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 ...
Jul 10, 2013

U&I Report - April to June

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Dear Friend of U&I,

It's been a crazy summer at U&I this year, with 7 summer camps for the U&I Teach students (400 lesser privileged kids) in the months of April & May. The month of June flags off a new acedemic year and the team has been busy setting up 10 learning centers, recruiting volunteers and assessing the 500+ kids, who are enrolled for this acedemic year. For this report instead of us sending you a write up about what we've been upto over the last 3 months here is a newspaper article the appreared in on the Times of India, June 3rd  2013.

Harbingers of change: College students turn mentors for underprivileged kids

It's a summer afternoon. The quiet surroundings of Karunalaya, a home for children in Kacharakanahalli, don't betray the hustle and bustle inside. In the hall, children in the age group of 8-16 years are getting trained in arts, crafts, personality development and having fun through games. Training them is an enthusiastic gang of students from city colleges.

The youngsters have chosen not to join their counterparts at their favourite hangouts. For, they are more concerned about striving to be the change they want to see by teaching underprivileged children, engaging them in games, and training them in life skills.

Providing these college students an opportunity is U&I, a volunteer-driven organization, committed to partnering with social organizations to work towards positive changes in the field of education, anti-trafficking, children and women welfare, and mental health.

U&I recruits 40-50 college students in the age group of 18-24 years for an internship programme every year. About 20% of them are volunteers who work with the underprivileged throughout the year while the rest are recruited for summer camps. "We had about 250 active volunteers last year. They pitch in after college and on weekends. Their passion drives them to work seven days a week, even during their summer vacations," says Suchita Isaac, media head, U&I. "They want to bring about a change in the place where they live and they believe they can change it for the better," she adds.

Talk to one of the youngsters and you know it's true. "This is my third summer camp with U&I. I have learnt many things here... like even the smallest things that we take for granted are a luxury to these children," says Ektha YP, an MSc counselling student at Christ College. Ektha teaches lifeskills, English and also counsels children.

The young interns spend time at orphanages, destitute homes and mental health care homes, involving the inmates in arts and crafts as well as other fun activities. "Two or three interns take part in these activities to fulfill their academic needs. For the rest, which is the majority, this is voluntary work. In fact, even those who do it for academic purposes stick around even after their college requirement is over," Saahas Patil, centre manager, U&I.

Regular volunteers with U&I work throughout the year and take tuitions for underprivileged children at their learning centres located in orphanages, state homes and slums.

Ebby Johnson and Ronald Smith, who finished PU from St Joseph's and Christ College, respectively, say, "While working with these children we realize how privileged we are. Their touching gestures make us want to do more for them."

The beneficiaries also enjoy it to the maximum. "We had lot of fun during the summer camps. The volunteers are very thoughtful. They taught us how to use our skills and made us play games," says Krishnappa K of Karunalaya. "They taught us to make paper bags too," adds Anitha S, flashing her flowery bag with a smile.

"I have learned more from them than they have from me. The feeling that I'm making a change in someone's life is amazing," says Saira Saldanha, III year student at Mount Carmel College. "I once read that this world is not inherited from our ancestors, but borrowed from our children. I want my children to live in a better world," she signs off.             -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Link to the article-  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Harbingers-of-change-College-students-turn-mentors-for-underprivileged-kids/articleshow/20402117.cms

Hope you enjoyed that article. Fell free to mail me if you need any more info.

Thanks and Regards,

Ajit Sivaram.

ajit@uandi.org.in

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Jun 5, 2013

U&I Report: April- May 2013

Volunteers at the home
Volunteers at the home

U&I CARE REPORT- 6/4/2013

The boys have had a very active few months. From physiotherapy to painting rainbow fish and learning to throw and catch balls all the boys have been involved in varied activities along with the nurses. 

The nurses have managed to reach 8 out of 10 of their goals. Teaching the moderate group of boys to brush is proving to be a slower process than we expected. Most of the boys learn, but find it difficult to repeat the process the next day. Vocational therapy has the older boys involved and participating enthusiastically. They have shown an interest in making bookmarks, binding books with colourful paper and painting rainbow fish. The boys who are severely or profoundly challenged were involved in rehabilitation therapy. It has been great to watch the boys who have sat around in one place for years actively participate. They have learnt to paste paper within a circle, turn pages of a book and reach for suspended swinging objects. Cartoons and rhymes in local languages were also screened for these boys. A few boys showed an increase in attention span due to the audio and visual stimulation.

Summer camps have been the highlight of the past few months for the boys. Every year the boys eagerly await the summer camps. Carnival games, clay modelling, dance and physical assessments were a part of this year’s summer camps. The volunteers were inspired and touched by the end of the two days of interacting with the boys and engaging them in various activities.

Volunteers from Goldman Sachs spent a day at the Home gardening. They planted different plants, re-potted a few plants that were already at the Home and planted grass. They gave the boys and cleaner and greener Home.

We are looking forward to a trip to the Zoo, a big birthday bash and a lot more activities and therapies for the boys in the coming months. It is going to be an exciting few months ahead at the Home!

Volunteers at the Home 2
Volunteers at the Home 2
Volunteers at the Home 3
Volunteers at the Home 3
Volunteers at the Home 4
Volunteers at the Home 4
Jun 5, 2013

U&I Report: April- May 2013

Summer Camp intern with children 1
Summer Camp intern with children 1

Dear Friend of U&I,

For this report instead of us sending you a write up about what we've been upto over the last 2 months, here is a newspaper article the appreared in on the Indian Express, 18th March 2013.

When their lives got entwined

Recently, when the SSLC results were announced, you might have spotted more than one elated face, or been witness to a steady stream of tears. But it wasn’t just the students who were on this roller-coaster of emotion - plenty of volunteers from city-based NGO, U&I (founded in January 2011), were just as affected by the exam’s outcome. After all, the organisation, which focuses on an all-round education among underprivileged communities, does have a team that works tirelessly throughout the year to make sure that they can level the playing field for these children. And come summer, you might think that they would take a much-deserved break - but in a heart-warming twist, that’s not the case.

“Most children have so much to do during the summer when they have time off from school and our children shouldn’t have to miss out on that. They come from orphanages, slums, have been rescued from human trafficking or might be mentally challenged. So we have summer camps in April-May for the children we teach,” explains Suchita Isaac, media head of U&I.  Making sure they steer clear of mainstream education during these months, the dedicated team of volunteers do everything to ensure that the kids have a great time, all while pocketing useful skills that go beyond the classroom.

While centrally located in the heart of the city next to Ulsoor Lake, U&I has managed to make sure they make a difference across the city, with learning centres in Dairy Circle, KR Puram, Kammanahalli and Dickinson Road. These centres are usually located next to orphanages or government homes for children. In fact, this year, the group has even taken the concept beyond the confines of Bangalore - one camp is even making an impact in an orphanage in Chennai.

This year’s theme is Dazzle, with a tagline that says it all - “Let every child shine”. And shine they do, with the ample opportunities provided by the NGO. “While the rest of the year is purely academic, this is a chance for us to do something different. So this year, we’re focusing on personality development and we also have sessions on arts and crafts as well as music and games. Through all these activities, we teach them about honesty, sportsmanship and just instill a sense of self-confidence,” says Saahas Patil, centre manager, U&I.

A typical day at any of these camps across the city is dotted with plenty to do, from games which involve role play of famous personalities and making human knots, to creating paper bags or participating in a treasure hunt. “What’s amazing is that these volunteers get up at about 7 in the morning to prepare for the day. It’s their vacation too, and they’re choosing to spend it with the children. The best part is that everyone expects something like this to have an impact on just the children. But when you see how involved the volunteers become, and how much the children become a part of their lives, you realise that it’s incredible to see their lives become intertwined,” Isaac tells us. However, being chosen as one of U&I’s volunteer isn’t a walk-in-the-park. Every year, the organisation sees about 1,000 applications pouring in, with many colleges requiring an internship of this nature as part of their coursework. “We filter the applicants and only the really committed ones are chosen,” says Isaac.  While enrolling only for one year might seem like the initial plan, a majority of the volunteers stick around for the next couple of years as well. Of the 40 odd volunteers this summer, about 20 worked during the last academic year. And come tomorrow, if you’re not putting on your running shoes to take part in the TCS World 10K run in Bangalore, make sure you push yourself out of bed anyway and head to the sidelines to cheer on those who do, for you will see 150 spirited volunteers running on behalf of U&I.

Dates for the applications for the academic year of 2013-2014 will soon be up on the group’s Facebook page. Details: facebook.com/uandi.org.in

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Link to the article- http://newindianexpress.com/cities/bangalore/When-their-lives-got-entwined/2013/05/18/article1595454.ece

Hope you enjoyed that article. Fell free to mail me if you need any more info.

Thanks and Regards,

Ajit Sivaram.

ajit@uandi.org.in

Summer Camp 2
Summer Camp 2
summer camp intern with children 3
summer camp intern with children 3
Summer camp intern with children 4
Summer camp intern with children 4
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