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Australian High Commission Officials Interact With Students of Deepalaya Vocational Training Centre, Patel Garden

Australian High Commission visited Deepalaya computer training centre, Dwarka

Deepalaya Vocational Training Centre, Patel Garden provides computer training, career counseling, English Speaking classes, and personality development training for underprivileged children from nearby communities aged 17 to 25 years. Apart from computer training, this centre aims at holistic development of youth from the community by imparting employable skills in relation to various industries/corporate/service sectors, and also offers job placements to the students.

This project kicked off in June 2017 with funding support of Australian High commission under its direct aid programme. Over the last one year, it has reached out to 134 students from the area, against the initial target of 120.

On 12th June, senior representatives from Australian High Commission paid a courtesy visit to Deepalaya Vocational Training Centre in Patel Garden. The delegation included Mr. Simon O’ Connor, Chairman, Direct Aid Programme of Australian High Commission, and Ms. Pallavi Nayek, Direct Aid Programme Administrator at Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, alongwith Ms. Vinni, a young researcher, who is interning with Australian High Commission.

The guests arrived around 11 a.m. at our centre, and were given a warm welcome. Two girls applied Tilak on their forehead. One of the students of the VTC, Mr. Gurjeet Singh gave the welcome speech. Smt. Jaswant Kaur, Executive Director, Deepalaya gave a short presentation on Deepalaya NGO, its intervention in different sectors, and elucidated the outcomes and challenges of the Vocational Training Project in Patel Garden.

Mr. A. J. Philip, Secretary and CE, Deepalaya felicitated the guests from Australian High Commission, and thanked them for their generous support in implementing the project. He also presented Mr. Simon with a gift made by Sana, one of the students of VTC.

The guests interacted with the beneficiaries of this project, and saw the infrastructure and facilities.  On the sidelines of the interactive session, two students, Tanisha and Bhavana presented a dance performance on the song “Aashayein”. Hereafter, some of the students from the last batch who have already been placed in respectable companies shared their experiences; they shared how Deepalaya teachers and staff acted as a guiding light in shaping their careers and lives and helped them in overcoming challenges. 

Mr. Simon O’ Connor, Chairperson said that he was delighted to be associated with this noble project, which not only provides vocational skills, but aims at socio-economic empowerment of the beneficiaries. “Confidence, self-belief, and persistence are the three golden rules of success in your careers,” he told the VTC students.

The event ended with a vote of thanks by Mr. Pradeep Chauhan, Computer Teacher, Deepalaya. On behalf of Deepalaya, Mr. Kuriyan Behanan, Manager Administration, was also present. Ms. Anita Rana, Project, In Charge, and Ms. Kulwant Kaur made arrangements for the event, while Ms. Jinsu, intern helped in arrangements and did the anchoring for the event.

Expressions 2018: A mega show organized in Delhi for showcasing latent talent of children of Deepalaya

Expressions 2018 – an annual talent exhibition of Deepalaya children

As an organization, Deepalaya believes firmly in encouraging latent talent of children who may be neglected and left without care and support due to adverse socio-economic conditions. Expressions 2018 was an endeavor to curate an engaging reflection of the organization’s belief. Hence, 18th March 2018 was a special day for the entire Deepalaya family, when children from almost all the locations gathered at at Mavalankar Auditorium, Rafi Marg in New Delhi for showcasing their latent talent. They were all decked up for the occasion, wearing colourful dresses, rehearsing for so many days so that they put up their best.

Deepalaya Expressions 2018 - an annual talent exhibition of underprivileged children of Delhi NCR.

The gala event was quite aptly named as it was an extravaganza celebrating the vibrancy of art & culture at its best, and had a theme of “express to inspire and make a lasting impact”. More than 300 students from 15 project locations of Deeplaya participated at this event, putting up a spectacular choir performances, fusion dance, group dance, skits and plays, and so on.

The programme began with the ceremonial lighting of the lamp by Prof. P J Kurien, Deputy Speaker of Rajya Sabha, who presided over the function, Mr. Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Ms. Anastasia Kanashin, ambassador of Oriflame, Mr. Vivek Katoch, Director Corporate Affairs, Oriflame India, Mr. Y Chackochan, President, Mr. A J Philip, Secretary & Chief Executive, Mr. Shaji P John, Treasurer and other members of the Executive committee.

After the melodious welcome song sung by our children from Deepalaya learning center, Tilak Nagar, Mr.  Philip welcomed the guests and informed the audience about the NGO’s vision, scope, approach, and means of work, and its significant areas of intervention till date. 

Prof. P J Kurien, Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha outlined the commendable work done by Deepalaya so far in bringing quality education (and a lot more) to the lives of underprivileged. “From a humble beginning 39 years back, Deepalaya has reached out to thousands of people today, which is heartening to note,” Prof. Kurien said.

While praising the efforts made by Deepalaya, the Chief Guest Mr. Manish Sisodia said, “Deepalaya is more than an institution; it is a movement that should spread to more and more people across the nation. Only when we understand the importance of education will the society move towards progress and equivalence, and I sincerely hope that many other individuals and organizations like Deepalaya shall take up this noble cause of spreading the light of education” said Shri Sisodia.

Oriflame India Pvt. Ltd., a company that has been supporting Deepalaya’s Girl Child development projects for last 12 years through their CSR projects, was the presenting partner at Expressions 2018. Mrs. Anastasia Kanashin, Oriflame Ambassador, was the Guest of Honour at the function. Speaking high of the partnership between Deepalaya and Oriflame, Ms. Kanashin said, “In terms of our association with Deepalaya, what started as a fledgling bond has today blossomed into something magical and overwhelming. Oriflame has sponsored education of over a thousand girls from Deepalaya and continues to extend helping hands for many noble causes initiated by them.” 

A large majority of the performers at this talent show belonged to poor and marginalized section of the society, residing in urban slums or remote rural areas. However, the energy and confidence they put forth at the event was phenomenal, and was not anywhere less than professional dancers and singers.  The children felt happy and fortunate as they got an unprecedented platform to reveal their talents.

Some of the notable performances at the event included dance performances on Bollywood songs like “Zoobi Doobi” and “Ghoomar” by kids of Deepalaya Learning Centre Gole Kuan, a dance skit on women empowerment from students from Deepalaya SQEP Project, SDMC Primary School Okhla; a nukkad natak on current social evils by Deepalaya Vocational Training Centre, Dwarka; and a group dance performance on the theme of ‘save the girl child’ by students from Deepalaya School Gusbethi. A fusion dance performance by differently-abled students from Sambhav Project, Deepalaya Special Unit that depicted the colors of the regions of our country and the brilliance of unity for the nation, made the audience spellbound.

Not only this, children from all the education projects were given prizes for their extraordinary achievements in academics as well as in extra-curricular activities. Jaswant Kaur, Director CRM, Deepalaya, presented the vote of thanks, followed by the national anthem to culminate the event.

It was a dream that came true for children, who will never forget that they performed in front of such celebrated guests.

Deepalaya Vision Centre a community eye care initiative inaugurated in Delhi

Community Eye Care Centre opened at Janakpuri

The formal inauguration ceremony of a community eye care service instituted by Deepalaya in collaboration with the prestigious Ophthalmology Department of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) was held on 16th March at Deepalaya’s head office in Janakpuri, New Delhi. The objective of “Deepalaya Vision Centre” is to provide quality eye care to the poor and underprivileged people.

Deepalaya Vision Centre inaugurated by officials from AIIMS and AFPRO

Under this initiative, Deepalaya has started organizing free eye check up camps at its various project locations in Delhi, including Janakpuri, Sanjay Colony and Trilokpuri. In these weekly camps, BP and other basic eye care tests are conducted. Medicines are given on the spot by eye experts free of cost and those who need cataract operation are referred to AIIMS, where people are assured of a bed and food till they are discharged. The patients are called for a follow-up also at these vision centres.

The service that kicked off in the first week of January this year has reached out to more than 750 people in the last two months; 28 people have undergone cataract surgeries; and almost 400 people have been given high-quality spectacles free of cost. Mr. D K Manavalan, Retired IAS Officer and Executive Director, Action for Food Production was the Chief Guest and Dr George John, Former Vice Chancellor, Birsa Agricultural University, Ranchi was the Guest of Honour. Dr. Vivek Gupta, Assistant Professor, Mr. Amit Bhardwaj, Sr. Research Officer and Dr. Sandeep Bhardwaj from the Community Ophthalmology Department, AIIMS were also present among the dignitaries.

Mr Y Chackochan, President; Mr. Shaji P John, Treasurer; and Mr. T M Abraham, founder member and member of the executive committee; Mrs. Rajamma Chacko; and Mrs. Elizabath Philip also graced the occasion.

The function started with the lighting of the lamp by all the dignitaries and a welcome song by Mr. Himanshu and students from Tilak Nagar Learning Center.

Lighting of the lamp during the inaugural event of Deepalaya Vision Centre

Thereafter, Mr. A J Philip, Secretary and CE, Deepalaya welcomed the guests and attendees and discussed the idea and impact of the whole programme till date. Mr. D K Manavalan, Retired IAS Officer and Executive Director, Action for Food Production, who was the chief guest, lauded this noble initiative of Deepalaya and also donated Rs. 10000/- to Deepalaya. He discussed how these community eye check-up camps can be a step forward for preventing undetectable eye problems in our country.

Dr. George John, who has also sponsored the education of one child, spoke high about the eye care initiative.

Dr. Vivek Gupta informed the public about the Community Ophthalmology department at Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences of AIIMS, and its legacy of involvement in community based activities such as comprehensive primary eye care services, camps, vision screening at schools and across the city, and so on. Mr. Y Chackochan, President Deepalaya also appreciated the efforts made by Deepalaya and support from Vision for All, the funding agency and AIIMS.

Cultural programme presented by children and motivational speeches given by guests

To do away with the monotony of the programme, a few children from Deepalaya Tilak Nagar Center presented a beautiful Rajasthani Dance. The guests and people, who were present on the occasion, applauded the dance. After the short dance performance, Mr. Amit Bhardwaj spoke about the concept of a vision center and informed that AIIMS is running 25 vision centers across Delhi, which are basic eye care services and intend at eradicating blindness.

The programme ended with a vote of thanks by Ms. Jaswant Kaur, Director CRM, Deepalaya.

Deepalaya SHG Women Celebrate Women’s Day

Women’s Day Celebration at Deepalaya projects

“When you empower a woman, you empower an economy and a nation.”- Cherie Blair

In a country like India, women are suppressed, discouraged or harassed in all corners in some way or the other; it’s is time now to focus on rights and gender equality; for this, women must not only emphasize but claim the rights to be their own. Through its microfinance programmes, Deepalaya has empowered thousands of women, and given them opportunities to take charge of their lives on their own and raise voice against social evils. Considering the importance of the day, it was celebrated at all the locations, where microfinance activity is being conducted. Here are a few glimpses:-

Deepalaya Pataudi Office: For SHG women staying in Pataudi, it was proud day as many women holding esteemed positions in the government offices graced the occasion. We had Ms. Kalpana Singh Ranga, Block Education Officer, Pataudi, Ms. Meena Kumari, Protection Officer Women Cell, Gurgaon, Dr. Punita Gehlot, Dy. Director Animal Husbandry Dept., Ms. Poonam Sharma, District Coordinator Nehru Yuva Kendra. We were privileged enough to have Mr. S N Sharma, Regional Manager, Sarva Haryana Grameen Bank,  Mr. Sujit Kumar, Manager Syndicate Bank,  Mr. Puny Pal, Financial Literacy counselor, and Ms. Smitha Meenakshy, Manager Micro Finance, Deepalaya also. Around 150 women from different SHGs attended the celebrations.

Awareness session was conducted at Deepalaya, Pataudi, Haryana for SHGs members on Women's Day

The programme was organized with a motive to apprise the women about their rights and different schemes that the government has announced for their uplift.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Kalpana Singh Ranga, Block Education Officer focused on the significance of educating the girl child. “We must ensure that our daughters get education, at list till the 12th class,” she said, urging them to come forward and discuss with her if there were any financial problems in providing education to the next generation. Dr. Punita Gehlot, Dy. Director Animal Husbandry Dept. said that while “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” has gained a lot of traction in the last few years, we must also concentrate on “Beti Empowerment” through our actions every day. Ms. Meena Kumari, Protection Officer Women Cell, Gurgaon told the women that if anyone faces any problem in their domestic life they can consult her; however, the laws for protection of women should not be misused. Mr. S N Sharma, Mr. Sujit Kumar and Mr. Puny Pal shared about the government/bank schemes and programmes for the benefits of SHG women, the importance of Sukanya Smridhi Yojna, and so on.

After the meeting was over, all the SHGs members stood in a line shouting slogans like “Beti Bachavo, Beti Padhao “, “Bhurn Hatya Band Karo”, etc. (against female foeticide and in favour of educating women). Hereafter, a small rally was conducted in the local community where all the women shared camaraderie as they held the national flag and raised their voice for their rights.

Deepalaya VTC Dwarka: Women’s day celebrations were also held at Deepalaya VTC Dwarka. Mr. Raj Dutt Gehlot, Counselor of Kakrola, Biranchi Singh, Sr. Journalist, Dainik Jagran were the main guests. Amongst 200 women present on the occasion, there were representatives from two NGOs — Saksham skill development and Chetanalaya.

Women's Day celebration at VTC Dwarka

Ms. Jaswant Kaur, Director CRM Deepalaya was also present on the occasion. Ms. Anita Rana welcomed the guests and the attendees, and informed community women about the significance of women’s day. While speaking on the occasion, the guests spoke high about the contribution made by women towards development of society and appreciated the fact that government has come up so many schemes and legal provision for helping women. However, a word of caution was given that law should not be misused as it is meant for the betterment of society.

Ms. Jaswant Kaur motivated the women to take charge of their lives, and recited a beautiful poem that depicted how women make sacrifices through their lives. She gave a message stressing that it is equally important to keep an eye on what their boys are doing.

Women from the community presenting cultural programme on the occasion of Women's Day.

The hall that we had was jam-packed. Almost everyone was perfectly dressed in red and pink to suit the occasion. Some of them shared their stories of change and how they were now in a better position, both financially and socially with the support and guidance of Deepalaya. They fell short of words to express their gratitude towards Deepalaya.

This was followed by some cultural programmes like Rajastani folk dance and tribal dance by women from other centres of Deepalaya. Members of Deepalaya youth group put up a “nukkad” play depicting social evils of the present day. Four SHG women of were honored for their outstanding achievements in life, and moving ahead in life against all odds. Towards the end, a small rally was taken out in the community, to spread awareness on women’ issues and girl child education.


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