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Once again, a time to celebrate! Three of our girls Leena, Ardra and Salini (names changed to protect privacy), have completed their 12th grade succesfully, and have got admissions in a repuited college to pursue undergraduate courses in their chosen subjects. Two of them have scored a 'Full A+' - that is above 90% scores in all 5 subjects for grade 11 and 12. Proud of you all, girls!!
Seena, who had taken a year off after 12th grade to prepare for professional course entrance tests, has cleared the entrance for the engineering stream, and has secured admission for a B Tech in Dairy Technology, at the Govt College of Dairy Sciences in Thrissur.
One by one, our girls are crossing over into the achievement threshold - laying the foundation for a solid future for themselves.
Once again a proof that the ATMA Gurukulam experiment is really working!
Our sincere gratitude to all donors who have made this possible!
"Please come for lunch on Vishu (a traditional Kerala Festival in April). This year, our 'sadya' (special lunch) will be partly made of vegetables from our own garden!" Seema (name changed to protect privacy) could not contain her excitement, as she invited us over the phone. Of course they knew that the senior volunteers at ATMA would unfailingly be there to celebrate with them, as we do every time. For all festivals, it is a tradition that we all come 'home' to the children, wherever we are. This time was indeed special, because every child had contributed her own love and care to grow the vegetables that would go into making of the traidtional lunch.
The holidays in April and May were indeed spent fruitfully, tending to the new vegetable garden. With covid restrictions still in place, and a worrisome second wave hitting the state very badly, none of the usual holiday pursuits were possible. Visits to and from were strictly limited. It has now been more than a year since the children have been able to go on picnics and outings. For us, keeping their spirits high has been a focus area over the last one year - helping them find joy in small things, keeping them constantly engaged and inspiring them to utilise the time for pesonal grotwth. Even when visits were curtailed by the nearly 2-month long lockdown, ATMA Director C K Suresh and the senior volunteers regularly interacted with the children through online meetings. The children too have gracefully accepted the situation and are enthusiastically taking up whatever activities are available to them in the present scenario.
In early May, the new calf was born, bringing a fresh burst of joy to the Gurukulam Family. The children now have a new playmate! He loves frolicking with them, and promptly reminds them when it is time to play!
The schools re-opened in June, once more in the online mode. Another academic year has begun in earnest, and the children are immersed in their school work.The children in 12th grade have completed their board exams and are awaiting results. Once again, we look forward to a new year of achievement, growth and happiness!
“The okhra seeds have sprouted. Amma (mother) says we should water them everyday. I will definitely do that.” 11 year old Deepa (name and age changed) is very excited at the prospect of ‘growing things’ on her own.
When we asked the children whether they would like to start a vegetable garden, their response was very enthusiastic. They were totally thrilled! They immediately got together with the Ammas (the residential caretakers) and started planning. With the support of our volunteers, and some hired help, the land was tilled, and made suitable for cultivation. The children actively took to planting the seeds and tending the garden.
The patch of land behind the ATMA Gurukulam Gilrs Home building has now come alive with green.
Meanwhile, a well-wisher has donated a cow. The children are very excited about that too! They are showering so much of love and care on ‘Sita’ as they have chosen to call her. In a short time, Sita has become very much a part of the home and the team!
With a kitchen garden and a cow too, ATMA Gurukulam has really become a grand household. It is very satisfying to see that we have been able to give the children a real home – with love, care and happiness.
Now, we are working towards getting a larger premises and a new building so that we can support more children in need.
When ATMA Gurukulam was started in 2012, the vision was to develop a new model in institutionalised care, with focus on the total development of each child. The goal was to ensure that every child who came to us would be empowered to stand on her own feet, with a successful career.
This year, two of our girls successfully graduated after their 3 year degree programme. One of them has cleared the All Kerala Law Entrance Examination and got admission for a 3-year Law programme at the Govt Law College, Thrissur. The other has secured admission for Masters in Social Work at a reputed college in Thrissur.
4 children who completed their 10th grade have secured admission for 11th grade in the same school - two of them have opted for the humanities stream, one for science and the other for commerce. Three children who completed their 11th grade last year, have got good results - two of them have got an A+ in 5 out of 6 subjects, with one of them scoring 100% marks in 2 subjects.
Even amidst the Covid situation, great care is being taken to ensure that the children's studies are going on in full swing. All are attending online classes from their respective schools. Special online classes have been arranged to improve their english. The children are also having dance, music, craft and value education classes online.
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