Karm Marg

In India, there are innumerable vulnerable and destitute children from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds who are physically, mentally and sexually exploited and abused and often end up in a hopeless life of poverty and crime. The objective for Karm Marg (meaning path of action) is to provide these children with a long term, secure environment where they can realise their full potential with a sense of confidence. Also to train and help marginalised youth and rural women generate income to improve the standard of living for the entire family and community as a whole. Emphasis is given on enabling young adults to become self reliant. One major project is to make and...
May 28, 2015

Quarterly Report January-March 2015

Hotel Taj Vedanta CSR visit and lunch
Hotel Taj Vedanta CSR visit and lunch

This quarter is the most beautiful and busiest time of the year. As the flowers bloom, and the weather is cold, our hearts are warmed by the annual visits of our old friends, visitors, funders and buyers from across the world. They spend time interacting with all our children and staff, bringing in their positive energy and love. It also ushers in spring, celebrated by the colourful festival of Holi which brings in our alumni and other friends to rejoice together as one big family.

          One of our closest and oldest friends, Deborah visited Karm Marg with her husband Steve. She is the Member of SCOMI (Step Children Of Mother India ) based out of Netherlands which were the first funders of Karm Marg when we were starting out. While staying at KM, they met all the children with whom they share a strong bond individually and talked to them about their progress. Spending a few days at the home, among other fun activities, Deborah taught the youngsters with spécial needs how to bake bread in our new bakery unit. Lots of photos were taken which she wanted to share with the other members back in Netherlands. 

The small children performed a few dances in a program organized for Deborah and Steve which was also attended by board member Brinda and our old friend and mentor Simon. 

The alumni of KM, who have always shared a lovely relationship with Deborah were very keen to meet them as well, so we organized a get together at the Founder President, Veena’s house one evening. Almost 30 youngsters with their spouses and children attended the party along with board members. They spent the evening updating us with all the news from their personal and professional lives. It was very heart warming and motivating to see them lead happy, independent lives. A lot of stories and memories of the days gone by were shared. Laughter and love overflowed till wee hours of the morning.

            We tried a new fund raising event, where our close associate Preeti chose to celebrate her 40th birthday party along with KM’s 18th birthday at a picnic at Lodhi garden. Her invitees along with ours, spent the whole day playing games, eating, chatting and having a great time together. She requested all her guests to donate to KM instead of giving her presents. Along with money that was raised, the children got treated with various homemade eatables, toys, sports equipment, sweets, ice creams and a whole lot of love. The children has such a great time that now they keep asking us when the next picnic will be held. Her singer friend Harpreet also sang and played the guitar for the children, who were so taken in that they all wanted to learn how to play the guitar after that. Other invitees offered their expertise to KM on a pro-bono basis too. Her film making friends, Ravi, Puneet and Neeraj also made a lovely short film based on the video recordings of that day. We shared it on social media and intend to use it as an AV for corporate presentations too.

All in all, it seemed to have been a fun-filled, ‘fund and friend’ raising experience for all.

 

         After ushering in the new year with a lunch, magic show and gifts for our children, the Hotel Taj Vedanta team visited again with their chef and yoga instructor. They repeated the much loved magic show for the children. Their chef talked about hygiene and yoga instructor discussed the benefits of yoga and morning exercises. They distributed toffees and chocolate to the children.

        Aparna, a journalist who left her job for year to do volunteer work with different NGO’s came to KM for a month. She conducted lots of creative activities with children. She taught the children how to create an interesting newspaper by collecting small, day to day stories and activities that goes on at KM. All the children wrote or illustrated relevant articles and also took interviews of the staff members to put in the our very own newspaper. Her affectionate nature made her very popular and a loving part of the family in such a short while.

 

       Our old friend Pallav who now lives in the US, came to visit KM with his 10 year old son Arjun. Pallavi had made the movie ‘Unseen’ based on street children and Karm margin 2000.  Pallav wanted her son to be connected to KM in future and understand the reality of the children who live in difficult circumstance. Arjun came to KM for 3 days. He taught KM children soccer, had storytelling sessions and English classes with them.

In turn he learnt bag making in our stitching unit and made a bag for his mother. He also made self-designed news paper bags for his friends in the US. He really enjoyed his visit to KM and came up with so many question about such children’s condition in India. 

He often asked us poignant questions trying to comprehend the vast differences he saw in lifestyles. Among the many he asked, one question that floored us was: 

“One thing that stood out in my experience of Karm Marg was how nice and at peace the children were. There was no trace of bitterness in them about the circumstances they had gone through in life before coming to Karm Marg. What do you think explains this wonderfully positive attitude?”

It made us and the children retrospect about more such topics that we often don’t stop to think about.

 

       In this quarter, two very important things were accomplished. These mandatory expenses had pushed our budget up for the year substantially.

  1. We installed CCTV cameras mandatory as per the guideline of government’s child protection policy of the CWC. Total amount we spent on this was $1000.
  2. There was a major fault in our electricity supply. The main power points and stabilizer were damaged due to fluctuation in the supply which needed urgent repair. Electricity work was done in the month of January and February. New three phase servo stabilisers were installed in the electricity room. Also, much needed rpair and upgradation work was carried out throughout the premises. Total budget of this project was $3550

A new beginning...

       We initiated the mobile library project with the government primary school with the books received through a grant from Pratham. We now go once a week and lend them story and other books to read. We also conduct story telling workshops to increase their interest in reading. This quarter we interacted with a group of 40 children. They all come from the rural area nearby and do not have any access to story books or libraries.

Pallav
Pallav's son Arjun learning paper bag making
Mobile library project in local government school
Mobile library project in local government school
Karm Marg
Karm Marg's 18th Birthday picnic cum fundraiser
News paper designed by the kids with Aparna
News paper designed by the kids with Aparna's help
Celebrating Holi- The festival of Colours!
Celebrating Holi- The festival of Colours!

Links:

Feb 18, 2015

Quarterly Report Oct to Dec 2014

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Sorry for the delay. We were having some network issues. Hence sending it as an email this time!
Quarterly Report Oct to Dec 2014
‘Mahua’ is the name of a beautiful indigenous indian flower which serves many uses for the villagers of the area where it grows. Named Mahua, this lanky approximately 7-8 year old child was found by as a victim of a hit and run case near the streets of Delhi Railway Station in 2002.

 

Mahua was found with severe injuries on his head and legs. It took more than six months of individualised medical treatment to help him get better. He was severely hearing and speech impaired and was diagnosed with Aplasia. Addicted to tobacco, he suffered from immense emotional and physical trauma. He was not potty-trained and had no idea of even what to eat. He had no awareness of social behavioural norms. 

 

With a lot of emotional support, love and acceptance, over a long period of time, he gradually settled into our home very well. Forming bonds with other children and staff, he grew into being a very affable and loving youngster. He has one of the most welcoming bear hugs one can ever experience. Inspite of not being able to talk, he loves communicating through sounds with every visitor who comes to Karm Marg. No one can ever forget his bright smile.

 

From having violent tendencies, he now has turned into a caring individual who shows a lot of  proactive responsibility towards the younger children of the home. He is often seen taking care of them and helping them with their daily activities like bathing, feeding, washing clothes, gardening and even kneading dough!! He is currently undergoing life skills training and vocational training at our in house income generation unit Jugaad as well as the bakery unit.

 

The most beautiful part of the journey with Mahua was when under the training of a special needs educator and speech therapist, he heard a sound for the very first time in his life. His expression was priceless. His excitement every time he heard the sound was something none of us will ever forget. 

 

Seeing his progress over the years truly makes one understand how much a life can be changed for the better given a loving, caring and stimulating environment. Watching him bloom over the years has been a lovely, rewarding experience and a reminder that love can really turn the world around!

 

Other news at Karm Marg!

The months of October till December is full of festivals and the children have a great time celebrating each festival irrespective of religion or region. Starting with the hindu festivals of Dushhera, Diwali along with Islamic festival of Eid to Christmas. Everything was celebrated with great enthusiasm and fun. The year ended with a fun filled new year eve bonfire party where the children made all the preparations and cooked carrot pudding (halwa) themselves for the occasion. Many alumni and well wishers join the fun with their families making it a lovely, warm way to celebrate the achievements of the year gone by and welcome an exciting new year. 

Our supporters and friends Albatross Travels organised a trip to Agra on the occasion of children's day. Most of the children saw the Taj Mahal up and close for the first time in their lives. They also provided an individual gift for each child and staff for Christmas too. 

Workshop on Handling of Emotional and Mental well being of Institutionalised Children was attended by two of our staff. We also organised a workshop on HIV/AIDS awareness and on life skills training for the children through the Modicare Foundation. We invited other local NGOs, Children New Hope and Miracle Foundation to join us in attending the workshop, which they found very useful. 

Five new children were sent to us by the government authorities for short stay and  one child was restored with his family this quarter.

 

 

Report by

Preeti Mehta

Project leader

Karm Marg

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Nov 13, 2014

Quarterly Report Of Karm Marg June-Sept 2014

The story of Vijay.

 Thought to have been a victim of a child trafficking, the police found Vijay begging on the street in Faridabad. He was addicted to alcohol and tobacco. He could not provide any information of his parents or home.

Vijay came to us in February this year referred to us by the Child welfare Committee, the government agency. He seemed to about 14 years old.

He was in a terrible condition both physically and mentally.His left hand is affected by polio. His teeth were rotting. Hygiene standards were non-existent. He was malnutritioned. He was very violent and used a lot of bad language. He got fits often.

 He seemed to want to run away from the home. Constantly asking for money and permission to go out so he could buy tabacco and alcohol. When we refused, he used to create havoc. His temper, bad behavior and foul language was affecting all the other children at the home.

 Like with all the new children who come to us, we realized love and acceptance is what he sought desperately. That was the base of his therapy. We started him on regular counselling and behavior modification therapy. We sent him for treatment for his teeth and his fits to the local government hospital.

 It was a long, arduous journey till now but we are happy to report, he is now well settled at the home. His health and personal hygiene has improved drastically. Every time he remembers to brush his teeth is a cause of celebration. He has better control on his language and violent behavior. It’s heartwarming seeing him repeat his sentences again, leaving out the abusive words.

 He is still a master of his own will often skillfully dodging his training and responsibilities. Very opinionated, he is more of a leader than a follower. Very affectionate and hospitable, specially towards all visitors. He insists on getting tea for visitors in the hope he will get some too. Discovering his love for tea, we now we use tea as a reward and a carrot on a stick at times with great success.

Most importantly he now seems happy, alert and very social, preferring to spend time directing everyone in the Jugaad’s production team.    

 Vijay’s adjustment to our home has again reaffirmed our belief that what children need most is love and acceptance. We cannot expect every child to become perfect or achieve academically. We must set goals according to their potential and abilities. Most importantly, each child is unique. It’s our job is to find an individualized plan of action that helps the child achieve their own success, however big or small.

Other news at the home:

The primary school children were transferred to a school closer to the home so that they could be monitored better, less time was spent on commuting and we could save money on bus fuel too. The arrangement of school transfer certificate, uniforms and books took lot of planning and effort. The saved time is being invested in extra curricular activities for the holistic development of the children.

 This quarter was also important as the yearly performance appraisal of staff was done by the board members and increments were announced and given to staff. The board members held one to one meetings with all staff members, discussed their problems, performance and invited suggestions from them to improve the functioning of Karm Marg. The board also encouraged staff members to enhance and upgrade their skills which will help them to add value to their individual self and also help grow Karm Marg in the process.

Two new girls were referred to us for permanent stay. One boy and girl have been referred by CWC to us for short stay. Five children have been restored with their families. Govinda, Rahul and Ruby have started living independently after getting settled in their new jobs.

 Shayra has secured admission in a Bachelor Of Science course at Nehru College in Faridabad. We are very proud that she is fulfilling her dreams of getting a degree.

 Three new children have been admitted in a primary school. Pooja, or staff member continues to conduct non-formal education classes for the children who are temporarily with us.

 In this quarter children celebrated the festival of Eid and Raksha Bandhan. Independence Day was celebrated on 15th August 2014 by the children and staff. Flag hoisting ceremony was followed by a patriotic song singing session.

Jugaad our vocational training and income generation wing, was featured in a TV program, ‘Gaon Connection’ on Doordarshan channel. They also covered the story of our alumni and staff Shabila.

Two of our boys went to Indian Football Federation (IFF) for training to become a football coach. Evening exercises and sports activity for all children is being conducted on a regular basis.

Rahul, our staff member has been conducting etiquette classes with all the children on a daily basis. He has also training them on communication skills.

Our counsellor training for the staff is going very well and we are seeing the impact in our day-to-day relationship between staff and children.

In continuation of the earlier workshop on human behavior taken by Dr. Bharti and Shewta ji of Sarthak, two more sessions were held by them on more advanced topics.

Vocational training:

  • Govinda was interning at Haat chaap company to learn stock maintenance for a month. After that he and Rahul were sent for six weeks training in housekeeping at GMR.
  • Iqbal has started going to The Shop in Noida for training in screen printing.
  • Vipin is attending basic computer training at GMR. It is a residential program and they will also help in providing him a job later.

Our special needs youngsters are getting training in bakery, twice a week. They are also participating in regular extra curricular activity where they are learning to make products out of waste.

We have appointed Rehana, one of our alumni to give them training. Rehana had been sent by us on a Pravah youth exposure program to Prayas NGO in Jaipur after which she successfully completed their three year course for special needs educator training.

 Plans ahead:

Our main focus next term is to start production at our bakery unit with our special needs youngsters. It’s important that we can sell the bakery goods so that they can start earning some money and become more independent economically too.

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