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Jun 7, 2018

We're In It For The Long Haul!

When you see Muthu digging the soil or watering plants, you know he is in his element. He has a smile on his face. He is focussed on his work and exudes a sense of calmness.

But Muthu wasn’t always this calm or peaceful.

Just a few years ago, Muthu was an angry teen. His entire focus was to get out of the Boys’ Home and live independently.

As a young man with mild mental retardation, Muthu managed his daily activities better than some of his peers at the Home.

But, Muthu struggled with depression, anger and mood swings. He would often lash out at the other boys, displaying his anger by punching others.

Muthu refused treatment or counselling at the government-run mental care hospital which worked with the Boys’ Home residents.

Finally, after repeated tries, U&I’s staff member at the Home, Jayraj, was able to make some headway with Muthu. He explained to Muthu that he is still unable to live on his own. That he needed to learn more about daily responsibilities. He counselled Muthu about managing his anger. He redirected him to different daily tasks and vocational activities. He invited Muthu to help him in the garden.

Muthu took to gardening. He tended to the plants in the Boys’ Home every day. Slowly, with counselling and training, there was a change in Muthu. He stopped lashing out in anger. He learned to control his emotions and focus instead on his routine.

There are other Muthus at the Boys’ Home. But U&I is working individually with each of them to make sure they live to their fullest potential.

Working in government-run Homes and with abandoned special needs individuals has its own set of challenges. Sometimes, it takes many many attempts to get through to one child. But we're in it for the long haul. It's been eight years of working with these boys. And we're not stopping any time soon. 

It’s never easy. But it’s always worth it.

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May 25, 2018

U&I "Steps Up" for the World 10K in Bangalore

In just a few days, U&I will be lacing up for the World 10K Run in Bangalore. Close to 50 of us - staff, volunteers, interns and well-wishers - are going to be stepping up for the cause of education.

It would be safe to venture that most of us are not avid runners. In fact, some of us have never run before in our lives. But we know that particpating in the World 10K does two things - one, it puts U&I on the stage so we can get more eyes on our cause and, two, it helps us raise funds for deserving children so they can get a fair shot at life.

At U&I, we're constantly looking at ways we can step up our game. 

In the coming month, 200 of our volunteer leaders from across India will be coming to Bangalore for an intensive 3-day residential conference. The conference will include orientation on all aspects of our Teach program, from classroom management and curriculum to Flippen tools. 
We want to inspire and equip our leaders to be the change. We want to give them every resource so they, in turn, can effectively impact the underprivileged children whom they mentor.
At the end of the day, we're working hard to make sure that the 8-year-old child who is overwhelmed by her studies, who is told repeatedly that she will never amount to anything, who has never had access to a library or a computer is now affirmed, encouraged and believes that she has what it takes to live her dreams.
That's our motivation to give up our weekends to conduct a leadership conference or take part in a 10K.
It's not always easy. But it's always worth it.
Apr 10, 2018

It's That Time of the Year Again

In a couple weeks, U&I staff and friends are going to be putting on their running shoes and breaking a sweat at the World TCS 10K Run in Bangalore.

Our team has been busy with in-house competitions to get every staff member amped to run for a cause. Truth be told, we're not runners. Some of us are barely walkers. Some of us much prefer a cozy couch to the hard, unyielding tarmac. But all of us know how important this run is. 

This year, we're calling our campaign "Step Up" - because we're going to be putting one foot in front of the other for a much larger cause. Every donation we receive through the run is going to help an underprivileged child get a quality education.

We want to make sure kids like Rajveer get a solid foundation in academics. We want to make sure that learning is always fun for him, so he doesn't give up. We want to make sure that he challenges the statistics and beats the odds.

Rajveer is a kid with a big heart, lots of energy and a particular disdain for his times tables. That's why U&I tutor Rishiraj decided that simply reciting the tables won't work. The two played a game of cricket - with a twist. With every ball bowled, Rajveer recited one set of multiplication tables till he became a pro.

That's the kind of personalized investment we ensure at U&I. These kids don't otherwise have parents to tutor them or help them with academics. That's why we step in. 

Join us as we "step up" to be the change we want to see in our communities. We ask that you consider donating to this cause as we huff and puff our way to the finish line for the World 10K. Thanks so much!

 
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