Vibha: Investing In The Future

 

Imagine giving a child a beautiful edition of a classic book, ornately decorated and written in an elegant font. Now imagine that child hasn’t been taught to read. Maybe they will appreciate the rough feel of the paper beneath their fingertips, and perhaps some of the illustrations will tell parts of a wonderful story. But for anyone who has ever truly lost themselves in a book, you know that the true magic, the true joy of the story is in the text. The child can’t access that magic if they can’t read.

Money can sometimes be just like that book: a generous gift with good intentions, but one that won’t last more than a moment. Used, discarded, forgotten, on to something new.

 

Giving the gift of a future is a powerful thing.

From the money you put into the collection tin at your local supermarket to the monthly direct debit payment you make to the charity of your choice, you feel part of something, contributing to a worthy cause.

In the current economically uncertain times we find ourselves living in, giving help to those who need it is even more crucial, and even more difficult. It is hard to know if the money you invest is going to reach those who you intend it for. It is hard to know who to help, because let’s face it: so many people need our help.

 

At Vibha we understand this.

 Vibha numbers

 

It isn’t just about giving money to a good cause. It is about investing in projects that are long-lasting, that will benefit the people we want to help for years to come. It is about seeing the positive results of your help. In essence, it is about helping children have a future that without help, they cannot even dream of.

For over 20 years, Vibha has been the movement that has matched generous donations with exceptional projects. More than $10 million has been invested in initiatives that do more than just give money where it is needed. These projects are set up to help overcome systemic problems and educate – to help people to help themselves.

From new school shoes, to improving reading, writing and arithmetic in public schools, to helping eradicate child labour in the poorest of areas; it is easy to see what a difference is being made, and what possibilities for the future these investments will bring.

 

Our Focus

Vibha’s main focus areas for our projects are:

  1. Education
  2. Vocational training
  3. Care for physically and/or mentally challenged children
  4. Rescue and rehabilitation of children in vulnerable conditions

These are the areas that we believe matter most, because these are the foundations on which we feel great futures can be built.

Please help us build on these foundations.

Please give the gift of hope.

 

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2015 Vibha Dallas Kite Flying Festival

By: Anjali Gonuguntla

It was a beautiful, bright, sunny, and moderately windy Saturday afternoon at Frisco Commons Park, Frisco Texas. I stepped onto the pavilion, which was swarming with people clad in identical neon green shirts, busily working to arrange kites, briskly opening toys, quickly organizing boxes, and laying out drinks in a hurried, but determined and orderly manner. It was a race against time itself! There were only 30 minutes left till it would officially commence! I was also wearing one of these bright green shirts, getting hyped up to welcome our guests to the festival. I took a confident breath, and ran up to my place on the pavilion – right next to the amplifier and right behind the mic, ready to host alongside Vibha Volunteer, Nimitt Sharma. Within a few minutes, I got the music running, and we had music playing just as the preparation for all of the activities had finished. I took a deep breath, and spoke into the mic:

“Welcome! To this year’s annual Vibha Kite Flying Festival!”

As my voice echoed throughout the park, a large crowd of people started to walk over into the pavilion, and into the inviting fields beyond.  They enthusiastically snacked on food while chatting with each other, sharing jokes, and playing games! All the attendees were dressed in picnic clothes, and many brought their families. The crowd had a large smile on their face, as did the volunteers. “I was pleasantly surprised by the demographics of the participants of the annual celebration of kites. I saw babies and preteens and teens and uncles and aunties and grandparents, all enjoying the idea of fresh air with the rest of the community” said Youth Volunteer Varun Bojji.  The addition of Chettinad Palace catering piping hot Vadas, Samosas, Dosas, Chicken 65, and Chai added a new attraction to this year’s festival.

Vibha KFF originally took shape in 2003. This event initially started out as a family fun event and STEM awareness event on kites.  From a small scale festival 12 years ago, KFF has grown into a large event, attracting around 1500 attendees this year, which is a great accomplishment, considering that 8 years ago, our attendance was a mere 100 people! This year, we had 60 volunteers, of which 40 were from the Dallas VIBHA youth group.

There were many activities to ensure that none of our guests would be bored! Our booths included Kites, Face Painting, Mehndi, Kids Carnival, Snacks & drinks. All booths were very busily worked to keep up with eager customers. Donations came ringing in for colorful kites with their favorite characters.  The girls lined up for mehndi, while all the toddlers had butterflies, balls, and flowers painted onto their faces. Kids of all ages participated at the Kite Making table, unleashing their creative side and giving birth to very unique and original kites, with customized drawings and colors that spanned the spectrum. “The most memorable moment from the festival was when I was helping on the kite making table and I saw these little kids, faces lighting up, as they made their own kite, for presumably one of the first times of their lives.” ~Rooshi Nagar, Vibha Youth volunteer, Age 14.

For the past couple of years, we have had a tradition of hosting an “On-The-Spot Talent Show”. This show involves kids being able to pledge money towards the cause of Vibha, and show off one of their talents for three minutes. This year, the Youth Group volunteers performed dances to kick start the talent show.  People joined in, and were soon in an upbeat mood, ready to show off their talents! The show lasted for two and half hours, and brought in a large portion of our revenue.

The Kite Flying festival has brought together the Indian Communities of the DFW Metroplex. “I enjoyed the atmosphere that the Vibha organization created. Overall, I noticed the positive change that Vibha made by bringing more and more people in the Dallas area a sense of societal togetherness by hosting these memorable events.” ~Varun Bojji, Vibha Youth Volunteer.

Truly Kite Flying Festival is now a tradition our community looks forward to. It is destined to grow bigger and have a larger impact for Vibha.

Find your Everest!

By:  Prathibha Tammana and Photo Credits to  Anjali Gonuguntla

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon in Plano, Texas when a large group of Vibha Dallas Youth volunteers and parents arrived at Parr Library.  Amidst friendly hugs and warm welcomes, everyone was greeted and seated in anticipation of the Award Ceremony. TV Asia media coverage team was all set up and ready to record history in the making! Anjali Gonuguntla, our young and wonderful Vibha Youth volunteer photographer was ready to capture moments of accomplishments as they came about throughout the afternoon.

Presided by Mr. Sanjive Agarwala, Senior Director, Texas Instruments and Ms. Shabnam Modgil, Chief marketing Office of FunAsia Radio 104.9FM, the function promptly began at 3pm. Aakash Tammana, Vibha Youth Volunteer started off with introductions. In attendance were Hyma Mylavarapu, Dallas Action Center Coordinator, Prathibha Tammana, Vibha Dallas Youth Group Coordinator and Arvind Peechara, long term leader and supporter of Dallas Action Center.

This was not going to be just another regular award ceremony – the afternoon was kicked off with an energetic and bold performance by Bubbling Frogs! This group of Vibha Youth Volunteers adopted Vidyarambam, a Vibha project, and raised a whopping $5100 through their creative means and innovative methods such as hand-designed custom flip flops as appreciation gifts!

Deepti Aravapalli, Young entrepreneur from Bricks, Bots and Beakers was our sponsor for the evening. She noted “Today, we are pleased to sponsor Vibha, a remarkable program with a mission to serve underprivileged kids in our community. We hope to continue to work with you, so that we can provide the next generation of Vibha volunteers with the critical thinking skills they need in order to solve problems in our community. In addition, we hope to bring the B3 program to the same underprivileged children that Vibha actively tries to help”. Thank you Deepti! We are very thankful for your support!

As Youth volunteers were called to the stage, one after another, friends and family swarmed to the center of the room with their eyes full of admiration, filling the room with the flashes of the cameras. There were 20 Presidential Volunteer Service Awards given away – 12 Gold, 2 Silver and 6 Bronze. Together, it amounted to more than 1800 hours dedicated to service in the year 2014 alone! It was a proud moment, one filled with a great sense of satisfaction even as we realize we have miles to go!“Find your Everest” said the 2015 Asian American Engineer of the year, Mr Sanjive Agarwala. Quoting Himanshu Parwani, he continued “Find something that you’re passionate about and channel that passion into compassion”. The words shared by this leader could not be more apt for the occasion.

Mrs Shabnam Modgil, Women of the Year 2012, chimed in on the importance of adding creativity to the journey that the youngsters were on. “Add Arts to your passion of STEM  (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)” she said, “STEAM is even better.” After all the cheers, applause, we settled into our tradition of supporting a service project during our monthly meetings. This time, we had the privilege of supporting an impactful organization called Meals on Wheels. For more than 40 years now, Meals on Wheels has fed homebound elderly, sick, and disabled individuals. They deliver more than a million meals a year and do it with the help of a large network of volunteers, just like us. Our service project to decorate lunch bags and placemats for them will bring a smile to those receiving meals. They prove that we care about them and they are not forgotten.

Well, Vibha Youth, You have done it and done it in style! Here is to 2015 and the challenge to give back more to the community we live in!

SVGives Day 2015: New Beginnings

It’s the first day of the new school year.

A group of nervous but excited five year olds are eyeing each other warily from their new desks in their new classroom, from behind new lunchboxes, new satchels and new pencil cases.

Fingers brush against the unfamiliar-feeling uniform, and you can be sure that some of them are already working holes in knees and sleeve cuffs. Neat ponytails are slipping, socks are falling down, and there are already smudges of dirt on some of their faces.

Today is the first day of the rest of their lives, and the world has an infinite number of opportunities open to them. Whatever their dreams are, whatever they want to learn to be, access to a good education is the key each child is presented with when they begin school, and it will open whatever doors they choose to open.

But what if children are never given that key?

 

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A Bleaker Picture

What if there are no desks, no proper classroom, no resources? What if there is no real school, or a school with nothing to offer its students because it simply doesn’t have the funding available?

What if the child doesn’t even have shoes to walk to school in?

This isn’t some bleak, dystopian novel of a possible future. This is a very real scenario facing thousands of children today, where the word new has no place.

No new books. No new shoes. No new anything.

Reality is so much crueller than fiction.

But the future need not be so cruel.

 

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An Invitation To Change

Vibha, through over 20 years of experience and investments of more than $10 million in 250 projects, invites you to do what you can to give these children their very own keys. We are not merely a fundraiser; we are investing in models that will ensure that education – what we feel is a natural, human right – is available to as many underprivileged children as possible.

Vibha invites you to take part in SVGives Day.

On Tuesday, 5th of May, 2015, by donating what you can to this incredible movement for change, you can contribute to the future of a child and give them the same opportunities that you had yourself.

 

SVGives Day Focus

Here is a taste of what we hope to achieve this year.

Target for SVGives Day – $70,000

  1. Sikshana – $25,000 for improving reading, writing and arithmetic levels of 5,000 children in public schools
  2. Alamb – $15,000 for vocational training for girls in basic computer training, garment making, and beautician courses
  3. Samavesh – $12,000 for providing quality education in public education system
  4. School van for HEARDS – $8,000 for rescuing children from hazardous working environments and providing quality education in special schools
  5. My New Read Shoes (Silicon Valley) – $10,000 for helping homeless and low income children look and feel confident by providing them with new shoes and clothing for school

On SVGives Day, between 12am PST and 11:59pm PST, you can contribute to these amazing causes by donating here. You can even pre-schedule donations now. Donations can be made by mobile for your convenience, and you will receive a donation receipt – donations are 100% tax free. If you have any questions the answers are here.

 

What We Ask Of You

Here are the five things we would love our donors to do:

  1. Spread the word! Tell your friends about Vibha.
  2. Mark your calendar for May-5 SVGives event. Donations of any size are appreciated.
  3. Encourage your friends to schedule their SVGives donation.
  4. Make a donation and/or encourage your friends to make a donation to Vibha on SVGives Day, May, 5, 2015.
  5. “Share” your SVGives donation on Facebook and “Like” our postings to show your support of Vibha.

 

Be a part of Vibha. Be a part of someone’s future.

 

 

Please give on SVGives Day.

 

Giving The Gift Of A Future

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There is an idiom that says prevention is better than cure.

If you treat a wound, you’ll be dealing with a smaller problem than if you let it become infected.

If you add the right spices at the right stage when you are cooking, your meal will taste better than if you throw everything in at the end (and have to cover up the poor taste with salt).

Vibha understands this idiom, in fact it is a principle that underpins our work.

Social Responsibility

We understand that fundraising is an important part of social responsibility when we want to help people less fortunate than ourselves.

We understand that what is even more important is supporting projects that ensure that fundraised money is invested in successful, scalable models to help the underprivileged children we are trying to help the most.

For twenty years, Vibha has invested over $10 million thanks to the generosity and big hearts of our donors. Through 250 projects 300,000 children have been given the same chances in life that we had ourselves. To put those numbers into perspective, in 2014 alone 50,000 children were supported by 35 projects in India (30) and the USA (5).

Making A Match

You could think of Vibha as a sort of matchmaking service. We want to match those who want to help underprivileged children – grass-root entrepreneurs, donors, volunteers, government agencies and partner NFOs – with our four areas of focus: education, vocational training, care for physically and mentally challenged children, and rescue and rehabilitation of children in vulnerable conditions. Fundraising allows us to do that and the way we work ensures that the money raised is invested in creating effective models that help resolve the systemic problems that prevent children from having access to what we feel are very basic rights.

Through seeding, growing and scaling such projects we can invest in the future instead of sticking a band aid over the present. We can make a difference. And even more importantly, we can help others to make a difference too, one that is durable and life changing.

Doesn’t that create an amazing, optimistic view of the future for those who need our help?

SVGives Day

On Tuesday, 5th of May, 2015, you can contribute to that vision. Participating in SVGives Day, by donating whatever you can, you get the chance to be a part of phenomenal change in someone’s life. You get to be a hero. In essence, you get to be vibha.

Because we, our donors and our volunteers are so passionate about this movement for change, we have some ambitious but attainable goals for 2015:

Target for SVGives Day – $70,000

Sikshana – $25,000 for improving reading, writing and arithmetic levels of 5,000 children in public schools
Alamb – $15,000 for vocational training for girls in basic computer training, garment making, and beautician courses
Samavesh – $12,000 for providing quality education in public education system
School van for HEARDS – $8,000 for rescuing children from hazardous working environments and providing quality education in special schools
My New Read Shoes (Silicon Valley) – $10,000 for helping homeless and low income children look and feel confident by providing them with new shoes and clothing for school

How You Can Help

On SVGives Day, between 12am PST and 11:59pm PST, you can contribute to these amazing causes by donating here. You can even pre-schedule donations now. Donations can be made by mobile for your convenience, and you will receive a donation receipt – donations are 100% tax free. If you have any questions the answers are here.

Here’s the five things we would love to see from our donors:
Spread the word! Tell your friends about Vibha
Mark your calendar for May-5 SVGives event. Donations of any size are appreciated.
Encourage your friends to schedule their SVGives donation.
Make a donation and/or encourage your friends to make a donation to Vibha on SVGives Day, May, 5, 2015
“Share” your SVGives donation on Facebook and “Like” our postings to show your support of Vibha

If you’re still not sure about your donation, watch this video from our inspiring volunteers who will tell you in their own words why Vibha is such an important contributor to a brighter future for children in need.

SVGives Day. Please help us to help make a difference to the lives of those that need it most.

Vibha Atlanta Plays Again

Chess volunteers

“Excellent planning”, “Smooth execution”, “Well organized”, “Great competition” were some of the comments being heard during Vibha Atlanta’s 12th annual Dream Play event sponsored by North Fulton Smiles.  The dedicated Vibha Altanta and Vibha Youth members worked tirelessly to make the event happen. The Vibha Youth members planned the fundraiser, designed the fliers, spread the word and did the publicity since last November to execute this event.

The youth lead for the Chess event was Khushboo Sarda with guidance from the parent lead, Rekha Savant. “We had around 170 players of all ages, young and old who wanted to play for a good cause and also compete at the same time. The enthusiasm and energy of the participants was evident from the way they surged into the venue as soon as the doors opened for the competition,” said Khushboo. The Chess Tournament, sponsored by H2K Infosys, was conducted first on Feb 7th, 2015 at South Forsyth Middle School. It took all day and attracted many participants ranging from students in elementary school to adults. Chess had 6 categories – Three rated (Championship, Reserve and Novice) and three unrated (Grades 3 and below, Grades 4 – 12 and Adults) which was professionally managed by Steve Schneider and Keith Sewell of Championship Chess.  The top three winners from each category were given trophies. A Star trophy was also given to  rated participants who had a score of 2.5 and higher.

The Table Tennis Tournament, sponsored by India Plaza, happened second and was conducted on Feb 28th Feb, 2015 at the Atlanta International Table Tennis Academy. The Youth lead for Table Tennis event was Jai Mareddy (under guidance of the parent lead Sayli Deshmukh). The TT event saw people from all ages participating for a good cause and competing with gusto. “A lot of the adults participated for the nostalgia and [enjoyed] the fact that they were able to give back to the community while having fun in the process,” admitted Jai. The tournament was managed by Archana Athalye of Archi’s Table Tennis Club.  Trophies were awarded to 1st place winners and the first runner up in the categories of Junior Singles, Men Singles, Women Singles, Men doubles and Mixed.

This was yet another successful year of a very well organized event by Vibha’s youth wing.  Events like these are an excellent opportunity for Vibha Youth to experience and develop leadership skills and contribute to a cause which helps underprivileged children.  Vibha Youth also provides an opportunities to do hands on volunteering locally to the youth of Atlanta.  Below are links to the different events!

http://events.vibha.org/atlanta/dreamplay

http://wiki.vibha.org/Atlanta:Vibha_Youth

Vibha Denver Paints Their Future

By Vibha Denver

Vibha Denver organized a Painting and Drawing Competition for children from ages five and up  on Feb 28, 2015. This is our first event for 2015. The event was used as an awareness event to raise awareness about Vibha and attract new volunteers. This event served also as a team building activity, since we had a few new volunteers join us late last year . The new volunteers were very enthusiastic and involved during the event. One of our new volunteers, Leena Keshwani volunteered to lead the event, and excelled in doing so. The enthusiasm and involvement from our volunteers boosts our confidence about the success of future events.  We also had a few new volunteers sign up for VIBHA, Denver. The turnout was good, inspite of the severe weather conditions on the day of the event. All the young artists who participated thoroughly enjoyed the event. We will incorporate what we learned from this event to chalk a clearer path while planning our next event for the year: Nritya 2015.

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