With the recently witnessed massive thrust on digital literacy and use of smart phones and internet connectivity in our country, it has become essential to promote safety and security on the internet. With the increased use, also comes the risk of getting trapped in cyber crime.
In view of this, Deepalaya collaborated with Jaago Teens (a society committed to promoting a responsible and safer internet ecosystem) to conduct a “Workshop on Cyber Crimes” on 29th June 2018, for the students of Deepalaya Vocational Training Center, Kakrola, Dwarka. The session was conducted by Ms. Leena and Ms. Avni from Jaago Teens, and attended by 40 VTC students.
In the beginning of the session, a questionnaire was filled by the students about their current usage of internet. Hereafter, a presentation-cum-interaction was done by the team of Jaago Teens, wherein they told our students about different risks and precautions to be taken while using the internet.
For instance, they told that we should always check “privacy settings” on social media; they also informed about cyber bullying and how to ignore, block and report if someone is trying to bully us on social media. Further, they talked about the various laws related to cybercrimes such as IT Act and POCSO Act; the different crimes like voyeurism, stalking and punishments related to them were also discussed. Lastly, students were told about various risks and precautions while doing net banking/online transactions. “We should check the URL while making payments online. While doing online transaction URL should be green and it should be with “https”; we must also try to use virtual keyboards if possible,” said the resource person from Jaago Teens.
On the whole, it was a very informative session where our students participated with enthusiasm and paid rapt attention. Towards the end, a feedback form was filled by the students, through which they expressed about the new things they have learnt in this session and how they are going to utilize these.
“The single biggest difference between financial success and financial failure is how well you manage your money. It’s simple: to master money, you must manage money.” — T. Harv Eker (author and motivational speaker)
In simple words, financial literacy refers to the possession of skill sets or knowledge which allows individuals to take informed, effective decisions regarding money matters. Having an in-depth understanding of financial literacy can help people achieve financial stability in their lives, which also leads them towards self-reliance.
In view of the above, Deepalaya Vocational Training Centre, Patel Garden organized a workshop on “Financial Literacy” on 30th June 2018. The session was curated and conducted by Mr. Pradeep Chauhan (who is currently working as computer instructor with Deepalaya); 37 students of VTC attended the workshop. Ms. Kulwant Kaur (computer instructor at VTC Patel Garden) was also present.
The workshop began with a self introduction of the students. Hereafter, Mr. Pradeep introduced them to the concept of financial literacy and its underlying principles. Videos were shown (using the projector) on following three topics—basic financial concepts, importance of maintaining a financial diary, and ideal approach to investment. Through this two-hour-long workshop, our students developed an understanding about the nuances of asset vs. liabilities, savings vs. debt, and the interrelation between all these; they were also told to record their regular income & expenses using an elementary financial diary, which will be beneficial for their expense management.
Last but not the least, the attendees were informed about different ways to save money (at post offices, banks, etc.), and why short-tem/long-term financial planning and saving is very important to achieve their future goals (such as purchasing bikes, smart phones, and so on). The task assigned to the students at the end of the workshop was to prepare a “savings sheet”. Refreshments were given to all the students after the session was over.
The session proved to be very beneficial for our students who belong to the age group of 17-25 years. Never before they had the exposure to concepts like financial education, budgeting, and so on; they learnt with interest, interacted with each other sharing their daily life experiences regarding financial issues, and resolved to become aware of financial matters so as to achieve their dreams and support their families.
Theatre has been always regarded as a powerful instrument of social change. With a cross-sectional approach between performing arts and relevant socio-cultural aspects, street theatre or plays have the potential to effectively sensitize communities.
In view of the above, a group of 12 enthusiastic boys and girls from Deepalaya Youth Club in Sanjay Colony performed a street play (nukkad natak) on 28th June 2018, underscoring the “importance of education in the lives of children and adults”. The 8-minute-long skit was performed in three nearby locations of Sanjay Colony—Harkesh Nagar Crossing (near metro station), Z Block Park, and S-Block.
The Youth Club at Deepalaya Learning Centre, Sanjay Colony is merely one and half months old; it consists of ex-students of the learning centre or Deepalaya VTC at Sanjay Colony. Mr. Mayank, a student of Hamdard University, who has been interning at Deepalaya Sanjay Colony, mentored the members of the club to produce the street play; he also wrote and directed the play. The tireless efforts of Mayank and Youth Club members (ignoring the scorching heat of summers) bore fruit, as the play was successfully showcased. It garnered a lot of appreciation from community residents.
The theme of the play revolved around “the importance of education”; it showed the reasons why students (especially girls) drop out of schools or education systems, and how even grown-ups can complete their education, given they have the wish and will to do so. The larger idea was to visually portray how education can empower and change lives. After the play was over, the students also interacted with the audience; some people from the community came up with their problems and/or understanding about the subject. The students answered their queries adequately.
Deepalaya added one more feather to its cap as we were recently adjudged winner of the prestigious “The Most Promising Programme Award” by CauseBecause. The award was presented to Deepalaya Learning Centre Noida (one of the girl child education projects supported by Loesche India at Noida Sector 8, 10, and 16) under the “Quality Education” Category.
Smt. Jaswant Kaur, Executive Director, Deepalaya received the award and certificate of honour at an impressive award ceremony held on 22nd June at The Lalit, New Delhi on the sidelines of an event “Coffee For Cause”.
Speaking on the occasion, Smt. Jaswant Kaur said, “I am happy and proud to receive this award, which is a testimony to the extraordinary work my colleagues have done in implementing the programme titled Deepalaya Learning Centre Noida. I personally thank the jury and CauseBecause team who have recognized our efforts in terms of alignment of our programme objectives with the SDGs.”
Elaborating further on the impact of the programme, Ms. Kaur added, “This project has been instrumental in effectively shaping the mindset of the community we have worked with in favour of girl child education. The girls who were earlier made to sit at homes by their parents were identified, enrolled at our centres, given non-formal education to bring their learning levels at par with their age, and mainstreamed into government schools later on. Even after mainstreaming, the girls came back to our centers for remedial education.”
Within a period of little more than 3 years, this project has reached out to around 1000 girls living in the slums and streets in Sector 8, Sector 10 & Sector 16, Noida; it has emerged as a beacon of hope for many drop-outs and/or out-of-school children from the area.
In a bid to motivate community youth to use their energy in a creative direction, Deepalaya has in the recent past conducted various types of community engagement initiatives through sports and skill development activities. On 5th May, a cricket match was played at Bada Park, Kakrola Village between two teams of Deepalaya—VTC Dwarka vs. VTC Patel Garden.
More than 50 boys and girls took part (directly or indirectly) in this cricket match. The idea was to keep the youngsters away from the negative influence of crime, drugs, etc.
Mono-acting is a very interesting form of art that can deliver our thoughts effectively in a silent manner. On 6th May, a mono-acting programme was arranged at Deepalaya Children’s Home, Gusbethi. Ten of our children from DCH participated in the activity.
Some of our children portrayed their own hardships and challenges faced in life, and others raised critical social issues like child labour and child trafficking. Much inspiration could be drawn from each of the participants as they proved their latent talent through this programme.
Abercrombie and Kent (A & K), one of the world’s largest travel companies, has been associated with Deepalaya since 2005. Over these years, the agency has brought many visitors to Deepalaya. On 7th May, Mr. Mina Habashi, Senior North America Business Specialist, Abercrombie & Kent USA visited Ramditti J. R. Narang Deepalaya Learning Center. He was accompanied by Mrs. Sukreeti and Mr. Govind from Jasola office. He spent almost an hour and was very pleased to see this project closely.
On 8th May, a one-day Inter-Child Care Institution (Inter-CCI) indoor games competition was organized by the District Child Protection Unit, Tauru at Deepalaya Children’s Home premises. Apart from DCH, three other orphanages/shelter homes from Nuh district participated in this competition. Around 60 children (20 girls and 40 boys) from DCH enthusiastically participated in the various activities viz-a-viz- Painting, Drawing, Short Stories, Slogan and Poems writing, and so on.
Our children won prizes in almost every activity organized, and were acknowledged with gifts. The closing speech was given by District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) of Nuh, who said that the idea behind the event is to bridge the gap between the privileged and less privileged. He also added that Ministry of Child and Women Development, Haryana is dedicated to support and work for the welfare of the underprivileged children in the state.
Mothers are the ones who raise us, make innumerable sacrifices yet give us unconditional love and warmth. Every child has a unique emotional bonding with his/her mother; small wonder that no person in the world can replace “maa” in one’s life.
To add glory to maternal bonding and the influence of mothers in our society, Mother’s Day is celebrated in various parts of the world (including India) every year on the second Sunday of May. Mother’s Day was celebrated in all the project locations in unique ways.
On 15th May, 30 students and 2 teachers of Guru Har Krishan Public School, Hemkunt Colony, and 4 members of Rotary Club of Panchshila Park, Delhi (namely Ms. Mridula, Mr. Gurucharan, Ms. Madhu, Mr. Anil) visited Sambhav Project, Deepalaya Special Unit, Sanjay Colony. The group reached our centre around 10.30 a.m. The guests were welcomed and briefed about the centre activities. Hereafter, classroom visit was conducted. The students from Guru Har Krishan Public School divided themselves into four groups; each group spent time in our four classrooms of the Sambhav Project. The visitor students also shared their lunch with our children.
Hereafter, the guests were shown products made in the VTC unit of Sambhav Project. As a note of appreciation, they purchased 100 quilled “shagun” envelopes worth Rs.2000 and one flower basket of Rs.300. Ms. Mridula placed an additional order of 50 flower baskets and 50 small Greeting cards.
Earlier in November 2017, an on-the-spot drawing competition was conducted by the Parliament’s youth wing “Children’s corner”. Various NGOs, organizations, children of staff of the Parliament, among others took part in the competition. Among 28 participants from Deepalaya Learning Centre Sanjay Colony who participated in this competition, Sneha Das and Shweta Kumari emerged as better among good. Sneha got the 3rd prize and 2500/- cash, whereas Shweta won the consolation prize and 1500/- cash.
On 16th May, the winners of the above mentioned completion were awarded trophies and certificates by Ms Kamla Sharma, Director of Children’s Corner at the Conference hall of the Parliament. Our children were enthralled to receive the prizes in front of so many important dignitaries present in the audience.
Deepalaya and Infogain India Private Limited (a global enterprise IT services company), has recently joined hands to establish an early childhood care & education centre in a backward area adjacent to a slum cluster in Village Murmura in Noida Sector-66, which aims at improving gross motor skills and functional literacy of community children. The project has been set up under the CSR initiative of Infogain India Private Limited and is implemented by Deepalaya. The formal inauguration ceremony of this centre, quite aptly named as “Ready For School” was held on 16th May. Ms. Cathy Chandok, VP Marketing, Mr. Rajiv Naithani, Country HR Head, Shailesh Agarwal, Assistant Manager, Marketing; Divya Kaushik, Asst. Manager HR; and Subodh Singh, Assistant Manger Admin, were present from Infogain. Mr. A J Philip welcomed the guests. Children put up scintillating performances to entertain the guests. The function ended with a vote of thanks by Ms. Jaswant Kaur, Executive Director. The guests had brought some drawing books for all children at the center.
The daily grind can make many of us feel demotivated or pessimistic about our work, or life in general; what we do not tend to remember is that there is always a ray of hope for those who seek it. On 19th May afternoon, a motivational workshop was conducted by Success Strategist Mr. Abhishek Pal at Deepalaya Human Resource Center in Janakpuri. Around 54 staff members (from various project locations of Deepalaya) attended the workshop. The idea of this workshop was to make the participants self-aware of their inner potential with help of practical tools and strategies.
With an aim to prepare students ahead of the job interview season, Deepalaya recently organized e-sessions on “career counseling” for the students of its VTC batches at Sanjay Colony and Gole Kuan respectively on 24th May and 25th May 2018. Both these online sessions were conducted by Ms. Divya Vij of NIIT Foundation.
On 25th May, a mega eye camp was organized at Shanti Gram Vidya Niketan School, Mandawar Gaon, Sohna Block. A team of 12 people (including 2 doctors) were present to conduct this camp. A total of 191 people from the nearby community registered for the camp, where BP and other basic eye care tests are conducted, those who needed medicines were given on the spot, and those who needed cataract operation were referred to AIIMS. The total number of cataract patients identified through this camp was 41, out of which 25 were referred for surgery at AIIMS, New Delhi; the surgeries will be conducted at the hospital between 30th May and 2nd June 2018. Besides, spectacles were given out to 103 patients and necessary eye medicines were given to 165 patients.
On 26th May, 9 students from Deepalaya School, Gusbethi participated in an inter-school competition organized by District Administration of Sahsola Patti as a part of the Lado Swabhiman Utsav. The idea behind this event is to break stereotypes and celebrate the “Swabhiman” (self-respect) of Haryana’s women and daughters. Our students participated enthusiastically in the competition, and brought home seven awards out of twelve. About 17 schools participated in the competition, but DSG stood out for its exceptional overall performance.
In the “Dadi-Poti” activity, Jagriti/Mrs. Rajbala obtained the 1st position, while Radhika/Mrs. Rajwati got the runners up prize. In the English speech competition, Gulsara (Class 7) got the 2nd position and Uday (class 9) got the 3rd position. In the Rangoli making competition also, our students collectively clinched the 2nd and 3rd positions; Sahiba won the 2nd prize in poster making. The accolades won by our students are a testimony to the fact that Deepalaya School, Gusbethi promotes all-round development and latent talent development of its students.
As an organization, Deepalaya is focused towards community engagement and building collaborative platforms that solve critical socio-economic issues. On 30th May, an inaugural meeting of “Youth Club” was conducted at Deepalaya Learning Centre, Sanjay Colony. Most of the youngsters who came for this meeting are alumni members from the Sanjay Colony VTC or ex-students of Deepalaya. Altogether 14 people attended the meeting.
In both these clubs, we have decided to meet once in a month (or whenever need arises).
It was a proud moment for all Deepalayans, as we came to know that Rakesh from Special Unit (a hearing and speech impaired child) has passed his 10th with 64.4% marks. He was studying at Government School for Deaf at B Block, Kalkaji. But for the intervention Deepalaya, Rakesh’s dreams might have never come true.