Written by: Prakash Hemani
I have got to know about UPAY through my previous manager Atanu. He was running a fund campaign for UPAY. I have not been to any NGO before. Thousand of questions were running in my mind. I do not know anyone. Whom to talk to. He put me in touch with Harsha, the Bangalore zonal coordinator. She shared the contact number of one of the interns with me and told that he will be my point of contact. That was a big relief. Now I knew if I have any questions, I can reach out to him.
Shikaripalya Govt. Urdu School, Electronic City
UPAY Bangalore Chapter started in June 2018. Around 30 children come to the center regularly. They take classes from 8-10 AM on weekdays and 9.00 AM – 11.00 AM on weekends. It is a typical government school with 4-5 rooms and a small playground in between. Luckily they had cultural events on the day. All 3 batches of children were sitting together in one class. In the class, children aged between 4-12 years were sitting together. It is one of the most happening classrooms I have ever been to. Some kids have got their younger siblings and they were holding them in their lap.
Some kids were fighting with each other. Some kids were simply sitting and reading their books loudly. They were not getting distracted from all which have been going around. I was supposed to take photos. But I was so overwhelmed with the class environment that I sat on the last bench and tried to be part of the class. I realized that these kids do not have any peer pressure and parent pressure. Whatever they are doing, they are doing because they want to do it. After UPAY executive team reached to the center, cultural events started.
Preschool kids came on the stage and started with rhymes with all the actions. Jhonny Jhonny yes papa, eating sugar no papa. They were so much into it and enjoying every bit of it. I tried to remember when I started getting stage fright. Then there were dance, songs, and some students performed mimicry of the volunteers on the fly.
Educating girl children about safety and personal hygiene
Thank you notes
They have made thank you cards and gave it to UPAY team as a token of gratitude and appreciation. It felt like these children understand, value and appreciate the opportunity that UPAY has been providing to them. In the executive team, there is one guy who surprisingly was once a student in one of the centers 4-5 years back. This organization has been able to inculcate social responsibility in these children. He understands that society has offered something to him, now it is his turn to return it back. So he joined the UPAY team as a volunteer. Now he has become a zonal secretary looking after 10 centers. We all boys have been asked to leave the room. The girl children were educated about self-defense and personal hygiene.
Varun Shrivastava, UPAY Founder
In the playground, Varun, founder of UPAY, was playing a game with all boy children. They made a big circle. First, everyone has to introduce himself and tell one fruit name. The next kid in the circle has to repeat the fruits which have been told by previous children and add one more fruit name to the list. I thought after 2-3 turns they will forget the name but they did pretty well and went up to 14 turns.
I was talking to Varun for the first time, he made me feel like a part of the team. A lot of people daily complain about the things the way they are in our country. They think to bring a change they need power, money and time. I am a 25 years old guy. So I do not know much about consistent work. The most I have achieved in life is I have passed some exam which has required me to prepare for 3-4 months. Today I learned how one person can initiate the change. I think the problem we are facing in our generation that we want to achieve everything fast. But things in life take time. It struck to me that change starts with today and it starts with you. Recently 10 years challenge has been famous on social media. UPAY has been running for 10 years and they have been able to make a difference in the life of more than 1700 children.
How can I contribute?
There are so many ways you can contribute. The best way to find out is to visit Shikaripalya Urdu government school and find out where you can fit in. They have classes from 8-10 AM on weekdays and 9-11 AM on weekends. To find out the center details and timing, please contact on
Volunteers, Bangalore Center