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Mar 16, 2017

A Volunteers view to Bal Asha's work

Greeshma Rajeev.jpeg
Greeshma Rajeev.jpeg

I have been writing blogs for Bal Asha since September. Last month, I decided to take my association with them one step further and conduct dance workshops for the Bal Asha children every Saturday. It was during my sessions with the children that I understood some of the inner workings of the organization; I received insights that were not privy to me when I was doing remote content writing projects for them. Here’s what I realized.

People talk about impact in terms of numbers and metrics. Your success rates depend on how many lives you can better, not on how much better you can make them. But being at Bal Asha made me think twice about this notion. There are not hundreds of children at the home, but each one is cared for. Each child has specific needs in terms of how they should be engaged with as well as their dietary and medical requirements. The team at Bal Asha is very aware of this. There are schedules and measures put in place to ensure that each child receives special attention, kind of like we do when we are at home with our parents; all our needs are taken care of and we feel loved. Being at Bal Asha is something like that too.

It was then that I realized that the quality of care cannot be translated into metrics or monetary figures. I realized that the essence of working in this social space is not always about widespread giving, it’s about the quality of the service that we provide. That’s Leadership Rule #1 for you.

Here’s another learning from my time at Bal Asha—you are only as good as the people that make up your organization. I know this because of the way that the children at the center look to the staff. They respect the staff enough to know that they must behave (a feat I must admit I have not yet achieved; they are more than happy to run around as I chase them and play with them) and yet, they love the didis that take care of them. I witnessed this at the end of one of the workshops, when the kids requested the song ‘Zingaat’. When I played it, something magical happened. The entire energy in the room changed. I went from being the teacher to a spectator, as I watched the staff dance along and coddle the children as if they were their own. The children and the staff members knew every single word and action that went along with it. As I saw them dancing, I thought about how the real strength for Bal Asha comes from its team, which is true of any successful organization. Cue—Leadership Rule #2.

Now, for Leadership Rule #3, I would like to tell you about how valued I feel when Sunil, the director of Bal Asha, gives me feedback on my blogs. He tells me periodically about how his open rate has increased, how much time I am saving him, and boasts about my writing to anyone in the vicinity. It makes me feel like I am contributing something to a larger cause. By informing me of the kind of value that I am adding to the organization, he ensures that I stay connected to the cause. This, in my opinion, is the way to treat your supporters, employees, volunteers etc. so that they naturally feel inclined to help.

To sum up, here are the Leadership Rules that I have learnt from my volunteering experience at Bal Asha Trust:

1. Quality is key.

2. The team is the most important part of any organization.

3. Make your supporters feel valued by giving feedback.

Greeshma Rajeev
Dec 28, 2016

Towards Final Destination


Seasons's Greetings !

Life is nothing but a series of ups and downs that bring us to our final destination, the place where we truly belong. Varun’s story starts like this. He was born in a remote village in Maharashtra, and almost immediately, was abandoned. Luckily enough, a local adoption agency found him. Luckier still, was that the agency found a couple who wanted to adopt Varun.

The potential parents resided in another country. When they flew to India to adopt, they immediately fell in love with baby Varun. At just over a year of age, he was a handsome and healthy baby boy. The couple finalized adoption details and flew back to their own country.

Here’s what a lot of people don’t realize – adoption is a long long process and things can change in the meantime. However, this in-between time is important in order to safeguard the rights of the child getting adopted. In this case, it took about 6-8 months after that initial meeting for the court to approve the adoption. The couple kept in touch with Varun via emails and phone calls, but could not actually spend time with the baby. The court order finally brought them to India for a second time, with the hopes of taking their baby boy back home with them.

The couple was heartbroken when they realized that their son, now at 2.5 years of age, had a physical disability. The child could not walk independently. The almost parents realized that they did not have the necessary resources to provide Varun with the best care possible and hence, had to make the tough call of backing out from the adoption.

The court accepted their decision, but keeping the best interest of the child in mind, decided that he should be transferred to a good NGO in Mumbai for better medical treatment and care. The search for Varun’s new home ended with various authorities asking Bal Asha Trust to accept the child into its home. Sunil Arora, the director at Bal Asha, did not hesitate for a moment before opening his doors for the baby.

Through the ups and downs in his early life, Varun found his way to the Bal Asha family. He has now settled into his new home. His heartwarming smile and bubbly personality have won everyone over. He is the patient of one of the best pediatric neurologists in India, based on whose advice, the baby is going through a series of medical tests and assessments. Additionally, he has been attending physiotherapy sessions to help him manage his disability at Bal Asha Child Development Centre.

For now, Varun is a living at the Bal Asha Trust home. Tomorrow, he might find his forever-family after all. However, currently, it is our responsibility to provide him with the care he deserves.

Please help us to reach out to children like Varun, please make a donation. 

Wishing each one of you a fantastic NEW YEAR ahead from Bal Asha Trust 

Dec 19, 2016

Hope for Aloma

A child receiving Remedial Therapy
A child receiving Remedial Therapy

We are extremely grateful to your support to the Bal Asha Child Development Centre.  The centre has shown exceptional outreach by reaching to children with disabilities in and around Mumbai.  A total of 736 therapies were given to children from September to November 2016.

Parents who are bringing in children are not only from Mumbai, but from far villages, due to lack of funds and facilities.    One such father is George. 

George lives in Mumbai.  He works as a domestic help for a family.  He had come to Mumbai with a dream to make it big, nothing much changed for him.  He was married and has a beautiful daughter Aloma.  Aloma lived in a village with her mother in Bihar one corner of India and far from Mumbai.  Aloma had developmental delays.  She could not walk.  The fact that hurt George most was that he could not help his daughter.  He had no home, no funds and did not even know what to help his daughter.

But he kept on talking to people he would meet about his daughter and enquiring what could help her.  He soon came to know about the Bal Asha Child Development Centre.  He met the social worker and shared about the developmental concerns he had for his daughter.  The social worker at the centre are professionally qualified to support parents.  She assured George that the centre will help his daughter, but for that she must come to Mumbai.  The treatment will be free and hence he did not worry about the funds.  

George saw a ray of hope for his family.  He spoke to a friend’s family who were kind to allow his wife and child to stay with them while he continued to stay at the place he worked.  

Aloma came to Mumbai.  The social worker provided the family with complete support in arranging assessments and therapies from the team at the centre.  After months of hard work of the centre team, Aloma showed improvement.  Even a small achievement in her development thrilled George and his wife. 

During the treatment Aloma crossed a bigger hurdle to go through an orthopaedic surgery to help her reach her true potential.  Bal Asha arranged financial support from local donors so the family was not burdened financially. 

Aloma has now started walking and is improving through a home programme given to the family.  Aloma had to return to her village, but before going they visited the centre and expressed their gratitude to the project team and supporters of the project. 

Thanks to your support Bal Asha Child Development Centre could provide Aloma and many other children support.   

The centre between September 2016 to November 2016 gave below number of therapies to children with disability.

Paediatric Development Assessment: 64 

Physio Therapy: 141

Occupational Therapy: 214

Speech Therapy: 64

Psychological Therapy: 82

Remedial Therapy: 164

Testing: 7

The total visits which happened during the three months is: 736

Your support is crucial for the centre to keep providing children with developmental therapies for a better future to the children and hope to their families. 

A child receiving Psychological Therapy
A child receiving Psychological Therapy
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