- He worked most days from 9 am to 1 am
- He would do random checks on Govt schools – Once he went to a rural school, as a saree-vendor. Teachers rushed in to take a look at the stock, during school hours.. no prizes for guessing on what happened after..
- He made sure all govt schools had computers installed. He even gave away laptops to the schools – All the HM ( headmaster / headmistress ) were to email daily reports on teacher attendance , students performance and many more to the education dept
- Daily reports were emailed out to schools – reports on checks done on schools by the ‘flying’ squad. He would land up in schools unannounced and would check on the class and the students. He would never tolerate any negligence of work. He took people to task on the spot ..
- He brought in a ‘teacher rating’ system for the govt schools – All teachers would be graded relatively , across the region. The bottom rung were dealt with severely.
- He held an exam across the govt schools in the region, to test students’ capabilities. The ones who were unable to meet the basic criterion were provided with extra coaching, to bring them up to speed
- He would meet with most of the teachers personally, to understand the issues, through a townhall meeting !! All the non performing teachers, were dealt with in front of the entire teaching community!!
- Whenever he was offered a gift, he would look for the nearest kid in the school , to give it away !!! When he was offered more than a lakh, as a reward for his efforts, he just donated that money for a non profit foundation 🙂
- And this is the best… he sent his kids to a government school !
The Deepam volunteers had a small surprise planned for the kids at Olcott High School and Nalamdana Centre on Children’s day.After a chain of mail and contributions of ideas and resources from the volunteers, we decided to give each student a goodie bag. Each goodie bag had a notebook and pen ( Paras from Infosys wanted to give away these as a homage to his grandfather),pencils and an option of either a tennis ball or watercolor (KK’s idea)
Thanks to everyone at Deepam for making it possible. We owe the smile of the kids to each one of you 🙂
Here is the photo of the computer installed in the class room.
Yesterday i found a few more connects and high’s during the Deepam class at Olcott School.
- The kid we taught at the school trying to reply in English – His Tamil response and the sentence being translated and formulated in English by him ( and the joy on his face when we said he was right !! )
- This other kid ( after being “talked to ” by me ) going back to his computer and working along with his team mates and helping them with tricks of using Word processor
- The class listening to Basu teach them and stopping him to ask questions !
- Kids coming to class on time and finishing the ‘home work ‘
Here is the online article. If you want to know more about Deepam, please go to www.deepam.in
Volunteers are the lifeline for “Deepam”. As a not-for-profit volunteer organisation, we have limited funding available for recognition, although we have so many volunteers who are deserving.We have a group who works together on a regular basis and meets every week.We decided to recognize such efforts in front of the people who they volunteer for.” Deepam” decided to recognise their passion to impart computer knowledge ,build self confidence in the kids at a grass root level by providing them a small certificate.This is a very small memorabilia in comparison to all the work they put in behind the scene and also on the field.
For the month of June – hands down Meera won this certificate.Knowing Meera for the last three months has been a great pleasure.She has been one of those volunteers who would never bother how far the class was and ride her scooty all the way ( sometimes more than 30 km in the hot afternoons) to be there to guide the kids and solve all their queries.The kids wait eagerly for her to enter the class and you should see some people rush to be a part of her group when she starts teaching them.A very patient , humorous confident girl, she is also a great translator for me when I am stuck with some words I would like to express in Tamizh.She volunteered to choose and purchase the Classroom teaching CD’s and is also one of the lead volunteers we could bank on 🙂
Kudos to your enthusiasm and continued dedication.You truly deserve to be our first ” Volunteer of the Month” awardee.
The Volunteer of the month for July was unanimously voted for Mohan.Punctuality is one word that defines Mohan amidst most of us at Deepam.He would be there almost 10 minutes before the session starts and interact with the kids.A very passionate runner he also helped us and still helps us run our classes successfully at Nalamdana,Besant Nagar.A very patient teacher he helped the kids learn internet tools and is currently helping us teach Microsoft Word to them.
A big bow for all your help and hope your journey at Deepam continues….
To become a member of Deepam and help the kids learn and have a brighter future-Join us now.
One of Life’s important lessons learnt from the kids who have been a part of Deepam
I suspect that the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. And especially if it’s given from the heart. When the kids are talking, expressing, there’s no need to do anything but receive them. Just take them in. Listen to what they’re saying. Care about it. Most times caring about it is even more important than understanding it. Most of us don’t value ourselves or our love enough to know this. It has taken me along time to believe in the power of simple saying, “I’m so sorry,” when someone is in pain. And meaning it. These classes have helped me do that. They have been an eye opener for me in more than one way.
When I was volunteering one of the classes at Nalamdana Perungudi I remember one child who used to have serious doubt on every sentence I was teaching them about MS Word. Initially I got a bit frustrated but later understood that the kid genuinely didn’t seem to have much knowledge and hence was inquisitive to know more. This incident was an eye opener and I learnt my lesson of being patient, listening patiently and again answering patiently.
I have even learned to respond to someone who needs help by just listening to what they have to say. In the old days I used to reach for the tissues, until I realized that passing a person a tissue may be just another way to shut them down, to take them out of their experience of sadness and grief. Now I just listen. It works the same when people are excited with something that has left them happy. Listening to all the good things they have to share and being there beside them is the best gift one can give another. I have been quite a talkative child and now teaching at Deepam has helped me to listen to all the queries, all the stories that the kids have to share. It has also made me change to certain extent at my workplace where I have started listening before I opine on something.
This simple thing has not been that easy to learn. It certainly went against everything I had been taught since I was very young. I thought people listened only because they were too timid to speak or did not know the answer. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well intentioned words.
Thanks to Deepam I have started listening ……..