WE ARE VIDYA AND THIS IS WHAT WE DO...
For more than thirty two years, VIDYA's success and achievements at a country-widescale have been in large part because of the way we work- we believe that each issue requires a tailor-made solution, and each solution is a homegrown movement of its own headed by passionate teams empowered to think freely and creatively. These projects are linked to VIDYA by name, a strong common ethos and veteran leaders who think pan-VIDYA
A year ago, we decided that we could work even better and make a greater impact with just one additional change - to start a culture of collaboration and a shared vision across VIDYA. We realized there was a wealth of information collected by our teams across India, and invaluable experiences, so enabling and encouraging sharing would make a massive impact. And so, only a year later, we can confidently say we're thinking as "One VIDYA", and it's yielding great results!
First, we united our governance, finance and HR departments in one HQ across India, which has streamlined our efficiency while maintaining all the creative freedom our centers enjoy. Then, we inaugurated the VIDYA Mitr, Friends of VIDYA and Curriculum programs, which we will soon implement across all VIDYA centers. VIDYA Mitr is a mentorship program that attaches an experienced mentor to each student, to significantly increase their chance of achieving their goals. Friends of VIDYA is a center based in North America, which will lead the way in creating global leaders and sponsors for VIDYA in India. Lastly, this year we also aim to create a shared and detailed template for planning curricula, based on thirty years of experience in teaching in directly working with our beneficiaries.
VIDYA focuses on the most vulnerable members of underprivileged communities- the children, youth and women. We've gone through another year of success stories, and it's our amazing, passionate team that makes it all happen. We've compiled a report a little differently this time, keeping in mind this "One VIDYA" thrust. We think it'll give you a fantastic overview of what VIDYA has been up to, voices from those we serve, and a greater sense of our long-term goals and vision for India.
OUR CHAIRPERSON SPEAKS...
We believe that if we give individuals
the opportunity to achieve economic and
social independence, we enable them
to create the change they want to
see in their communities.
As Gandhiji once said, education requires "head, heart and hand".
VIDYA believes in a high-quality education that addresses "literacy" within a holistic framework, measuring it in all its facets:
We find that it's necessary to combine the human and the professional. Mental and physical health forms the bedrock upon which to build knowledge, skills and awareness. This creates confident, responsible leaders of change in their own lives, their communities, and their country and who are able to think as global citizens. VIDYA has made great strides in ensuring high-quality education, in teaching life skills and values, and in teaching essential skills like computers and spoken English, and pioneering a number of vocational courses. We are determined to take this further, and cover every facet of literacy to truly empower and enable those we serve.
Plan of Action (2016-2017)
THE THRUST OF THE REPORT 2016-17
What started with just four girls in Rashmi Misra's apartment thirty years ago is now an incredible, unstoppable movement. We've grown to 60 projects, across five large cities across India, with dedicated teams tirelessly serving children, youth and women in the most underprivileged communities. Currently, we have centers in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune. In keeping with our "One VIDYA" thrust, this report has been organized so that all our centers speak
as one, to give you the big picture of what we are doing pan-India.
The report is divided into the following sections:
OUR HONORARY CEO
We create value by educating, empowering
and transforming the underprivileged
and this, we believe, is the key when
we talk about addressing healthcare,
poverty, population control, unemployment
or human rights issues for our country.
NEW INITIATIVES BY VIDYA
CHANGING THE MINDSETS AND
ETHOS OF MUNICIPAL SCHOOLS
Primary schooling involves children who are at the perfect age to absorb information, learn values, discover interests and adopt positive attitudes regardless of the hand they've been dealt. Apart from the fact that primary schooling is a right every child has, interventions to improve primary schooling could potentially have the greatest impact on India's educational status, our people's welfare and growth as a country. Through a ripple effect, it improves everything from intelligence, self-dependence and general awareness, to poverty, opportunities and sustainable development.
Last year, we decided to begin engaging in more public-private partnerships (PPP), as these are a great way to affect change at the places where it's needed most - at government schools, especially for primary school children
In April 2016, VIDYA signed an MOU with South Delhi Municipal Corporation to run the Primary school of SDMC as a Public-Private Partnership, located at Police Training Centre, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi. The main objective of the partnership is for VIDYA to increase the number of enrolments in the school, to transform it into an English-medium school and to upgrade the standard of education and its impact.
We successfully increased the enrollment in the school from 18 students to 100, and we've steadily improved the students' academic performance, while also augmenting their education with computer classes, art and many other things!
Due to our fantastic continued performance with this project, we have been awarded two additional PPP projects by the government - one in Sarvapriya Vihar and one in Haus Kaus, both scheduled to begin this year!
VIDYA SCHOOL GURGAON
OUR FLAGSHIP PROGRAM
The VIDYA School, Gurgaon, our ﬂagship program, has had an amazing year, with students exceeding all expectations and the school winning multiple awards. The school is spread over 5 acres of land, with a built-up area of 7000 square feet. We now teach over 1000 students, with plans to expand to much more. The campus also now houses the innovative VIDYA Mandira Women’s program, which you will read about later in this report. The VIDYA School Gurgaon model has been so successful that we not only see it as the ideal to replicate in the next two years in other VIDYA cities, we also intend to build it up as a model school for other initiatives and organizations in India to follow!
Education is a gift that none can take away . . .
To sponsor one of our incredible students
please click on the links below
VIDYA MITR - BUDDYING, MENTORING AND HAND - HOLDING . .
This is a mentor mentee program designed to engage some of the experienced minds from the corporate environment with the students of the VIDYA School. The mentors and mentees communicate in an informal environment and form a covalent bond. The Mitr program has been running successfully in the VIDYA School Gurgaon. We aspire to run this program across all our centers.
To become a part of the VIDYA Mitr program as a mentor
please click on the link belowhttp://vidya-india.org/docs/VIDYAMitrForm.pdf
VIDYA BAL VIHAR, DELHI
VIDYA Bal Vihar was our first project. It started in 1985 and it has been serving the community ever since. The project currently teaches 350 children at Panchsheel, New Delhi. The work at Bal Vihar has been invaluable to VIDYA, giving us the experience and know how to build this 32-year-old movement. In fact, Bal Vihar is the model for all our current primary schooling efforts, including the current PPP partnerships which have won us much interest and praise, and the child education efforts in Pappankalan, Munirka, and IIT (formerly at Okhla).
VIDYA is an ENDEAVOUR in the DEVELOPMENT
of the HUMAN CLAY
A child is clay
That needs to be kneaded and moulded
That needs to be shaped and structured
That needs to be given form and individuality
So that she acquires value and utility
She becomes the jar
The clear sparkling water of which will nurture others
Provide sustenance, growth and nourishment to those that need it the most
CHILDREN'S PROGRAMS IN THE DELHI COMMUNITY
We teach children whose parents need an extra pair of hands to survive, and hope that someday one of them will bring them out of poverty. It's much worse for the girl child, who often doesn't even get sent to government primary schools. However what we teach these children, and how we teach them, changes their minds. For the first time in the lives of their parents, they see hope both for themselves and their children and for the first time in the lives of these children, they see the world as a place filled with opportunity and love.
The programs for these communities focus on awareness, life skills, values and kindling a love for learning and leadership. These are students who win challenging competitions (like quizzes, singing and dance), inﬂuence and help their parents with their newfound knowledge; take initiative (like cleaning up localities) and dream of leading change in their communities as they grow up.
The challenge of scaling these programs is considerable—and yet our incredible VIDYA Delhi (Pappankalan, IIT, Okhla and Gurgaon) team performs admirably year after year!
In 2000, VIDYA opened an office in Mumbai on the campus of IIT Bombay and began implementing decades of experience in the field of education and community empowerment. Today, VIDYA Mumbai has spread out, right into the heart of Mumbai's many communities and localities. It operates more than 20 centers all over Mumbai and reaches out to more than 3,000 beneficiaries.
In the last two years, VIDYA Mumbai has innovated constantly. They've opened computer resource centers, libraries, reading corners and VIDYA's first social and syllabus research lab. They've hosted tech fests, culture fests, summer camps, and many illustrious guests and partners, and received excellent responses from their communities. They've participated in marathons and awareness drives. Their creative methods of teaching have impacted and influenced the students in a way few ever classrooms do. VIDYA Mumbai also led and coordinated the creation of VIDYA's first published book, which is now available for purchase. The book features poems and illustrations by the VIDYA students as young as 7, from all over India!
VIDYA Mumbai plans to open a VIDYA School of its own - and going by the way they work, there is no doubt they will make it happen!
The VIDYA Bangalore team continues to move fast and prove its mettle. The skill and dedication of the team has taken them from helping 'outside the classroom', augmenting the education the students receive with additional classes, to inside, teaching students and even inﬂuencing change in the attitudes and techniques of the teachers at schools.
The Bangalore "Beyond School" program started out with just 2 government schools, and in the last two years quickly picked up another 8 schools, now serving more than 1300 students in a total of 10 schools.
These programs focus on government schools because we believe it is ground zero for education reform. VIDYA Bangalore has taken this ethos to heart, turning government schools into places where each student is nurtured, creativity is born and opportunities are made.
Further, like Gurgaon and Mumbai, a new VIDYA Bangalore School is being planned - a high ambition well-earned, and a longtime dream that will come to fruition within the next few years!
VIDYA Pune is our newest project, led by the fantastic Neeta Pradhan, a veteran social worker from VIDYA Mumbai. Pune is a vibrant town just 118 kilometers from Mumbai, which is seeing massive economic and population growth. Yet, according to Pune's municipal corporation, 40% of the city's population lives in poverty when accounting for important factors other than just income. Neeta saw a place for the VIDYA ethos at Pune's schools, and led VIDYA's decision to expand the beyond school and primary school efforts into Pune last year. VIDYA Pune currently works out of the Swami Vivekananda Primary School, at Ghorpadi village, serving 250 children and they're starting to scale their efforts with the help of sponsors, donors and volunteers.
PLUGGING THE GAPS
The three most important E's that condition
an individual's attitude and sensitivity are
education, experience and environment and
these have become the watch words of the
movement to reconstruct lives at VIDYA
Executive Director Pan India VIDYA
Youth are the second most vulnerable population in less privileged communities, after children.
Often, a single mistake - like failing an exam or bad company - is enough to completely derail their lives, as they do not have the safety net most of us take for granted. In a country like India, with the largest youth population in the world (33%), and a projected shortfall of millions of skilled youth by 2020, it would be disastrous to ignore them.
However, VIDYA sees it as an opportunity like no other. Youth thrive when they discover purpose and find mentorship. Imagine 356 million confident, skilled, disciplined, socially-conscious, self-motivated youth, working together, bringing the country up by the bootstraps, leading change and giving India an even bigger push than it's already experiencing!
This is why VIDYA works for the youth of the country. We've begun with life skills, remedial education and second chances at graduation, but in the coming years, we're focusing on vocational training with industry partners, direct mentorship and sponsorships - a move we know will make a huge impact for all the young people we serve.
For most of our younger beneficiaries, their greatest wish is to graduate and better their lives. So the VIDYA Delhi team is focused on enabling this, as it also happens to be an excellent ﬁrst step to rehabilitating youth and helping them realize their potential. Delhi's community youth programs in Pappankalan, Munirka, Okhla and IIT Delhi, are currently facilitating second chances at graduation, teaching awareness, life skills, spoken English, IT skills.
From this year, we're quickly initiating projects focused on making them employment ready, partnering with industry titans and NGOs, and augmented with improved programs for spoken English, life skills and IT skills, which significantly increase chances of finding employment.
Every once in a while, we're surprised by a young man or woman who comes to visit us again, almost unrecognizable from the positive energy they now exude and the changes they've achieved, earnestly thanking our happy, bewildered team for everything they've done!
Mumbaikars have a well-earned reputation for industriousness, tenacity and entrepreneurship.
The less privileged youth in our communities are no exception to the stereotype. They are focused and driven their greatest wish is breaking away from poverty and they will do whatever it takes to prosper and take care of their own.
The VIDYA Mumbai team is no exception either. They work tirelessly, not succumbing to setbacks or pessimism, even while working in sometimes dangerous localities. Their innovative thinking has inspired VIDYA teams in other cities, and their CLRC and youth centers are incredible examples of how to foster a love for knowledge, curiosity and skill with less than ideal resources.
Like Delhi and Bangalore, the most basic classes involve IT skills, remedial education and second chances at graduation. From last year, they've started a career desk that's active all year, helping youth with mentorships, scholarships and ﬁnding what they love. This year, they're going to incorporate vocational training classes to help youth find employment in engaging, well-paying skilled work.
Dawood spent his entire days doing odd jobs to support himself and his family. He washed cars and delivered newspapers, making barely enough to support himself. You'd expect more than a fair share of excuses to not attend school.
And yet, he never missed a single class and was never late. The Bangalore team discovered his talent when he won a spelling competition in school, so we sent him to a State - level spelling bee competition. He stood first with ease. He dreamed of one day becoming an automobile engineer. They often saw him quickly sketching cars on waste paper in the little free time he had. Dawood went on to graduate with flying colours, and VIDYA Bangalore sponsored his admission into an engineering college, where he is currently exceeding all expectations.
VIDYA Bangalore believes people like Dawood comprise the majority of less privileged youth in the city, if only they can discover this potential within themselves. The youth programs place a heavy emphasis on either employability or further education, partnering with institutions like NIIT or facilitating direct sponsorships, depending on what the person wants.
EMPOWERING WOMEN & TRANSFORMING COMMUNITIES
"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any."
- Alice Walker
48% of the Indian population is female, and yet to every 54.6 employed men, there are just 14.7 working women. The female literacy rate is still 65%. In the communities where they live, awareness and availability of sanitation, nutrition and healthcare is low, and the men and youth are particularly vulnerable to substance abuse and getting involved in crime.
We've found that nearly 85% of the women we serve in our communities say that their children's well-being is their highest priority. Women and girl-children are usually the principal caretakers of the family, often in forced marriages with alcoholic husbands, and little control over their own lives. Educating a woman means educating a generation.
In less privileged communities, mothers tend to have the most influence over the lives of their children, whether it is nutrition, academics or values. This means that educating and empowering mothers and girl children has a ripple effect on not just their families, but the entire community.
Our programs focus on enabling women and girls to achieve economic independence, social independence, self-confidence, and gain awareness of her rights and issues like health and nutrition. Every project has mandatory classes on spoken English.
We work to give less privileged women and girls the power to change their own lives, rehabilitate youth to discover their potential, and enable individuals to lead change in their communities.
Neelam was an ostracized widow who first came to VIDYA with seemingly no hope of ever improving her lot in life. And yet, there was a spark in her that kept her going. Using VIDYA's Delhi handicraft classes to hone her skills as a Madhubani painter, she set her mind to empowering herself. She's now an entrepreneur, with forty people working for her, and has inﬂuenced an entire community to think differently.
The communities we serve have many potential 'Neelams', agents of change that inspire the people around them.
VIDYA Delhi currently runs the Usha Silai Program, a program that certifies women at handicrafts for finding employment, and VIDYA Mandira, an innovative project that teaches women driving, so that they can ﬁnd work as professional drivers. The IIT Delhi program teaches IT skills, spoken English, life skills for job readiness in partnership with NIIT, along with general awareness classes.
VIDYA Mumbai's women's empowerment program is called Margam. It began as a VIDYA project and its success soon led to it being managed by the women themselves and along with a couple of VIDYA team members! Margam provides a platform for skills training and ﬁnancial empowerment. Through this program, women learn valuable technical skills. Some train as tailors and hairdressers, while others learn traditional artisan crafts, such as warli painting and clay sculpting. By marketing their products at various corporate venues, the women have cultivated a self-sustaining empowerment program. In this safe environment, women hone important skills while earning income to help support their families.
VIDYA's women's program - Bhagini - operates out of Mali Foundation right next to the IT Hub of Bangalore, in Marathahalli. Bhagini has grown at an amazing pace this last year, the women's program now teaches professional driving, cooking, fashion design, horticulture and sewing in partnership with reputed companies in each field. They also conduct health camps, and teach every woman self-defense, yoga and life skills. They've trained about 100 women in the last year, and 25 of them have found stable, well-paying jobs
The Bhagini programs now attracts volunteers and partnerships from large MNC's and Corporates like Societe Generale, RCI and many others.
BEING THE CHANGE - VOLUNTEERS AT VIDYA
Volunteers have made VIDYA what it is, and in every way, they're a part of VIDYA no matter how short their stay. We've had volunteers from all over the world, from all kinds of backgrounds and with numerous different interests, personalities and approaches to life. We couldn't have asked for better people. The focus, dedication, empathy and willingness to learn they demonstrate has not just built our cause and benefitted our students, it has also made a mark on our permanent team members, and it has also changed them - they leave VIDYA learning something new, and with a special place in their heart for us and the people whose lives they bettered when they were here.
VIDYA works at a grassroots, individual level. A volunteer here learns as much from the communities and students they teach and serve, as the students learn from them. It is a challenging, sometimes difficult, but ultimately incomparably rewarding work that will change the way you think about the world forever.
If that sounds like something you or someone you know would like to do, you can use the link below to apply to be a volunteer.http://vidya-india.org/docs/VIDYA_VolunteerForm.docx
We'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Here are some stories from volunteers who've worked with us.
HELP US TO HELP
THOSE IN NEED
HOW CAN YOU HELP US
TO HELP THOSE IN NEED
VIDYA has long benefitted from people like you generously donating equipment, furniture, supplies - and even office spaces! - to make our work easier.
Below, we've compiled a list of things that we need.
If you can help us out with even one of them, that'd be a
Mrs. Rashmi Misra
Mrs. Malavika Goyal
Mr. Yash Pal Syngal
VIDYA's main strength has always been the Head Office in Delhi. All activities relating to fundraising, Human Resource Management, Donor Management/ Volunteering and Planning of New Centres take place from Delhi. The staff here works hard to make the functioning of VIDYA is a success.
Each one at VIDYA has something to give, each one inspires, each one learns from the other, student, volunteer, teacher alike. In doing so many gaps are bridged.
Each one at VIDYA has something to give, each one inspires, each one learns from the other, student, volunteer, teacher alike. In doing so many gaps are bridged.
Incredible, amazing, kind, passionate, tireless, dedicated, talented, brilliant, empathetic, enthusiastic, positive, energetic, quirky, creative, leaders, achievers - these are some of words we use to describe our team, but it still doesn't do them justice.
Our team takes on the responsibility to effect lives at an individual level, share the ups and downs of the people they serve day-after- day, and often keep working despite the risk that something will fail or the feeling that something is completely thankless, because they know empowering even just one individual can make a massive difference. Some of them have been doing it for decades, right from when VIDYA was just a dream and no one knew where it would go. Some are here for just a short time, but for the time they are with us, they give it their absolute best
So this is a heartfelt thanks to our team, who've brought us where we are, and they're the ones who will take us even further where we want to go from this year forward!
Education and skills are not only about subjects and marks....Our ultimate objective is a confident, self assured citizen of the motherland who is articulate, fluent, skilled and compassionate, who is a leader of tomorrow's INDIA
Moving ahead we aspired for VIDYA children, youth, women and communities To transition From : Silence to articulation Timidity to confidence The margins to the center Subservience to leadership
THE ROAD AHEAD . . Hope to fulfillment and Dreams to reality
PROJECTS IN THE PIPELINE :
Replicating the VIDYA School, Gurgaon model in Mumbai and Bengaluru
Taking over 5 more municipal schools under the PPP initiative
A comprehensive volunteering program for all the VIDYAS with volunteers from Corporates, individual volunteers and
Extending the VIDYA outreach through more Youth, Women andn Community empowerment projects under corporate
While the years gone by have been rewarding and fulfilling we still havenpromises to keep and miles to go in our journey
in delivering smiles.
YOU'D LOVE TO VISIT..
. . and we'd love for you to visit.
We have centers in all the cities we serve. Our team would love to host you if you're interested in knowing more about VIDYA or if you'd like to work with us. Occasionally, if it is appropriate and there is someone available for you to assist, you may be able to spend a day or two seeing first-hand how we work.
If you're interested, please get in touch with:
VIDYA HEAD OFFICE DELHI
Contact Person: Ms. Priyanka Mathur
Block-S, Plot no. 3126,
DLF Phase III, Gurgaon, India
Contact: 0124 4049559
VIDYA SCHOOL GURGAON
Contact Person: Ms. V. Suprabha
E-mail: principal.vidyaschool@ vidya-india.org
Contact Person: Ms. Gayatri Kapani
Contact Person: Ms. Manvi Singh
Laxmi Nivas, Nair Welfare Society,
Chaitanya Nagar, Navy Compound,
Powai, Mumbai - 400076 India
Contact: 022 25787317
Contact Person: Ms. Deepa Srivastava
Mali foundation, Navjeevana Nilaya,
Kundanhalli Gate, White Field Road,
Marathahalli post, Bangalore-560037
VIDYA an NGO is registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 and under section 6 (1) oh the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 1976. (FCRA)
DIRECT BANK TRANSFERS
Name as appears in Bank:
Vidya Integrated Development For
Youth and Adults
Account No.: 10773571899
Bank Name: State Bank of India
Address : Hauz Khas, New Delhi
Branch :IIT Delhi
I FSC/SwiftCode : SBIN0001077
DIRECT BANK TRANSFERS
Name as appear in Bank :
Development For Youth and Adults
Account Type : FCRA
Account No. : 10773571617
Bank Name : State Bank of India
City : Delhi
Branch : IIT Delhi
IFSC/Swift Code : SBININBB547
Donations to VIDYA in the USA are tax exempted.
Please send through:Friends
of VIDYA office
Indians for Collective Action (ICA)
3838, Mumford Place
Palo Alto CA 94306 USA
Ms. Aparna Dave
Law office of Aparna Dave
107, Alderwood Drive
Gaithersburg MD 20878 USA