U&I

INTRODUCTION Our journey began in May 2009, when a few friends from a local youth group visited a home for mentally challenged boys in Bangalore. From a small group of friends, to becoming a movement that hundreds of people would get involved in and to eventually becoming an organisation that would have projects across the city of Bangalore - no one would have guessed that this was how things would eventually turn out. Even today, we're amazed at all that's happened in the last four years & are excited about all that is to come. Since our inception in January 2011, we have focused most of our activities towards the education of underprivileged and special needs children. We be...
Jan 17, 2017

Little Things That Make A Big Difference

It’s not often that a set of pajamas makes an impact. But in the life of little Hanuman, a set of warm PJs was a pretty big deal. As a resident of the Institute for Mentally Challenged Boys (IMHC), he is one of 90 kids. Often, that means that the government-run institute can’t cope with individual needs of the boys. When a group of kids, including Hanuman, became sick there was little choice but to keep them quarantined. Sleeping on the floor with nothing more than a thin sheet, it was a difficult time for him.

But then U&I staff member at the Home, Anusha, noticed his situation and had the resources at hand to help him out. She picked out a set of warm clothes and gave them to Hanuman. It was a small gesture, but it spoke volumes. She had noticed he was cold. She cared enough to give him the clothes.

“Akka, but tomorrow I won’t get the same clothes, will I?” asked Hanuman. He feared that after U&I staff left for the day, his clothes would get mixed up with the rest of the laundry. He wanted to make sure he got his warm clothes the next day. And Anusha was there the next day, too, to make sure Hanuman got his wish.

It was just a set of old pajamas, possibly donated to the Boys’ Home. But it made a difference that someone cared enough to make sure Hanuman was warm that day.

U&I staff like Anusha give these children a sense of security. Day after day, these kids see these caring “akkas” and “annas” (big sisters and brothers, as the kids refer to them). To these special needs kids who have been abandoned, U&I becomes their family.

U&I works with IMHC to ensure that each of the boys receives the care they need to reach their full potential. Every day our staff at the home nurture and equip these boys: from teaching them basic things like daily hygiene to helping them cope with emotionally challenging situations.

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Dec 13, 2016

Building Communities of Change

Debrief sessions - Limitless Leadership Conference
Debrief sessions - Limitless Leadership Conference

Every day, U&I volunteers put aside everything else in their lives to invest in the lives of children. Our 1000 volunteer tutors are the hands and feet – and the heart – of our organization and impact 850 children every single week. They are armed with the mission of not only teaching the kids we reach, but also coming alongside them, affirming them and helping them dream big.

While we invest in our children, U&I also believes in empowering our volunteers. Our 2-day Leadership Conference held last month saw 100 U&I volunteers selected from across India come together under the theme “Limitless.” Through team games, adventure sports and interactive sessions, we learned about building trust, growing in confidence, group camaraderie and following processes while constantly innovating.

U&I volunteer Jaishree wrote in to thank us, saying that after the conference she felt like she could take on the world! She went on to say, “I am very thankful I get to spend time helping children and get to meet and spend time with such lovely human beings!” U&I understands how vital our volunteers are to keeping our organization healthy and impactful. We empower volunteers like Jaishree so they can go out and make a difference in the lives of children who are otherwise ignored.

At U&I we truly believe in “Building Communities of Change” for both our volunteer tutors and our children.

Volunteers selected for Leadership Conference
Volunteers selected for Leadership Conference
Outbound training
Outbound training
Oct 26, 2016

Losing to Win

U&I volunteer Anany had one simple goal when he signed up to be a tutor: to connect with the kids beyond the classroom. As an engineering student himself, he knew studies were top priority. But he also knew that encouraging children in their gifting was key to unlocking potential.

On day one, Anany was assigned to teach Johnson, a 12-year-old who was attentive but extremely shy. Johnson was a good listener but he barely said a few words to Anany.

When it came to break time, Anany didn’t just distract himself with a game on his phone. Instead, he persisted in trying to connect with Johnson. Anany mentioned that he loved sports. That was all the motivation Johnson needed to come out of his shell.

He spoke up: I’m a really fast runner.

The next ten minutes saw the tutor and the student taking part in three  impromptu races. Anany was surprised: This kid was really good. In every race, Johnson and Anany were neck and neck.

They had to get back to their studies. But not before Johnson made a solemn promise to his tutor: he would practice every day that week and he would beat Anany.

The next week when Anany walked into the U&I Learning Center, the previously shy Johnson came running up to him. It was time for the race to begin.

This time Anany had to concede defeat! Johnson had kept his word. He had practiced running every day and he had shown that hard work and determination pay off.

Anany may have lost the race. But he had won one child over. He motivated one child to work hard and give 100% to whatever they do.

 Yes, at U&I we teach children. But we also discover their talents and their dreams. And then we do our best to give them wings. Even if sometimes it means coming in second place!

 
   

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