taken to the city hospital for further check up. The camp was followed by a comic-satirical act in the following week aimed to educate kids about the importance of keeping their teeth clean and ways in which they can do so. Disha & Unnati: At Disha and Unnati, volunteers are facing problems in their community connect program. In addition, there is a need for more volunteers who could contribute towards the thriving free tuition centre, established under the RSEP. Sikhsharth: Research is on, to find out ways to make Jeevika (our spice making initiative) more sustainable by bringing down the operational cost and also identifying better marketing opportunities for the products. Stitching classes continue at the centre with regular cloth supply for the novices to practice on. Deepshikha: AID Gurgaon and Deepshikha, another NGO intervening in education, has jointly set up a new school for underprivileged children in New Palam Vihar. The shed for this school has been completed with a total budget of Rs.20,000/- out of which AID Gurgaon contributed Rs10,000/- and the rest has been borne by Deepshikha, The classes for over 30 children have already commenced since 11th June.2010. Books, slates and other stationery items have been provided to the children. All activities are running smooth except that there is still a volunteer-crunch felt at the centre.
Cycling Club: Talks with various corporate houses are being held to acquire support for the club and incase the talks yield no viable results, we plan to ask AID- US for assistance. Others: A ‘Calendar Design’ team has been fashioned, aimed towards ensuring timely production of AID Gurgaon calendars to promote the organization and its fund raising initiatives.
AID NCR Project Updates
In order to bring a more systemic change, the AID Delhi’s school adoption program is our first attempt to reform primary education in Government and MCD schools of Delhi. The program utilizes the existing government infrastructure and resources. The team has 5 teachers and 25 volunteers. These schools run classes from 1st to 5th standard and have children with a lot of potential. But the quality of teaching is not up to mark. The MCD officials gave us the permission to conduct a summer camp during the months of May and June, and remedial classes after school hours for the next one year. Summer camp: The summer camp started on 10th may. We realized that until these children could read and understand what was written in their books and notebooks (instead of simply copying it down from the blackboard), learning could never be fun for them. That’s how we started the “reading hour” in our summer workshop and have continued it in our remedial classes. In this summer workshop, we had interacted with around 300 children. We began with the basic Hindi & English reading along with capacity building classes. Remedial Classes: The remedial classes started, after the school break was over, on 28 June. Our idea was to understand the problems that the kids were facing in the school hours –so as to know what was hampering their learning inspite of being regular to school. In the meantime we also got the permission from the Sahipur MCD School’s Principal to interact with the school children within the school hours for two weeks. We scheduled several meetings with the Principal and teachers of this school to understand the problems of the students. The main problems that we were able to point out were – Though the school timings are from 8am to 1pm, there is no check on the students coming to the school at random hours.
AID NCR Project Updates
Most of the kids in the school work at tea stalls and shops which doesn’t leaves them enthusiastic for their classes The teacher to student ratio is 1:48, with the same teacher teaching all the subjects. The teachers do not take enough interest and usually interact with 2-3 bright children in the classroom. Most of the teachers lack motivation and usually teach for only 1-2 hours per day.
Remedial classes started with the following major focus— To inculcate and enhance the reading habits in children To assist the kids in academics and strengthen their weak areas. We had already assessed their reading speed, followed by identifying the problems while reading simple Hindi and English text (during the time when we had intervened in the school hours). Another assessment test was taken to identify the academic level of the children in Hindi, English n mathematics. A re-assessment would be done after 3 months to track the progress of the children. A library was also set up to conduct the reading hour. The program has been running in Sahipur school n has to be started in BT block school. The delay was caused due to non co operation of the principal, however the issues have now resolved. School Chale Hum: We have also discovered that there are children from our summer workshop who are still not coming to school. We have already interacted with the parents of these kids and have started getting them enrolled in the MCD Sahipur School. Meri Udaan- The Adult Literacy Program: The adult literacy program i.e. MERI UDAAN has taken its first step on 6th July at BG-1 block in Shalimar Bagh. Turning the idea of catering to the "basic education needs" of girls and women above the age of 15 years, was not a simple job. These females had either left their books way back or had not been to school ever. It was only after the PEHAL team went to the homes on a regular basis, were they able to locate the women and girls who readily enrolled themselves in our literacy program. In the beginning only 7 females showed interest in the program, but since then the number has kept on increasing and now it has 20 females within 10 days. The journey that had begun with Poonam Ma'am teaching these ladies to write their own name (and thereby giving them a sneak-peak into their self-worth) is bound to travel several miles in the days to come. Also-- we look forward to getting more women and girls enrolled in our program and replicate our success in other nearby areas i.e. BC Bagh, BT block, slums near the railway track. Fund Raising: To contribute to the future of these 'underprivileged yet amazing kids' in your own little way, you can buy the PEHAL merchandise at http://projectpehal.blogspot.com/p/pehal-merchandise or contact us at email@example.com. To volunteer for the school adoption program and community connect program: Please contact Vikramjeet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 9818688583
MY EXPERIENCE WITH AID
BY MOHIT BERI
It’s just the beginning and I hope this journey becomes more and more exciting in the times to come. I have always felt that people around me have contributed a lot towards my success and now it’s my turn to give something back to the society. This feeling has motivated me to utilize my skills as well as my energy in the most committed manner towards the upliftment of the society. To give my efforts a concrete direction, I joined AID, thanks to Kanika. My perspective about AID is that it is a community of young like-minded people, ready to make a difference in the world. I still remember my first day at Shiksharth, as if it were my first day at school. I was excited to know from the other volunteers about their experiences with AID and the activities in which they had been involved recently. The sneak-peak into their experiences was highly motivational and informative. SHIKSHARTH provided me a platform to kick start my stint with the children’s education. During one of the discussions with Munish and Anshul, I learnt that the AID community was interested in helping children learn computers. I really liked the idea and undertook the responsibility to initiate it along with Rupal. The Computer Literacy Program (or CLIP in short) aims to empower the kids with the modern tools that will help them prosper in their lives. After intensive planning and preparation for CLIP, we conducted our first My perspective about AID rd is that it is a community of computer class on 23 May at Disha. The level of excitement among young like-minded people, the kids about the computer program was such that they had ready to make a difference assembled much before the actual timing. However, the Kodak moments in the world were when the rays from the laptop screen reached the twinkling eyes of the kids and emerged as numerous glittering smiles. The round of questions from the kids followed this and their inquisitiveness was a delight for us. We ended our first class with the screening of a movie that served the dual purpose of entertainment and imparting moral values to kids. The movie screening has now become a tradition of our computer classes. When I returned home after conducting the class, my sense of self worth had risen drastically. To make the computer classes effective, we had made the kids realize the role of computers in today’s times and in effect, they have started paying special attention to it. We have also adopted a teaching methodology that draws out analogy from the real life to explain them computers’ concepts. This methodology worked remarkably well and helped the kids remember the concepts. The computer classes have also had a butterfly effect of helping students improve their command over English along with computer science. However, there remain several challenges such as - kid’s access to computers for practice etc that needs to be resolved. I conclude by saying that my journey with AID has been remarkable. It has helped me evolve my perspective of “giving something back to the society”. It has also helped me cherish the small happy moments that we tend to forget in pursuit of larger happiness.
Enrolment of Children under RSEP: This year Jaagriti touched a new milestone. We enrolled 78 children from the poor communities in Sector10, 12, 13 and 17 in Dwarka, under the Regular School Education Program (RSEP) into Classes I-VIII. This includes new admissions as well as school dropouts, taking total enrollment done by Jaagriti to 92+. For many children, this is their first experience of formal school education. Thanks for your continuous support to us! We are in process of admitting around 30 more children in month of July and will be recruiting volunteers and interns to track the performance of the children. RTE Awareness Workshops: The Right to Education (RTE) Task Force at Jaagriti, in collaboration with Swechha, organized street plays in June 2010 for communities at its education centers in Dwarka to make the parents and children aware about the various benefits of the act and motivate parents to send their children to school. Special emphasis was laid on girl education. After the play, the volunteers interacted with the parents and also made list of children for admission into schools. Jaagriti will now help these parents in admitting their children and will also track the performance of the children and provide support to them, as and when needed. Summer Skill Building Sessions: Drawing, crafts, personality development and theater classes were organized for the children from all projects, to develop new skills and strengthen the existing ones. Drawing competition was held to showcase the work of the children. Some of them made wonderful drawings. An exhibition of the drawings will be done in the US to generate funds for Jaagriti. We also collaborated with the Avnika Theater Group of Deen Dayal Upadhaya College for developing theater skills of the children, and with Bal Bharati Public School to provide the children and volunteers with the necessary infrastructure to practice for the play. The play “Kissa Ek Khat Ka” was staged on 20th June 2010 and was a grand success. For volunteering or donations to Jaagriti, please write to email@example.com or call at +919555086554
JAMGHAT – A GROUP OF STREET CHILDREN
We are happy to announce that all our regular kids have been admitted to the nearby MCD School. They come to our centre wash themselves up in the morning, get ready and leave for school from Jamghat. Once they come back in the afternoon, they have their lunch and have an hour’s sleep. After which Sangeeta and Irfan help the kids with their homework. Children are excited after their
AID Partner Project Updates
admission to school as all of them wanted to study and become a good human beings. They are now more enthusiastic to learn new things, make new friends and besides all, that feeling of going to school.
Liver Care Foundation, India recently visited our day care centre and conducted a health awareness camp for all the kids. They made kids learn about various diseases which can crop up due to poor sanitation and hygiene. Kids enjoyed and learned a lot as their way of explaining was very interactive and visual. Max India Foundation has been very supportive as always. After their recent donation for food, we have started providing fruits in the morning as well now. Salads have now been incorporated in the meal. There is a strong focus on nutritional yet balanced diet. The coloring books and sheets provided by Family India Foundation are coming handy in teaching kids basic alphabets. They learn spontaneously in this way. Also the folders provided by Paul have helped to keep the records of all the kids in place. We hope to bring several more children into the fold and thereby make their lives better.
LEARN EMPOWER UPLIFT (L.E.U)
Re-admission of kids to Govt. School, Sun City and Shifting Senior Class students: L.E.U. FOUNDATION has tied up with a government school in Suncity, Sec-54, Bal Shiksha Kendra (BSK). Kids living in the slum areas are trained for a pre- entrance test to get into the government school. In July, 38 students cleared the test and were admitted to different classes varying from 3rd to 5th grade. Recently, 32 students were promoted from the junior to senior section within the BSK Newspaper Drive: For the very first time, L.E.U. foundation, took its first step towards making the best out of waste. The newspaper drive initiated on May 2010 and corporate giants such as DUNNHUMBY and EXL-DA supported us. Volunteers of L.E.U plan to start newspaper drives in other parts of the city in order to raise funds for BSK.
AID Partner Project Updates
Summer holidays on the roll came as a surprise as the children went for a vacation to Dehradun and Missouri for 5 days and 6 nights. It was a thrilling experience. They had never been to the mountains and that mere fact brought immense happiness to those lovely faces. Children loved the serene beauty of the Kempty Falls. They were busy doing diving and swimming. They were also engaged in doing various activities like sessions on yoga and meditation. Many volunteers from that area came and became the part of the group. They played various indoor and outdoor games in the beautiful green surroundings.
Environmental Awareness Workshop – HSBC: The HSBC Corporate Sustainability Team organized an Environmental Awareness Program on 28th May 2010 with 160 students, studying at the Bal Shiksha Kendra. The Corporate sustainability team got an overwhelming response from the employees at GFC Gurgaon, with more than 30 people volunteering for the cause. The two and a half hour program started with performances by the young students, aged 5-10 years, studying at BSK. The talented students put up an entertaining show comprising of a range of acts like singing and dancing. The most captivating act was a skit inspired from the lives of those who live in the slum areas. It came packaged with an earnest social message. Summer Day by DUNNHUMBY: Summer Day was organized at BSK on 19th June 2010 in collaboration with the Helping Hands Team of DUNNHUMBY. Kids were taught on how to keep themselves healthy in summers. Some fun filled activities were also organized which included a theme based Fancy-Dress Competition.
Singapore’s Stupendous Support- ‘Self Indulgence’ & Volunteers Pull off a Great Night It took one month of hard work, for a committed team of volunteers including Arijit Roy and the rock band with a heart, ‘Self Indulgence’, to get 40 well wishers to come out and encourage LearningInq’s schools. While the guitars electrified the silliness and dancing kept pace with the great selection of songs, envelopes of support found their way over to the LearningInq table. The spirit of the evening was best reflected in the unassuming generosity which extended itself to friends refusing to put down their names and emails. LearningInq’s Language Curriculum Children Think Spelling through Language teaching insists on introducing the students to alien squiggles instead of the familiar ones. At Hamara Schools, it begins with building the confidence that children already use English and Hindi, and in many cases, at least one other language with
AID Partner Project Updates
New Class at BSK: There are around 100 students enrolled with L.E.U foundation at BSK. However, till date there were only 2 classes - one for seniors and one for juniors. In May 2010, BSK got itself a new class. The 3 classes were formed by identifying the appropriate academic levels of the kids living in the slum-area. There are two permanent teachers who train these children.
confidence and understanding. Class sizes are kept small, so that individual attention is possible. Funds allow
for regular worksheets that children love taking home to display to parents. It helps the teachers make the point to parents about the value of schooling.
The much awaited summer vacations, were surrounded in abundance with activities as always. As May approached, the kids packed their books and notebooks in their bags to explore the joy of creativity and imagination. Art and craft, music, storytelling sessions, origami workshops kept the kids cool though the temperature was raising high in Delhi. Fun games including chapati making competitions were organized. Nutrition program at parichay is continuing to be a success. To beat the heat and to keep the kids cool, varieties of sharbats and sattu were given to kids along with other diets. Language plays a key role in communicating one’s ideas and principles. It is a medium to express our opinions and speak out our mind in public. Changes in language pattern reflect the changes in society. Keeping all this in mind a workshop titled “Bhasha Shikshan ek Prayog” was conducted by Vijay Bhaiya in May 2009. Considering the fabulous outputs of this workshop a workshop titled “Shuddh Hindi likhna aur bolna” was conducted in May 2010 for the Kids who then enjoyed the workshop a lot. During Environment week a stall of environment friendly products made with recycled paper, cloth and jute was organized at CSC Noida in June. Total sales of Rs.18, 240/- was registered. Gyan Ganga Project on mental retardation Assessments of mentally challenged kids are going on. The assessments include general awareness, memory test, gross motor coordination, fine motor coordination, color concept, day and night concept, communication skills etc. In the month of May several group counselling sessions, awareness programs on potentialities of mentally challenged kids, and meetings to form parents support group have been organized with parents and care givers of mentally challenged kids. The Office for the project has been shifted to a better location in the same locality. Events planned in next month Spice stalls, Handicraft stalls, Trip to Peetampura Haat by metro for the children of the handicraft unit, opening of special school for mentally challenged kids and second phase of survey under Gyan Ganga project on mental retardation.
AID Partner Project Updates
SUSTAINING THE ENVIRONMENTTHE MOST CHALLENGING QUESTION OF THE 21ST CENTURY
BY MOON GARG
The environment is an essential need for the very survival of life on earth. We humans have successfully depleted the environment to the extent that our own survival is now at stake. Over the time, a lot of new mechanisms and procedures have been proposed to deal with the menace created by us. Be it the Kyoto protocol, carbon trading, bio-fuels, introduction of efficient technology, use of alternate sources of energy, green buildings none of them is able to substantially prevent or reduce the damage done so far. The vast paced depletion of the underground water table, natural resources, extinction of wild species, air pollution, water pollution, land pollution, indiscriminate felling of trees, reduction of forest cover, receding glaciers, ozone depletion, nuclear pollution, dying marine animals, piling of e-waste stand testimony to the fact that something is very wrong down the bottom-line which needs to be addressed immediately. Every year, we pledge on Earth day to act as responsible humans and stop harming the environment but where are the outcomes? Every year we organize the Copenhagen summit to discuss the role to be played by every nation towards environment but where are the results? The average temperature of earth has risen. Droughts, floods, drying rivers, hurricanes can be seen everywhere. The developed economies should act more responsibly andnot only ask developing economies to ratify any environment saving pact. They should also join the bandwagon themselves because it is joint effort that will bear fruits. The so called activities carried out in the name of development, human progress needs to be administered strictly as their unscientific handling does more harm. This pressing issue requires immediate, coordinated efforts from all directions of the world to make sure that we and our future generations are able to survive. It’s high time to act rather than indulge in loose talk and wait for some miracle to happen that will save the mother earth from becoming another planet in the solar system with no life. Each of us, yes you and me, need to stop taking the environment for granted and work towards preserving it. Do not peripherally pledge, that won’t save the environment, implement!
Love to teach children? Love to write, report and design? Care about the environment? Want to strengthen Rights? Worried about new policies? Simple steps by which YOU can make a difference: Visit http://delhi.aidindia.org Register yourself as a volunteer On receiving a welcome note Subscribe yourself to the volunteer e-group One of our volunteer coordinators will contact you within a week. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any further questions Volunteer on ground or online; every contribution by you is of extreme value to us.
REDEFINE YOUR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR)
Understand the evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility in India and incorporate CSR as an integral part of business strategy Develop a community engagement strategy, Bring together NGOs working in diverse fields like education, health, environment with corporate/funding agencies to tie up partnerships through discussions Develop environmentally and socially responsible products and services Engage your employees in giving back to the society through AID’s Corporate Volunteers Program Provide cost effective solutions to the problems of underprivileged communities Encourage your employees to participate in environment related initiatives
All donations to AID NCR are directed towards education, health & nutrition, skill- building, campaigns and other activities. You can donate towards AID and its activities in the following manner: Meal a month: An initiative to donate an amount equivalent to one meal of yours to build future India. Even a single penny counts! Rs 10, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 500...Whatever a meal costs you, we’d like to share your platter. Donate Books: Donate academic books of your children after they’ve completed studying from them. Pledge support for formal education of a child/ children These contributions are entitled to a 50% tax exemption under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act. How to donate in India ELECTRONIC TRANSFERS CHEQUES CASH Internet banking users can make electronic transfers to AID-India's ICICI Bank Account. Cheques can be drawn in favour of AID-India's ICICI Bank Account and can be either mailed to or deposited at any ICICI bank branch. Cash may be deposited at any ICICI bank branch quoting "AIDIndia" on the deposit slip.
AID-India - ICICI Bank Details Branch: Royapettah High Road (RHR) Location: Chennai MICR code: 600229007 Account No.: 602201200299 (Savings) Beneficiary address: 7/4 Besant Road, Royapettah, Chennai. Phone: +91-44-42106493, 28350403 To receive a receipt for your donation, please send the following details to email@example.com 1. Your name and permanent address 2. Date , amount and mode (e-transfer, cheque, cash) of donation 3. Bank details together with the Cheque/Receipt number or E-transaction ID If you are outside India and want to contribute to AID India’s Delhi chapter, then do mail us your cheque (in any currency), drawn in favour of "AID-India", along with a cover letter stating the purpose of donation. AID INDIA- Bank Details for International Transfers AID-NCR – Mailing Address Punjab National Bank - 0306010100082696 AL - 124, Shalimar Bagh PNB Extension Counter, D A V School (under Anna Salai Branch) New Delhi-110088 383, Avvai Shanmugam Salai, Gopalapuram, Chennai 600 086, Tamilnadu, India IFSC (NEFT/ RTGS) code - PUNB0030600 ABA or SWIFT routing number of PNB India - 000046612 in the name of PNB FEO Chennai. CODE - PUNB IN BB MF
Reach us at: http://delhi.aidindia.org AID NCR on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/delhi.aidindia AID NCR on Twitter: http://twitter.com/aiddelhi AID NCR on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AID_Delhi
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