Given how dirty some areas near our home were becoming due to garbage being dumped by villagers, we decided to start the new year with a new mission. Discussions ensued with the children on the importance of garbage segregation. These led to suggestions that separate dustbins should be kept for vegetables waste, cooked food, plastic, glass, clothes and shoes. Their ideas were appreciated and put into action from the very next day.
In this quarter one of our young adults, Sapna who is studying in class 11th, took the initiative to help other children in their studies. She helped the students who were taking their board exams in their exam preparation. Tara, one of the students being helped by Sapna, passed class 10th after struggling for two years. She got good grades and the results indicated the success of our Buddy system of the seniors helping the juniors with their education issues. We are proud of our in-house mentors like Sapna.
Among the younger kids, Neelam helped other younger kids in their studies. It is a very good feeling when such buddy-mentorships systems work so well. They give a lot of confidence to the mentors as well as create positive role models for other children too. It helps in creating closer bonds and mutual respect among them as well.
Beena* was brought to us by her father at the age of 3 in the year 2000, along with her two elder sisters. When she came to us she was sufferings from acute malnutrition. Most of the day, she sat in a corner silently, rarely talked or expressed herself. It was very difficult for us to understand and communicate with her. She barely ever smiled. It took us almost two years of dedicated counselling to get her out of the trauma and open up.
She started going to school and completed her primary schooling. While conducting many different workshops for our children, we noticed that she loved doing yoga. She was a natural and took a deep interest in practicing it and was totally self motivated. She learnt from volunteers and then through online tutorials on her own. We sent her for training at a well known yoga centre, Studio Abhyas in Delhi to learn yoga. She did 4 month training under the guidance of Sunaina. Now she enjoys taking regular sessions with children at the home under adult guidance and supervision. She is keen to pursue teaching of Yoga as her career. She is also learning contemporary and Chau dance at Sutra Studio in Faridabad from a trained dance professional, Himani Sharma.We are planning to enroll her into a formal yoga teaching certificate course as soon as she passes her Class XII exams and becomes eligible for it. We wish her bright future ahead.
Happenings at Karm Marg Home
On 2nd January, Taj Vivanta Hotel, Surajkund, as part of their CSR initiative, provided lunch for children and staff to celebrate the New Year, as they do every year. This year they set up a live food station. Their kitchen staff, head chef and GM were also present. Our children loved the food.
On 27th January, the internationally acclaimed movie on women’s empowerment, ‘Parched’ was screened at Karm Marg for our local village women. The director of the movie Ms Leena Yadav was also present with a French TV news crew. After the movie there was a discussion with the women and they were also interviewed. All the women loved the movie and appreciated the director work. They were very vocal with their responses and reactions. We realised that women across the world, divided by class, race, economic status ultimately have to face very similar issues because of patriarchy and social norms. Only the degrees change.
On 4th of February, we celebrated Karm Marg 20th birthday. Many of Karm Marg’s old friends, funders and alumni attended the beautifully organised entertainment program by the children. It was a truly emotional experience for all. It brought a lots of tears along with a lot of love and joy to all hearts that have connected with us over the last two decades.
From 23rd to 26th March Karm Marg along with NGO’s Creativity Adda from Daryaganj, Delhi and Eco Hut, from Udaipur, co organised and hosted a ‘Jugaad Meet. The idea was to share ideas, resource and best practices on ‘Zero Waste’. Many individuals and organisations registered and attended the event. A lot of mutual exchange and learning took place.
Deepak, our artist alumni along with our kids, made very interesting wall art outside the kitchen and office area. It’s brought alive the entire area with it’s colourful energy.
On 13th January, the harvest festival Lohri was celebrated at Karm Marg. Children danced and traditional festival food items like peanuts, popcorn etc were distributed amongst them.
On 13th March we celebrated Holi with homemade snacks like gujiya, pakodas and other traditional food. Our old friends, Jiten bhaiya and Deepmala didi along with Veena di also joined in the fun.
On 11th February, our young adults went to Surajkund Mela for visit. It was organized by ICDS (Integrated Child Protection Scheme). Children had lots of fun there. They visited stalls of different countries like Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan and Africa and interacted with them and learnt about their culture.
On 25th February, children went to Digital Mela organized by Prayag at Surajkund. Children were invited to perform a theatre piece and a dance there. The skit based on environmental pollution was really appreciated by the audience.
This year we started an initiative by our volunteer Preeti Agarwal Mehta called '20-20'. To celebrate 20 years of KM, she has taken on a challenge to do 20 mini fundraisers for KM. As part of that, a generous couple decided to urge their family and friends to donate to KM instead of getting gifts for their one year old child on her birthday party. The Bansal family did the same for their mum's 70th birthday. Teenager Mahira Jain, donated all the collection of a bake sale and a games stall at her school fair to us. Many friends donated money to sponsor a KM child, sponsor other needs, celebrate their special occasions like 50th Anniversary, birthdays and children's birthdays with a meal and gifts.
As part of this, on 26th Feb, the artistes- Anuja Jaiman, Valentina Trivedi, Abhinav Sabyasachi and Nicky Chandam from Octave Foundation organised a storytelling event. All the money raised was donated by Octave Foundation to us. Our children also performed a skit and dance as an opening piece.
Shikha Kumar organised a Magic show, tattoo art and lunch for kids on occasion on her daughter's birthday. She also donated school bags and exam boards for the school going children and perfumes/toiletries for the young adults with special needs. The children were thrilled with their presents and had a great time. She also donated much needed sanitary pads for the older girls.
On 11th January, Eva, Josephine and Clara from Mukti Foundation, UK, visited KM. Veena didi showed them around and they were very pleased with what they observed. They were very impressed with how happy the children were. They loved our Jugaad products and bought some bags.
Jugaad- Income Generation Program
Orders and exhibitions kept us busy. Jugaad successfully completed new and regular orders from our clients as well as received very favourable response at the Jaipur Literature Festival stall where we exhibited for the first time and at the prestigious Kala Ghoda Festival in Mumbai.
Rakesh, our Paper Unit head conducted a workshop for other NGO’s at Khan market. Shabila and Shama went to facilitate a workshop on jewellery in Pravah organized by Pravah.
The young adults are being trained in all the units and are now almost ready to go on a stipend as their skills have really improved a lot.