BAL SABHA session, 25/02/2018 Karol Bagh office, New Delhi

Albert Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Truly, imagination is the first step towards innovation, which when teamed up with creativity produces exemplary masterpieces. As we know, for reaching the top of the ladder you have to start by firmly planting your feet on the first step, before you can consider your way up to the sky. Here at UPAY, keeping this in mind we hold for our kids a monthly session, called “BAL SABHA”- A platform that helps each child to bring out the best in her/him.

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We believe that education is a pretty broad concept that surpasses the confines of a classroom. Its core aim is to foster all-round development of a child, and for all round development, participation in co-curricular activities is a necessity. BAL SABHA aims at developing the innovative and creative skills of children along with providing to them, a day full of fun, enjoyment and excitement. BAL SABHA holds various activities organized and handled by the kids themselves and for themselves. It is a session where the students not only get the opportunity to showcase their inherent talents and build self-confidence but also allows them to learn from their fellow classmates and opens for them doors to explore their interests and potential.

 

Apart from being an exciting learning process, it fills the children with an enthusiasm which shines brightly on their gleeful glowing faces and broad toothy smiles. In this era of advancing technology when children are more prone to addiction to smartphones and their developing lack of interest in actual playful activities, BAL SABHA sessions make sure that the kids get their childhood going the right way.

Picture2Bal  sabha started with yoga session by Abhishek(DU)

Picture3Abhishek(DU) doing yoga asana with our cutest student Usha

A Chinese proverb aptly states “Teach me and I will forget, show me and I might remember, involve me and I will never forget.” Keeping it in mind like always we came up with another method to make the kids learn, be creative and enjoy at the same time. So this time on February 25th at the Karol Bagh office of UPAY, along with the students we decided to hold a “Best out of Waste” activity. In the activity, as the name suggests, the students were to make items of décor out of waste materials or insignificant articles which were out of use.

The response of the kids was overwhelming and the magnitude of ideas thrown at us, praiseworthy. After being sorted into groups, each group being headed by an UPAY member, the kids began to sort out their ideas, for they were not ready to settle for anything but the best. After ample evaluation, discussions and powerful brainstorming, our genius lads were ready to name their article of outstanding artistry. The stuff required for the activity was arranged and brought by the UPAY team before the event begun.

Prem’s team consisting of the youngest but most enthusiastic of the lot portrayed their exemplary coloring skills. The characters playing colors in their art works truly came to life and were in sync with the festive mood of Holi. Abhishek’s (NIT) team came up with another great idea of creating Lord Ganesha out of paper plates. Reminiscing of how Abhishek thought about paper plates and Lord Ganesha, he tells us “Few weeks ago I was strolling around in a rural street in Bengaluru, I stumbled across some kids running around with beautiful things crafted out of paper plates, in hand. Paper Plate Craft Work for UPAY Karol Bagh children, would be the next activity, I swore to myself.”

After the event he also told us, “When I unfolded the mystery and flanked paper plates in front of the kids, they were confused momentarily, and began anticipating all the possibilities. But uncertainty gave way to excitement as they saw paper plates taking the shape of a Ganapati and everyone was willing to make one on their own. Colors were pouring down, brushes moved to and fro. I can still recall the ecstatic faces I saw, when Anju and Nisha were successfully able to finish their crafts, and this makes me equally satisfied and happy.”

Picture4Team Prem : showing their colouring skills. They are also the tiny tots of our class.

Picture5Team Abhishek(NIT) made Ganpati ji from plastic plates

Sharad’s team created beautifully adorned flowers from straws. Arun’s team went a step further creating two masterpieces, a pen stand and a cute little straw umbrella. The beautiful craft work was a sight to behold. Shruti and her team made a wall hanging and a first aid box. Hence, learning the importance of First Aid in every house. Shruti quoted “When we told them about craft, Jyoti and Komal came up with the idea of making a wall hanging within minutes…I was astonished that they came up with it instantaneously, they then listed down the waste material required for the product, how creative!!”

Picture7Team Sharad made flowers from straws

Not only this Reshma a kid, with the help of our volunteer Priyanka, designed the logo of UPAY using ice-cream sticks, straws and colours, Kiran designed a garden portraying paper work. Abhishek and Priyanka after assisting the kids were found recalling their homework filled school days.

Picture6Team Abhishek(DU) & Priyanka made craft items using ice cream sticks and straws

Prem says, that through UPAY he gets an unparalleled opportunity to help unprivileged children with learning and spending time with them, which he always admires. “Generally”, he quotes, “the Karol Bagh Center is full of these ‘little bundles of joy’ preparing to be ‘aspiring adult teenagers’, divided in convenient groups with volunteers like me assigned to teach them and discover their unique inner potential, but 25th of February was different. It was exciting and fulfilling for all, be it kids or us volunteers.”

Prem says “Usha, the little devil and poster child of our center, seemed very excited to see colors, fore looking an opportunity to use them, she jumped to get hold of crayons and color into the sheets. Experimenting with shades and often ‘helping’ and ‘suggesting to’ her fellow teammates with their work, she showed the volunteers her incompetent dedication to drawing. Personally I was quite overcome by her commitment. Whether it’s daily classes, weekly tests or monthly BAL SABHA sessions she’s the most cheerful kid around.”

Vikram, often considered a slow learner and a timid child, our DARK HORSE was quite “inspired” by “little devil”. Relatively quicker than other days, he filled a couple of sheets with adorable shades. The best part came after he was done coloring. Contrary to rote learning, he seems to have an aptitude for pictorial representation. He was quicker than other children when exposed to pictorial charts of alphabets, domestic and pet animals, means of transport etc. This kid has shown some potential with the holistic model of learning.”

“Kajal was found completely absorbed in her work, enjoying the colors and asking for the least assistance and attention.”, told her team head, Prem.

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Picture9Team Arun made pen stand and an umbrella from ice cream sticks and straws

Picture10Team Shruti: Komal & Jyoti made wall hanging , Kavita & Aarti made a first aid box

Awards Categories:

  1. Most regular
  2. Helpful
  3. Disciplined
  4. Clean and Hygienic
  5. Performers in monthly tests

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The children showed prodigious interest in their craft work and their excitement filled us with energy. It was hardly noticeable where the time flew by and when did the clock strike 5:00 in the evening. The activities ended and satisfied and happy as we were we decided to call it a day.

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Seeing the success of this event, we are exhilarated to hold a new BAL SABHA session and we look forward to seeing our kids perform magical things again.

– By Archita Gupta

 

Baal Sabha Diary – Karol Bagh Center

Picture1.pngThe Karol Bagh branch of UPAY family tree is now two-month old and has gradually shown glimpses of bright future to come. The core strength of the students is 50 while during certain days as many as 70 students attend the class. Six-day per week class has been fruitful as depicted by the performance of the students in the 11th November test. Both curricular and extra curricular  learning are important for overall development of a child.  To nurture the special talent and build personality, a Bal Sabha was organized at the Karol Bagh Center on 20th November,.

During Bal Sabha students gave several performances such as singing, dancing, storytelling etc which provided a platform for them to showcase their skills. This also gave them opportunity to express themselves freely. The performances was followed by a quiz session & parents – teacher interaction.  Finally, special performances were recognized and Bal Sabha concluded by prize distribution.  Entire event was full of such a dynamism, zeal and excitement that it’s difficult to present the full picture through words. Still let me try my best by presenting some special moments during the event below.

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First and foremost, Sunil, an 8-year-old kid, anchored the event. Consider the importance of this in communication skills development and confidence building of the kid. Then 4-year-Old Usha, gave her dance performance. Her exemplary dancing skill could lead her to reach programs like ‘Dance India Dance’ if given required training. There are many Students like Jyoti, Komal, Beeram who can be further trained. This sets another goal for UPAY to develop relations with organization which can help in nourishment of such skills or to attract volunteers from diverse fields to help kids in such activities. Storytelling by Vaibhav was impressive as well. Teaching morals through stories is well-tested technique and should be adopted by all the volunteers as ethical education is an innate part of goal of UPAY.

During our quiz session parents were able to see their kids learning under the initiative of Reach and Teach. Also in knockout rounds the participants were asked to frame questions for their competitors to develop synthesizing skills which generally are forgotten in our education system. The recitation of Motu Seth Sadak Par let by Roopa needs a special mention due to the zeal which she showed and the applause by the audience. She recited the full poem even when she doesn’t go to school. The volunteers were feeling nostalgic after listening the poem.

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Finally, top performers of 11th November test and of Bal Sabha were awarded by exam boards to motivate them to work harder. The event was made special by the presence of Pradhan who had been very helpful in securing the temple for UPAY. His blessings would definitely inspire kids to do wonderful things in future.

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Events like Bal Sabha help in recognizing special talent which can be further nourished. It also makes children open to the teachers which inculcates in them a zeal for better learning. It also helps teachers in the regular monitoring of the progress of the students. The event can rightly be described as a successful one. Things are falling in place at our Karol Bagh Center. There awaits a bright future for kids as well as UPAY family. Thanks to Akanksha Swarnim, the Zonal Director (Delhi NCR) for marking her presence. Thanks to Mithila Malhotra and Team for successful organization of the event.

Children are like wet cement, whatever falls on them makes an impression. Let’s together make concerted efforts to give them a beautiful future. 

– By Ankit Anand

UPAY Karol Bagh initiative – A Step Forward

“Education is beautification of the inner world and the outer world.”-Amit Ray

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Peaceful in and out.

Making a difference

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The slum area

Life is what you make it. But not all get a chance to live a life of their dreams. Like a sapling grows into a tree with a lot of care and attention, similarly, a child is nurtured into a person with values after getting the desired attention and direction. With this little thought in mind, I and Aishwarya reached out to the people in Reghurpura area of Karol Bagh. The roadside slums where people were living in uninhabitable conditions, barely able to make both ends meet, made us feel a sense of urgency to reach out to them and help them with our small initiative.

Surveying the streets

The next day, I, Aishwarya and Ish decided to visit the area in order to get a better picture of the situation and whether the people would help us realize the goal of “Reach and Teach”. To our disappointment, the first family we approached did not respond as expected. Not losing hope, we moved ahead and came across so many people who did not have enough resources to educate their children. To our surprise, it turned out that the people who never had the opportunity to get the proper education themselves were knowledgeable enough to value the importance of their children’s education.

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Seema and the community people

While we explored the area, we fortunately came across Seema who sells mobile accessories on the footpath putting up a small thela. She has already taken a wonderful step by getting 100 children enrolled in schools’ single-handed. She ensured that she would do her bit for the cause. This made it easier for us to reach out to the children who are burdened by the weight of the society and are unable to live their dreams. Hence “a new beginning was made with the creation of a new story in time”.

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The survey team

The journey had just begun. The first step was to assess the situation and to realize this goal, I along with Akanksha (Zonal director, UPAY Delhi-NCR), Ish, and Shruti conducted the survey. The survey was conducted satisfactorily and we got the comprehensive list of families who wanted their children to get better education. We had a diverse group of children. Some of them were going to school, few were dropouts and few had never started. The common binding thing among all of them was the enthusiasm and the zeal to learn and move ahead in life.

 Meeting the challenges

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The park

The next big challenge was to locate an appropriate place where the classes could be held. Our team not leaving any stone unturned, surveyed the entire area and finally, we reached a park which seemed suitable to conduct the classes. It was in nature’s lap with lush greenery and also seemed suitable in all aspects. We considered it as one of the most appropriate location to move ahead with our course of action.

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The next day visit

But the next day when we visited the park again, we were a little perplexed and had to confront the problem of the park being used by some anti-social elements who were lying drunk in the park. It was very disturbing for all of us to see people in such condition. Not having many options in hand, we thought of making the park better place by removing those elements and making the environment congenial for both the students and the volunteers. I and Ish decided to approach the nearby police station and get help from them for this purpose. When we reached the police station, we were not having much in our mind about what would be their response. As it turned out, the police officials were very supportive and promised to help us in all the possible ways. They took the responsibility for the safety of the students and the volunteers. We told them about the various operational centers in Gurugram and how beautifully various activities were being carried out there. They were very impressed and promised to offer all possible help.

 Reach and Teach- The Beginning

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The first day with Varun Srivastava and Akanksha Swarnim

Finally, it was the Day. 16th September. The first day of the center. On the first day itself, we had 35 children and a volunteer team comprising of Abhishek Yadav(DU), Abhishek Yadav(ORN), Ankit Anand, Nimita Negi, Sharad Kumar, Shruti Garg and Seema. Appreciable efforts were made by all the volunteers. Seema is an integral part of the Karol Bagh team. Her assistance is very valuable as she understands the children better and helps us in doing the same. The day was made special by the visit of Varun Srivastava, founder UPAY and Akanksha Swarnim, Zonal Director. They inspired us to move ahead with full dedication and also addressed the students.

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The innocent smiles
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The quick learners

The innocent smile on the faces of the little children, who were learning and playing, was heart-warming for all of us. In the end, it was all worth the cause. We all had decided to inspire the children to come for classes regularly. Instead, we were inspired by the keenness of the students to learn. We knew that the roots of the UPAY tree had firmly grabbed the soil.

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Surreal and satisfying

Identifying the problems

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Targeting the problems

The first few days we dedicated to understanding the problems of the children. Some had the habit of chewing tobacco, some used cuss words and some had the habit of lying. We all were aware that directly targeting them would be of no use and they would again revert back to being the same. Moving with the activities of the day, Ankit decided to morally educate the children about the importance of speaking the truth and how it makes one a better person by giving them the example of Mahatma Gandhi. I myself talked to the children who were caught chewing tobacco and they promised me that they will not repeat it again. This was met with some success as 3 of them turned to me themselves and told me that they had stopped chewing tobacco. It was a great achievement as the first thing we aspire to do is to make them a better person in life.

Hurdles were meant to be leapt

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The new location

As it is rightly said- “what comes easy won’t last, what lasts won’t come easy”. Near to the completion of one month of the centre, we faced another obstacle. The parents of most of the children were reluctant to send them to the park as they felt that the environment was not conducive. The strength of the class began to decline. This problem had to be tackled on a priority basis. I along with Seema decided to visit the schools in the nearby area. We visited all the municipal corporation schools but all went in vain. We visited some private schools also, but that too did not yield results. When we had lost all hopes, Seema informed about a Buddhist temple in their locality where the hall was spacious and environment was very congenial to conduct classes. We went to see the temple and enquire about its availability. When we reached the hall, we met the MLA of Karol Bagh who was addressing a meeting there. We personally approached him and told him everything about our cause. He gave a positive response and asked to approach Mr. Hari Krishan, the Pradhan of the temple. The same day we reached out to Mr. Hari Krishan and explained him the purpose behind everything we aspire to do and how a small contribution from his side would shape the future of so many children. He gave a positive response and asked to submit an application to get clearance for using the temple hall. I did the needful and a week later on 9 October, we were successfully able to conduct our first class at the new location.

Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try

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The new beginning

“All is well that ends well.” The entire Karol Bagh team comprising of 20 volunteers at present is working very hard and their efforts are really appreciable. The journey has begun. Hoping for it to last forever. A small contribution from our side can change the life of so many innocent children.

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Karol bagh team

Confucious has rightly said- “If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. And if your plan is for one hundred years, educate children”. The small steps we have taken here can have an everlasting impact on the lives of children. We have Reached and have begun to Teach.

A big Thanks and Congratulations to the Team.
By – Mithila Malhotra

UPAY’s 8 years celebration by giving back to Mother Earth

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On the 24th of September, UPAY gave back to Mother Earth by conducting a tree plantation drive! Held at our Sohna Road centre, the children were taught about the vitality of trees and how it is essential for the environment that all of them show responsibility towards nature.

It was continued effort of our volunteers that made the drive happen, as we faced many challenges along the way. The primary obstacle was that the area where we planned to plant our saplings was heavily littered. Our volunteers reached out to the locals to ask for aid in cleaning. Though they sympathised with our cause, they did not comply as they wanted financial compensation for their help. So, our dedicated volunteers rolled up their sleeves and got to work themselves- and they managed to clean the whole area in one day!

treeplantation2The next issue was of the area itself; home to many herbivores, the area in which the saplings were to be planted were at risk of being consumed. In order to avoid our saplings being snacked on by various critters, our volunteers researched on the kind of plants that could not be eaten. They spoke to gardeners as well, some of which kindly offered to give saplings to us, free of cost.

So finally, accompanied by our guests- a team from Ramboll technologies- and supervised by our volunteers, all the children planted saplings with great care. We learned that a similar initiative had been taken up by someone else in the area earlier as well. However, they were unable to motivate the children to understand the need for nature. So our volunteers made sure that the children would not only understand the importance of maintaining a green environment, but also be motivated to take care of their saplings. They allotted each sapling to a child and tasked them with caring for it. Every month, the healthiest sapling’s carer would be awarded. With the incentive and the pride of having such an important responsibility, the children confidently promised to protect the saplings they’d planted, and wholly understood the importance of greenery as well!

treeplantation3As some of you may know, UPAY completed eight years on the 19th of September; we decided not to limit the celebrations to our centre in Nagpur, but bring the joy to Gurgaon as well! And what better way to celebrate than helping nature?

It is well known that global warming, deforestation and pollution are extremely pressing issues that require our attention. Therefore it is unfortunate that humans do not do enough to protect nature. It is essential to teach the children about the environment and the problems it is facing. They are growing up in a world where they will have to step up and do their part for the Earth, and it is crucial that they understand the necessity of nature early on, so they can grow up to become environmentally conscious citizens. With our first social service activity, we not only took a small step to helping the environment today, but also enabled the children to continue protecting nature in the future.  We will definitely conduct more such drives in the coming times!

By – Aanavi Sinha

From a Policeman to a Soldier to a Teacher, Kids at Sikanderpur fly the flag of their ambitions at Baal Sabha

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Children at Sikanderpur center gathering for Bal Sabha

On the Sunday morning of 17 September, children at UPAY’s Sikanderpur centre in Gurgaon gathered enthusiastically to participate in the monthly engaging event, Baal Sabha. As we were in our childhood, a day of reprieve from regular studies and homework brightened the smiles on the innocent faces, with sheer anticipation and excitement of the things to come. Dressed in colourful attires and the hair neatly oiled and combed in place, the children reflected their spirit to learn and overcome challenges despite the not so comfortable circumstances they must be facing in their day to day lives.

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Circled up to uncover their dreams

Commencing the much awaited session in the humble temple courtyard, each one of us was sitting cross-legged in a circle facing one another over a red coloured plastic mat, which, by far,  was the only prop used in the event. Initiating with an introduction of self, we managed to uncover the dreams and aspirations of all kids present there, prodding some of them, especially the younger ones, to think on these lines, probably for the first time ever in their lives. While being recruited in the police force was the most popular vocation, some children were inspired by the sacrifices of our jawans and vowed to fight for the country. Few of them were naïve enough, unable to clearly state the careers they were interested in, often speaking the names of the associated objects. This was hilarious but also an eye-opener that children observe things that may not be readily available in their immediate surroundings and have the courage to dream. While Aditya wanted to become a laptop, Mona dreamed of turning into a scooty overnight. Following this, our volunteer Mithila engaged the children with a powerful story on the importance of hygiene and consulting a doctor during the spread of diseases such as dengue fever. She made the narration all the more interesting by involving the kids in role play and often asking questions.

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Bhoojo to Jaane …

To lighten things up, volunteer Harsha suggested the game of object identification from their drawings on the whiteboard. Divided into two teams, we were taken in for a surprise when the participants demonstrated their creativity and imagination in conjuring up images and guessing them correctly. The artistic flavor of the event was not yet over. Almost every child, boosted and motivated by the display of genius, overcame their hesitation to give performances in the form of recitations, singing and dancing. Excelling in both solo as well as group acts, the renditions were a treat for the sore eyes.

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The Winners !

The Baal Sabha was concluded with an acknowledgement of the efforts put in by the children throughout their journey with UPAY. The titles and the winners included Feroz for Quick Learner, Neha for Regularity, Anshika for sincerity, Jumer as a good player and Bijoy for creativity. Children were also applauded for their performance during a test conducted the week before and they included Aditya, Rani, Gaurav and Rahul. Awarded a kit containing stationery items, the children were more than happy to have their endeavours realized. The UPAY volunteer support included Akhil, Shalini, Harsha, Mithila, Simant and Jasmine. The delight and rejoicing registered at the event clearly communicated that “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

By – Jasmine Kalsi