From the Editor's Desk:Sewa projects in various parts of Bharat havesucceeded in empowering the weaker sections of society. Every experiment andinnovation has been a success story of courage and certainty of accomplishmentthrough the involvement of society. Some are driven by individuals, some by agroup of volunteers while some are planned and executed by the organizations.The most effective yardstick of empowerment is the willingness of people toshare responsibility. Below-described sewa projects are just few examples.Every effort will have some achievement to be narrated though most of themgo unnoticed or unobserved by the mainstream media and society.
A BOOK BANK PROJECT OF SEVA BHARATI, MEGHALAYASTARTS THIS YEAR
Sewa Bharati, Meghalaya is starting its newproject “Book Bank” to help poor and needystudents from remote villages of East KhasiHills Districts of Meghalaya. Quick Heal, anantivirus company has provided financialassistance for this project.
It will provide the text books recommended by BMOSE to the poor students of class VIII, IX and X. In this educational year (Feb, 2008 to Nov. 2008) total 120 students will get benefited through this Book-Bank.
Thirty villages from Pynursla block of East Khasi hills District has been selected to search poor and needy students. 200 forms have been distributed among the students of class VIII to class X. Filled forms were to be accepted till 28thJanuary, 2008. The final list was to be prepared till 31stJanuary, 2008 and the book distribution ceremony will be held before reopening the schools i.e. in 2ndweek of February, 2008.
SREE VEENA VIDYA NIKETAN: A SCHOOL WITH A DIFFERENCE
While regular schools are ‘temples of learning’, Sree Veena Vidyaniketan goes beyond theadage. Apart from the regular curriculum, the school offers extracurricular activities like sports,sangeetha, nritya, yogasana, shlokas, vachanas, Sanskrit learning and vocational training.
Sree Veena Vidya Niketan was established in June 2000 by local like-minded individuals underthe guidance of Rashtrotthan Parishat. It started activity with pre-primary classes. This schoollocated amongst a tiny hamlet at Dodda Banaswadi, the northeastern periphery of Bangalorecity, is managed at local level by few dedicated individuals and it mainly caters to the childrenof the economically weaker sections of the society. It has now grown to the middle school leveland conducts classes up to 7thstandard. The strength for the academic year 2007-08 is 183 children and anticipated strength for 2008-09 is 250 children. There are in all eleven teachersand a Head Master with two assistants. The school follows the syllabus of Department ofPrimary Education, Government of Karnataka.
The school was started with the objective to impart sound education and inculcate goodsamskaras to those children who are generally deprived of these due to their social andeconomic background. The school shall always strive for the children of the downtrodden andthe economically weaker sections of the society. The school aims at educating and improvingthe overall quality of life of these children and families. The aim is to provide ‘world class’education at very little or ‘No Cost’.
All the children in the school are “First Generation” school goers and ‘slow learners’. Parents ofthese children are all daily wage earners. They are illiterates and rarely have the inclinationeither to educate their children or plan their lives. The parents would invariably prefer aworking child as it adds to the family income.
After running the school for little for the last 8 years the institution has brought about adifference. These children now realize that they have a chance to make it big in life. They nolonger go loitering; instead they now come to school. And this is what little hope can do to ahuman being. They have been shown that there is another world out there and that they can bepart of the world with sound education.
1. Bridge courses for new students to acclimatize them to the existing syllabus.
2. Evening study classes for all the children to enhance their performance in exams.
3. Personality development classes for one hour after school hours which include VedicMathematics, spoken English, Science club and Sanskrit.
4. Twice a week the school conducts Sanskrit for standard 3 – standard 7 where children aretaught to speak in Sanskrit and imparted knowledge of our precious cultural heritage.
Life Education: Inferiority complex, irrational fear, nervousness, shyness, aimless drifting,rootless living are the common features of the deprived children. To give them direction,inculcate values and enhance their self esteem and self confidence the institution organizes dailyprayer that includes shlokas, Saraswati vandana etc to improve their concentration and span ofaffection. Classes are held in sangeetha, nritya, yoga and Sanskrit for mental and physical well-being. Separate period is fixed for story-telling wherein mythological classes are held. Inaddition, stories of national martyrs are recited to inculcate self-pride, patriotic spirit, values andmorals. Science and history exhibitions are also organized. Talent competitions like essaywriting and painting, rangoli, mehandi, clay modelling, basket weaving, embroidery etc are alsopart of educational programme.
Educational Infrastructure: Note books, text books and writing instruments are necessaryinputs for education. The school provides these to the children free of cost along with three setsof uniforms, one pair of shoes and two pair of socks for each child. The members of the schoolcommittee along with volunteers and other like-minded individuals mobilize these from manygenerous individual donors.
Medical Check-Ups: The school conduct regular medical checkups thrice a year for all theschool children with the help and guidance of Dr. Chitra of Kamanhalli. Under her ableguidance the children spread awareness to the community about hygiene, common diseases andtheir prevention, cleanliness and nutrition.
Dental Check-Ups: Regular dental check-ups are held thrice a year and the importance of oraland dental hygiene is taught to all the children on a regular basis. This has been possible due tothe individual initiative of Dr. Madhumita.
Community Clinic: With the help and initiative of Dr. Vijay Lakhmi and Dr. Parmesh ofBangalore Diabetic Centre, Kammanhalli, regular monthly diabetes and B.P. Checkup is heldon the first Sunday of every month. It has been going on successfully for the past one year.
Future Plans: The management of the school is committed to the cause of imparting qualityeducation to the economically backward children at very low or no cost. The school will nowhave to progress to the secondary level and introduce the secondary sections. This will increasethe strength to 1500 to 2000 children in the next 5 years. To accommodate 1500 to 2000children, the Institution needs two sections of each class including pre-nursery, LKG, UKG, and1stStd to 10thStd. Currently the school is run from an old building given free of rent. Howeverthe building is small and can not accommodate more than 250 children. Further the school lacksa good library, minimally equipped laboratory and sanitation facilities. Many children come tothe school without having breakfast and faint many a time due to lack of nourishment.Providing mid-day meal to the children and if possible with biscuits and milk in the evenings isa necessity since they are under nourished.
The cost of running the school such as teachers’ salaries, administrative expenses, uniforms,text and note-books etc. works out to approximately Rs. 1300/- per child-per month. The schoolhas fixed monthly fees of only Rs. 125/- and admission/annual fee of Rs. 500/- per-child.However, many parents are not capable of paying even this small amount. But no child isdenied admission due to non-payment of fees since the motive of the school is to educate thesetypes of children who are normally neglected both by the parents and by the other educationalinstitutions. The management of the school has succeeded in getting a piece of land measuring15000 sq ft allotted by the Bangalore Development Authority.
Drawing of building plan and approval by BDA are now remaining to be done. A very wellknown architect has come forward to make the plan and designs for the school free of hischarges.
SAMSKRITA BHARATI INTRODUCES NEW SCHEMES TO ENHANCE THESAMSKRIT FRATERNITY
Samskrit Bharati, known the world over for its 10 day spoken Samskrit shibiramsintroduces ever new schemes to enhance the samskrit fraternity. 18,000 school kids havejoined in its latest Bala Bharati course in Tamil Nadu. Work among America born youthof Indian origin is catching up. Sushri Sowmya, one among them is vistarika (full timeworker) of Samskrita Bharati in Los Angles. In October, 2007, the all Bharat conferenceof Samskrita Bharati was held in Meerut ( Uttar Pradesh) in which 807 delegates from 553 places participated. Well known yoga master Baba Ram Dev ji spoke at thevaledictory function in Samskrtiam. He assured that one page in his Yoga Sandeshmagazine will be devoted to spoken samskrit lessons.
CHAINS OF NELE IN BANGALORE: TOUCHING HEARTS, CHANGING LIVES.
NELE (Shelter) is a project of Hindu Seva Pratisthana (HSP), a charitable trust which has beenworking since 1980 based on the principle, “Less for self, everything else for society”. Startedin August 2000 with 15 boys today, there are 5 NELE (two exclusively for girls) in Bangalorehosting more than 130 children.In Bangalore there are more than 8000 children picking rags and living on road sides. Makinglife better for those children requires community involvement and volunteer action to promotelearning, greater self esteem and personal achievementWhat does NELE do?
1. Identifies street children, rag pickers and neglected children and bring them to NELE.
2. Provides food, shelter and health supervision.
3. Arranges for formal education and related needs.
4. Facilitates training in sports, crafts and arts and provides a stage for exhibiting talents.
5. Arranges for training in yoga, Sanskrit personality development etc.
6. Creates awareness on consequences of smoking, alcoholism and drugs.
7. Counsels families and restore the children’s relationship with their families whenpossible.
NELE (Narendra) started functioning with 15 boys, aged between 4 and 13 in August 2000 atBangalore. The strength has increased to 54.
NELE (Nivedita) for girls started functioning in July 2003 with 5 girls, aged between 3 and 10.The strength now is 32.
NELE (Namma Mane) started functioning from June 2006 with 14 boys aged above 12 years.Now the strength increased to 20.
NELE (Ashakirana) started functioning from December 2006 with 15 children both boys andgirls. Now the strength is 28.
NELE (Premanjali). Hindu Sewa Pratisthan has agreed to govern and run premanjali(exclusively for girls), which was earlier run by Premanjali Educational Trust for boys since thelast 18 years.
Sri Satishchandra Goelji, Sri Shivaswamyji, Smt. Dr. Indu Murthy and Sri Bhimannaji are thepeople who came forward and supported to start NELE in various parts in Bangalore.NELE has not just been a shelter to children but has become a nerve centre of activity to thepeople living in the vicinity. It has been a motivational place for the people in the surroundings.A string of activities are conducted through Makkala Mautapa, a platform of children. Gameslike kabaddi, festivals like rakshabandhan, sankranti are celelbrated and also Bhajan, LalithaSahastranama are recited by mothers and elders.
Children at NELE have imbibed habits of cleanliness, politeness, discipline and courtesytowards others. 3 students secured above 62% marks in SSLC 2006-07. 50% of the children have passed their final exams in first class, 35% in second class, and 15% in third class. Manyhave won prizes in speech, sports, painting and singing competitions. Children at NELE aresetting an example for the slum children in neighbourhood, thus helping in the development ofarea.
We have to serve all, be he a Hindu, a Christian, a Muslim or a humanbeing of any other persuasion: for, calamities, distress and misfortunesmake no such distinction, but afflict all alike. And in serving to relieve thesufferings of man let it not be in a spirit of condescend or mere compassionbut as devoted worship of the Lord abiding the heart of all beings, in thetrue spirit of our Dharma of surrendering our all in the humble service ofHim who is father, mother, brother, friend and everything to us all.– M. S. Golwalkar