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...
Dec 9, 2015

Karm Marg Project report July-September 2015


Of Hope and Being Human....

Since a few months we had been worried about the funding situation at Karm Marg after going through our financial audit submission. Though we firmly believe, with proof for the last 18 years, that when you are doing something good, the money comes in...no matter what; this time the gap is substantial.

Inspite of all ups and down, recessions etc, the children have never gone hungry or wanting. Yes, we have had to sometimes restrict ourselves to only necessities but that is one of the most important lessons of life we can give ourselves and the children. There has never been any lessening of happiness and love.
Yesterday, when we heard *Mosumi had run away from her home to come to us because she wasn't happy being reunited with her family in West Bengal a month ago, we were worried sick. She had been calling us since a week asking us to get her here. We contacted the CWC but had to wait for their guidance. She had come to us 18 months ago in a completely fragile emotional state, highly suicidal and depressed. We had arranged for her to get psychiatric treatment at Shahadra Hospital nearly 2.5 hour journey, one way. With six months of regular medications, behavior therapy and the unconditional love of her peers and staff at Karm Marg, she bloomed into a happy, confident individual. No visitor would leave Karm Marg without a warm hug and smile from her. She had been rehabilitated a month ago with her family through Police's Project Muskaan.

We informed the CWC, railway police and sent our staff to all the Delhi train stations since 5 am with her photographs, hoping to find her. None of us could sleep and we had our very first corporate conference to attend for CSR fundraising opportunity. By noon we got a call saying she had been found at Old Delhi railway station by our staff. Speaking to her on the phone, when asked why she ran away, she responded very nonchalantly, "Didi, ghar jaake baat karoongi" (I will talk to you later)

Moved to tears, instead of the usual presentation, we decided to tell this story in response to a question we are often asked....Why should we support only 60 children from a small NGO when the same amount of money can impact hundreds in another bigger institution. 
There wasn't a dry eye in the hall....and people were moved enough to open their hearts and wallets in their own personal capacity.

What we learnt was unforgettable. Amidst all the competition, intolerance and selfishness, there lies a heart that beats for others who we may not even know. That is what makes us human.

There are so many examples of people doing such good work, but we barely get to know about them in this noise of 'breaking news'.
We were sure we will sleep well tonight after the sleepless one yesterday, for there's hope and humanity, alive and kicking...just look around you and share the good things that you see.....

 

 

The circle of life... At Karm Marg
So it all started when one of our soft hearted staff while attending Dastkar Bangalore exhibition rescued a kitten and brought it with him to Delhi. The kitten grew up to have three lovely kittens of her own. One of whom ate up a squirrel. This squirrel had just given birth to two lovely babies who were now left orphaned and hungry.
As we tried to figure out droppers, syringes, cotton swabs to feed milk to these babies, our karm marg children found a unique solution.....

Those baby squirrels are now being fed on the same cat's milk.... The one whose kitten killed the mother squirrel...

 

Other highlights:

 

  • Necessity is the mother of invention. Our latest creative invention. First fun playground equipment for our little ones. Designed and made in-house, out of an old tyre. Watch this space for more such fun range coming up soon....
 
  • The summer holidays brings in it's myriad workshops to keep the kids brimming with excitement and fun. This year saw music, clay, puppet making, drawing, craft, theatre and gender sensitization workshops. 
  • Our library project for local government school is now regularly in operation once every week. This is a project which gives opportunity to those local children who are coming from very poor section of society and do not have enough money to buy story books and neither do their schools. Through this project we want to give them more access to other books apart from their school books, so they can develop good reading habit and know more about the world around them.  The children are always excited and are fascinated by the books. It is always a pleasure to see their keenness and interest.
  • Babli’s dream to learn yoga from a professional is coming true. Now that she’s older, we have started sending her twice in week for learning yoga at Navtej Johar's studio in Delhi. Under the tutelage of yoga expert Sunaina Arya she is really enjoying soaking up the various asanas and pranayams and is very happy to share her knowledge with the kids at home. She has been fascinated with yoga right from a young age and we are sure that her passion will ensure she excels in this area.
  • The rakhis made by our special needs adults for the Indian festival of Rakhshabandhan were a big hit. Trying out the market for such products was a successful idea and next year we intend to make it an even more profitable venture for them. Customers appreciated the designs and neatness of the product and have promised to even help sell them for us next year. 

 

 

 

 

Sep 8, 2015

Karm Marg April-June 2015 Global Giving

Science workshop done by Agastya foundation.jpg
Science workshop done by Agastya foundation.jpg

> The circle of life... At Karm Marg.
>
> So it all started when one of our soft hearted staff while attending Dastkar Bangalore rescued a kitten and brought it with him to Delhi. The kitten grew up to have three lovely kittens of her own. One of whom ate up a squirrel. This squirrel had just given birth to two lovely babies who were now left orphaned and hungry.
> As we tried to figure out droppers, syringes, cotton swabs to feed milk to these babies, our karm marg children found a unique solution.....
> Those baby squirrels, now being fed on the same cat's milk.... The one whose kitten killed the mother squirrel.
> It was a beautiful show of harmony in the midst of survival of the fittest. A reminder of how we can find all solutions to problems in nature itself. 
>
> This quarter has been full of action. We managed to rehabilitate 14 children with their families.
>
> The highlight of summer has always been the holidays and a host of extra curricular, fun activities. This year the kids had a great time exploring pottery, art and craft, traditional Warli painting, theatre, music, storytelling, science, puppetry, cooking etc. With the weather being harsh and hot, it's a great time for creative indoor activities.
>
> This summer we also showed the children many documentaries on nature, weather changes, animal and plant life etc which they enjoyed immensely. They participated in the World Environment Day celebration at the district level too.
>
> Well known in the educational circles, the Agasthya International foundation organized a science workshop and conducted different acitivities on topics  such as solar system, human body parts functioning etc. The children learnt through fun methodology like puppet making and low cost gadget making, enjoying it thoroughly. 
>
> A fun cooking workshop using recipes with no oil and raw vegetables from our own vegetable garden was also conducted to highlight a healthier and tastier eating option.
>
> The older children has a lovely vocational training exposure trip to Taj Vivanta Hotel where they were shown the inner workings of a five star hotel, right from laundry unit to bakery, housekeeping and front office.
>
> Babli, our little yoga expert is now beginning her two month training in yoga. She is going for classes thrice a week. She is determined to train and practice as a yoga teacher.
>
> All our youngsters with special needs are enjoying their weekly sessions at Very Special Arts India in Vasant Kunj. They are learning various skills ranging from non formal education, weaving, computers to dance etc.
>
> On 29th June 2015 ICPS DCPU organized a workshop on POCSO (Protection of Child from Sexual Offence). 23 of our older children participated in this work shop. While we do conduct our own awareness programs, this was an important one as they were with many other children from other institutes. Their sharing of knowledge and experiences was mutually very beneficial for them to realise how aware they already were. It filled them up with a lot of confidence to be able to raise their voice against such issues.

varli painting (2).jpg
varli painting (2).jpg
out door cooking workshop.jpg
out door cooking workshop.jpg
very specail art school.JPG
very specail art school.JPG
Puppet making.jpg
Puppet making.jpg
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11960027_10152969542662461_4016603019116774339_n.jpg
11243999_10152969542592461_4033858138496521520_n.jpg
11243999_10152969542592461_4033858138496521520_n.jpg
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!

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