A Promise Fulfilled – New Projects for Vibha

“It is always exciting to identify new projects to support funding, to enter into new geographies, to understand the problems and the innovative solutions attempted, and finally to be able to make a difference. Thank you for giving us this opportunity”                – New Projects Team (Zankhana, Deep, Jyothi, Vijay, Murthy, Lux, and Badri)

A Promise Fulfilled – New Projects for Vibha

Four new projects in three states selected for funding

In December 2013, Vibha organized a year-end fund-raising campaign to raise $100,000, with the promise that the money will be used to expand some existing projects and to identify new projects and to reach new communities. The supporters of Vibha rallied behind the campaign and we reached the target!

The projects team immediately identified two of Vibha’s projects for expansion:

  • Grameen Siksha Kendra (GSK) in Rajasthan that has been doing innovative work in creating model schools (Uday Pathshalas) making community ownership as a key factor, has been encouraged to take its model to a number of Government Schools, through a program called “Vistaar”.
  • Funding for Community Outreach Program (CORP, India), that has been doing exemplary work in the slums of Mumbai for the education of children, has been increased to expand their operations to another slum.

The bigger and more exciting challenge was to identify new projects, in a new geography, that will fit into Vibha’s philosophy of “identifying successful models that are scalable and replicable”. Projects were scouted for in U.P, Bihar, M.P, Haryana, Orissa and Gujarat (currently, Vibha is funding projects in Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and West Bengal). For a complete list of the current projects being funded by Vibha, please visit: www.vibha.org/projects

After extensive screening, that involved pre-selection site-visits and several rounds of reviews, the team identified the following four projects – Eklavya and Samavesh (both in and around Bhopal, M.P) fit into Vibha’s framework of continuing to enhance the Public School System in India, while Saath (Gujarat) and Apna School (near IIT Kanpur, U.P) will further expand our intervention in the education of children of migrant construction workers.

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Children  of construction workers at the Learning Center

Eklavya is starting an education project for 895 children in 15 primary schools in 15 villages in the Shahpur Block located in Satpuras in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh. Eklavya will be implementing their dual methodology of community level intervention through Shiksha Protsahan Kendras (SPK) coupled with intervention at the Government school, involving the teachers and the state education department functionaries as direct stake-holders in the project. The effectiveness of the project would be measured based on three broad parameters which are accessibility, quality of education and improvement in learning levels of children in the age group of 6-10.

Samavesh is similar to Eklavya, except that it is working in an urban setting in the city of Bhopal and will support 425 children in five municipal schools. Through active participation of the existing government school teachers, two hours every hour within the school are given to Samavesh to implement Activity Based Learning (ABL) program. Multi-Grade-Multi-Level(MGML) education kits, developed by Samavesh will be introduced in the schools and the teachers will trained so that the learning levels of the children can be significantly improved.

Apna Skool, an education project for the children of migrant construction and brick kiln workers, is a project of Jagriti Bal Vikas Samiti, started by the faculty and students of IIT Kanpur. The goal of the project is to ensure that these children do not get absorbed as child labor. As the families migrate to their native villages during off-peak months, a process for continuing supplementary education to the children in their own villages in Jharkand, Bihar and Eastern UP will be initiated. Mid day meal/nutritional supplement, and primary healthcare to the children will also be provided. Apna Skool will study, learn and implement the model of Door Step School (DSS), one of Vibha’s successful models in Pune, and start involving the builders and the Government as stakeholders in the execution and scaling up the project.

Saath, a very well established organization in Ahmedabad, will also work in implementing the DSS model and bring early education centers for the children of construction workers, thus minimizing the scope of these children entering the society as child laborers. Five large scale construction sites have been identified and these centers will be started to support approximately 250 children and providing them with 4 hours of informal education with nutrition support. Taking the DSS model as an example, Saath has already made the Builders as stakeholders in the success of this project and 50% of the nutritional costs and the space for these centers is provided by them.

- Written by Vijay Vemullapalli

The “Swanirvar” (Self- Sustained one) – Samiul Gazi truly proves that

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Children encouraged to participate in group settings in a Swanirvar school.

One good teacher in a lifetime may sometimes change a delinquent into a solid citizen.”

The story of Samiul Gazi, is a very inspiring one, and fills our heart with immense pride and motivation to continue our efforts with our partners, to enable a child to be educated and self-sustained. Samiul, 17 years old, comes from very poor family from a village in North 24 Paragana in West Bengal. His father is the only earning member of the family, working as a daily wage laborer with a monthly income of Rs.3000.00 (avg. $ 57/ month). They have no farm land and live in a mud house with two more children.

Samiul was admitted in 1st Grade (Class 1) in Swanirvar primary school. He was the first in his generation to go to a school, and his parents being illiterate didn’t realize the importance of educating their children. Having never been in a school environment, he was a very shy and reserved child. But with time, he started opening up, started enjoying school, and participated in all kind of activities to enhance learning. He moved to the area high school and performed very well, securing 82% in his 10th Board examination. He never had access to a tutor, but through his sheer motivation and sustained hard-work, he maintained good scores. Presently he is preparing for his 12th Grade (High School final year), and at the same time spends time on his hobbies – writing poetry and drama. He is a popular child in his school known for his leadership qualities and his talent in writing.

Just as the name of the project suggests Swanirvar (Self-sustained, self-reliant) – has been focusing on building a community which is self-sustained, aimed at societal and individual growth. One of the key focus areas of Swanirvar has been providing quality training to teachers who in turn can provide quality education to children who do not have access to qualitative learning. Vibha has especially focused on providing the funding to train the teachers since the dearth of properly trained teachers in rural India serves as among the biggest challenge to improve the quality of education in that region. Teachers serve as role model, bring quality learning tools and enable talented students such as Saimul Gazi to perform at high levels and thus enable us to make an impactful difference in the lives children supported through the project. Vibha has been partnering with Swanirvar since 2006 and the journey has been an incredible one, positively affecting the lives of almost 300 children.

We encourage each and every one of you reading this story to join Vibha’s goal of raising $200,000 till end of the year so we can together help more children like Saimul and make the impact.  Please join our campaign at vibha.org.

- written by Mahua Chatterjee

Story of Manek Jana – Making most of Opportunities

Opportunities are hard to find but when young people like Manek Jana get an opportunity, they make the best of it by working hard and provide path for others to make something out of those opportunities.

Manek is now 20 years old and comes from an extremely financially challenged background.  Manek became a part Sarada Kalyan Bhandar(SKB), in 2nd Grade, and worked very hard to stay in school and maintain his grades.  He completed his 12th Grade with SKB’s continued support and currently is a final year student in Bachelors majoring in Chemistry. You would think what is so different about Manek?

Manek today teaches science to children of 9th and 10th grade who are in SKB. In his own words, Manek feels SKB instilled great values in him, which he is thankful for, every day of his life. These values and the goal of SKB inspired and motivated him to help the others. It is the only way he feels, he could give back for the opportunity he got as a child. He regularly visits his neighbors to motivate them to send their children to school and get education- which he believes is the greatest opportunity of life!

Sometimes the simplest successes are huge parameters of development and provide an urge to follow those directions, bringing difference in others’ lives.

SKB is a rural educational welfare center, based in a remote village in Midnapore, West Bengal, India, dedicated to providing opportunities for academic & all round development of rural children. Vibha has been partnering with SKB since 2005, and has reached out to more than 500 children till date. This is an enormous achievement for SKB and Vibha, to be able to touch so many lives consistently- and you have been the backbone for this tremendous effort! We at Vibha are geared to continue encouraging more Maneks to come forward and walk together with us to achieve our dream and be part of this journey.
- written by Mahua Chatterjee

Dr. Ravi Sarma generously donates $5000 to BCT for Hudhud reconstruction

Mother Nature once again shows her dominance with the extensive devastation caused to Vizag and the neighboring coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, India, by cyclone ‘Hudhud’, with wind speeds close to 200Km/hr.

Bhagavatula Charitable Trust (BCT), an organization that Vibha has been supporting for the past 8 years, did not escape the destruction. Vibha is currently supporting two projects – BCT Model Residential School and BCT Tribal Children Education. The infrastructure of the BCT Model residential School (Class rooms, Vocational training center for the Handicapped, and the Boarding facilities) is severely damaged. The damage to the BCT Tribal Schools in 7 remote villages is still being assessed.

Impact Report from BCT

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                                BEFORE                                                             AFTER

Vibha had immediately approved $10,000 for the immediate restoration of all activities. In addition – various donors have generously responded to Vibha`s call for donations including Dr Ravi Sarma – whose donation of $5000 has now taken the total to more than $25000 (including Vibha`s $10000). “My association with BCT and Vibha during the past two decades leads me to believe that the two organizations will continue to work in rebuilding after the recent calamity that befell Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram districts in AP. I hope my small contribution will help in this rebuilding process” said Dr. Sarma.

“BCT has been fortunate enough to have a good friend in Dr. Ravi Sharma, who has been a source of guidance and encouragement for the past two decades. Thanks to him and his family’s generous donation, through Vibha, our Residential High School girls have a good comfortable dormitories. And, this additional donation of $5000 will help us restore quickly from the HudHud Cyclone impact.  In the same note, I also want to highlight the partnership with VIBHA that has led BCT to provide education to the children in some of the tribal regions of Visakhapatnam, where BCT has not hitherto worked. We will continue to provide innovative education to the rural and tribal regions of Visakhapatnam in partnership with VIBHA. We are thankful to Vibha for immediately allocating $10,000 for the reconstruction effort after the cyclone and encouraging the donors to donate towards this effort“per Sriram Bhagavatula – COO of BCT.

If you would like to support BCT in this effort, please make a donation.  All the funds collected through this effort will be exclusively earmarked for BCT and will be disbursed towards its reconstruction.

DONATE HERE

 – Compiled by Rohan Bafna with input from Vijay Vemullapalli (Secretary, Board) , Murthy Munagavalasa (Director of Projects)

3 Vibha Projects selected by Amazon India CSR Initiative

As many of you know that India was the first country to have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) legislation mandating companies with net worth of 5 Billion Rupees to give 2% of their net profits for last 3 years to charitable causes.

Since this legislation was passed – Vibha has been aggressively working with various Corporations in India to pick Vibha projects for their CSR cause. Thanks to the tireless efforts by some dedicated Vibha members in India – results are materializing.

Amazon India has picked 3 of Vibha’s projects – Vidyarambam, Bhagvatula Charitable Trust and Sikshana for their CSR initiative “Gift A Smile”.

The Amazon Gift A Smile Foundation has launched an initiative by which 25 NGOs with various social causes can create “wishlist” of items they need. These items range from educational toys, books, sports equipment, clothes, hygiene products and many many more.  Amazon Customers can now gift towards these wishlists and make a direct impact to these Projects.

For more details on the Amazon Gift A Smile initiative – read the following article: http://www.ibtimes.co.in/amazon-india-widens-reach-gift-smile-initiative-before-diwali-611358

If you are an Amazon Customer then please select us for the Smile Amazon initiative, where you can make your purchases at smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase to Vibha.  Go to smile.amazon.com and select “Help Them Grow Inc, Vibha” as the charity to support and have a guilt free shopping !!!

This Diwali…light a “Diya” of hope for Priyanka…

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A father who abandoned her and her family of her mother, 2 brothers and one sister (who was abandoned by her husband)…. Priyanka dreams a good life for herself and her family. With a meagre income and every day struggles, Priyanka was encouraged by HEARDS (Health. Education, Adoption, Rehabilitation Development Society) to join one of their centers for 2 years and successfully was mainstreamed into a Government school in 6th Grade. Priyanka is now doing her Bachelors in Commerce, and hopes to work for the Banking sector. Her dream was to be a Doctor, but the financial situation made her compromise with her dream, but nevertheless she is motivated to build a good life for herself and help other- she helped 2 children out of child labor!!

Founded in 1999 Health Education, Adoption, Rehabilitation Development Society (HEARDS) has consistently making efforts to eradicate child labor, and supporting child rights, through sustained and well-focused programs. Vibha has been partnering with HEARDS since 2005 and one of the programs alone, located in Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh), has made a difference to more than 300 children!

While you light your “diyas” of hope, happiness and health, take a minute to consider lightening up the lives of many such young children like Priyanka, who have dreams, yet to be fulfilled….

Donate to light a ray of hope this Diwali…..HAPPY DIWALI!!!

To donate and learn more about our programs and project, please visit, www.vibha.org.

-Written by Mahua Chatterjee

Vibha Atlanta Dream Mile 2014 – A historic success!

10616328_360032667485127_7699183111338278208_nThe 16th annual flagship fundraiser of Vibha, a not-for- profit organization, focused on childhood education and health, the Dream Mile, 2014 saw more than 1700 participants, organized at the upscale lifestyle shopping destination, The Collection at Forsyth. This was by far the hugest turnout of participants for Dream Mile, coming together for one single cause- to educate, to empower and to enable, every child who deserves an opportunity. A new feather in the cap for Dream Mile this year was the USATF Certification of the 5K route and it thus became a Peachtree Road Race qualifier.

The efforts of more than 200 volunteers included, middle and high school students who are part of the youth wing of Vibha, popularly known as Vibha Youth, and their hard work showed in the smooth organization and execution. Vibha volunteers started their day at 5AM to finalize arrangements for the course set up, parking, food and drinks etc. on the site. By 7AM the place was buzzing with activity on several fronts – registrations, children’s activity center, and booths by several partnering organizations. The metro Atlanta community have made Sept 20th, 2014 a memorable day when they took the challenge of raising over $170K for the cause of underprivileged children, and the zeal and enthusiasm was inspiring. This year Vibha Atlanta also witnessed a phenomenal corporate initiative by the employees of Paramount Software Solutions, by way of Employee Contribution fundraising for an amount of $10,000- an effort for which Vibha team was extremely touched.

Mr. Pramod Sajja, President, Paramount Software Solutions and Title Sponsor of the Dream Mile kicked off the 10K Run , Mrs. Namita Tirath, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Pyramid Consulting did the honors for the 5K Run and Rob Thomas, Senior Vice President, Manhattan Associates kicked off the 5K Walk.

Speaking on the event, Kishore Krishnan, Coordinator of the Dream Mile 2014 said, “Vibha has been consistently and single mindedly working towards childhood development specially focusing on their education and healthcare. We have been elated and encouraged about the growing participation of the community with every year in Georgia. This year’s overwhelming response has been of extreme encouragement for us, the volunteers, who have worked so hard to see this day!”

Vir Nanda, Chief Guest of the occasion gave away the prizes to 10K runners and also the awards to Volunteers. Anoop Sinha was honored with Sumathi Mahajan Volunteer of the Year award for his dedication and hard work. Khushboo Sarda was the recipient of the Youth Volunteer of the Year award and Vikas Movva for his long standing contribution to Vibha. Sanket Mehta, a youth volunteer for Vibha since the 5th grade, received the STAR Volunteer of the Year Award and the President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award. Rohan was also awarded the STAR Volunteer of the Year Award. Srinivas Nimmagadda, Founder & CEO, Vensai Technologies, Ram Ganesan, President & CEO, Datum Software, Ramesh Maturu, Co-founder and President Pyramid Consulting and Pramod Sajja, President, Paramount Software Solutions gave away the prizes to winners. Eddie Capel, CEO of Manhattan Associates felicitated the Sponsors Ram Ganesan of Datum Software and Prasanth Kollipara of Bytegraph productions with a Plaque for their long standing contribution.

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Ravi Narayan finished the 5K Run (Men) with an impressive timing of 22:06 mins, followed by Mark Morawski who finished the race in 24.01 mins. In the Women’s category Natalia Beinenson won the 5K Run who finished at 25:55 min, followed by Samhita Mallavarapu at 26:36 mins. The 10K Run (Men) winner was Sergio Torres who finished at 39:04 min and was followed by Adam Patten at 39:49 mins. In the Women’s category Rysper Sirma finished the 10K Run at 44:59 mins, who was followed by Niral Solanki at 49:10 mins.

The 5K Walk (Men) winners were Sanjay Saggere finishing at 37:24 mins, followed by Manikandan Gangadhar at 37:33 min, while in the category Veena Bhat at 39:43 mins was the winner followed by Manjiree Sreekumar at 40:03 min.

The detailed race results are available with the timings at http://thedreammile.org/atlanta/atl-event- info/atl-results.

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