Happy New Year!
2013 was such an eventful year at Food For Life Vrindavan, thanks to you, our donors, and we hope 2014 will bring many more blessings! We are here to share with you some really special moments at FFLV recently.
Food for Life Documentary:
We are so excited to show you our brand new Food For Life Vrindavan Documentary. This 8 minute video will tell you who we are, what we do and about the girls that you are sponsoring! The link is attached.
Celebrating National Girl Child Day:
This year our New year gift festival coincided with India's National Girls Day. National Girls Day was inaugurated January 24 in 2009 to promote national awareness regarding the plight of females in India. Some of the problems addressed include education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, protection, honour, child marriage, female infanticide, etc. This day of awareness, and the timing of our pack distribution coincided perfectly. How apropos since we are becoming an all girls school!
As for the girls, they were really excited to receive their presents after waiting for so long. Shouts of joy and laughter were heard, smiles and expressions of amazement on their shining faces were seen, and the festive energy was contagiously felt.
The packs contained vaseline, woolen cap, toffees, peanuts, toys, tooth paste, tooth brush, pencils, school bag, soap, pictures etc. The girls were overjoyed!
Creating environmental awareness:
Recently, a group of Sandipani Muni School girls got together with Food For Life volunteers to do a clean-up Vrindavan day. It was very nice for everyone to participate together, using teamwork, to pick up a large amount of waste and enjoy doing it! We are hoping that by getting the girls involved in cleaning, they will see for themselves, and show to future generations, the benefits of a clean environment.
We will also be posting a new movie starring some of the girls, coming soon to the FFLV website! It depicts the fate of Vrindavan caused by the trash that continues to pile up onto the streets. The animal inhabitants of this city suffer along with the people when trash and plastic are tossed on the roads.
Stay tuned for our big celebration coming up 14th February, 2014!! Our girls, along with other girls of the area are going out in the streets celebrating their rising and spreading awareness. We will be celebrating the 1 billion rising festival along with the whole world!
We will tell you everything in our next report, so stay tuned...
And for now, do not miss out on our new documentary! It will be worth your time. The link is below.
If you have questions or want to know more about what you've seen, please write to us.
Greetings from the FFLV team in Vrindavan. We hope this finds you well. Winters have just started to set in. The weather is sunny and beautiful during the day but a bit chilly in the night. Our students are now in mid term preparing for their half yearly exams in this another year full of hope and excitement.
A BIG MILESTONE FOR FFLV: OUR FIRST GRADUATES!
This past school year meant a lot to us, as our first batch of students graduated from 12th grade. Of 12 graduates, 8 were girls, all of who are now enrolled at a private university, Ganeshi Lal Agrawal University (GLA), Mathura. The university is providing fifty percent scholarships to our students and FFLV is covering the balance, as well as the cost of their college uniforms, with the help of generous donors like you!
Going to university is beyond the imagination of most of our students, whose societal and financial circumstances put the cost of continued study so far beyond their reach that the idea itself is almost unthinkable. Most of their famlies live a hand-to-mouth existance that makes it impossible to save anything, let alone enough to pay for the steep costs of private college tuition.
In this report we would like to introduce to you Pushpa, one of the graduated girls, now attending the university.
Pushpa is a lively, talented and studious girl, who was in our first graduation class.
Having been born and raised in a very poor family did not stop her from focusing on her dream. At SMS she was active in extra curricular activities from excelling in odissi dance, feeling confident with a computer, and trekking in the Himalyas to becoming a karate champion.
Pushpa had been in our Sandipani Muni School since she was 8 years old when she admitted to first grade. Here she relates to us her journey from the street to SMS and now to University.
How do you feel about getting into University?
"Going to college would not have been that easy, had not Food for Life Vrindavan extended its support from school to university. I was under the impression that there would be less to study, on contrary I hardly get time for self-study and myself."
What keeps you occupied?
"The economic condition of my family is not good, therefore to support my family I have a part-time job of giving private tuition to small kids. Everyday my College finishes at 5 pm. I reach home at 6 pm,and then I give tuition to 7 children until 7:30 pm, after a quick dinner I go to bed to sleep for 3 hours,I get up at 11 pm to study till 2:30 am, then I sleep again for four hours, another day begins usually at 7:30 am."
Do you miss Sandipani Muni School?
"Of course I do. Now when I have professors who are very compassionate and patient, it reminds me of the teachers I had in Sandipani Muni School. It reminds me of their love and faith and because of that support, it has made me what I am today. Sometime when I get late for college, I skip packing my lunch; by the afternoon I start to miss the tasty lunch that we use to get at our school. I am grateful to God, that Rupa prabhu and Nikunja mataji picked me up and brought to SMS. My parents would have never been able to afford the education that I got for free at SMS. I learned karate, dance and computer in my school, where I also got a lifetime opportunity to travel abroad. And now FFLV is supporting my college education too."
What course are you pursuing in the University? What do you want to become?
"I am pursuing bachelors in Pharmacy its called B.Pharma. In terms of profession, there are many opportunities for me after I finish this course, for example I can get into marketing, sales, and research. I have not decided on it yet. Amid all of this my priority is to stabilize my family economically and serve the society."
It's thrilling for all of us at FFLV to see the first results of our many years of hard work. "I look back at the time when we started the school in 2002, " says Nikunjavasini Didi, Sandipani Muni Schools' co-founder, "We saw the potential in these children and wanted them to have a chance to learn so they could realize it. We dreamed and they worked hard. And now, here they are! We are so proud of them." We invite you to share in our pride and thank you for your part in helping them achieve this goal.
MEET SOME OF THE YOUNG WOMEN WHO STUDY AT OUR SCHOOL
In our last update, we gave you a sneak peek at a short film one of our volunteers from the US made about Nandini, one of the many gifted and ambitious young women at our school. The film is part of a series that will introduce to those of you who can't make it to India, to our students, our school and to Vrindavan, the special place where we work. We are very proud of the series and eager to share it with you.
Today we'd like to introduce you to Maya, who wants to become a teacher. Maya embodies the hope and possiblity that inspire us to work on behalf of girls like her every day. We'll let her tell you in her own words about her hopes and dreams and what having an education means to her. Please click on the link below to hear her story.
Thank you again, for supporting our work. It means more to us and our students than we can ever possibly say!
Rupa (Founder, FFLV)
We have come a long way together. This year our first batch of 12th graders is graduating from school. This marks the completion of their school. When we asked if you wish to go for further studies (college), guess what the answer was? All of them said Yes!. That moment was really satisfying and encouraging for us and this has been made possible by you all.
Times are changing. From the point where we were trying to prevent child marriage, we now seem to be stepping into a new phase..a phase where the real potential of these girls has just started to bloom. In this report we would like to show you the difference you are making by your contribution. Attached is a link to a short film about one of our school girls Nandini which is just a glimpse of what your contribution does.
We would like to thank you all because you helped us achieve our goal of sponsoring 100 girls. Generous gifts from you all provide the financial and moral support needed to continue our mission. We want to express our appreciation and deepest gratitude for your constant contribution to our project. Your assistance means so much to us. We look forward to a continuing partnership with you, therefore, we have now further added 50 more girls to be sponsored to our current project: Prevent Child Marriage, Educate 150 Girls in India 8803. This way we can continue to help more girls like Nandini.
Your generosity is making an immediate difference in the lives of the girls at Food for Life Vrindavan. The funds are going toward the education, food, uniform, stationary and the over all development of the girls. You are making a difference!
Rupa Raghunath Das
(On behalf of the girls of Sandipani Muni School)
Piya is a bright young girl with lots of enthusiasm. She is also a wonderful dancer. Recently at an inter school competition for devotional dance presided by Laxminarayan Mahayagya at the Vrindavan's Kumbha Mela site Piya won the first prize.Piya is studing in the 6th grade of Sandipani Muni School. She is an honest girl with a civilized behaviour. Although Piya is average in her academics, she is a really good dancer. She is learning folk dance at the school and does amazing performances on stage. Piya comes from a family of 6. She has a brother and two sisters and live in a small rented room in Vrindavan. Her father works hard as a rickshaw puller in Sandipani school, while her mother works in local houses as house maid.
As the year is ending like many other adolescent girls from a normal background, Piya also hopes to have something special, you can make it happen for her and many more girls and guess what? it takes just a fiver!, Yes! We are gearing up for New Year Gift Festival. One gift pack its US$5 and you can donate as many as you like. Here is a link to do this theough global giving : http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/gifts-for-street-children-girls-in-india-food-for-life/
Look forward to your support in making many Piyas Smile :)
Dear Friends,Thank you again for supporting our project! We have so much going on here and have some really exciting news to share with you all since our last report!As you must have noticed, GlobalGiving allowed us to increase our project target of sponsoring 75 to 100 girls, have raised $39,387 so far and are only $2,612 shy. Meanwhile let me take this opportunity to update you on what these girls, that you have sponsored, are achieving in their day to day lives and how your donations are changing their lives forever. We are proud to share that this year’s Educational State Board Exams results for 10th Grade were much higher than the previous year. 16 out of 17 students, have passed within the first division, meaning with a percentage higher than 60%. The average of our 10th grade students was 65.72%.Our top two students that achieved the highest score were girls.1. Rajkumari 77%2. Mithilesh 76% Next year, 2013, our first batch of students will graduate and go for further studies to colleges. We are really looking forward to cover that and report to you that how many girls choose education over early marriage. On June 29th our school girl, Pushpa(18 yrs) got an opportunity to go to the UK to visit a school in Stoke on Trent. She was accompanied by two of our staff members and our school boy Pritam. This was under an exchange program with a school "The Discovery Academy" in the UK. Pushpa was extremely happy “My family is very proud of me", she said," this is the first time I have ever gone somewhere abroad!”On the 12th of August 2012, 15 girls from our Sandipani Muni School got an opportunity to meet the current president of India, Mr. Pranab Mukhrjee. Our school girls gave a melodious performance after a two day rehearsal with a team of mucisians from the band of Oscar Winner A.R. Rehmaan. Mr President really enjoyed their performance and expressed his appreciation by presenting the girls with a present. The news was also covered in a national newspaper The Hindustan Times. The girls got an opportunity to stay in the Parliament house for two days before their performance. The girls were so happy and felt confident on the stage during their performance. Mansi (15 yrs) excited after her beautiful performance innocently said, "I never thought I would get a chance to meet the president of India, I had only read His name in the GK Books."
Some of these girls had also performed at World Flute Festival on the 10th of August, which was innaugrated by the ex President of India, Mr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalaam. All this and more has just been possible because of your kind contribution towards the education of these girls. All the opportunities they have got are because they are at the school. These girls, if had got married at a young age, would have never got this chance to make a decision in their lives.Thank you once again, on behalf of Sandipani Muni School Girls.Rupa Raghunath Das
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Secretary to the Director