Education
 India
Project #13852

Support U&I at the World 10K Run

by U&I
Vetted

It’s a small classroom of just ten kids. Specifically, ten girls from extremely challenging backgrounds who now live in an orphanage in Bangalore. Some of them have a parent in prison, two are sisters who witnessed their mother commit suicide, another girl’s relatives tried to marry her off before she turned 13, just so they could get their hands on her “inheritance” – less than $800 that her parents had left in her name. Their stories are horrifying.

But when you see their bright smiles, hear their complaints over homework and listen to them sing songs from their current obsession the movie Frozen, you’ll never guess that these kids have seen so much brokenness. U&I tutors come alongside these children twice a week with one goal - building these children up so they have the emotional and educational resources to succeed in life.

We maintain a ratio of 1:3 – or less – to ensure that every child forges a special bond with their tutor. Every single U&I class includes one-on-one “affirmations” between the tutor and their kids. “You did a great job focusing,” says one tutor; “You answered the questions brilliantly,” says another. The kids’ smiles get brighter. They sit up a bit straighter. This is what it’s all about - making sure that these children receive the positive reinforcement to become the best versions of themselves. They just need that one conversation, that one affirmation to change the course of their lives. 

U&I reaches 850 at-risk children through our 21 centers in 10 cities across India. You can’t really put a number on a child’s heart that was encouraged or a past hurt that was healed. But, sometimes, the results that are not quantifiable are the ones that count the most.

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Abdul and his friends
Abdul and his friends

Abdul is an 11–year-old with a big smile and sparkling eyes. But what his smile didn’t reveal was that he faced a challenge – a big one. In his 11 years, no one had given him enough attention to see if he was actually learning anything at school. Instead, he was simply promoted to the next grade – just so the numbers looked right in the books.

So, here was Abdul, a 6th grader. A 6th grader who didn’t know his ABCs. A 6th grader who had been written off as dumb, a sure high school dropout in couple years.

That’s when U&I came into Abdul’s life. With the attention of his U&I tutors, Abdul finally began committing to the task. Maybe it was his U&I teachers’ creative consequences for coming late to class – Abdul was made to write the alphabet down every time he was tardy. Maybe it was because Abdul needed the one-on-one attention. Whatever the reason, Abdul finally started “getting it.”

His tutor Anuj recalls, “In his first assessment, Abdul didn’t even know his ABCs. By his second assessment he got a 50 out of 50 on his test. It was a proud moment for all of us.”

No one could believe their eyes. Especially not Abdul. He saw the stars on his test paper and beamed with pride. For the first time ever, he had a perfect score on a test. His mother seeing the test results was sure Abdul had faked the results.

On Abdul’s insistence, his mom came to the U&I Learning Center to meet his teacher. Could it be that he boy had a perfect score? Or did he lie to her? But Abdul knew that the truth was way more exciting than a lie. He had got a perfect score. And he didn’t dream it up!

U&I tutors work with kids like Abdul on a daily basis. They see individual learning needs. They take the time to creatively teach each child. They invest in each child and instill them with an I-can-do-it attitude.

Abdul is one of 850 children that U&I reaches out to every single day. Come, join us as we commit to giving each child the confidence to shine – in the classroom and beyond.

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Adham first came to Annal Children's Home in Chennai with his 1-year-old brother, Gigikal. Being orphans, Adham took his role as big brother seriously. By the time his brother could walk, Adham was already 11 years old - and had never gone to school.

Adham's world revolved around dressing Gigikal in those little khakhi trousers, packing his school-bag and sending him to school. Even though he had been sending his brother to school daily, he never felt like he was missing out on something.

It was at this time in his life that U&I started teaching at Annal home.

For a boy who had never seen a classroom before, U&I was a whole new world. He would observe the class in progress from a distance every week. The sharing of greetings, the good things that had happened and the mutual affirmations drew him in.  For the first time in his life, he wanted to go to school. He wanted to be affirmed. He wanted to be something more.

That desire to go to school was all that was needed, everything else fell into place. He got admission in a school nearby and the week after, we took him into our U&I Teach program. It was his birthday that day and we asked him to share his good thing for this week. 

He said, "ENAKUM PADIKANUM NU AASAIYA IRINDIDI AANA ENNA YARUM SETHUKALA. IPO NAAN PADIKA PORAN. U&I KU THANKS!" (Even I want to be able to study. But nobody helped. Now I’m finally going to study. Thanks to U&I)

Support children like Adham by partnering with U&I at the World 10K Run in Bangalore on May 15, 2016. Your donation will give underprivilged children the right to an education. Together, we can be the change!

 

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Can You Spell?
Can You Spell?

 

Darshitha Goyal, is a social media volunteer at U&I. Her journey as a volunteer has been a learning experience that she fondly remembers-

“Serendipity is the simplest and best form of happiness”, they said. I didn’t understand what this statement truly meant until I started teaching the girls at the Good Shepherd Home. I would like to start from the beginning of my journey and share my experience as a volunteer at U&I. It was the summer after my tenth grade board exams that I decided that I wanted to help kids. I came across U&I and immediately decided that my passion for writing would aligned with the criteria for being a social media volunteer. After I started, the most magical thing happened and I realized how much more I gain than I give. It wasn’t just me molding their lives but they filled me with a constant sense of appreciation and self satisfaction. I remember the first academic class at Good Shepherd Home, two girls Babitha and Sarla from the advanced batch were assigned to me. The plan for the day was to sharpen their public speaking skills and their topics were ‘My country India’ and ‘Humans’.

I was supposed to help them with sentence framing and at the end of the class they were going to present their speech in front of everyone. They were both very nervous and scared, I reassured them that they would do well. Little did I know that at the end of her speech Babitha would thank me. It was a very proud moment for me. Everyone clapped for the two of them and what surprised me more, was that even I was appreciated for the speech they gave! That’s when I realized that I had grown as well. They taught me to appreciate the little things in life and to be content with what I have. My journey has been amazing so far and I’m sure it’s just going to get better with each class.”

Volunteers like Darshitha help make U&I an amazing place. U&I is a safe haven for volunteers, students and staff alike. With the year drawing to an end, U&I is grateful to have such passionate volunteers who tirelessly work with the students. Darsitha helps everyone realize that “Teaching is a duet of inspiration; they inspire you as much as you inspire them.”

Ajit, the co-founder welcoming the volunteers
Ajit, the co-founder welcoming the volunteers

Volunteer Orientation 2015 – Suit Up

More than 200 volunteers gathered on August 23rd for a day long orientation. The day was filled with fun activities that allowed the volunteers to interact with one another and the staff. They took part in team building games and other activities like Karaoke and Just Dance. The day was aimed at setting a positive tone for the rest of the year. The volunteers were challenged to step out of their comfort zone and inspire their students to achieve great things.

Kushal, a dedicated U&I volunteer shared his life story with the crowd. The way Kushal looked at life was rather interesting. Growing up, Kushal had a rough up bringing. He saw two ways of dealing with it. He could either let life get the best of him or he could make the best out of the situation. Kushals journey with U&I started when he interned for three months. He learned to be punctual, he learned the importance of listening and patience from working with other people. At the end of his internship he knew his time with U&I could not end. He continued to be a volunteer at the Home for the Mentally Challenged Boys. Every Sunday, he chose to spend time with 85 mentally challenged boys. He continued to grow as a person. These boys taught him to be a man of his word and show up every Sunday. It brought discipline to his life. He joined U&I with the hope of giving back to the community however three two years later he claims to have grown more than he could have hoped for.

Everyday volunteers like Kushal are able to be the change by stepping out of their comfort zone. They strive to push their students to achieve their dreams and fulfill their goals. U&I Teach is looking forward to a great academic year.

The Volunteers doing the YMCA dance
The Volunteers doing the YMCA dance
 

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Organization Information

U&I

Location: Bangalore, Karnataka - India
Website: http:/​/​www.uandi.org.in
Project Leader:
Ajit Sivaram
Bangalore, Karnataka India
$17,600 raised of $25,000 goal
 
184 donations
$7,400 to go
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