Education & hope for 50 orphan children in India

by Reaching Hand
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Education & hope for 50 orphan children in India
Education & hope for 50 orphan children in India
Education & hope for 50 orphan children in India
Education & hope for 50 orphan children in India
Education & hope for 50 orphan children in India
Education & hope for 50 orphan children in India
Education & hope for 50 orphan children in India
Cover Photo
Cover Photo

"You are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think" - It's a quote of Christopher Robin. The pandemic made us believe that we are braver, stronger and smarter as the mankind continue to soar high above the circumstances. We at New Home, continue to soar high with the help of our donors like you. Here are few updates about our Children during this pandemic.

Narrative on key highlights:

The second quarter of 2021 carried the weight of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we’ve come out successful on the other side of Lockdown 2.0 with all the precautionary measures taken to keep the virus at bay. We continued with most of our regular activities online with the resources available to us. All our children and staff at New Home are safe and healthy.

ACADEMIC UPDATES

1. Board Exams - This year we had 4 children preparing for the 12th grade Board Exams. However the exams were cancelled, and they go down in history, along with all the 12th graders across the Globe, as the first batch of children who have graduated school without an exam.

2. Home School - Lighthouse International School reopened and started classes online. Since we did not have all the necessary resources at once we started in phases.

* 6th graders started first on the 3rd of May.
* In the following weeks, we gradually increased the number of classes to include all the children.
* The last grade to join was the pre-primary on the 22nd of June.

3. School and Technology - Currently the school is running on laptops, projectors and internet dongles / hotspots borrowed from New Home and it’s staff.

* We were able to purchase 1 new TV. We require 7 more for each classroom, so children don’t crowd around a single laptop.
* New Home staff are currently overseeing and taking pictures of classworks, class tests and homeworks for the teachers.

4. The Graduation Ceremony - One of the big events in this quarter was the Graduation Ceremony for Dayanand, Sarasu, Kateni and Sneha, held on the 2th of June. Most of them have been part of the home 13 - 14 years, joining the home at the tender age of 4 and 5 years.

* The children organised dances, songs and speeches about the four graduates.
* They created 4 memory videos with pictures from the time the graduates joined the home until now.
* The Trustees and staff spoke of their memories with each of the four children.
* No visitors were allowed on campus but well wishers, and guests joined online via Skype.

Apart from a few technical glitches with audio, the events went very well. Each of the graduates will be dearly missed by the children and staff.

* Dayanand - Had a huge positive impact on the younger boys. He was very good at his studies, motivated and ambitious. He played the role of an Acting Mentor for the boys along with Prem during the lockdown when we were short of staff. He left on the 30th June to stay with his mother in Bangalore city.
* Kateni - was most unique. No other child has shown consistency in excellence as she has. Over the years, she has topped her class and received awards of good behavior almost every year. She left for Manipur on the 11th of July, back to her family.
* Saraswati - the creative one. She loved to make the children laugh, was the go-to-person to organise dances and skits for all events. She draws beautifully and made cards for most of our sponsors. She left for Mangalore on the 30th of June to stay with her guardian.
* Sneha - the genius. She was excellent in academics as well as co-curricular activities. She struggled with emotional baggage for a while, but with the help of counsellors she is coping very well now. She left to stay with her sister in Bangalore city.

GENERAL ACTIVITIES

* Paul Raj sponsored a Quiz Competition with Rs. 10000 cash prize and a Trophy. Kateni (senior group) and Dilip (junior group) won the 1st Prizes.

* Awards for Best Behaviour have started again to motivate children with behavioural issues to improve. Gopal and Nadhya were awarded for the month of May.

* The children celebrated Mother’s Day on campus, but were quiet on Father's Day to respect the demise of our Founder.

ONLINE ACTIVITIES

* Another quiz was conducted online and we are happy to say that the New Home children topped the NLF Teens Quiz Competition.
* NLF Teens sessions continue online every Sunday.
* Guardians of Dreams sessions - two hours a week continue every Saturday.
* Counselling sessions happen online everyday. The Counselor plans to stay on campus a few days a month to help guide children with behavioural issues.

STAFF UPDATES

* Jaison - The boys mentor, left at the beginning of the second quarter.
* Two new mentors - Annie, Sekar and their child joined New Home on the 10th of June. They started work on the 17th of June after a 7 day quarantine period.
* Prem - Boys mentor left on the 1st of July.
* Janice - The counsellor stayed on campus for a week. She was quarantined until her COVID negative report was received.

CAMPUS UPDATES

1. Electric cost reduction measures

* Reduced the sprinkler usage in the farm.
* Strict monitoring of borewell motor (two) operation.
* Monitoring water consumption in the staff quarters through meter reading.

2. Drains and pipes - Blocked drainage pit near the staff quarters

* Removed blocks
* Cleaned
* Cemented with outside labourers

3. The Kitchen Garden - has been doing well, with organic fresh green leafy vegetables and fruits for the nutrition of our children.

Home school
Home school
Graduation Ceremony
Graduation Ceremony
Students Graduated
Students Graduated
General activities
General activities
Mother's day
Mother's day
Kitchen Garden
Kitchen Garden

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Incinerator
Incinerator

Since the lockdown in March, due to the pandemic, most of our opportunities for improvement and growth were driven from “within the Campus”. Here are a few things we undertook.

Kitchen garden – With time in our hands we decided to put our energies into cultivating organic vegetables like beans, radish, tomatoes, leafy veggies like red and green spinach for our children.

This benefits us in two ways:

  1. The children get highly nutritious, chemical and pesticide free vegetables.
  2. This helped us save on purchasing these vegetables from the market.
  3. This also gave the children an additional activity to work on during the lockdown.

Waste disposal – We decided to find a solution on campus for our dry waste (paper and the likes) by making an incinerator on campus.

Manure With the development of our kitchen garden, we realized we needed to purchase manure from the neighboring village if we did not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides. This became a regular necessity, so we bought to campus our very own little calf (one) and sheep (one). Our need for manure was satisfied and the children got an animal to bond with.

Solar energy We are trying to reduce our electrical expenditure by slowly transitioning to solar power. In the last 6 months we received and installed 12 solar panel streetlights (donated) on campus but we still need a significant amount to become completely solar powered.

Trainings and Webinars We had scheduled webinars and internal training sessions for the children, focusing of various topics. Two examples such webinars are mentioned below:

  1. Topic: Practicing Self-Care -  by Ms. Simran Chatha (Psychologist & Outreach Associate, Mpower The Centre)

Practicing self-care does not mean you are choosing yourself over your loved ones but being mindful of your own needs as well. Children were taught techniques based on

·        Breathing

·        Gratitude

·        Expressing through art

 

  1. Topic: Mental Health 101: It's okay to seek help by Ms. Sahana. S (M. Phil in Clinical Psychology, M.Sc Applied Psychology)

Mental Health is stigmatized and not many are aware of the signs of a mental health issue.

This webinar aimed at discussing:

·         Mental Health for children and how it applies to them

·         When & How to seek help 

Challenges:

Along with the above opportunities, we also had to face a few challenges during the last 6 months.

COVID19 All our children had to be home-schooled, which added immensely to the workload of the staff and mentors on campus.

Rains, Drains and Bore wells We had to get some cement work done to our drainage system, the bore well and some parts of the kitchen walls that were getting damaged during the rains.

Medical Challenges A home with just two children often have visits to a doctor, imagine a home with 50 children!

  1. Wheelchair – One of our children (Tanu) struggled with movement around the campus when his wheelchair got damaged with wear and tear and had to get a new one. He also out grew his old prosthetic limbs (growing children) so we took him to the hospital for new measurements in October Mobility India.
  2. Eye – Three children (Vignesh, Ganesh, Rajveer) had to get their eyes checked and get glasses. Two of our older children (Blessy and Sarasu) had to update their glasses to match their eye power.
  3. Dental – One of our children (Aishwarya) struggled with tooth pain and had to get a filling done.

Staff It’s always difficult to find people who are passionate, kind and loyal to become a mentor to our children. We had to fine a new male mentor to replace an old mentor during the pandemic. The new mentor joined in August 2020.

Increased Electric Bills - COVID brought about unexpected spike in our electric bills.

WIFI – With the all classes being held online during the pandemic, we needed to ensure we had a good wifi connection, so our children’s academics did not suffer. Since our campus is located away from the city, in a remote area, we had to get an Airtel dedicated internet lease line connection to be able to get uninterrupted internet.

CCTV Cameras – To abide by the government regulation of a children’s home and to ensure the safety of our children and we installed CCTV cameras all across the New home campus which cost us a significant amount.

Planned activities carried out during the last 6 months:

We planned a few activities on Campus during the pandemic

Children’s Day – We decided to have a Sports Day incorporated into our children’s day celebrations on 14th Nov 2020. The physical activity challenged the kids and the competition to win races help to mentally stimulate the kids to form teams and strategies to win.  We organized running races, relays, football, and spoon and lemon races for the younger kids, among other games.

Christmas Celebrations – The children organized dances, a drama, a mime, beautiful singing, lots of games, treasure hunt, a cute fashion show, and ended it all with a good Christmas lunch.

Motivational Village Trip Our founder heard about two toppers in Karnataka - Mahesh and Deepti (state and district toppers) who came from very poor households (with just one light bulb for the entire house). He decided to take our children to visit their homes and village so they could be motivated and inspired to study and do well.

Cause for Celebrations

Toppers We are very proud of two of our children (Sarasu and Dayanad) have become topper in their class (junior college - 12th grade) in Psychology and Accountancy.

Sarasu - came to us in 2008 at the tender age of 4, when her mother died and father abandoned her. Her brother and grandmother brought her to our home. Sarasu has now grown into confidant young woman, often hosting our internal events and competitions. She loves directing dramas and skits and paints beautifully. She has shown interest in media studies for her future and has topped in Psychology in her junior college.

Dayanand – joined our home in 2012 after his father passed away. His mother was a domestic help and could not afford to take care of or educate him. Today, Dayanand is one of our brightest students, he loves math and has topped Accountancy in his junior college. He aspires to become a chartered accountant.

Areas for Improvement :

Improvements in studies Moses, Janu and Tamana, a few of our younger children struggled with their academics due to certain learning disabilities. They have been given special attention by our staff and volunteers during the pandemic. We have seen a significant improvement in their most recent exam results and hope to see consistency towards their educational excellence.

New Joiners - New two little girls (Angel and Hemalatha, ages 7 and 12) have joined the home and are slowly picking up written and communicative English. Our mentors and senior children are helping them with their education. 

Conclusion

This year we have four children appearing for their 12th standard board exams and are expecting them to be among the top scorers in their respective schools.

Sana, Sivagami, and Vijaya with the farm animal
Sana, Sivagami, and Vijaya with the farm animal
Our Kids with new glasses
Our Kids with new glasses
Tanu with his new prosthetics
Tanu with his new prosthetics
Cemented bore well
Cemented bore well
Christmas celebration
Christmas celebration
Christmas celebration
Christmas celebration
Children's day
Children's day
Sarasu
Sarasu
Dayanand
Dayanand
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Lockdown activities
Lockdown activities

From the beginning, Reaching Hand desired to support the educational attainment and future opportunities for children who otherwise would not have any options. They started with a Scholarship Program to fund students’ schooling, but eventually realized they wanted to have an even larger impact on the child’s life…

The answer was New Home – a home opened in 2006 for vulnerable and destitute children. Not only would education be a focus, but also fulfilling basic needs – shelter, nutrition, clothing, medical – along with education, recreation, extracurricular, life skills, counseling, volunteer engagement, and the best love and support we can give.

 

Lockdown activities:

 

Infact, we have had more fruitful time during these gloomy seasons like never before. 

As the schools are remain closed, our children engage themselves playing Indoor and outdoor games, arts and crafts are their part of entertainment. We have organized for cooking classes and gardening activities to keep our children engaged and be productive. 

In this way, we are teaching the children new skills and helping them grow in creativity and life skills. Also, few of our elder children took the responsibility of teaching the younger ones.

 

Holiday celebrations:

 

The elder children took leadership in planning games, activities, dance, and homemade Cards for all children to take part in and enjoy.

 

Computer Training:

 

Computer trainer gave weekly training to help students in 10th standard and above understand how to manage online classes/assignments. And yes! Finally, we have got the high-speed internet connectivity in our campus! Thanks to the Donors. Our Elder children can carry on with their classes without any interruption.

 

Academic classes:

 

With schools closed, our senior children began teaching academic classes for all normal school subjects for 1st standard to 8th standard students. Students are able to continue being engaged in learning, and senior children are learning skills in teaching, classroom management, lesson planning, etc.

 

Online workshops:

 

  • “FINDING PURPOSE IN LIFE” was a much-needed session to support our Teenagers emotionally. It was led by Mr. George Ebenezer. Around 16 teenagers have participated in this session.

 

  • We have organized an online webinar on self-Care / emotional Health for ages 12 and above. It was led by volunteers Ms. Kushboo and Mr. James. Around 18 children participated in this session.

 

  • We have organized an online webinar on MentalHealth for ages 8 to 11. It was led by volunteers Ms. Sahana. Around 22 children participated in this session

 

  • Zoom meeting coordinated by Ms. Priyanka from JP Morgan for all children. Taught children breathing exercises and techniques to help in studies and focus.

  

Independence Day Celebration:

 

Flag hoisting ceremony for all children and staff.

 

We also have to ensure the children are still engaged in learning and extra curriculers to continue their education and development. With limited technology resources, we have not yet been able to begin online classes with the official Lighthouse International Academy (LIA) teachers, but have begun with junior teachers (our most senior children on campus, as well as the children’s staff members.)  We are working on securing all the technological needs to have effective online classes for the 38 LIA students. The 4 PU College students do attend their online classes.

 

Despite the odds, we were able to keep our children safe and productive during this continued restrictions of movement off of our campus. We are so grateful for the sponsored internet leased line connection in our campus and the donated laptops and computers.

 

 

Holiday celebration
Holiday celebration
Computer Training
Computer Training
Independence day Celebration
Independence day Celebration
Children's performance during Independence day
Children's performance during Independence day
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Maria's Graduation
Maria's Graduation

A Very Merry Maria!

Soaring through her ICSE education with flying colors, Maria graduated from 10th grade this February! We could not be prouder, since she joined New Home within the first months of our opening. At the very young age of 2 and a half, Maria had already lost her father and was being taken care of by her single-mother. Unfortunately, her mother did not have the resources to take care of her daughter, and made the hard decision to leave her in our care for her wellbeing.

Over the past 14 years, Maria has truly blossomed into an intelligent, talented, and kind young lady! She completed her entire education at St. Michael’s High School, participating in Marching Band, Athletics, and multiple Dance Performances over the years. Always among one of the toppers in her class, she graduated with Excellence in Commercial Studies and Home Science. She is currently preparing to complete the ICSE exams and move onto Pre-University College. While she still has time to make a career choice, she has been considering teaching or getting into the airline industry. No matter what she chooses, her natural ability to succeed and her personable nature will definitely lead her far. Congrats Maria!

New Journeys Begin

Every family is proud to watch their children complete their education and move on to bigger things - and that is exactly how we at New Home feel about our 7 graduating seniors! Our annual graduation ceremony was held in February to honor all that our seniors have achieved over the years. It has been amazing to watch them grow and develop in New Home, especially since many came at the very young age of 3 or 4 and have been with us for the past 13 or 14 years. Each senior gave a heartfelt speech about their time in New Home and gratitude for the opportunities provided. Our chairman also “sent them off” with good wishes, fortune, and hope for the future.

 While the Covid lockdown has caused their final months in New Home to look different than planned, they are keeping their eyes on their goals. All have plans to continue studying or training for their desired field. Among the 7 we have an aspiring chartered accountant, chef, psychologist, educator, social worker, and IT professional! We cannot celebrate these graduates without thanking you, our donors, sponsors, and guests, who have been encouraging them throughout. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts!

Campus Life During a Pandemic…

No one could have expected what these last months have brought. Our 37 Lighthouse Academy students had to end their school year early, our 10th and 12th grade students’ exams have been postponed, our 10th and 11th grade students are attending online classes, and despite a very few staff members who go out to buy necessities, no one has been leaving campus. But it is at these hard times when we can remember our blessings.

We are thankful to have a large campus for our children to live and play safely in an enclosed and protected area. The campus is also full of fruit-bearing trees and vegetable-bearing gardens. The children get to learn about farming and gardening while also adding to our healthy meals.

We are thankful for the donated computers and tablets that have made online classes easier for our students. And of course, we are thankful to those who have donated provisions and financial support to help us through the lockdown!

While the changes have not been easy, we’ve made it as best as we can for the children through different activities – educational opportunities, values learning, skills learning, arts, music, dance, and of course, play. Even our older children have taken initiative to make grand celebrations with music, dance, games, and fun for Mother’s Day, birthdays, and a special anniversary.

We hope every one of you has also been able to stay safe and healthy during this time, and we are keeping you in our thoughts, too. We thank you for your support and we look forward to welcoming you again to our campus as soon as possible!

New Journeys Begin
New Journeys Begin
Online class
Online class
Quarantine fun in the campus
Quarantine fun in the campus
Donated Provision
Donated Provision
Indoor games-Quarantine
Indoor games-Quarantine
Drawing -Quarantine photos
Drawing -Quarantine photos
Quarantine activity
Quarantine activity
Quarantine time
Quarantine time
Lockdown activities
Lockdown activities
Campus Celebration
Campus Celebration

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When There’s a Will, There’s a Way.

 

Just ask our senior boy, Prem. Prem has been growing up in New Home for the past 14 years and is now the eldest boy at our home. His childhood was marked with many transitions, not only in our home, but also in different schools as we figured out which educational setting was the best for him. Through these transitions, Prem experienced a number of challenges as any child would at such a young age, including some behavioral issues.  Even with these challenges, he passed his 10th Board Exams in NIOS with 79 percentage, a very good score.  Yet we were uncertain about his future or where he would go next.  But Prem had plans of his own. He knew he had what it takes to succeed, if he were to get the chance. We were able to give him that chance in HMR PU College, and he ended his 1st PU year as the college topper! Each quarter he proves again and again how hard work and determination pays off, consistently ranking among the top in his core subjects of accounts and business. Not only does his hard work show in the classroom, but also in his character, as he has grown into a responsible and caring young man. He dreams of becoming a Chartered Accountant, and if he keeps up this pace, he will surely reach his dreams. All the best, Prem! 

 

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

 

Lighthouse International Academy (LIA) held their first official Sports Day on the 28th of November. Thirty-Seven of New Home children attending LIA got to participate in a race or game according to their grade level, with our top athletes competing in 100 m, 200 m, and 400m relay. It sure was an energetic and fun-filled day completed with a march past, musical display, physical drill, and, of course, medals and awards. Ganesh and Moses both received awards of distinction for receiving 3 individual medals. The students are already looking forward to improving their skills for next year’s Sports Day!

 

 

Feeling Merry and Bright this Holiday Season!

 

The month of December is ALWAYS an exciting one for New Home – with a program each and every weekend to celebrate the holiday season.  This year the season was kicked off with the children’s day at Catholic Club.  Boys and Girls showcased their talents with dance performances and engaged in dance and play throughout the event. Our LIA students also got to showcase their talents in dance and singing during the Thanksgiving Program.  It wouldn’t be the holiday season without our annual surprise from Devi Aunty’s group – this year they took all of the children out to a restaurant for some enjoyment and a hearty meal. And of course, with the spirit of giving, our children were blessed with new clothes and gifts from our generous donors. THANK YOU for everyone who made the full month memorable!

 

Moving On Up!

 

These past months, we’ve had the privilege of attending 2 graduation ceremonies for 7 of our outstanding boys and girls graduating from 12th grade. From St. Charles Women’s Pre-University College, Sazhuni in Science and Leshini in Commerce graduated in November; and from HMR Pre-Univeristy College, Prem and Shashi in Commerce, and Ruth, Renuka, and Sam in Arts graduated in January. How proud we were of Prem and Ruth when we learned they were both nominated for Student of the Year.  Most of these boys and girls have been growing up in our home for the past 10 to 14 years, so it is such an honor to see them succeed and reach this milestone in their lives.  They all will be taking their II Pre-Univeristy College Board Exams in the month of March, so please do send them lots of good luck!

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Organization Information

Reaching Hand

Location: Bangalore, Karnataka - India
Website:
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Project Leader:
Akshay Sagar
Chief Operating Officer
Bangalore, Karnataka India
$105,394 raised of $150,000 goal
 
1,072 donations
$44,606 to go
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