Archive for the ‘Good Samaritans’ Category

Activities: Photographs

Residents Welfare Association of Sector  A Pocket C, in Vasant Kunj has given space in their office premises since over seven years for running classes for under privileged children. They have also supported group activities and ensured participation of children in all RWA functions, especially functions on  the Republic Day .

A new room in the Community centre has been also allocated for holding the classes of children.

Acrylic Painting

Srijan Foundation is thankful to Col Kain, President of ARWA, Mr MM Agarwal Secretary, , Dr Usha Mukerjee and all members of RWA for their unqualified support.

Photographs of children who participate in these functions have been placed on our website earlier.

Srijan Foundation has been funding many of the children’s activities over the past decade.

Since last one year members of DEEP Foundation have been associated . They have commenced taking additional classes for children once or twice a week, and also preparing children for group activities.

We thank them for their selfless service. Ms Aparna Mathur has been active in teaching the children spoken English and general knowledge. She has also been teaching painting techniques to the kids, acrylic painting on fabric etc; and some of the paintings done by the children are placed below.

Sujata Suri  has been training the children in dance ,and choreographing their dances for presentation on various occasions. Ms Sujata has also arranged for almirahs and books for the children’ library which has been set up in the Room given by RWA. Pictures of the library are also placed below.

Mr Gaurav has been teaching Science, maths and GK. He has also been helping in identifying colleges to which our children passing High School examination can join.

Mr Nareshwar Prasad is continuing to teach the children from his home ,due to the onset of summer.

We are grateful to Mr Subash Dewan & Rahul Dewan for their unstinting support to Srijan activities.


Songs from a classroom. Or is it a thana?


We are working on finding out the contact details of Inspector Surender Kumar, our Good Samaritan, to help raise funds for this wonderful initiative. Please stay tuned on this article, if you would like to help him out.


The lilting rhythms and throaty choruses of the Manganiyar folk music break the morning air at the Ramsar police station in Barmer, 25 km from the border. Here, more than 200 children practise Manganiyar music, a famed but dying folk art, in the police station that for four years has doubled as a music and elementary education school for children in the region.

Saroof Khan, all of 10, has been attending the ‘Apna School’ since 2008. “My father was a Manganiyar musician, but he travelled a lot and had no time to teach me his music. So I never learnt. Now that I have been learning it for two years, I can appreciate my father’s talent and our tradition better,” says Khan.

The Manganiyar community, traditionally from Barmer, Jaisalmer and other parts of western Rajasthan, has used its music to bridge religious and caste barriers in the state. Muslims by birth, the Manganiyars are called upon to compose and sing songs on different occasions—a wedding, a birth in the family or a festival. Their music, which describes the life of the people of their land, has a touch of Sufism. Over the years, their music has gone global with names like Rukma Devi and Talab Khan travelling across the world showcasing their art.

But back here in Barmer, the artisans say though their music was appreciated, it didn’t do much for their lives once the show and the applause wound up.

“Despite our musical talents and the concerts abroad, we never managed to make a decent living. But now, this school in Ramsar is a godsend for all of us,” says Sakhi Khan, Rukma Devi’s son.

The story of the school began four years ago with a police inspector, Surender Kumar, who had an ear for music and experience in community policing. While on deputation with the UN peacekeeping mission to Bosnia, he says he learned about community policing while dealing with Serbians and Albanians. “On my return, I was posted to Ramsar and decided to emulate that model here,” he says.

Kumar began by rounding up a few children from the village and decided to use the police station as a music school, which is now run on donations from Kumar and celebrated dancer-choreographer Mallika Sarabhai.

Manganiyar teachers were never a problem in Ramsar but Kumar wanted the school to offer more than music. “There are several experienced teachers who could teach the children music, but I soon realised that the children had no elementary and academic education,” says Kumar.

And so, the police station-turned music school became a regular school. Kumar then set out to find a teacher. “We got a teacher from Ramsar to teach children the state syllabus. Now, we have four such teachers,” says Kumar, who now heads the Mahila Thana in Jodhpur.

Shakhar Khan, a Manganiyar who is in charge of ‘Apna School’, is one of the educated few in Ramsar. He believes the school has changed Ramsar. “We are a poor community and the government schools were far away and we could not afford to send our children there,” says Khan.

The classes are held for two hours in the morning and two in the evening—lean hours for the policemen. After Apna School set a precedent and the community realised the value of education, more children wanted to join the school. So another, much smaller, Apna School was set up in Ramsar. “But a majority of the students study in the police station. Now we have 310 students, four music teachers and four regular teachers,” says Khan.

However, Sakhi Khan, Rukma Devi’s son, says Apna School’s very popularity will possibly be its undoing. “It began as an elementary and music school for children from poor families. But news has spread and more and more students join every year. We just do not have the funds to handle them all,” says Khan.

So while Kumar and Sarabhai fund four teachers, including Shakhar Khan, they need at least three more. “We have hired another teacher and I forgo my salary to pay him. However, the number of students increases every year and now it is time for the annual exams and the students find it hard to cope with just four teachers,” says Shakhar Khan.

He says he has been looking for donors in Barmer city, but with little success. “We have come so far and we want to continue this, but it is difficult. Kumarji cannot possibly fund everything,” Khan says.



Good Samaritans: Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, St. Michael’s School

Municipal Corporation of Delhi had in the biting winter cold  in a most heartless manner broken up a night shelter occupied by over one hundred homeless poor.

Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, St. Michael’s School, stepped into help the hapless poor.

And not for the first time either.

New Picture (89)A School Turns Classrooms Into Night Shelter

Ambika Pandit | TNN

New Delhi: After being severely reprimanded by Delhi High Court, MCD erected a night shelter in a park near the Pusa Road roundabout on Thursday night but its heart didn’t melt. The structure was devoid of all necessities. But the poor people who would have spent the night there on the coldest day of the season found a helping hand stretched towards them.

Delhi Catholic Archdiocese stepped in and opened some classrooms in St. Michael’s School for the night. A statement issued on Friday said: ‘‘In the wake of the recent demolition of the temporary night shelter at the Pusa Road roundabout by MCD, St. Michael’s School on the same road, run by the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, has decided to help the victims of the demolition.’’

‘‘The school has decided to open its gates to people suffering in this extreme weather without proper facilities given by the MCD,’’ the statement said.

Speaking to Times City on behalf of the Archdiocese, Father Dominic Emmanuel said that after reading about the high court’s intervention and the condition of the people living in the park near the Pusa Road roundabout on Thursday morning in TOI, it was decided to step in.

The school will be providing them with blankets for the night. The homeless will, however, be asked to vacate the classrooms by 6.00 am so that the school can commence its daily routine.

The principal of the school, Father Vincent D’Souza, was asked to write to the MCD and the state government’s education department to inform them of the decision of the school management.

Eight years ago, St Columbus School on Bhai Veer Singh Marg had opened its doors to the underprivileged who suffer in the cold winter nights. The school continues to run that night shelter. ‘‘The church authorities hope that this step of theirs will bring some solace to the sufferings of the poor in the city,’’ said the statement.


Good Samaritans: Bangalore


She Helps Those Lodged In Jail

Sruthy Susan Ullas | TNN

Bangalore: While others are pondering over how to celebrate Christmas and New Year, Sister Adele Korah is busy contemplating what to gift her 5,000 friends for X-mas, all of them in the Central Prison, Bangalore. Sister Adele Korah works 24 hours for this neglected section of society.

For those appearing for exams, she is a tuition teacher helping them out with spoken English. To the sick, she is a nurse, attending to them like a mother caring for her child. She treats them, brings fruits for them and tries getting medicines that the government doesn’t provide.

She runs institutions like Karuna Ashram for the terminally ill so that their last years are peaceful and well cared for. Another area where Sister Adele, a nominee for the Namma Bengaluru awards, concentrates is helping the repented get out of prison.

While a prisoner is serving his/her term, she also makes sure that the person’s family is taken care of. She helps in admitting their children to good schools and sees to it that they don’t suffer. All this with the help of 35 other volunteers.

For Sister Adele, it is all about redemption and reformation. “Even the most hated criminal in the world is precious before the eyes of God. He would have erred in a moment of frustration. But my duty is to free them from the world of unforgiveness, hatred and anger,” she says.

It was after her retirement in 2004 that Sister started serving the prisoners fulltime. Till then she was principal of a teachers’ training institute, where she worked for 35 years. She joined the Sisters of Charity as a nun when she was 20.

“I don’t know much about awards. My greatest joy is to see a human turned away from darkness towards light,” she said. Indeed, hands that serve are holier than the lips that pray for this nun.


Differently Abled Man Assists Motorists On Narrow Stretch

Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: In these times of infuriating traffic gridlocks, Salman, 25, is a blessing for late-evening commuters at this busy junction in Benson Town. The way this differently-abled young man does it puts many able-bodied men to shame and surprise.

Though cramped by limb deformities, he’s very active, supporting himself with a stick, wielding a sharp whistle and ensuring there’s no chaos at this narrow junction. Nothing stops him from being there between 6.30 pm and 10 pm, trying to bring some order to the vehicles as they squeeze through the connecting road.
A resident of Jeevanpalli on Tannery Road, Salman has been doing this for almost nine years.

“I’ve seen the traffic grow by leaps and bounds. Initially, it was a bit difficult to handle but now it’s part of my daily life and helps me support my family,’’ he says. Earlier, he worked at a parking lot at the nearby Haj camp.
When he was 11, he lost his hands and a leg while flying a kite from a terrace. He slipped and fell on electricity wires. But that hasn’t deterred him in his chosen work. Some residents have also nominated him for the Namma Bengaluru Awards instituted by ABIDe. He is thrilled: “It feels good. I didn’t realize people would recognize me for this. With the whistle in my mouth, I’ve never felt disabled.’’

His father Sheikh Hyder was a fruit vendor but now laid low by lung infection. Mother Zarina is a homemaker. His younger brother is married and lives elsewhere with his wife. Salman earns anywhere between Rs 150-200 a day to around Rs 3,000 a month or even more. He earns more during Ramzan, but cold December and rainy days are lean. “The traffic police also pay me Rs 10 a day, that’s only if they pass this way,” he says.

The only thing he feels handicapped by is lack of education. He’s never been to school. Initially fluent in Hindi and Urdu, he has now picked up some English and speaks a few words. he also manages to understand many words as he interacts with commuters.

“I want to get married. First, I need to get a decent and regular income so I can support a family,” Salman says.


Silent Samaritans: Chennai NGOs start activity centres for child domestic workers

NGOs start activity centres for child domestic workers

M Ramya | TNN

Chennai: After the case of 10-year-old Rameshwari Jadhav being beaten and scalded by her employer — a small-time TV actor in Mumbai — came to light, the labour ministry is trying to curb the practice of employing children as domestic workers.

But not many people are interested in children like 15-year-old R Ragini, an orphan living with her brother and sister, who has been working as a maid in a house in Rajapillai Thottam in T Nagar for 12 years.

Ragini dropped out of school when she was in Class III, and can’t even write her own name. If she had been discovered a year ago, legal action could have been taken against her employer for hiring a child in hazardous labour, but now the Child Labour Prevention and Regulation Act (CLPRA) cannot help her since she is over 14 years.

An ongoing survey of child domestic workers in the city by two NGOs, Save The Children and Arunodaya Centre for Street and Working Children, shows that there are 35 children being employed in households in Kodambakkam, T Nagar and Choolaimedu, and 22 children in T P Chattram, Anna Nagar and Aminjikarai, many of them between 14 and 18 years.
Programme manager of Save The Children in the state Sandhya Krishnan says, “Though child labour has been included as a hazardous form of labour under the CLPRA, it states that only children under 14 cannot be employed in hazardous forms of labour, leaving those aged between 14 and 18 years (who are also children under Article 32 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children) without legal protection.”

Many of the children in this age group grow up to become poorly paid unskilled domestic workers. Extra-curricular or recreational activities or learning vocational skills is out of the question. To change this, the NGOs are setting up six contact and activity centres across the city. There are three centres in the city — two in Kodambakkam and one in T P Chattram.

It gives children the opportunity to play games and learn vocational skills such as tailoring and beauty techniques. Where such centres are not possible, the organisations are talking to resident welfare associations in apartments to allow them to use parking areas to give the children vocational training.

E Mala, who handles the centre in Rangarajapuram in Kodambakkam which caters to 23 children between 15 and 17 years, says, “Children can express themselves, increase their self-esteem and have fun. These are things that they never seem to have time for.” Mala, who started working as a domestic help when she was 10, is now studying second year BA History in Quaid-E-Millet College for Women and wants to become a social worker.

Through these centres the NGOs hope to have many success stories like that of Firoza in Kolkata, who successfully completed a six-month beautician course. She has since left her employer and returned to her family in Joynagar, from where she commutes five days a week to Kolkata where she is a practising beautician and to continue her training. Firoza is Ragini’s idol.

“I just learnt how to apply mascara. Next week I’m going to learn how to shape eyebrows. Soon I’ll be working just like Firoza akka,” she says.