Congratulations ! Volunteers of the Month- June and July

Congratulations Meera and Mohan – You Truly Inspire Us !

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.

Deepam- How it Changed “ME” :)

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 ……..

Its time to dream again…

New beginnings throw open immense possibilities – They let us dream . Last weekend , we saw a new beginning at Deepam – Deepam is partnering with Sneham ( the corporate social responsibility wing of Infosys ) to take the computer education to more kids. We had our friends from Infosys at our class in Besant Nagar on Saturday and straight away, they outnumbered our volunteers . We had 13 volunteers at the class on Saturday . It was great to see our little class room packed with kids and volunteers !!!!

Along with Sneham, we are going to start off our 3rd program next week, in Besant Nagar.

Thanks to Amreetha and Vijay for taking the initiative to bring Deepam with Sneham, Infosys !

Volunteer of the Month

We are not even at the end of June but this month’s ‘ Volunteer of the Month ‘ is a very easy decision.

When we stepped into the class this afternoon, the person’s name was on the lips of the children – wondering why the person didn’t come today. Goes to show the influence the person has had over the kids since the start of the session at Besant Nagar.

And the person also didn’t shy away from initiatives – Along with Archana, she brought the idea of introducing some knowledge games to the kids. Importantly, made sure the idea got implemented – taking time off during a weekday to go hunt for the games , bringing them over to the kids and getting them to play 🙂

Thanks Meera ! You are our Volunteer of the Month !!!

Class at Besant Nagar !

Deepam started off its 2nd computer program at Besant Nagar. Thanks to Nalamdana, we have a clean place (with a great view of the sea ) where we teach the kids, at the Olcott Kuppam area.

Start Date : May 24 , 2008
Place : Olcott Kuppam, Besant Nagar
Class : Saturdays – 2 PM to 4 PM
Duration : 4 Months

Ram lead the class, taking the kids through an interesting path, trying to get the kids to open up and ask questions. He began by getting the kids to talk about the dreams and openly encouraging the kids to go after the dreams.

In a subtle way, he was making the kids think , leading them into areas they have never been before – the master at work ! It was a lesson for not just the kids – for us volunteers as well !! From thirukural to tamil movies, civil engineering to animation, input / output devices to MS Paint, the kids were taken through an interesting session.

The kids then had their “hands-on” session – they let their creativity free on MS Paint. It sure was a happy feeling to see the kids hooked on to the laptop, exploring MS Paint – they probably know more tricks with the tool than many of us do !!!

Personally, the class is a source of great joy . The times spent with the happy kids just whizz past ! Every time in the last 2 weeks, i had gone on near empty gas ( late night work .. ) but came out of the session charged up. The kids’ energy levels rub off on us !! Their smartness keeps us on our toes . The class’ also serve as a way to discover myself as a person – it teaches me to be patient all the time . This is a class where learnings happen both sides – both the volunteers and the kids learn 🙂

If you guys have the time, just feel free to drop in during the class.


Highly ‘Nalam’ after Nalamdhana ;-)

Yeah really.I felt very good about myself and the team at the end of the first set of classes at Nalamdhana. So did the kids, they seemed pretty excited in getting certificates and seeing it all being made ‘official’ with a test 🙂
These set of kids were very bright and bubbly, and it made us happy that we could sustain their interest for a long time. In fact, some of them were asking for more stuff like Photoshop, and some wanted time to play games!
While talking to some of them on their dreams and ambitions, it was heartening to see that many of them had clearly decided what they wanted to do in life.There was even one who wanted to be a marine engineer. And those who wanted to become computer engineers had their set of questions for me.. where do you work? How much do you earn? When I didn’t divulge that, they were making guesses..Is it more than Rs.4000?.. What do you do at work? Do you play any sport? When I said I did play sport: I can’t believe you play sports.. You seem very quiet! 🙂
All of them did great in the tests, I just hope we can come up with a plan sometime to probably donate old computers so that they could be in constant touch with whatever they learnt.
These weekends spent at Nalamdhana were great fun and a learning experience for all of us volunteers. Hoping to continue..!

Course Completion at Nalamdana :)

The Basic MS Office course was completed at Nalamdana yesterday.It was real fun teaching this bunch of enthusiastic kids and a very good experience for all of us.An individual test was conducted for them on one of the MS Office programs before we presented them with the certificates.

Volunteers: Meera, Amreetha,Nanditha,Karthik and Archana

Deepam off the Blocks!

Saturday 26th of April 2008 was certainly a big day for Deepam – it took close to 3 months for an idea to see the light of day. Deepam is finally off the blocks – With a bunch of passionate volunteers in place, Deepam partnered with Nalamdana to teach MS Office to kids.

Place : Nalamdana , Perungudi – Chennai.
No of Students : 15
Volunteers : Namratha, Ebin , Nanditha , Archana , Ram Prakash and KK

Here are some photos taken during the class.