SRI RAM GOBURDHUN CHARITABLE TRUST
SRI RAM GOBURDHUN CHARITABLE TRUST
Allow me to begin this report by trespassing on the next financial year and sharing yet another milestone that Project achieved in April 2015. In the last week of March or so I was approached by Dharmendra, the coordinator of our Khader centre who in his quiet and unobtrusive manner told me about some children who lived in the proximity and needed help. I must admit, that thinking of MORE children in times where we are not only battling to keep afloat but when I spend my waking and sleeping hours wondering of what will happen to Project Why after me, the mere thought of adding a single child was anathema. The only reason I did not put an immediate end to the conversation is that Dharmendra is someone I respect, and more than that, someone whose heart beats like mine. I knew that much thought had gone before he ventured to talk to me. I owed him at least a patient and reasonable hearing.
To cut a long story short what he told me was that our landlord, who also owns large tracts of agricultural land on the banks of the Yamuna that flows a stone’s thro away from our Khader centre, had brought to his notice the plight of the children of the agricultural labour that work the fields. These kids did not go to any school and were being taught on an ad-hoc manner by a teacher whose only way of supporting his effort was to take some money from the parents. Our landlord who is a kind man and who has been supportive of our work felt that the children would get a better support if we were to ‘adopt’ them. The only request was that I come and see the children once. I knew I had been had!
The next day we visited the place with Lukas and Emily, two of our staunchest supporters and needless to say we were immediately captivated. Not only was the location idyllic – amidst lush fields, under a Jamun tree, away from city lights – but the children tugged at our heart strings in a way that cannot be described in words. Needless to say there was no turning back; the Yamuna Project was born.
In spite of the outward reluctance I adopt when told of an added expenditure, how could I forget that I was always felt that I am but an instrument that is played by the one upstairs and that s/he is the one who provides what is needed and lo and behold yet another string of serendipitous occurrences came my way: an unexpected purse and a kind soul who was keen on providing hot meals to children in need. A quick call confirmed that the said purse could be used for these children and another one ensured that hot meals would be provided everyday. Didn’t I just say I was a mere instrument!
Our mission has been to arrest drop out rates, ensure that children remain in school and perform well and mainstream children who are out of school. In this case though there is a hitch: these kids are invisible and non-existent, as they do not appear on any enumeration or census. They live in a time warp to the rhythm of Nature’s vagaries. When their homes and fields get inundated during the rains, they move to the embankment, waiting for the water to recede an then resume their activities: help the parents as soon as they are old enough to do so. Though they live in the middle of the big city, their world is limited to a tiny radius of barely a mile. They have never been in a metro, seen India Gate or been anywhere. Their homes are thatched structures as no building is allowed on the flood plain. Inside you find a few pots and pans, a charpoy and some clothes. The only concession to modern like is a table fan to ward off the mosquitoes. What these invisible children know better than you and I, is how vegetables grow and are reaped!
These children live the same life as children centuries ago, tilling the alluvial plain and moving to the banks when their homes are flooded to move back again and again and again. Nothing changes nor has changed.
Needless to say we HAVE adopted them and will leave no stone unturned to see give them their usurped identity and childhood.
best be described as a sabbatical year, when one took 'leave' from one's
customary work to review our achievements and failures and take remedial
measures where needed. It was also a year when we took stock of our strengths,
identified our weaknesses. It was a true SWOT Analysis moment.
As I had shared earlier, 2013 had been a year when my husband's cancer compelled me to take a back seat and leave the project in the hands of my terrific staff. In hindsight this forced leave of mine was God sent as it impelled my staff to act a independently as possible as they did not want to 'disturb' me in any manner. So when earlier they would call at the drop of a hat if faced with a problem, they now looked for solutions independently and more often than not found one that bettered mine! This gave them increased confidence and validated yet again, my decision to employ people from within the community.
It was soon evident that the only lacuna was fund raising, a task I had appropriated for far too long and that had over the years taken on a distinct Anou imprint! The skills I used were unfortunately skills that one could not pass on to another. Fund raising was undoubtedly our biggest weakness and threatened our very existence and thus needed to be addressed urgently. The urgency was further heightened when we lost a large chunk of the monthly donation of one of our important donors. The reason for this reduction was the drop in tourism following the rape of a foreign national from the country of origin of our donor. This brought to the fore the fragility of our funding model and required some serious thinking.
It is true that most of our donations come from outside India and we have not been able to muster a donor base within India. This was not for want of trying as when Project Why was set up I had wanted to launch what I called a one-rupee-a-day campaign that enabled each and every one to be a donor. It was very naive of me, more so in a city like Delhi which seems to have lost the ability to see with its heart. The campaign was resuscitated a couple of times in years to come but met with the same fate.
Many organisations get substantial funds from Corporates and Big Businesses, but this needs you to be Page 3 worthy, and a recluse like me is unlikely to make it. Perhaps I should have polished my dancing shoes! But that was not to be, so we had to walk another path and we did.
The husband's cancer also made me realise the true meaning of the saying: Man proposes, God disposes. No one is eternal and the wise need to accept this indubitable fact and take the right decisions. It was time that fund raising was revisited in the light of the skills of those who would be carrying the torch forward.
Rani and Dharmendra attended a week long fund raising workshop and though they learnt many finer points, they were a little weary of some of the suggestions that either required substantial investment or sounded too impersonal and thus went against what Project Why stood for. They both agreed that getting a call centre to spout a sales pitch was not what we stood for. It was back to the drawing board and the need to evolve an in house model that would sensitise people around us.
There is a God, one I have oft called God of Lesser Beings but now plan to rechristen God of Project Why, who watches from the wings and appears out of the blue to help us. The visit of a long time supporter and dear friend brought into our lives the till now elusive Corporates, but these were special: they saw with their heart. And that was not all. My one in many moons appearance at a diner saw me seated next to a young man who is also a honcho but again one who sees with his heart, and he too has promised to help. So we did find a backdoor entry into the hallowed corporate portals and I did not need my war paint and high heels. I hope and pray that this will be the miracle we longed for.
I cannot end this message without sharing the update on Planet Why! Many of you know of this sustainability dream of mine where we had hoped to build a green guesthouse the proceeds of which would have run Project Why. Many of you also know that though we were able to raise the money for the land, I was not able to secure the funds to build. Some time back we had begun thinking of selling that land that had appreciated substantially and purchase a smaller plot in the vicinity of our women centre as we are on the verge of losing our tenancy. Yet for the past year we have not been able to sell our land as the property rates have fallen. I wonder whether there is another reason for the obstacles that are coming our way in this matter. We will continue our efforts and wait for the opportune moment.
I just realised that this long message has not touched upon the day-to-day activities of the project. This is because every thing has been running like clockwork orange and without a murmur. All examinations have been passed, all Boards cleared, outings organised, workshops conducted, visitors received, volunteers welcomed! Project Why runs almost on autopilot. All I can say is Chapeau Bas to the children and the team!
We await 2015 with bated breath. May it bring new avenues, new hope and above all the answers we seek.
15 May 2015
MISSION GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
What compelled Project Why to mutate from an elusive child friendly centre where children who attend school for half a day only, as India’s capital city has still not been able to ensure morning school for ALL its children, into what is often referred to as a TUITION CENTRE is sadly still relevant today. Nothing has changed on the ground. In fact things have worsened.
Today, there are sometimes more than 100 children in a class and one wonders how even the best teacher can ‘teach’ in such circumstances. The reality is that there are schools where there are NO teachers. Recently one of our Okhla centre class X told us that there were more than 100 students in her class and that the one teacher that did come simply took the attendance. The ‘guest’ teachers appointed by the authorities appeared only at the end of the school year. She said that without Project Why she would not have been able to clear her Boards.
The no-fail policy till class VIII means that without outside support, the likelihood that children from Government schools may be almost ‘illiterate’ when they reach class VII is real. This makes programmes like ours crucial and we feel a sense of responsibility to ensure that not only no child drops out, but completes his schooling in the best conditions possible. It is with pride that we say that no Project Why child has dropped out of school in the past 15 years and that many of our alumni are gainfully employed and some have even pursued higher education.
We accept the tag of ‘tuition centre’ with humility but, we are a tuition centre with a difference as we ensure a well-rounded education support where rote learning is replaced by true learning.
Project Why is a education support and life skills enhancement programme of the Sri Ram Goburdhun Charitable Trust, a non governmental not-for-profit organisation set up in May 1998 and registered under the Societies Act and having FCRA registration and 80G Exemption. Its beneficiaries are children and women from underprivileged homes residing in South Delhi.
Project Why aims at creating an enabling environment to help underprivileged children and youth access better life options.
The significant milestones of Project Why to date are:
Š 2000 - one small spoken English class for 50 children
Š 2001: first primary class
Š 2001 first ‘pavement’ secondary class
Š 2002 class for special children
Š 2003 Okhla primary centre
Š 2005 Nehru Camp centre (closed)
Š 2006 Sanjay colony primary centre (closed)
Š 2007 Women’s centre with primary classes and vocational classes for women
Š 2008 Foster Care Scholarship programme
Š 2009 computer classes at Okhla and Women’s Centre
Š 2009 secondary classes at Okhla and Women centre
Š 2010 Primary centre at Govindpuri
Š 2011 Library and cine club in Giri Nagar
Š 2012 Primary and Junior Secondary in Giri Nagar
Š 2015 The Yamuna centre for agricultural labour children
The original model of Project Why set out to empower under-privileged parents to steer the educational needs of their children by using local resources.
By making use of local talent it has been proved that quality teaching in India can be offered in the most basic of locations and situations and does not require expensive infrastructure and formal training practices.
Many project why alumni have come back to teach at the project.
The hope was that these solutions would portend change, leading to more empowerment till they ultimately are in a position to take control. This seemed the best way to bring real and long lasting change to the lives of those who live in our slums. However this proved more difficult than we thought. Whereas we could find and train a formidable team to run the Project, getting the parents involved in any form of resource gathering seemed impossible. Our many fund raising options that could have been steered by the community failed. Parents seemed to feel that they were ‘entitled’ to what we gave them simply because they were under privileged! This attitude is a real stumbling block towards empowerment.
2014 was the 14th year of our existence and the model we had set out to follow is now more than validated. The Project Why team is fully capable of running the project on a da-to-day basis, dealing with all managerial challenges and taking the right decisions and even corresponding and interacting with our donors
RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES
The year saw our education programme continue in what has by now become a well-set successful model. Our children once again performed extremely well, and our programme remained dynamic and flexible, something that we feel is in great part the reason of the success of our work.
We are all aware of the poor teaching conditions that exist in Municipal schools in Delhi, the ones our children study in, and hence the onus to ‘educate’ them falls on us. With the RTE in place and no new infrastructure, classrooms in Government schools have more than 100 students making teaching practically impossible. The children of Project Why come from very humble homes and their parents cannot afford any private tuition. Hence the onus of teaching falls on us.
We also lay emphasis on teaching the children about the Environment and other issues that we feel are needed in an all round education programme. Even though there is shortage of time we still feel the need to address these issues and try to do this in the best way possible
PROJECT WHY AT A GLANCE
Project Why has two distinct programmes each headed by its own coordinator who runs them independently.
The Giri Nagar, Okhla and Govindpuri projects are run by Rani and are as follows:
Š Giri Nagar: one primary, one senior secondary and the main computer centre.
Š Govindpuri: early education, primary and junior secondary, special- needs section.
Š Okhla: primary, junior and senior secondary and computer centre
The Khader and Yamuna Centre are steered by Dharmendra Beniwal and include
Š Khader: primary, junior and secondary centre, vocational centre for women and a computer centre
Š Yamuna Centre: primary
The overall situation remains unchanged
Most of the time was spent on finishing curriculum. However the elimination of examinations, the new grading system, and the new rule whereby no child can be failed till class VIII has led us to institute a non-formal in house assessment schedule to ensure that children keep up with their studies.
This has helped children get good marks in school.
This year we were again successful in getting over 100 children admitted to regular schools, which means that we have by now been able to mainstream over 1200 children. We also try and ensure that these children remain in school except when the family is compelled to move to another location. This happens more often that we would like as there is a perceptible change in the demographics of some of our locations, and houses are being renovated making the rent unaffordable for the families we work with.
Keeping children in school is in sync with the main objective of our organisation. In spite of existing Government policies claiming easy access to primary schools, the reality is often very different. Parents often become weary of the attitude and complex administrative formalities and give up. It has been our constant effort to convince parents on the necessity of educating their children and though it is a difficult battle we believe that even one family convinced is a step in the right direction.
Our endeavour to get a few project why children admitted in neighbourhood public schools that now have to reserve 25% of their seats for children from underprivileged homes did not work out as this option rarely benefits the poorest of the poor who often are unaware of this facility, or do not have the required documents needed to apply. Since its inception, we have realised that it is often middle class families who are taking advantage of this reservation as they manage to get the required documents even if they have to falsify them. In our opinion this decision is not going to make a difference in the education of the poorest who will continue to study in overcrowded and poorly run schools, if at all.
Driven by the dual objective of containing and arresting school drop out rates and enhancing performance, our main stress was once more on our curriculum support programme. As in the past, the programme was flexible and adapted to the specific needs of the students and once again the children did us proud as every single child passed with good marks thus validating our approach.
Coordinator: Rani Bhardwaj
I to VI
Number of children: 200
Staff: Pushpa, Pinky, Sophiya, Neetu, Israel
The Okhla Centre, though not our first one, is undoubtedly the one that truly reflects the spirit of our mission statement. It was in 2003 that the plight of the children of this area was brought to our notice but one of our staff members who resides in that very area. These children, who belong to migrant families and whose parents toil long hours in the surrounding factories were left to their own device and quickly happed by lurking mafias to peddle drugs or engage in petty theft. It was a ‘why’ that could not be left unheard. The lay out of the area is constituted by large factories surrounded by high walls and impregnable gates and tucked in between the factories are crowded slums where the dwellings are so tiny that you cannot stand. It was impossible to find any space to rent and the only option was a large garbage dump.
The journey began in that garbage dump that we ‘reclaimed’! It all started in a makeshift structure of bamboo and plastic sheets amidst extreme resentment. Today it is a happy children centre under a tin roof with brick walls. The primary centre runs in 2 shifts with boys in the morning and girls in the afternoon. With the increase in children each shift was further divided into two. Today each shift accommodates 50 children.
Children are taught through fun activities like story telling, educational games etc. This is done to show them that learning can be also be informal and joyful. International volunteers are the ones who take on this challenge.
In spite of the paucity of time, we strive towards making children aware of the environment and the need to respect it. Children are taught how to keep the neighbourhood clean, and make their centre plastic free and even plant flowers! Water is also one of the issues we stress upon.
The Okhla team, staff and children have taken full ownership of their school and like every year the building was whitewashed by the children before Diwali and all festivals were celebrated with great gusto.
Slum children rarely go out on educational visits or even to parks and playgrounds. We are aware of this need but unfortunately the cost of an outing is difficult to budget keeping in mind the number of kids we have. It is often volunteers who are kind enough to sponsor such outings.
It is the generosity of our volunteers that allow the children to go on outings. This year again they visited the Red Fort and went to the children’s park at India Gate.
This year a group of volunteers sponsored an outing for the Okhla children. They went to the Red Fort, India Gate and the Children’s Park.
And last but not the least, once again children topped their respective classes in school and did us proud.
VI to VIII
Number of children: 120
Staff: Sonia, Probir
The secondary classes were started because of our first batch of class V who felt they had no option for after school support as their parents were poor and would not be able to afford private tuition and without tuition it is impossible to succeed.
This year we are extremely proud to share that our first class XII batch passed out with success. Some of them have been compelled to begin working due to the financial conditions of their families but most of them have enrolled for higher studies through correspondence courses or the Open University. Most of these children began their education with project why and this validates the need of projects like ours.
Over and above school curriculum, we endeavour to widen the knowledge of the children, something crucial for children from deprived homes. The students are taught to explore encyclopaedias and general knowledge books from our well-stocked library. The centre also subscribes to newspapers to help them keep abreast with every day occurrences.
The students benefit from the volunteers who come time and again and share their knowledge and skills. This year one of our regular and committed volunteers has organised a guided tour of the area for visitors. A group of selected students have been trained as guides and show their world with pride and confidence. The tour is in English so also helps the children gain confidence in speaking. On the other hand, visitors discover a side of the city they have never seen anare impressed by its vibrancy, generosity and abundance of smiles.
A workshop on adolescent sexuality was held at the Okhla centre and boys and girls interacted in an open and free manner.
The secondary section was also taken to an outing by volunteers; they chose to go to the Science Museum.
Number of students: 30
The classes were started on popular demand as we were told that there were no computer classes in the vicinity and that those that were there were very costly. Thanks to some generous donors we got 3 computers and began classes. These are extremely popular!
The classes are taught by Mithu who is a Project Why alumni. He worked as a teacher’s aide in our main computer centre before taking over the Okhla computer centre.
Ours is the only computer centre in the area. We would like to increase its capacity but are unable to do so because of shortage of space and non availability of a suitable option.
GOVINDPURI –GIRI NAGAR
Number of children: 30
Staff: Mamta, Seema
Our early intervention programme is above all aimed at giving toddlers and pre-schoolers the right to babyhood in a safe environment and also at preparing them for proper schooling.
The early education class is now located in the building we own. We also decided to change the social profile of the class and have admitted 30 children between the ages of 2 to 5. These children come very deprived homes in slums located near our Okhla centre and thus can easily move on to our Okhla centre once they have ‘graduated’ from our crŹche.
The children are taught age appropriate activities and basic social interaction. They learn about hygiene and self care. They learn how to hold a pencil, draw a straight line and how to count and then move on to alphabets and numbers. The aim is to prepare them for class I.
The Project Why crŹche is a joyful place filled with fun and laughter. We try and take the children out as often as possible and this year a group of volunteers sponsored an outing to the Dolls Museum. The children had a great time.
2014 saw 30 kids ‘graduate’ and get admitted in regular school. They will be attending our Okhla centre for after school support.
Primary and Secondary Outreach
Number of children: 110
Staff: Himani, Anita and Shipra
This class was started in April 2010, after we closed down two of our small centres. However children from Sanjay Colony and the Govindpuri slums come all the way to our new centre and in the span for 2 years the class is filled to capacity with more than 100 children.
Anita, one of the teachers is a project why alumni. She has been with us since nursery and completed her class XII and her B Com and has now enrolled for her M Com. This is a real success story and what we had always hoped for.
We were privileged to have volunteers who organised creative workshops with the children. There was a dance workshop and a wall painting one. The children also learnt to make objects from waste material.
This year the children went for an outing the Zoo and India Gate.
As in all centres boys and girls come together during holidays and this year too gender issues workshop were held for the secondary students.
This class is filled to capacity and it is a juggling act to try and admit as many students as possible.
This year again many students topped their classes in school.
Number of children: 20
Staff: Shamika, Shagun, Pinky and Seema
We run a day care for 20 children and young adults with disabilities. The children have a vast array of disabilities both physical and/or mental. The main thrust of the programme is to help these children and young adults gain independent living skills and if and when possible some vocational skills to help them become income earning members of their families thus regaining the respect they have often lost.
In class we lay emphasis on activities such as cooking, stitching, and self-care and appropriate vocational activities
They also have a lot of creative and fun activities.
The rooftop has been turned into a mini garden and the students learn how to tend to plants.
This year we focused on teaching them vocational skills like paper bag making, glass painting and embroidery. Household chores like ironing clothes is also part of the curriculum.
The children also went to a birthday party at Dilli Haat.
A speech therapist visits the centre regularly.
The children are also taught computer skills.
Senior Secondary and one small primary
Number of students Senior secondary: 100
Number of students primary: 50 in 2 batches
Staff: Ritu 
These classes are from IX to XII and focus mainly on mathematics and accountancy, as these are subjects that are feared the most by students. In the past years many of our students have passed their X and XII with excellent marks and some have even topped their respective schools.
This section runs quasi independently thanks to our reputation and track record.
Many parents come to this section asking for classes for primary kids. So we opened a class, which is taught by Ritu one of our old students.
Number of students: 60 in six month batches
Staff: Dipankar, Vijay
Our computer classes are very popular. We have 12 computers and run 6- month courses. Many of our ex students have got jobs in companies, banks, etc.
New courses have been introduced this year.
A certificate is given to the students after completion of their six-month course.
In 2013, 50 students completed their certificate in a variety of courses Basic, Tally, DTP, Flash Animation, Hardware – and secured good jobs.
Boarding School Programme
We sponsor 8 children in a boarding school. These are children from extremely deprived homes and would have never completed their studies and most probably dropped out and become child labour. The children are in different classes and each one of them tops his or her respective class.
This is by far our most cherished programme as it is in consonance with what we stand for: equal opportunities for all children born in India.
Utpal and Meher both third degree burn survivors are part of this programme
Each child has a sponsor for the school fees. Additional costs are borne by a pool of friends and supporters of this programme.
first batch has graduated to class VIII
THE PROJECT WHY WOMEN CENTRE
Primary Section (class I to V)
Number of children: 150
Staff: Parveen, Manisha, Priyanka
From the very outset of the project we ran primary classes for the children of the community. The classes are held in 2 shifts: boys in the morning and girls in the afternoon. Each shift is further divided in two 1.30 minutes shifts. This was done to accommodate more children.
Most of our children are from migrant families that belong to Eastern UP and Bihar.
The new education policy whereby no child can fail till class VIII has made it imperative for us to educate children, as education in Government schools is practically non-existent. Hence we have to concentrate on school curriculum.
We also want to try and make our children better citizens and hence the general knowledge component which is designed to enable them to acquire more rounded life skills.
Secondary Section (class VI to IX)
Number of children: 150
Staff: Kalpana, Parth, Rajesh, Geeta, Ashish
These classes are also held in two shifts. Emphasis is laid on the school curriculum and teaching the child to study independently and enable him to get good results in the school leaving examinations and thus accede to further education. This is imperative as the parents cannot afford private tuition and without tuition the children cannot get good marks needed for access to further education
Children also get space to be creative and learn about a wide range of issues.
A sex education workshop was held for teenage boys and girls
Number of children: limited due to shortage of space and computers
This is an all time favourite class as it was started on popular demand of the children. We encourage them as computer skills can help them get better employment
The computer centre has now been ‘adopted’ by Chess Without Borders an organisation based in Seattle and named Maggie Gruber Computer Centre. We now have 7 new computers, the maximum our space can take!
The children enjoy these classes and we now have many women wanting to learn computers.
Environment and Awareness
Dharmendra and the team
The issues taken up last year were water and plastic as well as cleanliness of the surroundings were continued this year too. This is particularly relevant as the centre is located in a village where access is trough a small lane replete with buffaloes. Children were also encouraged to plant some green plants and learn to tend to them and respect them.
Water and the plastic menace are issues that are discussed on a daily basis, as 10 minutes are seaside for this after every class. Children are encouraged to come up with their own solutions. Some children have now stopped bringing plastic bags and urge their friends to do the same. Peer pressure seems to be the best way to ensure such changes! Children are taught to recycle water.
On Saturday it is a hand washing day as we feel that teaching children the importance of washing their hands is one of the best way to protect one’s self from many common diseases. Children are taught not to waste water while washing their hands.
We also try and take up various topics for discussion and celebrate special days in the centre. The importance of hand washing was discussed with each and every class. On Mother’s Day the children were asked to write about their mothers. In the month of June that is a holiday month Each one Teach one was implemented with the secondary children teaching the younger ones.
A large water filter plant was donated by a supporter, and a workshop on the importance of saving water was held by the children of this supporter. The project why children asked pertinent questions that were answered adequately.
The children celebrated Dr Ambedkar’s birthday, Independence Day, Teacher’s day, Gandhi Jayanti, Diwali, Children’s day and Republic Day. Posters and paintings were made and displayed and the older children prepared speeches on the relevance of these days.
Sabine a volunteer from Germany introduced the children to modern art. The children were bemused at first as it required them to think out of the box, but once they had got the knack they let their imagination run free. The result a stunning mural in bright red and other hues.
Number of trainees: 60 in 4 batches (6 months course)
The classes are held everyday from 10 to 3. Timings are flexible to suit the trainees, as many have home and families to tend to. Certificates are given every six months
Some of our ex trainees are now gainfully employed. While some have taken full time employment others get contractual jobs from export houses that they do at home. The certificates help them in securing such work.
Number of trainees: 44 in four batches, as space is very limited (6 month course)
Classes are held daily and are very popular. Some trainees have secured jobs in local beauty parlours. Others work from home and two of our students have opened parlours in their villages.
Adult education classes for women
Number of students: 12
Teacher: All our women teachers
Every teacher takes 2 students daily. The women are learning fast and an exam is taken at the end of the course and the ladies are given a certificate. This class remains a challenge, as the students have to be bullied, coaxed and even chided to attend. However it is amazing how quickly they learn.
Stanford and Oxford University ran a workshop with our children on called SMILE (Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment) in 2013.
The programme is based on the use of mobile phones to encourage peer learning. This new approach to learning is loved by all children and teachers and is used twice a week with success.
You can learn about the programme here:
This year we formalised the nutrition programme for the 30 crŹche children and 20 special needs students. Earlier they were given lunches on a need basis but now they are all provided with a hot lunch, the same that is given to the staff.
Specific nutrition programmes are run at the behest of specific donors.
Slum children are rarely taken out. We strive to take them out as often as possible but it not as often as we would like to, as transportation is expensive
This year volunteers sponsored outings to the India Gate, Children’s Park, Doll’s Museum and Qutab Minar.
Children are encouraged to express their views through essay competitions. The children are asked to write on a variety of subjects.
The children of the special section were taught glass painting and impressed everyone by the speed at which they mastered the technique.
They also learnt to make paper lamps and photo frames.
Creative activities are extremely therapeutic for special needs students.
Sustainability has been a major concern of Project Why since its very inception as we are all aware of the extreme fragility of the funding model of the project, which is based on donations obtained almost on a day-to-day basis and requiring extensive efforts.
In spite of our best efforts we were unable to raise funds for building planet why. At the end of 2011 we decided to shelf the project. This was done with great sadness, as we all believed that planet why was the only sustainability option that befitted the spirit of project why.
We explored many possibilities and have not yet zeroed in on the right one. One possibility that seems feasible is to sell the land we had acquired as it has appreciated and build a centre in the neighbourhood of our women centre as we risk losing the premises sooner than later.
This year being an election one, we were advised not to sell our land as the prices had fallen. We now hope to be able to do so and then purchase land in the vicinity of our present women centre.
The greatest achievement of the year was once again our increased web presence: a well visited website and a blog that now has a group of die-hard supporters. The blog enables one to share the everyday realities of our work and is thus a great diary of the trials and tribulations of working in an urban slum.
Our blog and site are updated as regularly as possible and have been linked by many other sites.
A photo gallery is also present so that people can get a feel of the project.
Our audited balance sheet is attached to the report
As Project Why is above all a project from the heart, it grows organically as and when a new challenge has to be met or a new ‘why’ answered. This of course leads to an ever-increasing budget that needs to be met on a crisis footing.
We are extremely lucky and blessed to have supporters who understand us and come to our rescue each and every time.
The following organisations help us sustain our old and new activities:
Asha Seattle, Chemical Construction Company, Enfances Indiennes, Asha Canada, Project Why de, Deutsch-Indische Gelsellscaft V Winsen, Delhi Network, HVS, Orient Exp Pvt Ltd, Hough School Chess Club, Chess without borders
sowmya venkateswaran, sujatha, catherine lough, beverley heart, jennie page, irene and andy mitchell, gareth harries and friends, cat robinson, steve paterson, debrah jones, damini sinha, sarah birch, catherine walls, beverley hart,palianappam lakshmanan,vijay kalivarapu, jillian murphy, manish menghani, sowmya venkateswaran, rosaria petrillo, lauren christian, lakshmi, balaji muralikrishnan, kashmira patel, peter eriscson, kaushik partasarthy, dawn mccormick, emily worman, andy mitchell, catherine west, colin page, jennifer shahade, debra bakal, uttara shahani,david schlenker, elizabeth lanier, francesca carollo, samia azad, francine grant, edith lange, emily and alan worman, anirudh bokil, michelle andriola, yuri shulman, sonal onkar, martha kelsey, elena jacoby, marck schnitzer, claire sokoloff, jonathan filley, neil kaye, isabelle cullen
Guest and visitors
We had a number of visitors this year and many became friends of project WHY and great supporters:
Many volunteers came to help project WHY this year:
To all who helped, and stood by us we would like to say:
If you want to know more about project why visit
 Mithu is physically impaired after polio in his childhood. He was a student of pwhy who showed keen interest in computers. He worked as a teacher’s aide in our main computer centre before taking over the Okhla computer centre
 Ritu is one of our old students
 Old students
 She is an old student