“Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope”.
These famous lines hold true for Mrs Grace Thomas- one of the seven founder members of Deepalaya and the first principal of Deepalaya School who played an important role in shaping up Deepalaya initiatives with her hardwork and dedication and leading us to where we stand today. Gracy Kochamma(as she is popularly called), on personal front, was widowed at a young age but managed to bring up her 3 children. She was a teacher by profession and joined Deepalaya after her retirement.
For the past 32 years, Gracy Kochamma was a pillar of strength for everyone in Deepalaya as she gave her valuable inputs on how to make the organisation a better one and help the poorest of the poor. All her decision were taken keeping in mind the fact that the step/ decision being taken is going to benefit the poorest of the poor, whom Deepalaya was committed to serve. It was indeed a sad day for the Deepalayans on 10th March,2012 when Gracy Kochamma aged 98 years left for her heavenly abode, as we have lost a strong pillar of strength and a great human being who was always ready to help anyone in need.
She was a great teacher and all her students have fond memories of her- who was a personification of compassion, care and concern. One of her students, Ms. Sudha Parthasarathy, is now the Executive Director of Deepalaya and recalls her Gracy Mam…
“When PT Verghese called this morning to inform me about Grace Ma'am's demise,I could not react immediately. The news took me back to my childhood-class IV B at the Presentation Convent, Red Fort Delhi 6.I was HAPPY to be in section B and such was the reaction of all my classmates because it was like winning a coveted award to be in Grace Ma'am's section. Grace Ma'am as her name conveyed was an epitome of Grace. Even the wildest of students chose to be on best behavior for Grace Ma'am.It was as if we came to school only for her. She taught us Geography and English and believe me, my liking for Geography was because of her. In all this I had a special privileged position. Grace Ma'am and my mother had done their B.Ed together and thus an added advantage for me. The day she came to our house for lunch, I was the STAR that day....and for the days to come.
I moved on after class 5 and slowly the contact ceased. When I came to Deepalaya for my interview and was handed over the literature packet as customary, I was startled to see her name. When it was confirmed that she was My Grace Mam, I was on cloud nine and excitedly rushed home to tell my mother the news.
It was indeed a great feeling too meet her after such a long time and of course she did not recall me but surprisingly she remembered my mother. Both of whom sat together after years and cherished their memories.”
“It is indeed a pleasure to continue our association with Deepalaya for the fourth year and help the organisation to carve out a educated, responsible and skilled youth for the future”, said Mr. Anshu Budhraja, Member-Managing Committee and Vice President-Finance, Amway Opportunity Foundation.
On 18 February, 2012, Amway Opportunity Foundation (AOF) renewed the sponsorship of its 22 children studying at Deepalaya School Sanjay Colony for the fourth year. On the occasion, the students put up a series of cultural performances for the guest and amazed them with their immense talent.
AOF also organized a drawing competition- ‘Nanhe Chitrakaar’ for the students. The students put their creative minds at work and produced beautiful paintings on the given topic- ‘Environment and Wildlife’. “It is so amazing to see the beautiful paintings and performances of these children. They are so talented and full of life. I enjoyed to the fullest and hope to come again soon,” said Neeraj-an employee of AOF.
The best three paintings each among the juniors and seniors were also awarded with special prizes by the team. “I am happy to win the first prize. I will share my prize with my brother and sister”, said Savitri. The cheerful day concluded with the students presenting a Thank You card to the guests and receiving a bountiful treat of burgers and muffins in return.
This support received makes Team Deepalaya feel proud, stronger and motivated towards the issue of education and several other areas of intervention like health care, vocational training, gender equity and women empowerment. With this, Deepalaya aims to ensure a dignified and secure future for the students belonging to the marginalized section of the society.