U&I

INTRODUCTION Our journey began in May 2009, when a few friends from a local youth group visited a home for mentally challenged boys in Bangalore. From a small group of friends, to becoming a movement that hundreds of people would get involved in and to eventually becoming an organisation that would have projects across the city of Bangalore - no one would have guessed that this was how things would eventually turn out. Even today, we're amazed at all that's happened in the last two years & are excited about all that is to come. Since our inception in January 2011, we have focused most of our activities towards the education of underprivileged and special needs children. We have worked ...
Apr 1, 2014

U&I Teach Report Nov 2013 - Feb 2014

Hello there!

Its very exciting to bring you news about the work happening in the U&I Teach program over the past few months. We have had a very fulfilling teaching season in all our Learning Centres and are looking to end this academic year with many success stories of well-deserved rewards for our students and their teachers (our volunteers)

Our volunteers are the grass-root champions of our work and I know you will love hearing from them directly. Nandita has volunteered with U&I for the past year at the Muslim Orphanage, one of our Learning Centres. It is her proactive enthusiasm, creativity and love for the children she teaches that shows brilliantly as she now leads a team of volunteers teaching English. Here is her story:

Testimonial by Nandita

My name is Nandita and my approach to life has changed immensely since I started working with U&I during Summer Camps 2013. I volunteer as a Class Head at the English Learning Centre:Muslim Orphanage. Let me start by saying that Muslim Orphanage is unlike any Learning Centre you’ll ever go to. No matter how much preparation or planning is done, every weekend is a bit of an improv session - there will always be kids to chase, new rhymes to sing, etc. Having said that, this Learning Centre has been an absolute joy to work at. Its true that it gets overwhelming and exhausting at times, especially around 4:15 on a lazy Sunday afternoon where the kids who aren’t falling asleep are throwing hula hoops from the 3rd floor. But when I look back, there are so many things I take back from having volunteered here. I remember this one class with 9th and 10th grade girls; they were having a story-building competition where they were divided into groups and given 5 different words that they were to use through the course of their story. It was great to see the normally shy and quiet girls open up and speak about their dreams for their lives. But there was this one girl, who kept chiding her friend for revealing her dreams and cynically remarked that these things were too far-fetched to ever come true. In my conversation with her, I asked her if it would be so bad if she dreamt anyway and as the others came up and presented their stories, she wrote one for herself and gave it to me later. Her note said that maybe being a princess is too far-fetched but being a doctor or a teacher isn’t and that is what she wanted to become and that she had been inspired by us, her teachers. I realized afresh the value of what we were doing among these children and it has strengthened my resolve to continue. If going there every weekend helps even one girl or boy then I know I have made a change. I truly look forward to every weekend I spend with these girls and will always strive to make a difference because I too, like the author of this quote would say that “I have the gift of faith and foolishness to believe that I can change the world”.

We thank you for believing in these children like we do and we really appreciate all you do to partner with us in our work here at U&I. Attached is a report about the progress at each of the Learning Centres that you support through your generosity. I would love to have you write to me with your thoughts, feedback and insight that would help us serve our communities better. Do write in at susan@uandi.org.in 

We are deactivating this Project as we have a similar project on Global Giving viz., Education for Underprivileged Children - Bangalore which supports the after-school education of all the children we work with. Please continue supporting our work through your giving to that project. Once again, THANK YOU from everyone in Team U&I!!


Attachments:
Apr 1, 2014

U&I Teach Report Nov 2013 - Feb 2014

Hello there!

Its very exciting to bring you news about the work happening in the U&I Teach program over the past few months. We have had a very fulfilling teaching season in all our Learning Centres and are looking to end this academic year with many success stories of well-deserved rewards for our students and their teachers (our volunteers).

Our volunteers are the grass-root champions of our work and I know you will love hearing from them directly. Nandita has volunteered with U&I for the past year at the Muslim Orphanage, one of our Learning Centres. It is her proactive enthusiasm, creativity and love for the children she teaches that shows brilliantly as she now leads a team of volunteers teaching English. Here is her story:

Testimonial by Nandita

My name is Nandita and my approach to life has changed immensely since I started working with U&I during Summer Camps 2013. I volunteer as a Class Head at the English Learning Centre:Muslim Orphanage. Let me start by saying that Muslim Orphanage is unlike any Learning Centre you’ll ever go to. No matter how much preparation or planning is done, every weekend is a bit of an improv session - there will always be kids to chase, new rhymes to sing, etc. Having said that, this Learning Centre has been an absolute joy to work at. Its true that it gets overwhelming and exhausting at times, especially around 4:15 on a lazy Sunday afternoon where the kids who aren’t falling asleep are throwing hula hoops from the 3rd floor. But when I look back, there are so many things I take back from having volunteered here. I remember this one class with 9th and 10th grade girls; they were having a story-building competition where they were divided into groups and given 5 different words that they were to use through the course of their story. It was great to see the normally shy and quiet girls open up and speak about their dreams for their lives. But there was this one girl, who kept chiding her friend for revealing her dreams and cynically remarked that these things were too far-fetched to ever come true. In my conversation with her, I asked her if it would be so bad if she dreamt anyway and as the others came up and presented their stories, she wrote one for herself and gave it to me later. Her note said that maybe being a princess is too far-fetched but being a doctor or a teacher isn’t and that is what she wanted to become and that she had been inspired by us, her teachers. I realized afresh the value of what we were doing among these children and it has strengthened my resolve to continue. If going there every weekend helps even one girl or boy then I know I have made a change. I truly look forward to every weekend I spend with these girls and will always strive to make a difference because I too, like the author of this quote would say that “I have the gift of faith and foolishness to believe that I can change the world”.

 

We thank you for believing in these children like we do and we really appreciate all you do to partner with us in our work here at U&I. Attached is a report about the progress at each of the Learning Centres that you support through your generosity. I would love to have you write to me with your thoughts, feedback and insight that would help us serve our communities better. Do write in at susan@uandi.org.in

Once again, THANK YOU from everyone in Team U&I!!


Attachments:
Mar 11, 2014

U&I Care Report - Dec 2013 to Feb 2014

Vadivel drawing on MS Paint
Vadivel drawing on MS Paint

Dear Friend and Partner

The Institute for Mentally Handicapped Children (IMHC) currently houses 80 boys with special needs who have been abandoned by their families or lost and brought to the Institute. Working with the boys in a State run Home is a daily challenge coupled with an incredible sense of accomplishment for the big and small victories that my team and I enjoy.

Thank you so much for supporting our work at the Institute and believing in the work we do for these wonderful children.

Some of the main highlights are:

  • Health & Hygiene – The boys who are severely and profoundly challenged are given a bath by the assistant carers every morning as they are not capable of doing so independently. The assistant carers have also given special attention to a few boys with dermatological issues such as scabies. New clothes have been regularly received as donations to ensure clean clothes for all the boys.
  • Therapy & Activities – During the Christmas season the boys learnt to make stars, greeting cards and even a Christmas tree as part of vocational therapy. The boys who are profoundly challenged are kept engaged in the play school with motor and sensory activities throughout the day. Computer classes have been going on along with English classes for the older boys who are learning the alphabet.
  • Physiotherapy – The Physiotherapist has been working with 10 boys with cerebral palsy and other equilibrium problems. All the physiotherapy equipment bought are being used on a daily basis for new motor therapies for the boys. Its been great to see the boys getting closer to achieving independency in motor movement after the intensive therapy of last few months.
  • Volunteering at the Institute – Every Sunday about 40 volunteers visit the Institute and engage the boys in different activities. The Special Needs Curriculum that they follow has been designed to engage and rehabilitate children with different levels of mental retardation. The volunteers also spend time cleaning and gardening at the Institute and help provide a better environment for all the boys.
  • Christmas celebrations at the Institute – The volunteers gathered one Sunday afternoon with cake, Santa hats and Christmas carols to spread some Christmas cheer at the Institute. They even called in Santa Claus for a special carol singing performance!

Story of the month:             

Vadivel was found at the railway station a few months ago. He was brought to the Home after being diagnosed as having mild mental retardation. After interacting with the boy for a few days, the staff discovered that he used to go to a local language school in Tamil Nadu and had learnt Beginner’s English and Mathematics. He is very bright and the staff were very keen on him continuing his learning. Since he showed an interest in computers, they decided to teach him to use a computer as well as to type. Over the past few months, Vadivel has progressed from learning to click on icons and using MS Paint to create beautiful drawings to typing paragraphs on MS Word.
There are times when he gets depressed and chooses to sit alone and not interact with anyone. On these days, the staff take him for walks to find out what is bothering him and keep him engaged in other activities until he shows an interest in coming back to computer training.
Over the past month, he is noticeably more relaxed and enthusiastic about participating in various activities. He greets staff and volunteers with a smile on his face and he’s learning to type at faster speeds every day!
 
Plans for the coming months
  • Hiring a special needs teacher to design and teach a structured curriculum
  • Hiring assistant carers to clean the premises of the Institute
  • Vocational Therapy classes to teach bag-making to the boys who are mildly challenged.

 

Work at the Institute is always a challenge that results in great joy. It’s not only about teaching and engaging 80 special needs boys, but on most days, it’s about the change taking place in the lives of staff, volunteers and visitors who invest in the boys and leave with an experience and learning they will never forget.
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