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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!

Apr 9, 2018

A Teacher Who Just Keeps On Giving

Priyanka with her handmade teaching tool
Priyanka with her handmade teaching tool

Priyanka is a teacher by profession. All week long she works at a private school, teaching a class of 40 children or more.

You'd think the weekend would entail some time alone, maybe a break to put her feet up and relax a little. But Priyanka wants to share her gift of teaching with underprivileged children as well.

On the weekends, she volunteers with U&I at one of our Bombay Learning Centers, mentoring one or two disadvantaged children. Doesn't she get burned out? Not according to her!

"The 1:1 student-teacher ratio here gives me a change to unleash my creativity in newer ways," says Priyanaka. This last week, she handmade her own teaching aids so the children at the Learning Center can get a better grasp of the days of the week. 

Priyanaka is one of 1200 volunteers who give of their time through U&I. They don't just give their time, they give of themselves, ensuring that the children they impact grow academically and socially.

We're still blown away by the commitement of volunteers like Priyanka and thrilled to be part of a movement of building communities of change.


Mar 14, 2018

Changing Labels, Transforming Lives

When Mani was first transferred to IMHC (Institute of Mentally Handicapped Children) from another State-run Home, he came with "warning labels." Supervisors and U&I staff at IMHC were told that they'd better be careful because Mani was aggressive.

With his large frame and propensity for quick, angry outbursts, no one wanted Mani in their Home.

His speaking skills were limited to one or two words when he first came to IMHC, recalls Jay, U&I's Manager at the Home. He would sit sullen and angry, not bothering to speak to the other residents. In fact, everyone knew to keep a safe distance from Mani, especially when he lashed out in anger.

Yet, Jay, our manager knew that underneath the big, aggressive frame was a simple, child-like mind that just needed patience and love. 

When Jay first invited him to start gardening, Mani agreed. Surprisingly, he followed instructions perfectly. He would water the plants or help with weeding, just as Jay asked him. 

Next came the mat-making classes. For the first few days, Mani acted like he didn't care. He lay listlessly on the floor while the other boys worked on their vocational skills project. But, suddenly, Mani expressed his desire to learn.

"I was very surprised. Within half a day Mani picked up the skill," reports Jay. He now comes up to Jay and tries to engage in conversation. Sometimes it's words, sometimes, it's just gestures. But each time Jay knows how important it is to respond. 

With his newly discovered skills and his ability to express himself better, Mani no longer comes with a warning label. Instead, he's a young man passionate about gardening, interested in mat-making and learning new skills and even someone who is now helping his friends at the Home learn these skills.

Thank you for donating to help young men like Mani. You're changing lives. Please do continue to support U&I so we can continue to reach out to those with special needs. 

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