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Feb 27, 2018

Meet the Power (Point) Puff Girls

The slide show on Karnataka’s transportation was impressive. It included images and graphics that flowed seamlessly and a perfect English presentation that went along with it. But what was distinctive about this presentation was that the team behind it a group of young girls from an orphanage in Bangalore.

Thanks to 6-month computer course, these girls from U&I’s Learning Center, have some serious Power Point chops. The course, taught by U&I volunteers, covered MS Word, Excel and Power Point. As part of their graduation the girls got to present their final project to a panel of guests.

They were then awarded certificates of completion. And, of course, graduation hats which they got to throw up in the air much to their delight!

It was a proud moment for them - and for us at U&I. These girls now have the skills and the confidence to face some of the challenges that come their way. We've shown them that with hard work, you can dream big. They've shown us that although life circumstances may not be ideal, they can still "Excel" at what they do.

Jan 11, 2018

Better Than Any Award!

It was Teachers' Day - a day when schools across India celebrate and recognize the efforts of those who have tirelessly invested in their lives through education. 

At our Learning Center in Bangalore, seven-year-old Nandhini was excited. She had made a poster for her U&I teacher. It said, "You are my favorite teacher. Happy Teachers' Day!"

She waited eagerly for her tutor, Sunethra, to come to class. But as Sunethra was running late, Nandhini was assigned to another teacher.

Finally, Sunethra walked in through the doors of the Learning Center. Nandhini jumped out of her seat, ran up to her, wrapped her up in a big hug and gave her the poster she had made.

It was a special moment. Sunethra, an architect by profession, usually carefree and casual, couldn't help but choke up with emotion.

At the debrief with the U&I leaders after class, Sunethra shared that never before had she been celebrated or recognized in such a genuine and poignant way.

"It really makes me put my faith in what  I do with these kids," she said, committing to work even harder to give every opportunity for the next generation to succeed. 

At U&I, we realize it's a two-way street: those who give are rewarded in ways they can't ever put a price on. We're thankful to our 1200 volunteers who reach out to 1500 children through the week, ensuring that they have the resources and the attention they need to live to their fullest potential.

Jan 8, 2018

So Much More Than Career Day

For most children in most schools, career day would be a fun event where "grown-ups" would tell them about various jobs that they could look forward to.

For children at U&I's Learning Center in Bangalore it was so much more. These students are first generation learners. Their parents have never been to school, leave alone college. But these children have the chance to finally break the cycle of poverty through the power of education. 

These students finally have the chance to interact with mentors who have gone to college or chosen a career for themselves. These students finally have the chance to see that you don't have to have life dictate terms to you.

U&I teachers spent the afternoon explaining a wide array of career options to the students. They spoke about everything from engineering and architecture to the fashion industry and the armed forces.

But the underlying message was simple: if you can dream it, you can achieve it. U&I teachers left the students with the affirmation that they could dream big.

It was a day about career choices. But it was so much more as well.

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