Annual Report 2022-23

We’re happy to present Deepam’s annual report for the academic year 2022-23. We regret the delay in publishing the same. As always, we have presented key highlights of the year, new additions, and way forward for the next year. This, we believe will offer you a good summary of Deepam’s work during the year. Please do write to us in case of any classification.

Priya speaks proudly of Deepam scholarship

Priyadarshini Prakash, an economically disadvantaged student, has yet again benefited from the DEEPAM Venkatachalam-Kalyani (VK) Scholarship that has helped a bright student pursue her college education. Witness Priyadarshini, who’s in her third year engineering speak about how Deepam has been at the forefront of helping her with not only financial aid, but also with professional help in terms of shaping her as an individual.

Deepam is looking forward to introduce more such scholarships in the years to come. If you wish to initiate one in your name or in the name of your loved ones through Deepam, please get in touch with us by writing to – [email protected]


Deepam Scholarship Program

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela
Acknowledging the importance of education in a child’s life, Deepam has been extending financial assistance to selected meritorious students every year since 2012, to meet their study-related expenses.The students are selected based on mark-sheets produced by them and their economic background.
On 11th August 2018, Deepam scholarships were distributed to 8 ex-Deepam students. An amount of Rs.1000 was given to 6 students (presently in std 6-12) , while two girls (V. Aanathi and R. Bhuvaneshwari) now in college were given Rs.2000 each. V. Aananthi and R. Bhuvaneshwari were part of the second batch of Deepam in West Mambalam Centre.
Aananthi’s journey is one of strong determination and hardwork. She appeared for her Class 10 examinations while shouldering the responsibilities of household chores and also taking care of an ill mother. That did not stop her from scoring a 95% in her class 10 exams. A hardworking and studious girl, she scored a centum in accountancy in her class 12 board exams. She managed these feats without tuitions as she couldn’t afford it. She has a keen interest to learn new words. When she was a student at Deepam classes, she used to note down new words and look them up in an English-Tamil dictionary. She has been awarded  scholarship every year since Deepam Scholarship Program was started  in its West Mambalam Centre.
Bhuvaneshwari did her schooling in Tamil medium. Her mother worked hard to ensure that both her children got good education. She performed well consistently throughout school years. On the advice of a teacher, she shifted to English medium in class 11. Such was her grit and determination that, not only did she pick up the new language but also was a top ranker. She was interviewed by TOI for being an outstanding student. Her keen interest in computers since childhood, led her to choose B.C.A in her under-graduate.
Deepam is proud of their achievements and wishes them success in all their future endeavours.
“The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them” – Michelle Obama
Do you like what we do? Here is how you can contribute towards the betterment of the less-priviledged children:

The form is not published.

‘School Teacher’ Award

At Deepam, we have some special people amongst us. 
To volunteer for a few months is easy. To do that, for a year can be bit hard. To do that for 5 years takes a lot of motivation. To do that even beyond – thats like a ‘School-Teacher’.
These volunteers show up every Saturday to the Deepam centres. They even plan their vacation around the school vacation time! 
They have made a huge impact on the children we teach, on the fellow volunteers, on the Deepam organisation as a whole. Deepam is lucky to have people such people.
‘School Teacher’ is a special person – they make the most impact on children. Hence, we have an award at Deepam named after all the ‘School Teachers’. ‘School Teacher’ Award is the highest honor for a volunteer at Deepam, for their motivation to make a difference to Children.
This award was given at Deepam’s 10th Annual Day event in March 2018.

Anu , 9+ years at Deepam!

 Arthi , 9+ years at Deepam!

Rajagopalan (RR) – 9 years at Deepam!

  Vasanthi – 9 years at Deepam!

  Maduravalli – 9 years at Deepam!

 Vedavalli – 9 years at Deepam!

 Prasanna – 8 years at Deepam!

Rohit – 7 years at Deepam!

 Sugumaran – 7 years at Deepam!

Interview with Devi Nachiappan

A happy picture of Devi with her center kids.
Ms. Devi Nachiappan was a volunteer with Deepam for four years. She did her schooling at Vidya Mandir and then did her Undergrad in Economics at Stella Maris College. She is currently pursuing her MBA at ISB, Hyderabad. At Deepam, she won “The Outstanding Volunteer of the Year” award in 2016.

Like many other volunteers she got to know about Deepam through word of mouth. After reading an article about Deepam, she decided to visit one of the centres to see what it was all about.
Here she talks about what happened during her first day in Deepam four years back.
“I was very impressed by the manner in which the organisation and its volunteers worked. The focus was on impact. A number of accomplished people were volunteering, but they did not seem to mind sacrificing several hours of their time. The impact of these established a strong connection. I am happy that I got to know such committed people through Deepam. The children are adorable and they get very attached to the volunteers.”
We ask her about handling children in the centers and she narrates this interesting incident.
“On the first day, I was taken aback by the technical Tamil the children spoke. I am a Chennaite myself and I speak good Tamil, but this once when I heard a kid say mukkonam, I was like where did that come from? The children had to draw it out and then it hit me that the kid meant a triangle. Initially I was a little nervous about teaching but the system and the volunteers around ensure that you settle in without any issues. Gradually, I realised that Deepam gave its volunteers sufficient power to bring about relevant changes in teaching methods, curriculum, etc. Responsibilities also increased over the four years that I volunteered with Deepam. You are very accountable even to the children. You need to be prepared to answer a series of questions from them – academically and personally.”
Though you are currently busy with your MBA and not in Chennai, it’s clear that you are still in touch with Deepam and you are trying your best to contribute. How do you manage to do this?”
“That is the Deepam impact. Usually people who start volunteering get really committed to the cause. You can’t see people just quitting for no reason. Even now when I come to Chennai I make it a point to include visiting the center as a part of my schedule. It is the same with everyone. It’s not just me. That’s the kind of connect the volunteers have with the children.”
Then we talk about how she took over the responsibility of starting a new center.
“After years of volunteering, we realized that the Alwarpet center had plenty of volunteers. We also noticed that the population in the Tamil medium schools was shrinking which in a way was a good problem to solve. So, we decided rather than just impacting a few children with so many volunteers, we can expand and bring more children into this net. That is how the T Nagar Center (MCN Primary School) was started.”
Tell me about a peak experience/high point in your volunteer position, a time when you felt most active and engaged?”
“Just a few months after we started the MCN center, Abhishek Mundhra and Karthik Padmanabhan who together were the backbone of the center moved out of India. I used to look up to both of them in a big way. Both of them leaving around the same time definitely made it hard. We got a few new volunteers, but they were still figuring out if they wanted to do this at all. It was challenging to not let this turn of events affect the regular functioning of our classes. Normally itself it was very demanding with the children as we had quite a few mischievous kids. Looking back, I am happy that we were able to pull through that part with support from all ends. Of course, both Abhishek and Karthik helped even though they were not physically present. By the same token, if some help was required in the center today, I am sure all three of us would be more than happy to help in whatever way we can.”
She has some interesting anecdotes for us.
“On the sports day I remember we volunteers had to do the lemon and spoon race. The sports day was meant for the children, but the volunteers were also made to do a few activities to make it more fun for the children. All the children were cheering for their center volunteers as it was a matter of pride for them. Small things like this really motivate you. You get to know how attached the children are to the volunteers. And that makes a big difference.”
She finally tells us how much she misses Deepam.
“Deepam is something that I benefited immensely from just in terms of the way it inspires you -observing both volunteers and children. It is a gratifying and transformative experience. It is also about the children you will get very attached to and a group of volunteers you will love working with. I feel bad for not being able to be there and contribute more to the development of the children and the centre.”

An experience that exceeded expectations – by Maduravalli

When I came to Deepam today, I hit upon an exciting (for me J) idea and wanted to try it out. So, I made this crude picture and wanted to fill the slots with six words denoting places where we see many people.

I was today handling the group that had Thirumalai, Venkatesh and Hariprasad (4th std kids). Wanted the children to suggest those places and I kept their interest sustained saying, “I have something interesting for you at the end of the class”, though I knew they were not very convinced. 

After finishing the curriculum, I pulled out this picture and turned it over to let them suggest six places, attempt spelling them out and jot down, so that they can fill the slots with those words. I admit that I had so underestimated these children, that the list turned out to be 15 places long (and even that was because I told them that this was long enough).

Wow! I was astonished. I helped them with just 2 or 3 words and for all the remaining places they were able to recall the right English word. They were able to spell the simple ones and very boldly attempt the rest phonetically getting close to the correct spelling. 

Then I revised the picture with 15 slots (a crude one again) and all three of them happily wrote down the names in those “word balloons.”

I felt so satisfied and told myself that I need to do something like this every class to make it exciting for me and the kids. If we can progress to forming simple sentences with such jotting of words, I am sure I will feel a huge sense of accomplishment that day. Waiting and working for it…….

– Maduravalli
  8 July 2017