All posts by uwbenagaluru

scholarship program

Overwhelming response for GE scholarship program

By Rajesh Krishnan
The selection process for the GE Scholarship Program at St. Joseph’s Convent School at Whitefield on 31st May, 2017 was an eye-opening experience for all of us. The plan for the day was to shortlist 200 candidates from about 250. That is the number we anticipated which would turn up.
Students wait patiently in line to attend the scholarship interview process
But to our surprise, we had an overwhelming 415 candidates turn up and we had to quickly think on our feet to turn around the arrangements. Girish and his team of four Volunteers from Student United Way quickly brought in tables and chairs to make sitting arrangements for students, bought in more drinking water bottles and made a new list of of new students who turned up for the interview.
The interview started bang on 8.30 after briefing and went upto to 5 pm. Not only that. From three tables for panelists, we had to increase it to six tables to hasten the interview process, with three new panelists brought in to help us out.
The writer (right) along with another panelist interview a candidate
We got an excellent support from a dedicated group of people from various walks of life who agreed to be our panelist.
1. Murali, Oracle Product Manager – White Field Rising member supporting the Solid Waste Management initiative. (We are involved in this through Qualcomm)
2. Anu Govind, Solid Waste Management Expert who lectures on this at various schools and corporates – White Field Rising member supporting the Solid Waste Management initiative (we are involved in this through Qualcomm)
3. Sanjeev Saxena —- Ex- Teach for India Fellow
4. Ambika Sen — Teacher of 30 years and Whitefield Ready Member and Volunteer for Lakes
5. Amit Sawarkar — CSR Head, UTC
6. Sr. Arogya — Head Mistress, St. Joseph’s Convent School
7. Sujatha Ganesh — Executive, Akshaya Patra
8. Manish — Ex- Wipro Executive and a teacher
9. Sree Rama — Educationist and Whitefield Rising Member
The interview process went smoothly throughout the day without any glitches despite the 100 per cent increase in the number of candidates
As if the surge of students who turned up for interview was not enough, we got to meet students from various backgrounds… truly overwhelming experience. Students who were orphaned, families who were abandoned, stories of trials and daily struggle… While mothers wept as their children narrated their stories, we sincerely hoped we could help each and every one present there. Most students who turned up had amazing attitude. Many were confident and determined to pursue their education despite the trying circumstances in their lives.
Must also share with you the power of Student United Way, the volunteers who did an excellent job of coordinating the whole show, managing the crowd and arranging for lunch and refreshments on timely basis.
Girish did an awesome job of managing the whole program and was there at the venue at 6.30 am to put up the charts and make arrangements in the hall. Prakash was also there quietly doing his bit and left for office by 8.45 am. Great support from the Principal of the Convent to arrange food for the panelists and volunteers. She also ensured we got our regular supplies of tea and coffee on time.
Brilliant show by David.
Next time we don’t hear Girish for some time, please note he may be working or planning for the next event!!!
Excellence Job. Great Team effort!!!
Update
The final selection of 200 students for the scholarship program will be completed by 15th June, 2017 following which cheques will be handed over to the students to submit them to their respective colleges. Monthly meetings of the student will be organized in order to monitor the progress of the students. On a regular basis, we will also organize personality development and other soft skills programs to ensure holistic development of the students. We will also encourage them to join Student United Way in order to take up and address various community issues through awareness programs.
Pie chart depicting the status of the GE Scholarship Program

Community group dedicated to Kaudenahalli Lake revival

Narayanappa President of KR Puram Kere Mathu Parisara Samrakshana Trust

With the immense support from United Way Bengaluru, the once obscure Kaudenahalli Lake has now become a household name in Bengaluru. People from far off places have started to visit the lake to witness its positive development. The enhancement of bio-diversity and the abundance of fish in the lake have brought back many species of birds which is an indicator that the work at Kaudenahalli Lake is headed in the right direction.

Ranjeet Menon – IT Professional and Freelance Photographer living near Kaudenahalli Lake

We can drive change in society only through like -minded groups or communities of people. These groups can guide people when wrong things are happening and can collectively bring back a positive change. We have to be part of the solution rather than get stuck in the problem and complain about it. It is for the communities to take up solving various issues in the society and an organization like United Way Bengaluru can drive the communities by showing them the way forward.

By Reena Pillai
It is a matter of great pride for all of us at United Way Bengaluru as we witnessed the transformation of community group KR Puram Kere Mathu Parisara Samrakshana Trust (KKMPST), which has come of its own. The community group which comprises of 10 core members and nearly 1000 active members have taken the meaning of community participation to another level.
The community group discussing the upcoming World Environment Day program at the Kaudenahalli Lake.
From involving themselves in every aspect in the rejuvenation of Kaudenahalli Lake  to collectively getting the MLA B.A Basavaraj, of KR Puram Vidhana Sabha constituency to further improve the lake facilities through the MLA funds and government allocation, they have proved their dedication and passion for the upkeep of the lake. In their recent interaction with the MLA, they sought support for construction of a children’s play area, platform for practicing yoga, cleaning of the Raja Kaluve, open gym, electricity connection, piped water connection to the toilets and increasing the drinking water facility from the present state.
A card made and circulated by the group members post the Kere Sankranti celebrations at the Kaudenahalli Lake
The Kaudenahalli Lake had been taken up for rejuvenation under UWBe’s flagship program ‘Wake the Lake’ and supported by corporate partner for the last three years. The once abandoned lake slowly witnessed a revival with the continuous efforts of BBMP and United Way Bengaluru. As part of the ‘Wake the Lake’ campaign, it is extremely important to mobilize and form a group who will continue to maintain the lake post our intervention. Hence for the past one year, UWBe’s team motivated the community to form a group who proved to be responsive, responsible and committed to the cause of lake conservation.
The core community group and UWBe members at the Sports Day celebrations
They involved themselves in organizing festivals at the lake such as Kere Deepotsava, (an eco-friendly celebration of Deepavali celebrations), Kere Sankrathi (Harvest festival), Sports Day and also several cleaning drives.
Recently, the community group also made provision for distributing clean drinking water to all walkers and joggers free of cost.
A cleaning drive organized by Kaudenahalli Lake community group
Mahesh HC, Sr Manager, United Way Bengaluru said, “KKMPST is an energetic and motivated group of people who lived in the neighborhood from their childhood and had seen the slow deterioration of the lake over the years in the name of development. They desired to save the lake but were unaware of how to go about it. After witnessing the restoration initiatives by the government and United Way Bengaluru they realized that this was the opportunity for them to contribute their bit to restore the lake to its former beauty.”
He added, “We are extremely glad that they have taken the initiative to continue with the lake rejuvenation process. We are confident that when we phase out from this lake in the near future, the developments brought in through ‘Wake the Lake’ campaign will be sustained by the community group.”
Press clipping
 

 

Wanted 8 Cluster Managers in Bengaluru

We are hiring eight cluster managers in Bengaluru to work under our flagship program Born Learning Campaign. Positions are opened in the following areas:  Electronic city, K R Puram, Kadugodi (2 positions), Hebbal, Thanisandra, Sarjapur and Yemlur. Please find more details given below.

United Way Bengaluru, is a part of United Way Worldwide www.unitedway.org, one of the world’s leading international nonprofit organization in existence for more than 125 years. We are India’s second largest chapter and our operation commenced in 2008 with a vision to create lasting change that lifts up the entire community. Please refer to our website www.uwbengaluru.org for more details about our work towards community.

COME BE PART OF THE growing United Way Bengaluru team!

 JOB DESCRIPTION

Designation: Cluster Manager

Location: Bengaluru

Reports to: Manager – Campaigns

Openings: 8 positions for Cluster Managers

Summary:

United Way Bengaluru endeavors towards the comprehensive development of children aged 0-3 years from vulnerable communities through Anganwadi center’s (AWCs) under the project: “Born Learning Campaign (BLC)”. The project is to be implemented in the following locations across Bangalore – Electronic city, K R Puram, Kadugodi (2 positions), Hebbal, Thanisandra, Sarjapur and Yemlur.

The position of Cluster Manager will be available at the Lead NGO level and s/he will be responsible for the overall implementation of the project in the identified AWCs.

Scope of Work:

 Planning, implementation and monitoring of the BLC project in identified AWCs under the given project to the respective NGO in line with the MOU and SoW signed with UWBe.

  • Ensure overall achievement of program objectives for the BLC project.
  • Manage and coordinate with the BLC coordinator’s team for effective implementation of the BLC project.
  • Serve as a single point of contact for all BLC related project activities.
  • Plan, conduct and analyze baseline, midline and end line survey with BLC coordinators and Survey for all BLC centers under the project.
  • Track, analyze and document the project related measurable indicators at regular intervals.
  • Prepare all project related documents as per SoW and submit to UWBe within the timeline.
  • Build rapport and coordinate with all project stakeholders i.e. related Government department, ICDS functionaries (Lady Supervisor, Child Development Program Officer), Bal Vikas Samiti Members and Community groups.
  • Plan, coordinate and implement the infrastructure development activities in coordination with BLC coordinators.
  • Community mobilization: Activate and regularize Mothers committees, Child Development Committees and community based organization.
  • Plan, coordinate and organize cluster level health camp on quarterly basis.
  • Mentor and monitor the tasks of BLC coordinators in implementing the project activities at BLC center.
  • Provide training to AWT and enable them to work on Early Childhood Education within the framework of ICDS.
  • Any other work assigned under the BLC program.

Qualification & Experience:

  • Master’s degree in Social Work, Education, Sociology or other Social Sciences
  • 2 – 4 years of experience in the field of community development including working with thematic area of children education, MCH/ Nutrition. Early Childhood Education experience will be preferred.
  • Experience of working with NGOs and community development program, partner organizations and coordinating with multiple stakeholders
  • Women candidates will be given preference

 Competencies:

  • Knowledge of participatory community development approaches
  • Excellent presentation and interpersonal skills
  • Organized, team player, self-starter and results-oriented individual
  • Excellent communication skills in written English. Knowledge of local language is mandatory
  • Strong integrity, commitment and dedication to the cause of children

Candidates meeting the above requirements may send in their CVs to info@uwbengaluru.org by 31st May, 2017.  Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for further process.

 

 

Able-ling the differently abled

By Reena Pillai

The valedictory function of skill training program at Samarthanam was an extremely happy occasion as 25 differently-abled students received certificates for the successful completion of their course.  Under the 3M India support program, the students were trained in skills of their choice like beauty therapy, retail and computer training.

Students listen intently to an ongoing mentoring session

Pavan Singhal, Director- Legal and General Counsel 3M India and Srilanka told the students, “Whatever pressure you face in your work place, never compromise on your values like Honesty, Integrity, Commitment, Tolerance and Gratitude. And if you come across any situation where you face any sort of harassment, then report to the HR department.”

Mr Pavan insists that every individual must hold on to their values despite hardship they may encounter in life

On the occasion, 3M India also put together a volunteering engagement program by talking and discussing about harassment at work. Twenty-one volunteers from the 3M Legal Department performed four short skits to depict the same.

Scenes from the skits performed by 3M volunteers

Lead Volunteer Anu K was overwhelmed with the opportunity to volunteer and said, “Personally this was an exciting and one of its kind opportunity. It made me feel so blessed and also make me realize that I need to give a lot back to the society

Lead Volunteer Anu K explains that a workplace can have its share of challenges and shares practical solutions to handle the same

The event concluded with the beneficiaries viewing two inspirational video clippings of noted environmentalist  Saalumarada Thimmakka and Nobel Prize laureate and activist Malala Yousafzai.

Smita from 3M hands over a certificate to a delighted student

 

UWBe and 3M India inaugurate a papad making unit at Kanakpura

By Reena Pillai

Under United Way Bengaluru’s women empowerment program, which is supported by 3M and implemented by Green Foundation, a papad making unit was inaugurated at Chikkamokudlu Village near Kanakpura. Under the program, 15 beneficiaries were provided with the requisite machinery required to make papad on a large scale.

Representatives from 3M India inaugurate the papad making unit by unveiling a plaque

This includes papad making moulds, grinder -mixer and a dryer with a capacity to dry 10 kg papads a day.  This unit is able to produce 3500 papads per day. Five kinds of papad such as rice, ragi, tomato, wheat, urad dal and multigrain will be made. It will be sold under the brand name Parvathi papads. Efforts are being made to market the product at various exhibitions, trade fairs and outlets such as Jaanadanya.

The papad dryer which can hold upto 10 kgs of papads a day

A mixer-grinder, papad moulds , weighing scale and sealer (were provided to the beneficiaries

On the occasion, a training session was organized for the women and Kavitha from 3M spoke on safe packaging of food products. She stressed on the importance of hygiene at every stage of papad making and highlighted important points such as –

  • Procuring best quality raw materials like ragi, rice, spices and ensuring that they  are correctly washed and cleaned
  • Taking a bath before stepping into production units, wearing clean clothes and washing hands at regular intervals
  • Strictly adhering to cleanliness and hygiene of self by avoiding touching of nose, eyes ears, hair or any other body parts.
  • Wearing the cap, gloves and mask throughout the papad making process.
  • Taking the day off if anyone is suffering from any ailments like cold, cough, fever, allergies etc.
Kavitha, from 3M India spoke on importance of safe packaging for food products

Please click the link here to view Kavitha speak https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvvKzXWmZb4

Aparna Sardar, Global leadership coach from 3M stressed on the importance of choosing a leader from the group, “A leader must be appointed to ensure smooth functioning of all aspect of the work. It can also be on rotational basis where each member takes turn to lead the group.”

Aparna Sardar, Global leadership coach from 3M India insists that a leader be appointed to manage the initiative

Says Shiv Kumar, representative of Green Foundation, “We are extremely glad to share that at recent exhibition, we were able to sell around 3000 papads over three days. This was a positive response and we are awaiting feedback from customers. We have yet to standardize the product and this exercise will take around three months to fructify.”

Shiv Kumar from Green Foundation briefs beneficiaries on the importance of taking ownership of the papad making initiative

Ratnamma who is a homemaker and a beneficiary was excited with the opportunity to earn extra income through this initiative. She expressed that she was looking forward to the work becoming regularized and standardized which could be of immense help to her. This program will help her earn around Rs 1000 to Rs 1500 per month.

Ratnamma, an active member of the group interacting with the trainer during the training session

A video on the highly reputed and successful brand Lizzat papad was also shown to the beneficiaries to enable them to learn and understand from this sustainable livelihood model for women.

Representatives from 3M inaugurated the initiative by unveiling the plaque.  Panchayat Development Officer Raghu cut the ribbon for the papad drying unit and representatives of 3M India, United Way Bengaluru and village counsel lit the lamp.

UWBe announces Scholarship program for 200 students

United Way Bengaluru is inviting applications from 10th standard students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to apply for our scholarship program in order to pursue your 1st PUC college program.
The Scholarship will be given to 200 students residing in Mahadevapura, WhiteField, HSR Layout, Marathahalli and KR Puram  zone, Bengaluru.
Highlights of the Scholarship
  1. Scholarship covers Admission fees ( pre-fixed amount ), cost of books, stationery, bus pass, subject specific tuitions.
  2. The scholarship includes spoken English and personality development skills, counseling and mentoring sessions for the selected students. These sessions are mandatory and in the interest of these selected students.
  3. During the Education support program period several personality development skills, counseling and mentoring programs will be organized during vacations.
Interested candidates, please write to us at info@uwbengaluru to avail the application forms.
The last date for submitting your duly filled applications with all the required supporting documents will be Friday, 5th May, 2017.
Kindly read the criteria form carefully and reach out to us at 080 40906345/ 2525 8363 if you have any doubts or concerns.
CRITERIA FOR APPLYING FOR SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
  1. The applicant must be a citizen of India, and must provide a copy of proof of citizenship by providing a copy of Aadhar card/Election ID card*
  2. The applicant must be living in and around Mahadevapura, WhiteField, HSR Layout, Marathahalli and KR Puram  zone, Bengaluru.
  3. The applicant must have completed class 10 and must provide a copy of proof appearing for the 10th Board Exam.*
  4. The shortlisted candidate must provide proof of passing the board exam –  must secure at least a cumulative 40% aggregate marks in the recent 10th std board examination.
  5. The applicant must be from economically disadvantaged group/family, and must provide copy of BPL/Ration /other certificates*.
  6. Preference shall be given to girl candidates and coming from families with single parent/widowed mother/ parents suffereing from Health problems such as Cancer, HIV, Kidney failure, orphans.*
  7. The applicant must share details of number of siblings in the family and number of dependents on parents.
  8. The applicant is required to provide a copy of the course details/prospectus of the registered course and institution applied for and provide copy of the statement of tuition and fees*.
  9. The applicant must show proof of financial needs after filling in the application form with all due information about family, parents occupation, family annual income etc*.
  10. The applicant must submit a motivational letter/letter of purpose ( in Kannada or English language) to United Way Bengaluru stating how the scholarship will help.
  11. The applicant has to submit two recommendation letters from teacher and Principal of Institution from where the applicant is passing out.*
  12. The applicant is encouraged to share all extra curricular activities that he/ she has participated in since school years and mention if any awards have been won. (Music, dance, sports, art/craft, theatre etc)
  13. The applicant should attend the interview along with a guardian / parent as part of the selection process on the specified date and time.
  14. UWBe reserves the right to verify the documents submitted by the candidate by conducting personal visits to school, homes and other contacts provided or though our sources.
(*  indicates need for copies of relevant documentation)
Selection procedure of the suitable candidates
  1. All applications are subject to verification for eligibility. Once applications are received the selection team will short- list 220 students for a panel interview and intimate the same over phone.
  2. The short-listed candidates should clear the Interview round which will be conducted by a panel of experts.
  3. Based on the interview round and final results, 200 most deserving candidates will be selected for this scholarship. The decision of the panel is final and binding.
  4. The selected student would be required to sign a partnership agreement to ensure that they will honor the support and strive to complete the program.
 Last dates
1) For submitting an application: The deadline is 5:00 p.m.  Indian Standard Time, May 5, 2017. Applications can be sent via courier delivery or posted to the below address or through email @ info@uwbengaluru.org
Our address is
No: 811, 1st floor, 7th main,
1st cross, HAL 2nd stage,
Bengaluru- 560008
Tel: +91-80-4090 6345, + 91 80- 2525 8363
2) Interview date for the candidates: The shortlisted candidates would be called for a personal interview between 15th and 16th of May to UWBe office or any other location.  Venue details shall be intimated in advance.
3) Announcement of the final list of selected candidates: The final list of shortlisted candidates shall be displayed on UWBe website www.uwbengaluru.org by 24th May 2017.

Our gem of Volunteers!

We are pleased to share experiences from two young volunteers who fondly reminiscence about their time volunteering for the Born Learning Campaign initiative in the years 2015 and 2016.

Abhi Seetharamiah

Co-founder & Head of Sales- Diamond Waste Management

Dear Reader,
I want to share my wonderful experiences volunteering with the United Way of Bengaluru (UWBe) over the past two years. Having grown up in the United States and working in a large Oil & Gas company, moving to Bangalore to start an organic waste recycling startup was a huge adjustment on many levels. Having worked with the United Way in Houston, I decided to involve myself in a volunteering role with the UWBe. I was pleasantly surprised that the same level of community awareness and social impact that is synonymous with the United Way in the United States is true for the Bengaluru branch.
Abhi volunteering at the Born Learning Campaign stall during the first edition of Makkala Habba, 2016
Aside from acting as a trusted intermediary, ensuring that donations go to those that are most in need in the community, UWBe’s team does incredible work in the areas of early childhood development and environmental restoration. Volunteering at Makkala Habba, an annual event that is part of UWBe’s Born Learning Campaign, was an eye- opening experience that allowed me to interact with Bengaluru’s youth. Coinciding with children’s day, the event saw thousands of youth come to Cubbon Park to play traditional/ethnic games, set up by UWBe, designed to educate youth on Indian culture and heritage.
Abhi volunteering during the second edition of Makkala Habba, 2017
Another highlight of my experience was helping in the ‘Wake the Lake Campaign’ for the Kaudenahalli Lake. Before joining UWBe, I had no idea that the rapid urbanization of Bangalore had such a devastating effect on these water bodies. In less than 100 years, Bengaluru’s 900+ lakes have been reduced to 200, many of which are polluted and inhabitable by birds, fish and small animals. Kaudenahalli Lake stands as an example of a once polluted lake that is now a thriving ecosystem, thanks to the United Way Bengaluru. Not only does the restored lake enhance the surrounding community by providing a beautiful and scenic public walkway, the restoration efforts have provided many species birds, fish, and other animals a sanctuary from urbanized Bengaluru.
United Way Bengaluru earns my highest recommendation as an organization worth supporting as a volunteer, CSR partner, or donor. You can trust that 100% of your time and money will be going towards making a tangible and positive impact on the community we all live in. If you have any questions regarding my experiences, please email me at abhiinusa@gmail.com.

 Nandini Subramaniam

Student- Indus International

When I moved to India in 2008, I transformed into an outraged little 8-year-old; I could not fathom why we ever had to leave everything I had known to be home, known to be mine. I was angry with my parents and at the time could not understand the obscure reasons they gave. They said, “it is to make you adaptable and stronger, empathetic and resilient”. It made no sense and I dramatically blamed them for robbing me of my friends, my elementary school, the life I knew so well.
Nandini demonstrating a yoga pose to BLC children
My first few years in India are now a blur, but I don’t remember them to be too happy. For a while, I had completely forgotten what it was like to smile. That is, until last year, during my 10th-grade summer. During this time, I had a 5-month summer break. To put things in perspective, I had around 150 days, or 9000 hours, or 540000 minutes of not being in school. Needless to say, this got me thinking a lot about education. And more specifically, education in India. I did my research, and what I found wasn’t too surprising. While over the decades the general well-being in India has improved drastically, there is still a great deal of marginalization. This is having a very evident effect on families, but I’d like to draw your attention to the children that are placed to one side. Per a UNICEF survey from 2013, India contains 50% percent of the world’s wasted children and 40% of the world’s stunted children. Few of these children live past the age of 5 years because of the lack of access to childcare facilities. After learning of this, I couldn’t help but think how selfish I had been as a child and I finally understood what my parents meant when they said India would change me.
Nandini with BLC children
Now, in and around Bangalore, there are small pockets of village areas where one can find small daycares for children upto the age of 6. These “anganwadis” as they are called, not only aim to provide basic education to children from marginalized families, but also provide meals to them and training in motherhood for inexperienced women. However, these Anganwadis are severely underfunded and often lack not only the finances but the human influence to function. This is where I come in- in a small way, nevertheless in a way.
In the beginning of the summer, I was recruited as an intern for The United Way Bengaluru. I spent my first two months in an office editing documents and proposal and creating them too. Eventually, this internship panned out into me going to anganwadis 3 times a week for the next 2 months and working with the teachers and children in these villages.
My experience there had a confounding effect on me. Every morning, on the way to the anganwadi, I would go through a class plan in my head and I would go over the notes I made, the plan I created. For as far back as I can remember, this was one of the first times I made a plan I actually stuck to. To this day, as I dwell on those experiences, I am able to find motivation in my enthusiasm.
BLC children engrossed in a coloring activity during the writer’s visit
When I was at the anganwadi, I would teach the kids how to make paper planes, to color between the lines, to play catch and in the process I taught myself to have gratitude. The more time I spent with them, the more I realized how easy I had it; and the more I devoted myself to caring for them. By the end of the first month volunteering there, I had already learnt the names of all the children and I even worked on fine tuning my Kannada just to converse better with the kids and the staff.
I felt miserable when, a months later, I had to stop volunteering there and return to my school life. The repetition and the simplicity of those 4 months there were so meditative, it was so incredible being there and realizing what it was like to not have. To not have a stable roof over your head, to not have a classroom with chairs, to not have so much.
Carefree BLC children who had a profound influence on Nandini, reinforcing values like acceptance and gratitude
Yet, in all my time there I couldn’t realize what it was like to not be happy. The kids there never seemed upset by their lot in life, they seemed so carefree and while their mothers weren’t as carefree, they never seemed despondent or resigned. They oozed power as they picked up and dealt beautifully with what they had, and tried constantly to make things better. This taught me heaps and mounds about acceptance, about contentedness and most importantly gratitude. Working there last summer completely changed my outlook on everyday matters, be it putting extra hours to finish work or not being picky about what to eat. I’ve become so much more aware of my actions as well as the implications of them, and I’ve learnt how to be happy because of the small things, and I owe this all to my volunteering work at both the office of United Way Bengaluru and the anganwadi.

 

Reaching out when there was no hope

By Bhargavi S. Rao

Whilst the Country and States are yet to implement all the provisions of the United Nations convention for rights of persons with disabilities-2006 (UNCRPD) and the recently passed Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016, and the many other existing laws, policies, programs and schemes to protect the rights of children with Disabilities, a small group of sisters who call themselves Daughters of St. Camillus, truly are visible angels for they decided to take over the care of the girl children suffering from Cerebral Palsy, Quadriplegia, Hydrocephaly, Microcephaly, Down Syndrome, Hemiplegia with mental retardation and Spastic from a Remand Home where they lacked nursing care, nutrition and more at the call of the Department of Women and Child welfare back in 2006.

Children at Swanthana greet us with a welcome song

WATCH THIS VIDEO TO HEAR OUR ANGELS SINGhttps://www.facebook.com/UnitedWayBengaluru/videos/1430846223646370/

Each child has a story, and the stories are heart wrenching. The story begins from where they were found and abandoned, mostly at Railway Stations, Bus stands, Roadsides, near and in garbage bins, in and around busy market areas, near narrow roads behind hotels or near compound walls.

Children are quite happy to meet visitors

As the Sister narrates the story and walks us around, the angel picks them up, plants a kiss on their cheeks, asks if they had their fruit juice, feeds another with the milk in the bottle, changes the dress of another, talks to each one of them as she walks us from one room to the other where the children are in cribs with full time caretakers attending on every child in each of the rooms. She understands their gestures, their smiles, their requests, needs and more and very importantly the language they speak.

Sister Regina proudly introduces us to Amulya, the youngest child at the home

A small group of eight sisters manage nearly 30 odd girl children each with a different set of medical condition and complications. The day at SWANTHANA starts very early and these children need to be fed every meal, every drink, every medicine and spoon-by-spoon with a lot of cajoling and care. They have to be bathed many times on some days.

Physiotherapist Banu urges little Amulya to lift her head at an ongoing physiotherapy session

WATCH BABY AMULYA AS SHE ENJOYS HER PHYSIOTHERAPY SESSION https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kFTIpDnpak

Providing them milk, fruit, and three meals a day is a big challenge. Ensuring there is a constant supply of diapers is another. Managing used diapers from stray dogs dispersing them and tearing them apart was the biggest challenge. This apart, an ambulance for emergency, regular physician visits, physiotherapy and constant care with sleepless nights are other challenges.

Ambika who dreams of walking on her own two feet , (which most of us take for granted) is being strapped and readied to walk with the support of bars.

Some children, after years of constant care, have now started to learn and even go to school. All other children are taught at the center through Art, Craft, Music and Games. Children are very happy and chirpy and express their happiness in so many ways.

Dedicated volunteers conduct regular classes at the home

The Center is mostly run from voluntary donations and corporate support that has helped in significant ways. Wheel chairs, children physiotherapy equipment, regular supply of diapers, children’s clothes, a building that is accessible to all with a CCTV camera to monitor all children from being hurt, an incinerator to take care of the large volumes of used diapers, a vocational training center that is nearing completion, and a dedicated set of helpers, have all been possible through the dedicated and committed support from United Way Bengaluru which has played a key role in making those connections with corporates and volunteers.

Sister Regina gladly demonstrates the working of the incinerator which was donated by UWBe, to deal with the large volume of soiled diapers  on a daily basis.

Swanthana encourages volunteers to help them in the daily activities of serving, feeding, help in every day routine activities and more.

A visit to the center will leave one changed for life!

To support the holistic development of these innocent children, write to us at info@uwbengaluru.org

 

Born Learning Campaign kindles Joy of Learning

By Siddharth Rao

United Way Bengaluru (UWBe) introduced the Born Learning program four years ago in private day care centers catering to children from backward communities to further the cause of “Healthy Childhood Development”. In 2015, the Department of Women & Child Development, Government of Karnataka invited UWBe to work in government anganwadis to accomplish the following objectives:

The writer(left) plays a game of ball with excited BLC children
  • Enhance early learning abilities, including fine and gross motor skills, among children.

  • Engage with mothers to spread awareness about health and hygiene among children.

  • Provide a conducive environment for children for early learning

The Born Learning Campaign brings in league all segments of society to form a sort of coterie to ensure sustainable development of children while giving them the opportunity to contribute, palliate, sustain, and bolster the program in their own way. It targets bringing together childcare experts, parents, teachers, government-run institutions, and corporates to focus on childhood development.

Children sing an action song for the UWBe team

In addition, the program also looks to engage with mothers, to educate them, teach them and spread awareness among them with regard to the health and hygiene of children. It proves to be one of the most critical areas in the development of the child and the program looks to expand the capability of mothers and keep them one step ahead in respect of children’s health and their education.

An anganwadi teacher briefs the UWBe team during a review session

The program also makes sure the children have a clean and healthy environment to learn and flourish, for example by providing basic needs for the Anganwadis such as learning materials, educational posters, toys, clean cutlery, mats, drinking water, meal plans, re-painting of walls, spruced courtyards, etc.

A spic and span kitchen with sparkling vessels in an award winning anganwadi, supported under BLC

It also looks to improve sanitation facilities and enhance the greenary around the anganwadi by planting medicinal and fruit bearing plants thus ensuring an overall conducive environment for the children, teachers and parents.

The UWBe team ensures that the infrastructure is maintained and used to good affect once provided, through regular checks and audits, thereby never letting the standard deteriorate, and avoiding anything that could be potentially detrimental to their progress.

Scene from an ongoing review of BLC at an anganwadi

The children at the Anganwadis receive a mid-day snack a little after they arrive, followed by lunch with a small sweet at the end, which brings the biggest smile to each face. Apart from the services, funds and infrastructure provided, this forms a sense of community and friendship among the children, as they congregate every day, play together, and learn together. It is more than certainly a step in the right direction, as the development process should not only make the learning process fun for the children but also encourage them to continue their schooling, by making education something that they love rather than detest. Furthermore, it also informs and makes parents apprised of the benefits having an education, thereby invigorating them to ensure their children receive a rounded education in the future.

The UWBe team identifies government run Anganwadis near corporate centers and tech parks. They also conduct a gap analysis to gauge the need for and availability of infrastructure at such Anganwadis. Corporates are then contacted and engaged at various levels to bridge the gaps identified and improve the Anganwadis.

 In addition, the Born Learning Campaign offers corporates the opportunity to play their part with options of both one-time employee activities as well as strategic long term initiatives, which would look to benefit the health conditions and education of the nearby community’s children. Since education is a focus area, their contribution to the cause goes way beyond funding. It is through employee engagement programs where employees are invited to actively participate by investing time off work to be part of the change through various activities such as reading stories, creating materials to assist with education, spreading general health and hygiene awareness among women and girls etc.

UWBe team and the writer smile for the shutterbug with BLC children

This campaign sheds light on crucial areas of development for the children’s future. It provides for healthy conditions as well as a holistic environment for the child to learn and live. It focuses on building a strong foundation for the children and because of corporate support and that from UWBe, the children at said Anganwadis become “School Ready” with sufficient development of the necessary skills, display growth and their mothers are well informed and acquainted with the concept of early childhood development.

(Siddhart Rao is voluntarily undergoing a three-month internship program with United Way Bengaluru to further his understanding of the Development Sector)

 

 

Women Unite on International Women’s Day in Kolar

 By Reena Pillai

The International Women’s Day celebrations organized by United Way Bengaluru and corporate partner AMAT brought together nearly 200 beneficiaries under the Rural Development Program in Chikkanallaguttahalli, Kolar on 8th March 2017. On the occasion, 60 roof top rain water harvesting units, the first of its kind in Kolar district, was inaugurated by Deepa Shashidharan and Priya from AMAT, David Kumar from United Way Bengaluru and other representatives of our implementing partner agencies.

David, Senior Manager- Community Initiatives, UWBe inaugurates a roof top rain water harvesting unit

David Kumar, Senior Manager- Community Initiatives, UWBe said, “We have pioneered the installation of roof top rain water harvesting units in Kolar where people for a long time have been suffering from acute shortage of water. Each unit will capture upto 15,000 liters of water during the rainy season which can be stored upto a year without any fear of contamination. People can use this water for drinking and cooking especially in dire times. It is a low maintenance set-up and very convenient for the beneficiaries to use. “

The event commenced in the traditional style with the feeding of a goat followed by nearly 10 beneficiaries sharing their positive experiences with the immense support they had received in the last two years.

Deepa from AMAT and David from UWBe inaugurate the program by feeding a goat
Students supported under the Scholarship program gather for a memorable click

College students supported under the scholarship program gave entertaining cultural performances, while young students spoke on the positive impact of the new educational model introduced in 50 government schools. Tamarind parcels packaged by beneficiaries were distributed to the lead representatives of the 12 villages supported under United Way Bengaluru’s Rural Development Program.

Tamarind parcels produced by beneficiaries gifted to lead representatives of other villages

The programs supported under the Rural Development program are 1) Women empowerment program which covers sheep rearing, mini poultry farms, kitchen gardens, tailoring, tamarind processing and other sustainable micro enterprises ; 2) Financial support through scholarships to college going students; 3) Academic enhancement through motivating and mentoring students studying in government schools; 4) Roof Top Rain Water harvesting and 5) Safe drinking water units.

Table showing the total numbers of beneficiaries in Kolar under various programs

There was also a conscious decision taken to make the entire event eco-friendly and minimize the use of plastics. Earthen pots were used to drink water from, lunch was served on plates made from arecanut leaves and large brass containers were used to store drinking water.

Earthen pots for drinking water displayed on stage

Pushpa, a beneficiary who was supported under the scholarship program last year was also excited with the roof top harvesting unit in her house. She said, ” Earlier, it was quite difficult to get access to clean drinking water. We had to wait for three days, sometimes even upto a week for the tanker to come to our village. Then we had to stand in queue to collect the water and later carry the heavy pots home. We are so happy with the roof top harvesting units in our houses and we cannot thank UWBe and AMAT enough.”

The implementing partners for the Rural Development Program are Sikshana, TREES, Chilume, C&R and Samarthanam. The event concluded with a sumptuous meal and an engaging interaction with the beneficiaries.

Bhargavi from UWBe team interacts with Pushpa one of the beneficiaries

Coverage of the event in local media

Samyukta Karnataka
Prajavani
Vishwa Vani