Morning of 18th July was a day filled with joy and happiness for the students of Sanjay Colony Learning Center. At 9.30 a.m., 18 students from Royal Grammar School, UK came to meet and interact with the children. After welcoming them, they were briefed about Deepalaya in the Library reading room. They had several questions and were keen to learn about Deepalaya. This was an-all boys group who were in India to play friendly matches at Sri Fort. With its origin in the 13th Century, the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1562. Much has changed in these 453 years but RGS continues to enjoy a reputation as one of the leading state selective schools in the country. It offers an outstanding all-round education to boys aged 11-18 years.
The group took a quick tour of the campus and then interacted with the children in the classes. They wrote in the visitor’s book. Deepalaya newsletter and the sponsorship program were explained to them. No donation however was made to Deepalaya by the school. Earthen experience handed over a cheque of Rs. 2500/-
These are a few excerpts written in the visitor’s book.
“The work you are doing is inspiring, well done!”
“Full of energy and a positive place”
“Heartwarming project and cause”
As we interacted with the parents and children, we came to know that some of the children had more than two siblings. The Deepalaya staff at SDMC School thought to conduct an awareness session on family planning. Accordingly, a nutrition camp was organized for the mothers and other community women of the area on 18th July, 2017. The main aim of the camp was to promote low-cost nutrition amongst women for better health and also to make the mothers aware about the kind of precautions they can take to control birth and reproductive health.
They were told how they can make their day-to-day food interesting so that the children are motivated to eat food cooked at home instead of the unhealthy outside food. The women were informed that why should we include protein-rich diet in our food. Ms. Nonita informed protein is necessary for bone health, especially for growing children. Deficiency of protein leads to kwashiorkor and marasmus, which is a severe form of malnutrition resulting into deformation of body. Children suffering from these diseases are characterized by bloated stomach and very thin arms and legs.
Simple inclusion of peanuts in the diet can help in protein deficiency. The women were given a demonstration for preparing Bhel Puri which is a good source of protein. They were told about the benefits of aam panna, which is commonly used during summers.
Women were then involved in making both bhel puri and aam panna. Ms. Sadhna explained the entire process in detail. While they were given a small cup of aam panna and bhel puri to eat, Ms. Sadhna came forward and asked if anyone knows about family planning. Most of the ladies were very shy in answering the questions. They were shown both the temporary and permanent methods, which can be used for planning and ensuring a gap between two children.
Thereafter, Ms. Shameema Shakeel and Ms. Abha Kapila spoke about the activities being conducted in the school with the intervention of Deepalaya. The mothers were happy to see the new furniture and computers in the school.
When they asked about feedback, everyone said the session was very beneficial and the recipe was very simple to make. Towards the end, women were given packets of peanuts and a handout describing the diseases and recipes. They were informed that there would be more surprises when we meet next.
38 years ago, Deepalaya was founded on 16th July 1979 and every year this day is celebrated with lot of pomp and show. This year was no exception. Everyone was excited and looking forward to day-long celebrations on 15th July. From a tiny seed to an oak tree, the journey of Deepalaya is amazing.
Unlike other events, where the celebrations were confined to the employees, this year, five of our executive committee members – Mr. P J Thomas, Mr. T M Abraham, Mr. Shaji John, Dr. Annie Mathew and Ms. Rajini Thomson — and one general body member — Mrs. Mariam Mathew were also present on the ocassion.
The function was presided by Ms. Meeta Singh, IRS, Additional Commissioner, SDMC. Mr. Mukesh Yadav, Additional Director, SDMC, Ms. Pushpa, Deputy Director, Education, central zone, Mr. Parmod Kumar and Mr. Ram Nath Meena, schools inspectors also graced the occassion. The function started with a welcome song and lighting of the lamp by the delegates from SDMC, executive committee members and founders of Deepalaya. While the song was being sung, one of the teachers from Deepalaya School, Kalkaji Extension made a beautiful cake on a white canvas. The cake looked so yummy that everyone felt like grabbing and eating it. Alas! It was made on paper.
Shri AJ Philip, Secretary and Chief Executive welcomed the Chief Guest, delegates from SDMC and board members. In his speech, he requested Ms. Meeta Singh to help Deepalaya in extending the existing building of the school.
Who knew that the day would start with a rocking dance performance by staff from Loesche India followed by a group song by Gole Kuan employees and dance performance by FADA project. Thereafter, children from Deepalaya Childrens’ home presented a skit on girl child education.
It was an honor to have Ms. Meeta Singh amongst us on this special occasion. She congratulated the founders and the entire team of Deepalaya to have come up with the idea of establishing this wonderful institution called Deepalaya. She said that “we are also taking help from NGO’s to enhance learning methodology and learning ability of students.” She also mentioned that all teachers should behave like a family member with their students so that they can feel comfortable and ask as many questions as they want. Towards, the end of her speech, she ensured that she will do her best to help Deepalaya in future.
The celebrations continued. One by one, people from different projects came up stage to express their love for Deepalaya. No one had ever thought that we have a huge group of talented people who can dance, sing and entertain the audience by breaking their age barriers.
Thereafter, Ms. Pushpa, Deputy Director, SDMC, was called upon stage for saying a few words. She congratulated the board and founder members of Deepalaya and said “I hope they feel proud when they see the growth of this organization”. She felt happy to join hands with Deepalaya and felt assured that the SDMC School has gone in the right hands. She thoroughly enjoyed different performances and said” Generally teachers teach students, spend time with them for their welfare. I am happy to see that they are dancing and enjoying, it is a very different thing for me.”
Thereafter two teachers from Ramditti J.R Narang Deepalaya Learning Centre danced on a fusion of bollywood songs. After that Mr. Shaji P.John, treasurer came upon stage and thanked the Chief Guest and other delegates from the SDMC for attending the function. He said “I asked Mr. Abraham that do you remember when the first meeting was held to discuss Deepalaya. Did he think that Deepalaya would grow this much? Deepalaya is now the largest operational NGO of Delhi and this is the result of their trust and dedication towards this organization.
He thanked everyone who come forward and performed on stage. He said the day is not far when the board members shall also perform on the founders’ day. Towards the end of his speech, he motivated the employees to put up their best in implementing projects within the timeline.
Though each and every performance had a charm of its own, the ones that grabbed all the limelight was put up by HRC staff and Deepalaya Learning centre, Sanjay Colony. The former presented a fashion show representing the concept of unity in diversity. Everyone was wearing traditional dresses of various states while the latter was a musical skit on how a mother can protect her daughter from society.
A dance performance by Tauru project gave an opportunity to Mr. A.J Phillip to dance with other staff members and enjoy the occasion. Mr. Brajesh Pathak, Manager-Program, tied turbans to all board members.
Everyone from junior to the senior level, enjoyed the occasion thoroughly. Towards the end, a group song from Uttarakhand project enlivened the environment. No one wanted to leave for home. But a day that starts has to end also. Ms. Jaswant Kaur, Director CRM presented the vote of thanks and the function ended with National Anthem.
Deepalaya VTC, Noida came into being during August 2016 with the help of Ms. Poonam Jain, who donated sewing machines for the centre. The project reached out to 25 trainees, who appreared in the examination conducted by Jan Sikshan Sansthan, West Delhi during February, 2017. Since then, the students were waiting for their result. It was a proud moment as all of them passed with ‘A’ grade.
On 22nd June 2017, we organized a small certificate distribution ceremony in the presence of Ms. Poonam Jain. We could see the luster in their eyes and excitement on their face as they were going to receive their certificates. Before conferring the Certificates, Ms. Jain took a session with the trainees. She suggested that they should not sit at home after receiving the certificates but should think of enhancing their skill to get perfection in their work. She told how they can use small pieces of cloth to make bed sheet, make some beautiful designs in suits, Pillow cover, Table cloth etc. while sitting at home. The newly made products will catch the attention of people because of the unique and innovative concept. She suggested the trainees to do fabric painting on the clothes. She shared her experiences with the trainees and told that hand work on the cloth attract people more than machine work. She cited the example of her mother. She shared that the cloth which we throw out, thinking them to be useless, her mother would use them in patch work. She quoted that she herself stitched using different cloth pieces and made colourful designs. She also shared that those who lose their temper over trifles, they should do stitching work as stitching and hand embroidery helps in controlling the anger of human being. Thereafter, the certificates were distributed and Mr. M J Alam thanked Ms. Poonam Jain for accepting our invitation and motivating the students.
After getting the certificate the trainees were very happy. The students who are enrolled in the program were also very happy thinking one day they too will get their certificate and celebrate the occasion.
On 12th and 13 of July there was a lot of hustle and bustle in Deepalaya Project at Sanjay Colony. A team of 5 boys and 3 girls of grades 11th and 12th studying Old
Swineford- School, UK along with their teacher visited India for trekking and doing Volunteering work with Deepalaya. The idea was to get an understanding about the background of students, how charity organizations like Deepalaya work, teach the children and bring about a positive change in society.
On day one after the formal welcome and the briefing they were taken on a tour of the campus. They were divided into groups of two each and assigned classes. Each of the groups taught the children and also played with them.
Later they danced with the kids and interacted with the teachers as well.
On the second day the students made charts for the classes. Charts on the solar system, body parts, weather tables etc were made by the group.
The team donated Rs.18000/- for sponsoring two students from Sanjay Colony Learning Center. They also donated lots of books, note books, colour- pastel and pencil colours and packets of toffees. Charts, colours, toys and toffees were also given to the Special children.
They visited the community, spent time with the special children of Deepalaya supported by Laj Jagdish Foundation. LPTI gave snack to the Special children. A final farewell to the team was given around 4 pm.
This is what one of the teachers has written in the visitor’s book “We have felt incredibly inspired and humbled by this experience, and we admire the strength and the determination of the students and the teachers who inspire them every day. Truly unforgettable”
The group visit to the Deepalaya Centre was organised by LPTI (Le passage to India) a travel group. LPTI also donated a cheque of Rs.10000/- for sponsoring a child in SCLC.