Sep 1, 2016

Karm Marg Quarterly update April-June 2016

anamika.jpg
anamika.jpg
Karm Marg Quarterly Update April-June 2016

This quarter we'd like to  share the story of our ever-smiling Anamika. 

Anamika came to us from an adoption agency in March of 2002 when she was just 11 years. Owing to her being a slow learner, the possibility of her adoption were extremely limited.

Settling in well at Karm Marg, she blossomed into a very affectionate and caring young lady. She retains her childlike innocence which makes her very lovable. She has a very cheerful personality and is very sensitive to all. Shy with outsiders, she prefers to stay in the background doing the work assigned to her. Very fond of dressing up, she loves to be a part of all the group activities. 

Along with the other special needs youngsters, Anamika attended Shaurya Centre for Special Needs youth in Delhi. Her interest in cooking and baking has now led her to complete her three year training there successfully.  

She is now 25 and is employed as a Kitchen Assistant at Karm Marg as we felt that sheltered employment would be in her best interest. She is working very responsibly and is happy to be earning her own money. She enjoys baking too and we are planning on starting a baking product line which she can work on and we can help market.

Exposure trips....

This quarter is usually accompanied by the heat of the summer. Summer holidays, excursions and workshops are what keep the children excited and productively occupied.

This year we provided an opportunity to our children to go to other NGOs for an exposure visit and understand different ways of learning.  We organised a separate trip for the smaller children to visit the NGO Aavishkar in Himachal Pradesh. 

There they explored learning Science and Maths through innovative and creative games, stories and practical experiments. It was a whole new concept of learning and the kids  really enjoyed the interactions immensely. They came back with a lot of enthusiasm and ideas to apply to their current study patterns.

For the young adults, we organised an sort of an exchange program to the Space for Nurturing Creativity in Uttarakhand. It required quite a journey in the bus after a stop over at Rishikesh and then an hour's trek uphill on foot. That journey itself gave all them them a time to bond and have fun with each other and the staff that accompanied them. It is run in a totally different way.  There are 25 children staying there with a lady called Archana. It's a self sufficient way of life in a remote village. No one goes to school, they learn everything at their own home.  Music, dance, yoga, cooking and craft are some of the areas they excel in. The children are all self motivated to practice the skill they enjoy on their own everyday without any prompting from the staff. 


Our children were also very impressed with the whole concept and liked starting their day early with meditation and yoga. They have been replicating this throughout the rest of the summer holiday and have also been going for walks everyday at 6 am with Shabila, our alumni and staff member.


The whole idea behind this visit was to observe, absorb and adopt similar ways of working, discipline, time management, daily routine and how to manage all the challenges while maximising output with minimum resources. We feel this exchange has been really a huge eye opener for all the youngsters and the accompanying staff members.


While there, a series of workshops were also introduced by our talented in house KM team to all their children and staff. Jewellery making out of cloth, stitching bags form old cloth pieces, paper bag making and wall mural art were some of the in-house workshops that kept everyone creatively and productively occupied. This exchange of ideas and skills have been mutually beneficial for all children. Knowing that they too have skills they can teach and be appreciated for, has been a great morale booster for our youth.


Community projects

In the first week of May Karm Marg organized a 'Life Skills' workshop at the Senior Secondary Government school in Kheri Kalan village, Faridabad. Conducted by our partners Modicare we've started with class 11s. Many relevant and necessary topics were discussed in the workshop like peer pressure, life skills, HIV/AIDS, and personal hygiene. The youngsters were very attentive. There were many participative and interactive discussions. The feedback from them was very encouraging as they said they understood each topic very well and welcomed many more such workshops.

Shabila organised a natural homemade soap  making workshop. She used easily available and natural ingredients like neem, tulsi, lemon and multani mitti. Each child had a great time making a soap for themselves. Along the way they were also told why other commercially made chemical soaps are harmful for their body.

Ten of our creative children went to Creative Adda at Dariyaganj to participate in Dhamaal Chawkdi peer to peer learning program under the guidance of Shikshantar, Udaipur. Our children got to chance to explore so many different craft, science, music and other workshops. Kabaad se jugaad, Jewellery making, candle making, Solar panel were their favourite. Our very own Rihana and Shama conducted peer learning workshop of Jalkumbhi where they taught how to make jewellery and mats with the help of jalkhumbi (weed).  

Our 'Library Project' for local primary schools is also going well. 

We continue our weekly four hour session of storytelling and craft followed by the children borrowing books as per their interest and returning it back after reading it.

Vocational Training

Deepak worked hard and graduated from Modinagar College of Art after a four years Bachelor's degree course with Distinction. We are looking for options for further training for him.

Vipin, Govinda and Iqbal have got an opportunity to receive training in the Radisson Blue hotel in areas of Services and Kitchen for six weeks.



Avishkar trip Himachal pardesh (2).JPG
Avishkar trip Himachal pardesh (2).JPG
Life skill workshop at govt school by modi care foundation.jpg
Life skill workshop at govt school by modi care foundation.jpg
Soap making.jpg
Soap making.jpg
Deepak at his Graduation Art Exhibition jpg.jpg
Deepak at his Graduation Art Exhibition jpg.jpg
Jun 7, 2016

Karm Marg January-March 2016

Dance Audition.jpg
Dance Audition.jpg


This quarter's story is not about a child but a pup that we were give by Aysha, founder of an animal NGO as they were unable to cater to his needs at their shelter. 

Veer, the brave, was found with his spine and hind legs completely paralysed. He was so frail and ill that the vet advised us to put him down. But destiny had a different course charted out for him. The kids of KM were in love with this adorable and affectionate creature. The wanted to give it a try for a few weeks, ready to face the inevitable after that anyway.

So the vet suggested tonics and medicines and some generous donors were willing to contribute for his treatment. As he grew in strength, we realised that mobility was his main issue. To sort that, a creative intervention was planned. The kids, staff and board members got togther to build a sort of a wheelchair type equipment designed specially to take off the load from his dead  hind legs onto the wheels. 

We are happy to report that in a month, Veer has made tremendous progress and glides across the campus with his cool set of wheels!

While this seems like a story about a dog, what underlies this whole episode is the feeling of saving a life, going beyond the call of duty and not giving up till very creative option is explored. It has been such a morale booster for the children to be involved in this unbelievable healing process. 

Sometimes, life's most beautiful lessons come on four paws and a cool set of wheels!!

Main highlights this quarter!

The festival of Lorhi with it's bonfire and treat of popcorn, peanuts and sweets is a highlight marking the end of peak winter.

The other most celebrated festival at Karm Marg, Holi, also falls in this quarter. Preparations begin from weeks before with making organic eco-friendly colours from flowers, spices and beetroot. Soaking, grinding, drying takes up a good chunk of activity time. It's the day most alumni and friends visit us to be part of the masti. No one is spared and after we run out of colours, mud, water, everything is used to go crazy with fun! It's a festival where every one enjoys to their heart's content.

A local dance studio owner Himani met us at the Christmas fair we attended in December. She was impressed by the dance moves of some of our youngsters. She contacted us to hold auditions for our kids so that she could offer dance training for them at her studio. She selected 9 of them (7 girls, 2 boys) and they are now attending and throughly enjoying her classes twice a week.

With no sanitation facility provided in the village, the garbage has been piling up on the road leading to our campus. Karm Marg children and staff have been talking to the villagers about the ill-effects of open dumping on the health of their kids, animals etc. cleaned the road up trying to demonstrate to the villagers the importance of cleanliness and hygiene. Seeing us in action, we are hoping they will realise how they can do their bit in reducing this menace.

An art and craft workshop was conducted with the children where they were taught to make earrings out of used egg tray and colourful thread. They all enjoyed making different designs and presented it to older didis as gifts.

Ten of our creative children went to Creative Adda at Dariyaganj to participate in Dhamaal Chawkdi peer to peer learning program under the guidance of Shikshantar, Udaipur. Our children got to chance to explore so many different craft, science, music and other workshops. Kabaad se jugaad, Jewellery making, candle making, Solar panel were their favourite. Our very own Rihana and Shama conducted peer learning workshop of Jalkumbhi where they taught how to make jewellery and mats with the help of jalkhumbi (weed).  

Our Young Adults with Special Needs team helped in completing our paper bag order. They were very dedicated in doing their job. 

They visited their old school, Shaurya Center for their Annual day celebration and participated in activities there. They were very happy to meet their old teachers and friends. 

Poonam practiced making and baking mathi on her own without any assistance. It was a big accomplishment for her and us.

Organic vegetable holi colours.jpg
Organic vegetable holi colours.jpg
Veer The brave pup.jpg
Veer The brave pup.jpg
Excercises for Veer.jpg
Excercises for Veer.jpg
Young Adults with Special needs making newpaper bags.jpg
Young Adults with Special needs making newpaper bags.jpg
Mar 8, 2016

Quarterly Report Oct-Dec 2015

Jalkumbhi Intach Workshop.jpg
Jalkumbhi Intach Workshop.jpg
This quarter, our success story is not about an individual but about our experience with the wider community.
Joy of Giving!

This Children's day was special. Our children felt a deep sense of gratitude. They felt they individually had more than many of the street kids they saw around the area along the village canal in Faridabad. So they chose a few bits of whatever they could spare...their clothes, pins, sweets, biscuits, erasers, pencils etc and packed them into small bags to be given away to those more unfortunate. We all piled onto our bus and reached the basti(slum area) around the main drain where these families stayed. What followed was something they hadn't expected at all...There was a near stampede outside their bus, with little kids, teenagers carrying baby in arms and adults, jostling, almost snatching away the gifts. The small kids being scolded by their parents to grab more things, older ones climbing over really young ones trying to tug at our kid's clothes to get more things....
It was an eye opener for them. The kids were evidently scared and shaken up and could barely get off the bus. So we decide to abort the plan and come back later. In a discussion with them, a day later, it was heartwarming so see how much more empathy they had towards them. Most wanted to go back and share more than just their little packets. They wanted to meet them regularly, talk to them about improving their hygiene, manners and lives. They were appalled seeing such young parents, barely older than themselves and vowed they wouldn't make the same mistakes.

They felt so fortunate to be living a life where they were safe and not left wanting of basic needs in life. Always takers till now, their experience as givers was what made them most aware of the differences in the way people lived. More power to such interesting experiences and cheers to the big hearted, empathic and enthusiastic children of Karm Marg!

Community Workshops

  • Realising the growing need of the community youth, we also organised a 3 day workshop on Gender with around 50 children for our NGO and students from the senior government school in our area. The focus was on life skills, gender equality and HIV/AIDS. We roped in a professional agency Modi Care Foundation who have a lot of experience in conducting such workshop.It was very new experience for the students because they have never attended this kind of workshop before. Also the girls found it very interesting because there is no one in the family whom they can discuss all these things with. It gave both the girls and boys a very different perspective.They are very keen to attend more such workshops in future and want their friends to join in too. This has been a very heartening experience for us.
  • Another interesting workshop we organised for the rural women of our area, our staff and young adults, was a three day residential workshop by trainers from Jalkumbhi, organised by INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage). Jalkumbhi is a kind of water reed which grows wild locally and can be dried and used to weave products out of it just like rope/wild grass. These unique techniques can now be incorporated in our products made for income generation too.
It's been a year since we have started a library project with a local government primary school in the rural village where we are.There are approximately 150 students from different grades who attend our storytelling sessions now.
This project gives us the chance to connect with children from very different backgrounds. Most of them are rural children living with their parents, but they are probably first generation learners and have no one to guide them with learning in their homes. 
With parents busy with farming, cattle raising and household activities, they are often left alone most of the day. Specially the girls who are often have to take on household chores of cooking, cleaning and looking after their younger siblings once they go back home. For them instilling the love of books can really help them connect to the outer world, encourage them to read on their own and inspire them to continue their education.
We did observe that it doesn’t matter which background children are from or where they live... the only things that matters to them is reading books, listening to stories and having fun. 
 
Music...food for the soul!
We always encourage volunteers from around the world to share their skills and experiences with our children. Often language is seen as a barrier. But Monique, a Dutch volunteer demonstrated that music is a language that can unite the whole world. She came for a two week stay with us and left behind her love for music and immense confidence in the hearts of all our children. She had a bit of trouble settling into our rural lifestyle, but once she began her sessions, she was on a roll.

In such a short span, she was amazed that our children learnt how to play the recorder, guitar and keyboard (and one without a battery or elctric source, which can be played by blowing into a pipe). The children learnt 7 different styles and compositions. From classical, folk to middle eastern, indian and pop songs. They showcased their learning in a beautiful program attended by few of our board members and friends.
We also invited a local music group The Manzil Mystics to join Monique for a day and had so much fun mixing up their diverse styles.
She left Karm Marg impressed with the talent and exuberance of our children and is very keen to visit again.




Among Other News!


We restored 11 children back to their families.

It has been a very proud and momentous occasion for us that our young adults with special needs have completed their vocational training and have earned their first salary in December.

We are very proud that our alumni Deepak stood first in year 3, at the Fine Art at Modinagar Art College. He is the first child from Karm Marg who had gotten through a professional Art college. We found sponsorship for his education and still provide him a stipend for his expenses.

Shayra, another child whose now pursuing Bachelor's in Art at Faridabad College, has always been fabulous at dance and drama. She came first in a state level theatre competition and will be going for a national level competition soon.

Ajay, our young adult who is very passionate about cricket started attending Raja Nahar Singh Cricket Academy to learn and practice cricket under a professional coach.

10 of our children who are interested in art, attended a 2 day Madhubani folk art workshop at the Craft Museum in Delhi conducted by Urmila Devi, who is awarded master of Madhubani Art. Children also received certificates of participation.

Festival and Celebrations!

This quarter also brings in many festivals. Each of which we celebrate with full enthusiasm.

  • Starting with Dusshera, in which the children made Ravan with the help of Deepak,an art student and our alumni.
  • On Diwali, our biggest festival, kids decorated the whole campus with lights, candle and diyas, made rangolis (colour patterns on the floor) and enjoyed delicious treat of homemade pasta. Our young adults made paper mache wax diyas for sale at exhibitions. It ended with a full on dance party to loud Bollywood music, which is by far the favourite fun activity for most of our children.
  • Children's day on the 14th of November was celebrated by the children getting a treat of ice cream and their favourite street food, golgappas (spicy water balls) at the local speciality food shop.
  • On Christmas our friend and storyteller Tanu Shree Singh, along with her friends invited us to a carnival specially organised for children from three NGO's, including ours, at the lawns of Kisaan Bhawan in Faridabad. They set up 20 different kinds of game and food stalls for children, manned by them and their children. It was lovely for both sets of children to get to know each other and have fun together. The Carnival was full of dance, music and stories by Delhi's renowned Dastangoi (storyteller) Ankit Chaddha. Children also received gifts from Santa. It was a party to remember.
  • Our well wishers and friends from the Albatross Travel Company also gifted wrist watches to children on the occasion of Christmas. 
  • New Year's Eve saw a family reunion of sorts, with our alumni joining in for a party along with our founder Veena di and some staff members. A delightful end to a great year and a beginning with a bang for the next year, as the rocking party continued till wee hours of the morning!
Joy of Giving.jpg
Joy of Giving.jpg
Music Food for the Soul.jpg
Music Food for the Soul.jpg
Christmas Party 2015.jpg
Christmas Party 2015.jpg
Special Needs Adults First Salary.jpg
Special Needs Adults First Salary.jpg
Diwali 2015.jpg
Diwali 2015.jpg
Street Food Party.jpg
Street Food Party.jpg
 
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