Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Deeds of Giving are Your chance to Build a Life.

Education, a lifeline and a back bone for our future Lives. Have we ever imagined if we weren't educated, what will be our lives? A moment when we can’t even spell our names too. Irony is that, we can’t even think of it. Our Bread and butter is based upon something which millions of children are striving for daily. There is nothing greater than spreading happiness and making future of someone. Here is a school, which provide not only free education to orphan children but also build their right personality. There are many school out there providing the same, but the difference Banyan community school gives is the right and healthy atmosphere for every child.
Banyan Community School provides children not only education but also solid foundation for a successful future for the entire family, but also translates into the development of communities over time.
The villagers find solace in simply-constructed structures that serve as schools. Learning in open spaces, in the fields, under the trees, these schools have help to bring communities together and allowed them to dream of a life they would want for their children. This unity enables continual development and expansion of communities thus helping to bring them closer to achieve better life and to create a self-sustaining tribal community. The continual development and expansion brings communities closer towards achieving a better life and creating a self-sustaining tribal community.
“We measure education not only through academic performance but also through the overall success and satisfaction of the individual. Our holistic approach aims to develop children to excel in all aspects of life – socially, psychologically and materially. The methodology promotes cognitive, physical, emotional, social and spiritual growth, thus leading to an education that is complete” said the Principal.
Looking at the recent figures, in about 20 million children, about 4% of their population in India and higher than people living in Delhi, are orphan. Of them, parents of only 0.3% children have died and rest have been abandoned. The figure is result of a study done by analyzing data from National Family Health Survey-3 for the year 2005-06 and the population estimation by the Census of India to find the dark spots for children below the age of 18 in India.
But what the study highlight is that a large number of children in India struggle to survive leave alone having access to education and other welfare measures. Some of these children end up being trafficked or pushed into illegal works. Many of the children who are trafficked are those whose parents have died or they have been abandoned.
Street children in India may be homeless because their family is homeless through poverty or migration, or because they have been abandoned, orphaned or have run away. It is not unusual to see whole families living on the sidewalks of Bangalore, or rows of individual children sleeping around the railway station.
Homeless children have the odds stacked against them. They are exposed to the elements, have an uncertain supply of food, are likely miss out on education and medical treatment, and are at high risk of suffering addiction, abuse and illness. A single child alone on the streets is especially vulnerable.
"The purpose of the Banyan school is for students to learn about a part of life they would not find in their textbook," explained faculty. "We wanted to make studies more interesting and give students a richer understanding of what was happening during the time period we were studying. This project went beyond the textbook; we were able to bring in real life experiences and to interact with other classes."
Poverty is the prime cause of the street children crisis. Children from well-off families do not need to work, or beg. They live in houses, eat well, go to school, and are likely to be healthy and emotionally secure.Poverty dumps a crowd of problems onto a child. Not only do these problems cause suffering, but they also conspire to keep the child poor throughout his/her life. In order to survive, a poor child in India will probably be forced to sacrifice education and training; without skills the child will, as an adult, remain at the bottom of the economic heap.
In Banyan Community School, students are encouraged to broaden their vision and deepen their roots by appreciating their own cultural heritage as well as that of other nations. They are provided with modern tools as well as the moral and spiritual strength needed to face the challenges of modern day living.
About Banyan Community School
As a non-profit organization, we are looking for a connectivity to the normal public. Our core project is the Banyan Community School through which we are providing free education to 350 children from stone quarries and orphanages. The main focus of the article can be on the free ducation and the quality of education we provide to the children in international standards. The school also provides midday meal, supplementary nutrition powder and monthly health check up, skill development programs for a sustainable living once they come out of Banyan Community School.

For more details visit: www.lovedalefoundation.org
Ph: 080-65908001, 9886789565

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Hopes of tomorrow

The lovely winter awoke from a long sleep
And widens its wings to the whole world
With a freezing cold and a tiny rays
To bring hope for better tomorrow

She smiles with cold tears,
Sings with chilled heart
And the melody strike into the heart
And embraces with a warmth of love

The days moves as fast as it can
To change the lives of many
And to module a new life
With the kind gentle hearts

The day is too short
With the glazing little moon
Which gives a hope for many
Even under the dark shadows

There is no tiredness
There are no plans for tomorrow
But the wheels of winter moves fast
To achieve the highest glory in the near future

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Why are we alone?

                I am not passionate about why these many kids are know by the name ‘ORPHAN’ but I am doubtful about the treatment of these children in the society. Every day the numbers of orphanages, the enrolment in orphanages are increasing, along with the reasons to be an orphan. Is it because of their destiny or are they born to be orphan? Would they be ready to born if they are aware of the fact that they are gonna be called as ‘ORPHANS’ throughout their life?

            When I write this article, many stories glimpse in my mind about the stories I heard from different people and experienced the life situations of many. ‘Parents are always a blessing for one who do not have any and often children who hesitate to listen to the parents are mostly feel like, why can’t they be bit more soft to me unlike my friends parents.

                Unlike any other child, few qualities I observed from the children are, they are adjustable to any harsh and soft situations and have the will power to face any difficulties. As an individual we can provide everything such as accommodation, comfortness, living facilities but not a ‘Father or Mother.

                As kind hearted individuals like us can have an attitude of support, care and love and openness to accept who they are and what they are and willingness to support them to brings more life to our ‘Happy Life’.

Cover Photo courtesy: http://vanessagezari.com/system/article_images/images/000/000/186/large/OT_204157_PEND_orphanage.jpg?1376329246

Thursday, 4 December 2014

The real heroes


Smile - many words, many expressions, many interpretations, many faces but only one feeling. Anybody can become a hero, millionaire, celebrity but the real heroes always stand behind the Curtain. We all are born to meet a purpose drawn by Him, few of us serve it gently, others make it their way and few of them go against it. But the inborn potentials remains within them to do justice to  the work. When you feel to lift your single finger to help a person, your heart prepares you to carry him, when you feel to give some thing to a man, your mind prepares you to buy something, or search your pocket for few coins, when you handover a things to a needy person do not stop your heart to think further more for a second donation. The moment you feel that you have done your duty, you are unknowingly becoming blind to many things in the world. It can be affection, sadness, love and belongingness. Your gentle touch, presence for a moment or a small amount of money can make a huge difference in the lives of many. Wen you complain about one thing, there would be people sitting with zero's and smiling at their problems. It's difficult for a person to laugh at his failure or loss and make others smile, because each human beings are born with limited capacities. But the smile you made on an unknown person may not be recognized by many but a single smile conveys a lot.

If you agree with my thoughts, share this with your friends, if not, comment your views, and let the world know different interpretations for 'smile'. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

“For now I ask no more than the justice of eating”

The primary purpose of each human being striving to be employed, achieve, earn and saving is to survive without hunger throughout the life. Each time I hold a spicy, crispy, tasty burger and chew it under the air conditioned restaurant, i forget all the tension for a moment and relax myself. It’s not only in burger, any food i love to eat gives a lot of relaxation. How about a moment we are stuck with huge targets and running behind the complexities of career achievement during lunch time? Do you ever felt that you haven’t done justice to yourself?
 For many, the hunger enters into their life as an uninvited guest who screw them top to bottom and not letting them to have even a free of thought. A silent tragedy continues to play out in many homes and streets in our country about 200 million go to bed with empty stomach. In Anagalpura village also, the situation is same. The parents fight hard to the strong, thick stones, breaking them into pieces and carrying them on their shoulders. They know the real value of each coin that they get after working in the heavy sun. The sun loots their energy, hopes and enthusiasm and push them down to earth at the end of each day. At the dawn, they still awake before the sun enters into their eyes and start to fight with stones again. The ultimate reason is to see the smile on their kids face and embrace them with a plate of meal every day.

The Feed The Children program began in the year 2004 by Lovedale Foundation to abolish the cycle of poverty in Anagalpura. The program was piloted in Banyan Community School where free education is guaranteed to the children from marginalized, abandoned, under privileged and destitute in Anagalpura village. FTC program had a positive impact in selective cases (e.g., enhancing enrolment, attendance and lowering drop out of students) which are essential for achieving the higher level of academic performance of students particularly belongs to BPL level students residing in the rural areas in the state of Karnataka. The program allows the students to fill their tiny stomachs with tasty food and snacks without fail. The school provides three times meal in a day including nutrition drink, lunch and snacks to abolish the cycle of poverty and encourage them to avail the free education.
At the beginning of every week, the retention was very high due to the empty stomach at weekends and it forces them to reach school at the earliest. Furthermore, FTC program has some other benefits like removal of classroom hunger, social and gender equality and formation of good habits of students (like washing their own hands and utensils before meal ) other than academic achievement in school. But in order to get satisfactory outcomes, FTC program should be incorporated with the ongoing health awareness programs across our project centers. We indeed require adequate support from    individuals and corporates for the sustainability of this program to expand it to other states in the country. For further details please get connected with us through info@lovedalefoundation.org

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Hidden Faces of Metro City

Ohh, Bangalore!, the IT hub!
I was so excited to move to Bangalore for my further studies a few years ago. The infrastructure, culture, modern amenities in the educational institutions pulled me to this amazing city. I always wondered, the huge developmental steps taken by the government and system followed by each individual in the city. During my studies, as a part of exposure visits, we were taken to few Govt. Schools and slums in the city. The situations in the communities were so pathetic to believe in the middle of this ‘Metro City’. I have asked this question to many people, as being one of the most advanced, systematic and ever growing cities in India, how does Karnataka has huge number of dropouts, illiterates and unemployed youths? When the students from other parts of the state and country choose Bangalore as the best location to learn and settle down, the localities finds it difficult to adjust with the living conditions and proper utilization of resources in their own state. 

The history of our country has been checked, from pre-colonial times to the present but always available to only a privileged few. The post independence period herald promises by the government and silence on critical areas in the provision of education for its citizens. Eminent educationists, various committees and commissions have lent their might and shaped elementary education system in India resulting in the passage of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE Act).
Most of the commission reports the recommendations such as the nature and quality of teacher training needs to be reviewed and enhanced significantly. Teachers need to be appropriately and adequately trained as teachers play as significant role in ensuring learning outcomes for the children. Teachers need to be trained and equipped with necessary skills and competency to address the varying needs of students in their class. Teachers needs to be inspiring and motivating and they should have the competency to devise appropriate methods for teaching children by helping the latter to create knowledge by combining information and their experiences outside classroom.
When many parents are afraid to send their children to school due to exploitation of students physically and mentally, the parents in Anagalpura village feels so happy to send their children to ‘ Banyan Community School. The Banyan Community School is run by Lovedale Foundation, focuses on promoting quality education and reserves its admission to only those people living Below Poverty Line as measured in India, children with special needs, children from slums and orphans.
In order to create model quality education programme for the children, the Foundation has initiated a Model English Medium High School called Banyan Community School. Catering nearly 350 children. The school has developed a model infrastructure of 100% Eco friendly architecture, with grey and rain water harvesting, creative and artistic class rooms, children library, music rooms, computer lab, craft workshop, hygienic kitchen and dining room, providing most balanced nutritious midday meal, nutrient drinks, high cleanliness, neat and tidy dress code, physical practices, science lab, play ground, daily travel facilities etc.
 Honourable prime minister says on teacher’s day, “Serving the nation does not only mean doing grand things; doing small things is a big service to the nation.” We invite volunteers from all walks of life:  students, teachers, psychologists and anyone who would like to help us make a difference in the lives of our Banyan School students and their community.  If you would like to volunteer with us, please send an email to info@lovedalefoundation.org 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

“You don’t have to be poor to serve the poor”

           Every day we wakes up with lots of enthusiasm, strength and passion to do many things for others, but the end of the day we get back to bed with tiring face, confused mind and a guilty thought that the day was too busy. Each time when we see a mother at traffic holding her child, we tend to close the car window and turn our heads towards other side, but we love to tell others that I love charity and I have helped so many people in several ways but most of our charity works are not recognized.
              During the week of ‘Daan Utsav’ many corporate, individuals and benefactors come up with their portion of charity to different orphanages and the people in need. As a non-profit organization, Lovedale foundations also accept and encourage charity. We look after 350 children from orphanages and quarries to provide quality education, nutrition and skill development trainings with the help of volunteers and other like minded individuals. There are companies that visit the school. They spend a day with these angels. Most often they come with an attitude of giving, but by the end of the day they realize that it was not just a day of giving but rather they themselves have a lot to take back i.e. they had lot of happy memories too…

            The children are also benefited from the visit of the companies, they get to see a lot of people, learn the art of communication and interact with people. The children get an ambition looking at them to come up in life, to get out of this vicious circle of poverty. The Banyan Community School is known for its unique way of bringing up the underprivileged children. The school is surrounded in an Eco- friendly atmosphere, where children get an equal opportunity to learn and develop and also explore the latent talents in them.

          Several individual donors choose to be part of charity works to get a tax exemption, sometimes even without knowing the cause of why they are donating for. But the small or big donation can make a big difference in the life of people we serve. As the saying goes on “You don’t have to be poor to serve the poor”.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

CSR Meets Banyan

The day was set, the team arrived. Five Vans and a Jeep load of people from the corporate world to conduct a one-day program for the children at the Banyan on the 12th of May, 2014. Many of the children who had wanted to come earlier were caught-up with their suddenly arranged health check-up and another bunch too tired to wake up from the previous day's picnic at one of the orphanages they come from. Good that the children are happy; afterall, it is the best interest of the child that we care about. 

However, with a happy bunch of kids (almost 50) who had reached us, the day started; while the kids admirably waited patiently before the visiting corporate team got a quick round of presentation on 'Breaking the cycle of violence and injustice' and a tour around the school. Many of them realized why we have the clause, "Do not ask personal questions to children and Do not break down or cry infront of the children" when they had a chance to get a glimpse of one life projected to them. There are over 400 such stories at the backdrop of every smiling child one gets to see at present at The Banyan and not many can bear the details of their past. 

After that, the surprisingly blazing sun of Bangalore could not deter the team from conducting some sports events in the open ground in which the kids participated with joy. Back in the shades, after sitting down for lunch with the kids, the team conducted a painting competition and gave away prizes to the children they felt had performed well. At the end of the day, every child went back with some take-away token of love from the visitors.

Interestingly, amidst many clustered hiccups in arranging events in short notice, I was wondering how everything falls in place once we learn to complain less and begin to see the bigger picture and to see some children who are less privileged than most of us or our children who have someone to call as their parent, and to have some one to nurture them and shower them with love and care one day just like these kids in Banyan did... especially a day just after what the world celebrated as 'Mother's Day'.

Thank You ServiceMax. We really appreciate it...  

Friday, 9 May 2014

When The Corporate Treadmill Stops

Recently, while with a group of young people at ServiceMax, a corporate office in Bangalore to discuss about the ways in which they can pitch in through their csr activities for the children at The Banyan Community School, I realized a shift of energy of the people in that "Meeting Room" as we started getting a little deeper into the presentation; from serious corporate strategies and logical lateral thoughts that they were used to, that would come straight from their head, they were sitting around smiling and thinking like children long lost in memories of their childhood as they drafted plan after plan to engage and entertain the children that seemed to flow straight from their heart. 

At times like these, I humbly bow to these wonderful souls who despite running a rigorous corporate treadmill find time to get in touch with the softer, calmer and sensitive side of their souls to ensure a lingering smile on the faces of children they hardly know.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Marching Forward

As we are in the process of setting back systems, policies and codes in place, a new team gears up taking up various roles and positions at LDF with fresher ideas, missions and goals to achieve; each day at LDF is packed with energy engaging with people and their dreams-for themselves as well as the organization. 
The thrill of adventure in the young and the bliss of achievement in others is something worth watching as the team grows filling up with professionals flowing in from diverse cultures and a diaspora of traditions. They say there is something magnetic about LDF that attracts people to work with us and I do stand to witness it and testify the same. 
As we carefully select the team to ensure that they are not just passionate in words yet also in action, I look forward to seeing a fuller team that will support one another and have the joy of working together in a place that looks forward to put back the smile in every child's face.
In the pic. Children from The Banyan smile with a new hope during a program that connects them to a part of the world that appreciates and accepts them better. Pic. courtesy: Ms. Jeny Verma.

Monday, 14 April 2014

What Does It Mean?!

Last week, there was a Parents-Teachers meeting held at the Banyan-the school that children from vulnerable communities take pride to walk into. Post meeting, the results for the previous academic year were announced and report cards distributed in the classrooms. Nothing different ofcourse...
While walking through the corridors, thinking of the celebrations that will be happening in some of their homes, I realized that some of the parents were holding the report cards in their hands and scratching their heads and seemed confused inside the classrooms. Making an enquiry, I realized that most of the parents neither knew how to read nor to write and were clueless what the "A's", "A+" and "%" in the cards they were holding meant; those letters and numbers in small boxes seemed to them like strange symbols they said and were wondering if their children had done any serious mistake. Interestingly, some of the kids who had got a series of A+s and high percentiles, which we seem to understand, came from homes where the parents had never gone to school and who needed help in understanding that a simple pat, a smile and a sweet word of appreciation can do magic to these kids who were already doing wonders here at school.
Miles to go before we sleep...   

Saturday, 12 April 2014

To Answer The Question, "Who Are You?"

Lovedale Foundation (LDF) is a fully integrated not-for-profit organization that delivers innovative module of community-based holistic programs in rural India since 2001. With a Vision, “To provide intellectual and moral leadership by igniting the minds of children and youth to realize their potential and make positive contributions to the society and to the nation at large,” LDF intends to redefine the existing system of charity activities into highly effective development initiatives through scalable and sustainable solutions. LDF has not only accomplished numerous milestones but is also creating an institution that is a unique model of a community movement that takes responsibility for its weak and vulnerable sections of the society.

In the pic. Remember the time when our hands would rise before our minds could think when the teacher asks us a question?(!) A child from 'The Banyan' a school run by Lovedale Foundation, which thrives for international standards in promoting quality education and reserves its admission to only those people living Below Poverty Line-as measured in India, children with special needs, children from slums and orphans. Will pen about it in the next posts to come...