Friday, 31 May 2013

One Man With Courage Is A Majority.

In our next news we present before you Sidharth Chopra who is working with TEACH A CHILD NGO.
Sidhharth  a.k.a  Sid, a 19 year old social crusader who is currently pursuing his Bachelors in Sciences (B.Sc.) from GGDSD College, Sector 32, Chandigarh. He has been a part of the NGO from the past 10 months. As a volunteer he teaches under privileged and economically weak students of the society.

Whenever a person indulges in such an endeavor, there is always some kind of influence or inspiration as to why the person wants to do his bit for the development of the society. "For me, it came from within. I was very depressed, devastated and moved on witnessing the plight of these children and how they were able to make both ends meet with so much difficulty."

Since Siddharth is associated with the education system as he teaches these underprivileged kids, we quiz him on how he feels that there could be a possible decline or a rot in our education system. "According to me
we totally can not blame our education system. As compared to other cities Chandigarh still has  better government schools and properly trained teachers. I also feel that sometimes teachers too are responsible and it is not the fault of students only." When it comes to parents Siddharth feels that parents sometimes hold the child so that he is not able to pursue his dreams. In case of poor people parents don't have enough financial resources  so as to support their child's education. "That's why I feel that their is fault of everyone and not just single person."

The movie 3 Idiots was a huge blockbuster because it carried a specific message of chasing your inner dream and fulfilling with excellence. On asking Siddharth that has the youth of today followed this message closely, he replies in a very subtle manner and he feels that the youth today are quite confident that they know everything and they don't need to care about the world. " I agree with the fact that the movie carried a strong message but its real impact has been only on  few people  rather than on much greater audience that it was supposed to."

"Another problem of our youth today  is that they have a very complacent approach to life. It has become a taboo to got to school, after that college, earn a degree etc. etc.

But these people don't realize what they actually want to do in life. So that's why I feel that the youth today should  have a pragmatic approach towards life rather than blatant one."

Forming an NGO is not a child's play, it requires a whole group of determined and grit filled individuals who want to help the society. "When I joined this NGO there were around 15 to 20 members who used to teach the kids. But gradually they lost their interest or got busy with other priorities. Sometimes finding volunteers becomes a challenge for us because most of them think that they are doing a social favor and not really impacting the lives of these children." With this mindset these individuals work for only two three months and after that they leave their NGO just because they feel that they have completed their  social favor." 

Siddharth has been working from the past 10 months and he is determined to continue working with this organisation.
"From the past 19 years I did everything what system demanded but i never had the faith and trust in our system. When I came to know about this initiative, this was the only thing which i have done voluntarily in my life. And I am pleased with the fact that Teach A Child has been instrumental in transforming my life for the better. The kids their are very strong willed and tough and they make me tougher day by day."

Since the youth today are becoming so demanding because their demands are more than their needs. And they don't even realize weather their parents could afford it or not. So keeping this in mind we asked Siddharth about any suggestions or any specific message for the youth brigade today.
"According to me the youth of today should realize the value of each and everything in life. Be it their parents, their career or the most trivial of the things. If they change their mindset, then only the society can change."

Their are many people in this world who want to do something for the society but the only reason why they are not able to do it is because of the fact that they don't have the resources or financial back up. So for Sidharth, we should target such youth, assign them particular tasks and most of all try to sensitize them so that they too can bring a change in the society either by themselves or joining organisations like Teach A Child. 

     (Sidharth, enjoying with one of the students)

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Everyone Is Doing Their Bit. NAV SANKALP Is Also In The Big Race.

Nav Sankalp

Our next news features a student run organisation, Nav Sankalp of  DAV College, Sector 10, Chandigarh. It is a student run charity social organisation formed exclusively by the students of DAV College to help critically ill children who cannot afford their medical expenses.
So we had a conversation with Javika Dhamija, the former Joint Secretary of Nav Sankalp.
"Basically until last year it was just Sankalp, but we thought that we should include new and innovative activities not only for the underprivileged kids but also for the members of the Nav Sankalp." According to her the name Nav Sankalp symbolizes the fact that the overall development and welfare of the members as well as the poor kids is taken care off. Now whenever we talk about such student run organisations there are innumerable number of obstacles in their path of success.

Until last year it was very difficult for the Nav Sankalp students to even ask for permissions to organize their meetings. Says Javika,  "It used to take around five days just to get a permission to have a meeting in a room, because in the previous years, our organisation didn't have much support from the college authorities."

But there are a few teachers, such as Ravinder Choudhary, Rosy Ahluwalia, B.C Josan who have been constantly supporting the en devours of Nav Sankalp.
"Due to such support of the staff of our college and especially under the guidance of Mr. Josan, the college principal, the value of nav Sankalp has increased a lot as compared to previous years," remarks Javika.

On questioning about how is the Nav Sankalp able to help the under privileged kids. Do they follow a systematic plan throughout the year? Or do they concentrate on what is required more? According to Javika, their organisation concentrates on both. "We have specific events and sometimes we also incorporate new innovative activities and events for example, WINTER DRIVE, PUBLIC DONATION DAY, COLLEGE DONATION DAY etc."
Nav Sankalp has a proper schedule about the various set of events they are going to organize.

The organisation was started on 2nd November 2006 by Harpriya Kaur and few other students of the college. With time this organisation gained the interest of the students and soon Nav Sankalp became the club with the most number of volunteers  than any other club or society in the college.

Nav Sankalp is different from other organisations. It is a student initiated  and student run organisation along with the support of the college authorities. It provides a platform to the students to showcase their talent. For  this the Nav Sankalp organizes an annual charity show, 'SPARKLES'  to collect funds which are then donated to PGIMER, Chandigarh to help financially poor children.
Another one of the generous initiatives by the organisation is of  'RAKTH SANCHAR'. Rakth Sanchar is an initiative carried out by Nav Sankalp to ensure blood availability to the one's in need during an emergency.

Moreover Nav Sankalp has direct channels of donation to PGIMER, Chandigarh to ensure proper utilization of funds and to keep a check on fraudulence. On asking as to how are they able to keep a check on red tap-ism so that the funds are properly utilized  Javika says, " We always give the donations via cheque and that too to the chemist and not to the PGIMER authorities, and before any surgery, at-least a week before we prepare a detailed case study related to each and everything about the surgery which is to be performed." Once the detailed information is gathered about the various surgical instruments to be used and what kind of medicines to be given to the patient, then only the surgery is performed. And the Nav Sankalp volunteers are constantly helping and supporting the patient throughout his/her recovery stage. " The fraudulence and red tap-ism doesn't arise since PGIMER already decreases the cost of medical expenses, for the poor people to a great extent."

Nav Sankalp recently organised a flash mob, in the heart of Chandigarh, Sector 17, to protest against the delhi gang rape case.

So snapping out of the Nav Sankalp mode, we asked javika about what she feels regarding the increasing crime rates against women. "I feel that the current phase is the ERA OF THE WOMEN, THE ERA OF WOMEN EMPOWERMENT . The people who indulge in rape, molestation, eve teasing etc clearly portray that they lack the BASIC MORAL EDUCATION WHICH IS RESPECTING WOMEN. Such people have that kind of cheap mindset and that is why they consider and treat women like any other commodity or object."
Javika herself is a strong person and has asked and pleaded to all the women that everyone need to be strong. We cannot just stand and be complacent of the fact that heinous crimes are committed against women.

So in the end on behalf of the whole Nav Sankalp team, Javika Dhamija has one strong message for everyone, "Let us not stereotype women that they are to be confined to the four walls of the house, please broaden your mins and change the way you see things. And then only the country can be changed."
So keeping this in mind, let us first try to mature and develop our mindset and work towards the betterment of the society.

Thursday, 16 May 2013


(Mr Vinod Azad who was a hope to many underprivileged kids, left for heavenly abode on 26 July, 2013, nearly two months after this interview. Being a passionate dancer and a gem of a person, he was an inspiration to many. Mr Azad may have left us in person but your spirit and passion will keep powering our mission forward.)

Someone very rightly said, "Dancing is similar to the foot as poetry is to the mind." So our next interview features a contributor who contributes to the society in the form of a diverse form like Dance. The man is Vinod Azad, who for the past six years has been teaching various forms of dance, free of cost to the under privileged kids belonging to slum areas, at the Government Model School, Sector 24, Chandigarh.
So here is the interview with the well known dancer of the tricity (Chandigarh, Punchkula, Mohali), Vinod Azad:

  •  What is your background and where do you come from?  How did the passion for dance arise in you in the first place?

I originally belong to Uttar Pradesh but was born and brought up in Chandigarh.I completed my graduation from Panjab University, Chandigarh. My interest in dance grew right from  my childhood days.
I really enjoyed dancing at marriage functions and parties.Once during a marriage function, a friend of mine was impressed by my dance moves that she offered me an invitation to join her dance group.So i joined her group so as to pursue dance as just a hobby. Because initially i did not think of turning dance into a profession.But as my association with the dance troupe increased , i thought of taking up dance seriously.
So after spending some months with the troupe,i went to Delhi for a formal training in dance.

  • With such a busy schedule how do you manage to take out time and teach these kids the diverse form of dance?
The question is not about how I manage to find time but how I manage time to teach these kids the right things. Because teaching dance is not about finding time but it is a part of my life and it has become a routine to teach these kids the various forms of dance. Also I feel that it is my moral duty to teach the kids ethical values through dance. I agree that I am not receiving any material benefits through this but the satisfaction, that these kids are giving their 100 percent, is what matters to me.

  • As compared to other art forms a dance is a heavily paid form of art. But you still teach these kids free of cost. Why?
Even though we proudly proclaim that we live in a mordenist 21st century but still there are prejudices against people from the lower strata of society. According to me our society dose not value the people belonging to the slum areas. And  because of this discrimination these people loose their path and turn to other activites like snatching, murder, kidnapping and especially drug addiction. So to keep their minds away from these evils, I teach them dance regularly. Thus, I am doing my bit to turn these individuals into better citizens of the society and that they are  not led astray.
                 (Vinod Azad with his students at the Government school, sector 24)

  • According to you what moral values is build up in children through dance? 
First and foremost discipline is the very thing they learn from dance. That is,  how to lead a peaceful life and not squander into inappropriate things. Dance is a form where co-ordination is one of the most important factors to achieve perfection, so that's why it teaches the students to learn the ethical value of co-ordination and chemistry not only in dance but also in their lives. A far as the physical fitness of the students is concerned dance involves many types of exercises which stimulates the fitness levels of the students to a whole new level. Also there are many theme  based performances which make the dancers aware about the various social issues prevalent in the society.

  • Parents view dance more of a extra curricular activity, it is placed after studies. What are you views.?
In my point of view education is an essential foundation to a man's character. The view of dance as an extra curricular activity is slowly changing. Dance now- a- days is a very lucrative profession  guaranteeing multiple opportunities in the field of performance arts. The view point of parents now should be to encourage their child towards any endeavor in which the child finds happiness.

                                       (Vinod Azad during his training sessions)

  •    Headlines these days are bounded by news of rapes, unemployment, murders etc. Amongst such negativity, people like you stay positive. What do you think? Can an individual bring in a change in the society?
Of course an individual can bring in a change. We at our respective places should take up reforms to bring in a change individually, seeing this our upcoming generations will be motivated to work for development of our society.  

  •   If u get a chance to take up one action for the very development of our society, and reduce all such negativity,  what would that be?
According to me youths are the future of our country. They should be sensitized to respect women, be good to fellow citizens, and work for our nation. According to me empowerment of youth of our nation would be the essential  movement i would take up.

  • Who are the people who assist you to stay positive?
My most important motivator would be my guide and mentor Mr. Zulfihar Khan. My parents, my wife and my two year old son has been my backbone all these years. Whenever I get free time, I try to spend time with them, it helps me to beat the stress of my work and return back with double energy and enthusiasm.
(Just another day at work)

Monday, 6 May 2013

The A- Team of Literacy. Doing their bit for the society.

Our 3rd interview was with a group of student crusaders who belong to NIT, Hamirpur. Their group is called The Literacy Mission and they hold their annual cultural fundraising  event under the name of  PRAYAS which in English means "to help and to strive for change in society". So here we present before you our interview with the whole team of The Literacy Mission.

                                                               The Literacy Mission Team


  • Why Prayas? Why did the idea of forming an organisation like Literacy Mission came into your mind in the first place?
Well...initially there was no such idea. But back in 2004, while some of the college students were going to library, some of the kids approached them and asked certain doubts they had about how the things actually work in this big world. The students were astonished to hear such a question from kids, that too belonging to families who hardly cared about how the Earth rotates or why do the stars twinkle. At that point they experienced that these kids too have zeal to learn and grow and all they need is a little bit of guidance, care and love. This was what you can call THE START or the INITIAL PHASE of The Literacy Mission. As time passed on, the efforts of a few students turned into a big organisation and people began to recognize that someone should help and facilitate them. And the rest as they call it, is history.

  • In such a kind of venture or such a kind of social activity, there is always some kind of struggle and criticism involved? How were you (The Literacy Mission members) able to overcome it?
As the saying goes "NO PAIN , NO GAIN", we too had to face certain difficulties and obstacles in our path so as at to achieve what we wanted to achieve. Although we didn't face any criticism but at the initial stage we had to struggle a bit for our existence, moreover it was difficult to reach out to so many families of the underprivileged and to convince them that education is one of the biggest necessities of life. And that they should provide this basic necessity to their children. Many a times we had to face financial hitches but with the never ending support of our college authorities and students and lets not forget the hard work and dedication put in by the Literacy Mission volunteers, all the difficulties were left behind and the going was smoother.
                                                     The Literacy Mission Volunteers

  • Over the past few years, you  have shown your full commitment and dedication to the organisation. But has this hard work been both sided? Are the kids also working hard and what are the achievements you have got in this field?  
Yes, we can assure you that the kids too are working real hard to achieve their goals. Whatever has been achieved till date is only because of the commitment and willingness of the kids to do something substantial in their lives. Also let us make it clear that those kids who couldn't make it to JNV or couldn't achieve anything exceptional, too are working with equal sincerity to excel in their regular class work and to secure better marks in their school examinations. But since you asked for our achievements, here are a few notable mentions:

  1. Joshi Sureen, a student hailing from the underprivileged society cracked AIEEE'09 and is presently a student of Bio-Informatics Engineering at MANIT, Bhopal.
  2. Another student, Mr. Bhupendra has cleared Air Force exam
  3. Two students, Ritu and Pankaj have successfully completed their diploma with Ritu securing the first rank at her ITI college.
  4. Chandan, another of our students, secured 86.4% in his Class 10th Board examinations.
  5. Lalita topped class 5th Regional Board examinations with 95.5% (HIGHEST among the eight schools of the district)
  6. All children have been made computer literate and are being regularly taught the basics of computer communications.
  7. Literacy Mission also provides medical aid to kids who are in need. A kid, Prince, successfully underwent a cardiac surgery at Escort Hospital, New Delhi with the kind support of  The Rotary Club, Hamirpur. Another 4 year old girl named Arpita had been suffering from multiple cysts in her kidney, she got operated at PGIMER, Chandigarh.
  8. Seeing the tremendous performsnce, some of our bright students are admitted to a private school, Gurukul Public School, Hamirpur.

                       A Literacy Mission student receiving a prize during the Children's Day celebrations.

  • Apart from organizing Prayas, what other activities and events does The Literacy Mission organizes?
Apart from organizing  PRAYAS, we teach the kids 6 days a week from 4:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. in one of our college buildings. We celebrate various festivals like Holi, Diwali, Independence Day and many others in order to inculcate in them the basic sense of society, equality, nationalism and moral values  Also the kids are provided with some sought of refreshment 2 days a week, their school fees is paid from the funds collected by The Literacy Mission, they are provided with books, note books and other stationary items they need. The kids are also taught Yoga everyday in the morning from 6:30 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. and are also taken to college ground every Sunday morning to involve them in various sports activities.

                                                                     Diwali celebrations.
In addition to that, we arrange Health Camps for kids with support of local medical authorities and their parents. We collect old clothes from the faculty and college students and distribute them among the families residing in Basti. We also pay regular visits to Basti so as to motivate families to send their kids to school and to look after them.

  • Talking in general terms, how can organisations like yours help underprivileged kids in the long run?
Our basic motive is to give these kids a belief that they can attain what they want to and realize their dreams in the best possible manner. These are provided with an initial push using which they can flourish on their own. Apart from that, education helps in maturing their thought process so that they can have a better understanding of the society and can become a better citizen of this nation. Obviously, we cannot stay forever with them, but what we do is, show them a basic path u[on which they can walk on their own and all these years  these kids have been successfully doing that.

  • Last but not the least, what measures do you suggest to bring a solid change in the society and not a fluid form of change?
Citizens are the basic building blocks of any society. Many great men have said that for a society to prosper, it should have citizens with a sense of responsibility toward the group as you know, children are the future of any civilization. So what we are trying to do is to strengthen these elementary constituents of our society so that we can have a better world for us. Hopefully we would be able to do so and achieve what you say would be solid form of change in the society.

                          The Literacy Mission students with our former President A.P.J. Abul Kalam