Ashraya

"Ashraya" meaning 'shelter', was founded and registered in 1982 and has since then brought hope and love into the lives of many children and adults. Ashraya is committed to alleviate the sufferings of women and children in distress through our various programs.
Nov 2, 2012

Aug-Sep-Oc- update report

Ashraya Neelbagh School, celebrated its Founder's Day, on August 13th with Mr. Ashok Hattangady, one of the main patrons of Ashraya, being the Chief Guest. Various sports events were held in which the children participated and did very well, which was followed by a beautiful cultural show with folk dance, music and drama.

On the Annual Day, we got an opportunity to interact with the parents and find out about what they think about Neelbagh School and how it is meeting the needs of the deserving children in the villages. Here are some of their responses-

Madappa, a construction worker, earns a meager salary of 2100 per month. His son Marilinga is in 8th standard and daughter Devamma is in 6th standard, studying at Ashraya Neelbagh School. He says - ‘First and foremost our children are given hostels to stay, which is a blessing. Being a Construction worker, I stay in Bangalore I cannot travel up and down every day, but Neelbagh School has made us free from the ‘tension’ (I think he means ‘stress’) by providing shelter to our children. ‘They are looked after very well by the affectionate teachers and kind staff. Even if our children are not well, we have no reason to worry, there is hospital care that is being given to them in our absence. AshrayaNeelbagh School not only gives education and food, but it’s just like a “sweet home” for my children. Children are allowed to play games and participate in other activities, which is good for them’, he says.

 When he was asked, what he thought was different at Ashraya-Neelbagh School from other schools? He promptly responded, ‘Neelbagh School gives the children good medical attention when they are sick whereas other private schools are not doing so. And lot of private schools do not provide hostels to children. The teachers here are dedicated and affectionate. They share a good rapport with the children.' Neelbagh is the only school that lays emphasis on life skills and provides the children with vocational training. I think it is important because, tomorrow, in case they are not academically oriented, they have a skill in hand to rely on, which will help them earn a living’.

He added saying, -‘When children come out of Ashraya, they not only have education but also other skilled works with them. No other school empowers children like this!!. In School, our children are safe, and we feel that our children are at home', he smiled. 'Neelbagh is not only a school but a “Temple of Education” in the lives of the children. I know my children have a bright future in Ashraya-Neelbagh School’.

Venkatanarayana, a daily wage earner, earning a salary of about 2000 per month, says his son Karthik is in 10th standard, in Neelbagh School   and daughter Shilpa Rani is studying final year, Bachelor of Science, in a college. He says, -‘Neelbagh has a very good environment for the children. All the children are getting lunch, which is very important for us, as a daily wage earner, we cannot afford to send lunch for them every day. All the children, irrespective of caste, creed, etc. are given equal care and facilities. There is no discrimination. This is very special to us!! Teachers also don’t make any discrimination. They are very humble and polite.

 ‘The bus facility has made our children to move without any tension’ We do not worry about their safety when they are travelling from home to school as they are going by bus’. ‘We are happy with the service offered by Ashraya-Neelbagh School. and that students learn computer, Carpentry, Tailoring and Electrical work. This is very good for their future’, he says with a beaming smile.

 When he was asked, what he thought was different at Ashraya-Neelbagh School from other schools? He emphatically said,’ AshrayaNeelbagh School does not demand donations, whereas private schools demands thousands and lakhs of rupees. Meals are given to children whereas private school expects us to send packed meals for them. This is the only school with variety in education and other skills. Neelbagh School Headmaster and teachers respect the parents and hear their problems whereas private schools are not concerned with parents’ problems. Thank you for everything’.

The following workshops and enhanced learning opportunities were provided by the School:

  1. Clown therapy- ‘Verbano Onlus’, a group of volunteers, from Italy spent quality time with the children from primary to high School on 16th and 17th of August 2012. The clown therapy was a source of fun and entertainment for the children. It was timed well before they began preparing for their monthly tests and exams and served as a stress buster.
  2. Yoga workshop – Mr.Raja Manickam, an experienced yoga teacher in the city conducted a very inspirational yoga workshop for the High school children on 25th and 26th August 2012. The session covered some very useful yoga postures, sun salutation and breathing techniques to keep mentally and physically fit.
  3. Teachers’ training- An issue based training workshop was conducted by Ms. Indira Ganapathy on 1st and 2nd of September 2012. It was a way of celebrating Teachers’ day on 2nd Sep, productively.  The workshop introduced teachers to creative ways and methods of teaching, addressed common problems faced by teachers such as dealing with limited attention span of children. It also involved group activities and games for the teachers which helped team building. Overall, the workshop was a fun experience coupled with lot of learning.
  4. Self Organized Mediation Environments (SOMEs)- Ashraya currently has tied up with an initiative called solesandsomes, which brings together volunteers from different parts of the world to teach English and build language skills through personal/general conversations, story- telling etc. via Skype sessions. There is now a scheduled time set aside for this exercise, every day in the week and the children are thoroughly enjoying the session, which not only enhances their English language skills but also gives them an exposure to much more than text book oriented knowledge about different cultures, languages and people.
  5. Sex education worksop- Ms.Uttara Vidyasagar, an experienced counsellor conducted the sex education workshop for the high school children on 22 September 2012. It was to enable them to understand their biological differences and vulnerabilities so that they can differentiate between ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ and can protect themselves. They also learn about their own sexuality which is critical during adolescence.

The school continues to drive the ‘Importance of education’ and strives towards providing a holistic environment for the children by offering opportunities for all rounded development to all the children without any discrimination in the rural areas, thereby contributing to a future with educated and informed youngsters.

Oct 24, 2012

Update on Ashraya's creches

Ashraya’s crèches have been running well and children have been fairly regular to the creches. A lot of people were being affected by the Dengue virus in the city. as a precautionary measure, we got Ashraya's doctor to speak to the parents about the causes of dengue fever and methods to prevent it. The parents were told to be cautious of stagnant water, which aids breeding of mosquitoes and were advised of the symptoms of dengue fever to help its early detection and medical intervention.

The Project head makes frequent visits to the crèches to monitor their functioning, including maintenance of records such as admissions register, children’s register, attendance register, etc.

Through Ashraya’s crèches, we endeavour to improve livelihoods by enabling women to go to work and bring home an additional income. We got a chance to speak to some of the mothers about how the day care facility has helped them and their children. The exercise gave us an insight into the ‘Chain Effect’ of Ashraya’s Creche program, on women and children, the most vulnerable section of the society.

Amsa, a domestic worker and wife of a street vendor, jumped in enthusiastically to present her views. In the local dialect, she said, ‘Ashraya is a big relief to me. In other crèches, they charge a minimum of 500 rupees per month to keep the child for half a day. We cannot afford that. Now, I am able to work without any worry as my child couldn’t have been in a better place. This is like her home, and the staff look after her better than we do. I am able to go to work now and I don’t have to ask my husband for money to give my child whatever she wants. Earlier, I wasn’t earning and had to depend on my husband’s earning to buy each and everything. I did not feel good about it. Today, I am so proud that I can buy whatever my child asks for and I don’t need to wait for anybody’s consent.’

 

Glory, a housemaid, leaves her 3 year old child at the crèche and starts her day at 9:30 am after completing her household chores. In a resounding tone, Glory, says- ‘The crèche is like a blessing to me!! I used to work only for two hours, leaving my child at my mother-in-law, who is also old and does not have enough energy to look after a young child. Hence I had to get back home early. Now, I am able to work from 9:30 to 1 pm and earn a better income, which makes me happy, as my husband is a daily wage earner and brings home only a meagre income. Moreover, my child is learning ABC, 123, etc. I can’t ask for more’.


Ashraya hopes to continue touching more lives in the near future!!

Aug 2, 2012

Hallelujah!! 100% pass results at Neelbagh School

The SSLC results were out on 16th May and the School is very proud of our bright students who performed gloriously well and our committed team of teachers who made it happen. The School achieved 100% pass results, once again, this year, and this is one of the most important achievements of the School, in this quarter. It is the fourth consecutive year, that the School has achieved 100% pass results. Out of a total of 22 students in tenth grade, 4 students passed with a distinction (obtaining above 85%), 15 students passed in first class (obtaining above 60%), 2 students passed in second class and 1 just passed.

Two students obtained 98% in Social studies subject and turned out as Kolar District toppers in the subject, out of which one child Archana is sponsored by CIAI. As outstanding performers, they are both rewarded with a sponsorship amount of INR 15000 per annum for two years, by the State Government of Karnataka, to pursue higher studies.

 Ashraya also works to help and support the bright children to pursue higher education. We liaise with other NGOs and facilitate the sponsorship of the higher education of our deserving and bright students. Two NGOs, Upasana and Prerana are currently supporting and sponsoring nine of our bright students, who have got admission in different colleges for Science and Commerce.

Ashraya-Neelbagh School was shut for the summer break from April 19th to May 19th 2012. On June 1st, the new admissions list was finalized. The Ashraya Neelbagh School’s management team screens the applications carefully to ensure that deserving children, from below poverty line families, are given admission on a priority basis. These are children of poor farmers, construction laborers and workers, who earn a meager income and live hand to mouth. They can hardly think of providing their child with quality education without support.

Thirty two students were shortlisted for LKG and other classes. The School received a total of 136 and 49 applications for LKG and other class admissions, respectively, where the number of seats available was only 32 and 16, respectively. This is a significant indicator of the performance and the reputation of the School in the District.

Currently, with the new admissions, the School has 351 students studying in Neelbagh School. During LKG admissions, as always, priority was given to children from below poverty line families and the School continues to give impetus to ‘girl child’ education in the rural area. Forty percent of the applicants, who were granted admissions in LKG, are girls and fifty percent of the students, who were given admission to other classes, are girls, thereby ensuring equal opportunities to girl children to access good quality education.

Overall, it has been a great start to the new academic year. Thank you all for your support and generous contributions towards the School that nurtures generations of rural, deserving children.

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