DEEPAM is an NGO working to empower less-privileged children with access to information and opportunity
Deepam is a registered non-profit organization conceived with the goal of improving literacy and education among less-privileged children in Tamil Nadu. We work to instill in a child the curiosity to learn and to give him or her the key to the greatest pool of knowledge out there – The Internet – by suitably augmenting school curriculum.
We transfer four sets of practical skills to these children: computer and internet usage; language and communication skills, particularly in English; current and social affairs awareness; and personality development. The first of these, Computers and the Internet, lies at the core of our effort, and is used to drive the other three. These four skills, we believe, will give them a base of tools and help the children understand, identify, and access opportunity for themselves.
Deepam reaches out to about 600 children through 12 centres around Tamil Nadu. We have over 50 regular volunteer members (drawn from our volunteer pool of over 300 members). We use netbooks, laptops, and the Internet as teaching tools and resources, even as we teach children the skills needed to use them.
Deepam believes that every child deserves to have access to education and opportunities.
Our vision is to provide access to education and exposure to possibilities for less-privileged children, in our neighbourhood schools
Deepam values the long-term happiness of children, teachers and the Deepam Volunteers.
Let's rewind a bit
Deepam as an idea was initiated in January 2008 when early volunteers discussed giving-back to the society. Since then, a bunch of enthusiastic volunteers have made the idea, a reality. As we realised since the start, it has been us, volunteers, who have benefitted the most out of the interaction with the children.
Our first centre
We ran a pilot program in April 2008 at Perungudi in Chennai, with the help of Nalamdana, a SHG. Every weekend during this period, the children who gathered at Nalamdana’s centre in Perungudi played with the laptops, with guidance from Deepam volunteers. The children were hooked to the idea of “playing” with the computers. They were taught to browse the internet, send e-mails and work with the Office tools. The enthusiasm shown by the children inspired the Deepam team to take this idea to other parts of Chennai.
Where Are WE NOW
Deepam is modelled as a society of people who are interested in bridging the divide through education. Deepam is a not-for-profit society. It is owned by Deepam community and not ‘individuals’. All of us work as does a mom-and-pop store, keeping the family spirit high and invoking roles only when responsibility beckons with a tap on a shoulder.
To know more about our volunteers, head to our centres.