Sakshi students and visiting American School pupils take part in Poem Recitation. Click here for photos.
120 grade school pupils from the American School in Delhi visited 3 Sakshi centres to enjoy a "Play Day" with Sakshi school children of similar grades.
All the children participated in a drawing competition. This was followed by a reading session which was faciliated jointly by Sakshi Monitors and American school teachers. The fun was not over. Rounding off the day was an enthusiastic poem recitation conducted by our Monitors in which children from both schools took part.
It was a fun and memorable day for all the children and their teachers!
Sakshi regularly organizes Exposure Visits and Extra-curricular activities for the children under our wing. We believe in All-Round Development, "Joyful Learning" and in giving children memories they can look fondly back on. Learn more about our Education Model.
Sakshi was invited to partner with the National Mission for Empowerment of Women, Ministry of Women and Child Development for "Vatsalya Mela" celebrations.
Sakshi "Nari Ki Choupal" meeting where we cut celebratory cakes and felicitated 24 new mothers of girl babies with gifts, sending a message to the community that the birth of a girl child is as much an occasion of celebration as of her brother and the mother is to be equally congratulated and respected. We also discussed why the girl child is important, what women's rights are and Government programs available for their protection and advancement. Click herefor pictures.
"Vatsalya Mela" is the brainchild of Executive Director, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ms. Rashmi Singh, who conceived of the festival as a way to spread awareness about the importance of the girl child and available Ministry programs at the grassroot level in slum communities. Since most slum dwellers have limited literacy levels and cannot be reached through brochures, books, posters, newspapers etc, these interactive community activities conducted through grassroots NGO's who work daily in these slums are a good way to practically further the goals and implement the programs of the Ministry.
In the words of the invite, "The Mela strives to inform people of the various policies, schemes, programmes, initiatives and activities of the Ministry of Women and Child Development and its partner organisations by showcasing activities related to women & children and convergence initiatives. The theme for this year is “Safety and Protection of Women and Child Rights”. In view of this year’s chosen theme, the Mela will try to draw attention to various burning issues concerning safety and protection of women, and the rights of the girl child. Further, it is also proposed to carry out awareness campaign on social issues related to declining Child Sex Ratio and the new Child Sexual Offence Act in different parts of Delhi on any one day between 17th -19th November, 2012 for wider sensitization of community involving women and men, adolescent girls and boys."
Sakshi partnered through a unique grassroots initiative called "Nari Ki Choupal". Per this activity, we mobilized women and girl children and their families from the slums we work in and engaged them in both celebration and awareness generation activities.
We held a community meeting and helped the residents of the slums we work in understand the importance of the girl child and also made them aware of the programs of the Ministry of Women and Child Development that are available for the succour of the girl child and the protection and advancement of women.
We celebrated "Balika Janamotsav" wherein we identified 24 newborn girl babies (upto 3 months) and felicitated their mothers, gave them gifts and cut a birthday cake for the children and families. This simple activity sends an emphatic social message to the community that the birth of a girl child is as much an occasion of celebration as that of her brother and the mother of a girl is to be equally congratulated not shunned.
Sakshi believes Girl Child Upliftment and Women’s Empowerment is the key to eradicating all society’s ills like poverty, crime, child malnourishment etc. For example, UN Statistics show that an educated mother is twice as likely to have a healthy child. For this reason, we run several initiatives focused on the girl child and women including health and nutrition camps, educational support from early childhood to vocational training to adult literacy, School Chalo drives, building community awareness about the importance of girls’ education through Nukkad Nataks and celebrating events like Girl Child Day and International Women's Day etc.
For the same reason, we appreciate programs like the "Vatsalya Mela" which help us generate conversation and action around the girl child and women at the grassroots level in the communities we work in - the issues that girls and women face, their importance to society, and how to empower them for a better future not only for themselves but for our society and country.
National Book Trust organized a Books Week Celebration (14-20 November) and on the inaugural day which was also Children's Day (Bal Diwas) held a drawing competition for NGO pupils.
Misbah, a Sakshi NGO Girls Education Project Pupil is awarded Second Prize by Shri Kapil Sibal, Hon'ble Minister of Communications, in the Drawing Contest held by National Book Trust on Children's Day. 15 NGO's and 450 children participated. Click here for the photos.
15 NGO's and 450 children participated in the competition which was held at Dr. Zakir Hussain College in Delhi. Misbah, a schoolgirl being financially and educationally aided by Sakshi through its Girls Education Project, won IInd Prize!
She was very excited to receive the prize (a Certificate and Set of Books) from Mr. Kapil Sibal, Hon'ble Minister of Communications and Information Technology in the Government of India. Sakshi NGO also received Books worth Rs. 5000.
We are very proud of Misbah for her talent and her ability to conceptualize and execute a thoughtful and aesthetic drawing on the topic of "Bal Diwas (Children's Day)" which was appreciated by so many, especially since she is only in Class VI! Well done, Misbah!
Along with our focus on academics and values, our goal is to have our children participate regularly in extra-curricular activities, both internal and external to Sakshi. This helps socialize them, develops their thinking and creative abilities and provides them with enjoyable childhood memories which are otherwise a rarity in their lives.
Learn more about our Girls Education Project here and about our Education Modelhere.
Sakshi organized a Ghazal and Mushaira Nite at Defence Colony Club, New Delhi to help our busy urban residents rediscover our rich musical heritage of Urdu poetry (Mushaira) and semi-classical singing (Ghazals). Sakshi's teachers and staff were also included in this celebration of our culture.
Ustad Shakeelji of the Dilli Gharana performing Ghazals from Ghalib, Zafar and Dehlvi. Sakshi organized the Ghazal and Mushaira Nite to help our busy urban residents reconnect with their rich musical heritage. Along with the poets in the Mushaira, Shakeelji transported the audience into a magical world of love and longing, friendship and separation for the space of the evening. Click here to see photos.
To inaugurate the evening, the lamp was lit by President of Sakshi, Dr. Mridula Tandon and Chief Guest, Mr. Subhash Lakhotia, the eminent tax expert and our long-time supporter.
The Ghazals were performed by Ustad Shakeel of the Dilli Gharana. Shakeelji has performed at many national and international venues and for a short time immersed the listeners in the myriad moods of the immortal poets who once lived in our very own Delhi - Daag Delhvi, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Mirza Ghalib, Momin. These poets speak a universal language of love and longing, friendship and separation and for a few hours, Shakeelji's singing transported the audience to this rich, mesmerizing and melodious world.
Thirteen up and coming poets then performed in the Mushaira. These poets were specially selected with the help of the Urdu Academy. The aim was to felicitate them and provide them with a platform to reach a wider audience.
The poets were magical and moving. Their poems spoke of their love for their country, their soil, their diverse fellow citizens who made up their family. This was a homage to Independence Day, the day gained her freedom from the British Empire, which was in itself a fitting homage to the many selfless freedom fighters who gave up their lives for the future of the country - that is to say, us and our children. Each poet had his own unique style, each perfect in its way. The common thread was a shining love for India, Bharat Mata, Hindustan expressed in the beautiful Urdu language.
India's languages, be it Sanskrit, Urdu, Hindi or any local language with a long history, have a word for every nuance and a nuance for every word. For example, the English word "Love" has dozens of translations in Urdu/Hindi depending on the particular context. The range of expression and beauty of intonation of these languages is unmatchable. It is a joy to hear them spoken.
Some interesting tidbits:
Mr. Aijaz Ansari, a poet of reknown with many published compilations of poems, and also a school teacher was the compere.
A Sikh gentleman from the Punjab was one of the up and coming Urdu poets reminding us of India's tradition of inter-cultural osmosis where Sufis sing their devotion to Lord Krishna and all religions trek to pay obeisance to Salim Chisti's Dargah in Ajmer Sharif.
Last but not least, Sakshi had previously held a mail-in poetry contest for Defence Colony residents and the best poet was to recite his submission on stage. A ninety-year old gentleman, Colonel Sethi, was the winner and declaimed as well as the professional poets much to the delight and admiration of all and sundry.
Snacks and beverages rounded out the evening and provided an opportunity for the guests and performers to mingle. The audience members were vocal in their appreciation of the superlative performances and Sakshi received several requests to arrange similar performances at other venues. So we will be bringing this magical world of emotions and melody to other audiences soon - maybe near you!
Apropos our goal of helping children bloom through our Joyful Learning methodology, Sakshi's Library Program organized summer activities in May and June for the children. These activities allowed them to develop their creative and social skills, find their interests, learn about the world and have fun! The activities included:
Sakshi believes in Joyful Learning! The Library Program organized Summer Activities to help children find their creative and social sides while learning about the world around them and having fun! Click here for pictures.
Reading and Writing
- Story-based Activities: Story Writing, Completing Stories, Writing Stories inspired by Pictures
- Current Affairs based Activities: Newspaper Reading and Comprehension
- Poetry-based Activities: Poem Recitation with Acting, Completing Poems
?Arts & Crafts
?- Tearing and Pasting
- Drawing with Ear Buds and Watercolours
- Painting with Ladyfingers
- Thumb Painting
- Slogan Writing
- Puzzle Making
- Clay Modelling (making piggy banks, dogs)
Learning about Delhi - Banks, Post Offices, Police Stations, Traffic Rules - through Games including Quizzes, Searching for Objects in Pictures, Drawing and Colouring, Square Hindi Quiz, Square Number Games.
?The children wrote, recited, read, understood, learnt and had a wonderful time doing it with their friends and teachers! You can learn more about our Library Program here. You can learn about our Joyful Learning Model of teaching here.
Sakshi trains its teachers at least once per quarter. Click here to see photos of the Library Program Teacher Training.
Sakshi NGO held a teacher training program for the teachers in the Library Program. This included
- Orienting them on Sakshi and its work and goals
- Discussing the goals of the Library Program
- Hands-on training in how to conduct games and activities for children
- Training on Library Management, Children Management, Committee forming, Training of School Teachers, Monitoring of Library, Children Levelling and Books Levelling, Main challenges and their solutions.
- Question and Answer session
?Sakshi believes in training teachers on a regular basis. This helps old teachers refresh their understanding of the goals of the programs and update their skills, while new teachers are able to get a quick start off the ground. Click here to learn about our Library Program.
Sakshi NGO sent a contingent of 25 girls and 2 staff members from its Girls Education Project to participate in Udaan, a Development Camp organized by Room to Read at Platinum Resort, Bahadurgarh Haryana from 22nd to 25th May, 2012. The camp included a Life Skills session, a Theatre Workshop by the Jamghat Group and many competitions.
Sakshi Nimbu Paani and Jaljeera Stall in the Food Stall Contest at Udaan Development Camp where Sakshi girls won Overall First Prize! Click here to see photos of all the contests!
We are very happy to announce that Sakshi NGO girls won the overall 1st Prize at the Udaan Development Camp!
This was based on their fine performances in individual competitions:
- Exhibition and Model on pollution - Ist prize
- Food Stall - IInd prize
- Dance - IInd Prize
We are especially proud of our girls' achievement because while they were from Class VII, the girls from other NGO's were from Classes IX to XII!
The Girls Education Project supports girls in need both financially and educationally to ensure they graduate. You can learn more about our Girls Education Project here and our Education Model which helps them excel here.
Sakshi marked World Health Day on Saturday, April 7, with a Health and Hygiene Camp for girl pupils from our Remedial Education Centres. Activities included:
Health check-up with provision of medicines.
Drawing competition on "A Healthy Life. This is an example of our "Joyful Learning" approach to teaching. We teach students health and hygiene through interesting acitivites like role play, song, drawing etc, so pupils engage with the subject and truly internalize the learning. They also realize learning can be fun and develop a lifelong instinct for it.
Talk on Health, Hygiene & Sanitation: its importance and how to maintain it in slums.
Our holistic development model: The Health & Hygiene Camp was attended by girl pupils from our Remedial Education Centres. This exemplifies Sakshi's holistic development model and our core belief that Education, Health and Community Development are together needed for sustainable development.
Through our various projects, we map out a comprehensive path from poverty to prosperity and make sure a child that has once come into our fold has everything he or she needs to lead a successful life including education, health, employable skills, values and life skills, motivation and parental and community support.
We believe "Everyone has something to give". See our listing for volunteer opportunities by expertise on the Harvard Serves site: for New Delhi and virtually here and here and for New York here and here.
Harvard Serves is an initiative by Harvard University to connect its students and alumni with opportunities to give back. April is observed as a "Global Month of Service" where Harvard Clubs identify public service opportunities for Harvard alumni around the world.
This year Sakshi NGO, sponsored by the Harvard Club of New York and the Harvard Club of India, is also participating in the effort, the only NGO from India to do so.
We believe "Everyone has something to give". We believe people with different skills can get involved with our work whether they are in India, around the world or virtually. Please see our listing for New Delhi and virtual volunteer opportunities by skill/expertise on the Harvard Serves website hereandhere, and for New York here and here.
We host volunteers from universities in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, and we are glad that one of our first volunteer connections in the US is with one of the most respected Universities in the world.
Last year, Mona and Rehanna, 12 year old girls in Jasola village, Delhi, were about to drop out of school because their parents were not able to afford it. This year, both girls can be sure they will complete their schooling. They are enrolled in Sakshi Girls Education project which will support them financially and educationally till graduation. To celebrate the achievements of girls like Mona and Rehanna and mark International Women's Day, Sakshi organized a festive celebration at one of its education centres on March 9. The Chief Guest was the First Lady of Arunachal Pradesh Mrs. Anupama Singh.
Play the Photo Story
An enjoyable program: Sakshi Girls Education Project pupils put on an entertaining and informative performance including a Group Song on "Values", a Role Play on the "Importance of Girls' Education" and a graceful Dance with catchy lyrics (cycle tyre puncture kar lo!).
The audience clapped and cheered the girls on heartily. Sakshi President Dr. Mridula Tandon then talked about the importance of a girls education noting, for example, that educated mothers were twice as likely to have a healthy child. Chief Guest Mrs. Anupama Singh shared inspiring personal examples motivating the students to complete their studies. She also asked the girls to stay grounded and close to their cultures.
"I wish my parents had enrolled in Sakshi as children": Mrs. Anupama Singh asked the girls to come up and share their experiences with education. Completely impromptu, girls shared how Sakshi classes had helped them excel at school to the amazement of their school teachers. One girl mentioned she had won a dance contest and how proud she was to attend a tuition (Sakshi) where she learnt so many different things. One girl shyly shared an anecdote about a recent Sakshi trip to the Book Fair where a famous writer Manoj Das clapped for her when she answered his question!
Prize Giving: Last but not least was the prize-giving ceremony. Chief Guest Mrs. Anupama Singh and Sakshi President Dr. Mridula Tandon gave out prizes, a set of notebooks and pencils, to this term's winners of the Sakshi Girls Education Project song, dance and GK quiz contests. Finally, everyone moved about talking, laughing and interacting with each other. The event went much over time but then, time flies when you are having fun!
Sakshi organized a trip to Adventure Island for some of our children from our Remedial Centres. It was a day filled with love and laughter. The children and even the teachers were left round-eyed at all the colorful exhibits and different rides in the amusement park. Everyone had a great time, riding the trains, go-karting, going on the ferris wheel.
A day of joy was rounded off with a lovely picnic meal. And then, it was time for the children to go home, relive the happy moments by sharing them with their family, and go to sleep in time to be able to attend school bright and early the next morning! Photo Gallery
The Government has hundreds of programs for the upliftment of the poor and marginalized esp. women which have been only marginally effective because of poor delivery mechanism. To address this, the Govt's recent Mission Convergence mega-initiative seeks to leverage the strength of the best grassroots NGOs.
Sakshi was selected as the MC partner in areas it operates in and is now responsible for building awareness and filtering government programs to the needy. Learn More
Sakshi was honored to host Ms. Melanne Verveer, US Global Ambassador for Women's Issues and member of the contingent of US Secretary of State Ms. Hillary Clinton on her India visit.
Ms. Verveer heard the children read, recite and sing with great delight. The children were equally happy to display their talents before such an appreciative audience. Ms. Verveer appreciated the work Sakshi was doing in the Library Program where we build libraries in slum schools and the Girls Education Project where we support needy girls with financial assistance and educational coaching till they graduate.
The children were inspired by the Ambassador's achievements and the Ambassador was inspired by the difficulties the children had overcome and their dedication to make something of themselves. It was a productive and fun-filled day on both sides. Photo Gallery
The Sakshi Gender Resource Centre was designated as the issuer of the new GoI Universal-ID: Smart Card (AADHAR Number), in the slums it covers.
It is very important for residents that they enroll. From the GoI Website: Aadhar is an ID "linked to the resident's demographic and biometric information, which they can use to identify themselves anywhere in India, and to access a host of benefits and services."
Sakshi is building awareness and enrolling residents who being uneducated would not have known about this otherwise.