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...
Aug 2, 2016

From Reluctant to Responsive

Every day U&I tutors go to prepared to our Learning Centers to teach children. Children like Manisha, who aren’t quite ready to have yet another teacher in their lives.

Manisha, a 6th grader from one of our Bombay Learning Centers, met with her tutor reluctantly. She wasn’t just hesitant or shy. She was absolutely sure she didn’t want to be there.

Her tutor Anuj recalls how in the first few weeks of tutoring she told him repeatedly in Hindi, “I can learn on my own. Go home. I know everything.”

But her tutor refused to give up. He knew that her reluctance to learn was simply a wall to keep others at a distance. And over a few weeks, he saw a huge difference in Manisha.

One day, Manisha told her tutor that her parents wanted her to stay with relatives in a nearby town. That would make it impossible for her to come to the U&I Learning Center. Her parents had informed her that she would have to drop the U&I classes.

But in the prior weeks Manisha had seen the value in learning. She saw the value of a mentor encouraging and helping her in her studies.

She made a decision. She informed her tutor with a bright smile: “I will never be going to stay with my relatives. I have decided I want to come to this class.”

U&I encourages first-generation learners like Manisha to follow their dreams. From a reluctant 6th grader who wanted nothing to do with studies, to a determined young girl who put education first, Manisha made a wise choice for her future. U&I’s message to our kids is simply to follow their dreams – and we can help them on their journey. 

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Jul 28, 2016

When the Truth is Better than a Lie

Abdul and his friends
Abdul and his friends

Abdul is an 11–year-old with a big smile and sparkling eyes. But what his smile didn’t reveal was that he faced a challenge – a big one. In his 11 years, no one had given him enough attention to see if he was actually learning anything at school. Instead, he was simply promoted to the next grade – just so the numbers looked right in the books.

So, here was Abdul, a 6th grader. A 6th grader who didn’t know his ABCs. A 6th grader who had been written off as dumb, a sure high school dropout in couple years.

That’s when U&I came into Abdul’s life. With the attention of his U&I tutors, Abdul finally began committing to the task. Maybe it was his U&I teachers’ creative consequences for coming late to class – Abdul was made to write the alphabet down every time he was tardy. Maybe it was because Abdul needed the one-on-one attention. Whatever the reason, Abdul finally started “getting it.”

His tutor Anuj recalls, “In his first assessment, Abdul didn’t even know his ABCs. By his second assessment he got a 50 out of 50 on his test. It was a proud moment for all of us.”

No one could believe their eyes. Especially not Abdul. He saw the stars on his test paper and beamed with pride. For the first time ever, he had a perfect score on a test. His mother seeing the test results was sure Abdul had faked the results.

On Abdul’s insistence, his mom came to the U&I Learning Center to meet his teacher. Could it be that he boy had a perfect score? Or did he lie to her? But Abdul knew that the truth was way more exciting than a lie. He had got a perfect score. And he didn’t dream it up!

U&I tutors work with kids like Abdul on a daily basis. They see individual learning needs. They take the time to creatively teach each child. They invest in each child and instill them with an I-can-do-it attitude.

Abdul is one of 850 children that U&I reaches out to every single day. Come, join us as we commit to giving each child the confidence to shine – in the classroom and beyond.

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Jul 28, 2016

A Proud Moment

Writing the letter A. Many would dismiss that as easy for a teenager. But for Basava and his U&I volunteer teacher Madhuri, it was a special, even groundbreaking, moment.

Basava a spunky, energetic teenager lives at the government-run Institute for Mentally Challenged Boys. He is one of 90 boys at the Home. Basava is known for his never-give-up attitude and his determination to try his hand at new things.

When U&I volunteer Madhuri was assigned to teach Basava she wasn’t sure where to begin. She tentatively gave him paper and pen and held his hand down on the paper. In true Basava style, he gave it his all and enjoyed scribbling on the paper. Over the next few weeks, Madhuri took the next step and guided his hand to write the letter A. They practiced a few times. Many of the As were lopsided and may not have passed muster with an exacting critic. But Basava kept going. He refused to give up till he could do it on his own. And he did. He beamed with pride looking up from a carefully crafted letter to his teacher who had worked patiently with him. 

Madhuri recalls another time when Basava felt this same sense of achievement. After one class Basava managed to put all the pencils back into the box without anyone’s help. It wasn’t an easy task for him – but he kept at it till every pencil was in the right place. 

It’s in these little moments where volunteers like Madhuri stand by the children and encourage them do take steps of their own. 

U&I volunteers invest their time and talent every week at the Home for special needs boys, many of whom have been abandoned by their families. U&I also employs full-time staff and therapists at the Home so children like Basava receive the help and resources to live to their full potential.

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