Nupur Bhardwaj – Let’s Educate Children In Need

Three years ago, I joined an organization which worked towards the education of the underprivileged children residing in slums, orphanages and MCD schools, who did not have resources and couldn’t afford the basic necessities of life. I was in my second year of graduation when I joined this student run initiative and was made a part of the slum department. My simple work was to visit slums on weekends and teach children there. Shortly after getting involved in the task, I loved being there, teaching the little ones. I enjoyed volunteering for the initiative and after a couple of months I started visiting orphanages, too, on a regular basis. I was very much involved in the organization and soon I was made the vice-president of slum department, where I served till April 2015.

I couldn’t have been away from the children anymore despite of leaving my previous organization. May 2015 was the turning point in my life when I thought to start my own organization. A non-profit organization which would work towards the education and development of the underprivileged children from the slums. On May 31st, 2015, I, along with a few fellow mates held our first teaching session at the Indraprastha slum in Delhi. And that was the beginning of Let’s Educate Children In Need or just LECIN as we call it.

The prime motive of LECIN is to provide quality elementary education to those unfortunate children residing in slums or are from other remote parts of the city, who do not have basic resources and amenities of life. The organization provides a platform to the children to bring out the best in them, express themselves, showcase their talents and learn to face the world confidently. Since its inception two years ago, LECIN has spread its roots to four major slums across Delhi- Indraprastha, Okhla, Kalkaji and Mansarovar Park. Volunteers in LECIN, mostly from various colleges of Delhi University, form a great team who work solemnly, visiting all the four slums of Delhi every weekend to bring a change in the society teaching the young ones. Today, more than sixty registered children are being taught by the volunteers, in all the slums combined.

Among the several activities and events that we organize for the children include Naitikta, Kalakriti and Alfazon ki Julagbandi. Naitikta refers to the teaching sessions where children are taught the values of life, the moral and fundamental rights, ethics, etiquettes, hygiene, better lifestyle and how they present themselves before the world in a better way. Kalakriti sessions bring out the best from the children by enhancing their skills and talents, usually through art and craft, story telling, essay writing and movie screening. Recently started, Alfazon ki Jugalbandi is the name given to a monthly the creative writing workshop, where children are made to think in a creative manner and write stories, articles and short write ups. This helps them expand their thinking and improve their observing abilities. Apart from these pursuits, we, at LECIN, celebrate almost all the festivals and special occasions with children in all the slums so that they could get to know about all the important days and events. This makes both the children and the volunteers happy.

A major turning point in our two years of journey came in October 2016 when LECIN was selected for the Changelooms Learning and Leadership Journey (CLLJ) 2016-17 under Pravah, another non-profit organization. Project Saksham was our own initiative which was started in December 2016. Coming from a computer background, I had always dreamt to extend my knowledge to these slum children who are deprived of technology. Hence, Saksham came into existence. We teach computers and other technical things to the children with a fixed curriculum and this makes them more curious towards something foreign to them. Seeing the project running successfully in Kalkaji slum is something next to dream coming true for me.

I am currently a full-time worker in LECIN which makes me satisfied and happy. We get to learn something new from the fellow volunteers or the children, each passing day, get to meet new people with amazing ideas and different interests. On one hand, where we have successfully started teaching sessions in four major slums of Delhi, organized a number of awareness campaigns, cultural events, fundraising events and donation campaigns, there have been a number of failures, issues, problems in the span of two years of LECIN. From convincing the parents of the children for sending them for the classes to finding a teaching center in each slum and further to organize big events like Unnati (our annual fest), nothing could have been possible without the support and hard work of the whole team of LECIN. The efforts made by each and every volunteer, coordinator or the core committee member to run the organization and work for the cause selflessly is what motivates me to keep the motive of my aim alive.

Nupur Bhardwaj                                                                                                         Founder LECIN | Social Activist

Pratyush Kumar – Healthcare Services for Children

Since my school days, I have been involved actively in community services. I have worked closely with a number of NGOs to help and support various causes related to children. I am also serving on the advisory board of Green Cross Organization, Chennai, and Teach for Green, New Delhi. I am committed to help any child who needs help to live a healthy life.

In India, every year, more than two million children die mostly due to lack of affordable and timely healthcare services. If a child is not healthy, everyone in the family gets affected. Many lives can be saved if we have affordable healthcare available to these children. Concerned with the plight of gullible parents and innocent children, in 2016, I started New Delhi Children’s Hospital & Research Centre (NDCHRC) Trust to set-up a chain of non-profit hospitals in India.

NDCHRC is dedicated to provide high quality and affordable health care facilities to children. The hospital is run by 200 passionate volunteers who are working towards improving the quality of child health care in India.

The organization, the only one of its kinds, aims to become the best Children’s Hospital in India and among the best in the world. The NDCHRC team is involved in creating awareness about child healthcare issues. Team also intends to provide health care services at home, online consulting to the needy parents, best possible discounts or benefits from healthcare products and service providers.

I have over 16 years of experience in the financial services industry, having been associated with HSBC, Northern Trust, Deutsche Bank and HCL.

I graduated from JNU, New Delhi and completed my Masters in Communication from IIMC, New Delhi. Presently, I am working as a Vice President – Global Operational Excellence with IHS Markit.

NDCHRC has successfully organized a number of Health Checkup Camps and has supported 700+ children so far. Supported by a number of highly reputed doctors and professionals, NDCHRC is moving forward to set up two healthcare clinics for children in New Delhi in April 2017. Team has its supporters all across the globe and running its chapters out of Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, and Bangalore.

Since last one year, NDCHRC team has been actively providing help to children and their parents via online consultation. We connect needy parents with the specialized doctors who provide them timely consultation. We have also organized health checkup camps, nutritious meal distribution drives on Children’s Day and Christmas Day respectively. We have collected and distributed healthy food packets, toys, clothes and books for children as well.

In next two months’ time, we are looking forward to set up Children’s Healthcare Clinics in Delhi and Gurgaon which will offer a number of healthcare services to children at the most reasonable cost.

Pratyush Kumar                                                                                                                     Founder NDCHRC| Social Activist | Healthcare Services

Sheetal Agarwal – Clownselors

Hi, I am Sheetal, a social anthropologist by training, lecturer by profession and a BIG clown at heart.

I love smiling and I believe smiling and seeing people smile is the greatest gift one can ever have and this is what motivated me to start ‘clownselors’- a volunteer group that strives to bring smiles on faces of the ailing and recuperating children, the health givers, and the parents caring for the children at the hospitals. Clownseling or medical clowning is a therapy used to reduce pain, anxiety and stress using humor. Clownselors visit Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya (CNBC) every Saturday to help in the healing process.

I never in the craziest of my imaginations thought that I would be doing something like this, in fact I had not even heard of medical clowning and knew nothing about Clownseling until January 2016. But, I was always obsessed with smiles; I always thought smile can do wonders; one pure smile can turn a bad day into a good day. So, when I heard of medical clowning I was intrigued for obvious reasons and wanted to be a part of this noble cause. I started looking for people involved in clowning in Delhi hospitals, but could not find anyone for a long time, paving the path for me to start clownseling in Delhi and since then there has been no looking back. Clownseling started on 9th July 2016 with six enthusiastic volunteers from different professional fields who painted their faces, donned clown hats and shared a common goal of spreading smiles. Cheer engulfed the atmosphere as clowns sang and danced with the children, played with them using balloons, did small theatrical acts. It was an experience to see children bursting into laughter; parents’ tear-filled eyes seeing their child smile and amusement on the faces of doctors & nursing staff. That was the first-time I realized what satisfaction and fulfilment actually feels like!
The focus of clownseling is to de-stress ailing children as well as parents, nurses and doctors. With balloons, wigs, red nose and a big smile painted on our faces, Clownseling begins from the OPD. The next stop is the in-patient wards. Generally, we distribute in groups of three or four, enter a room where there are five to seven children recuperating. We then perform some acts using mimes, puppets and engage even the parents in a game or two.

The response has been extremely positive. At times, doctors have come looking for the Clownselors and directing us to certain wards. Even nurses ask the team to play with specific children who have been ailing for long or are not responding to medication. Recently, we have been asked to go to pre-operative care too. The director of CNBC has been very encouraging and appreciative. The best response is from parents who at times reward the Clownselors for making their children smile. We have heard parents saying ‘my child is smiling after so many days, he would be fine now’, ‘I was desperate to see him laugh, finally he laughed’, ‘my daughter wasn’t eating anything, after playing she ate something’. These are the moments that truly inspire us!
Clownseling has not only helped the patients but has changed my whole life, from a girl who was completely into academics and had quit her job to do a PhD in social anthropology and saw her future as an academician, I have become a ‘clown doctor’. My life completely revolves around clownseling now- if I am not doing it, I am thinking and planning about it. This has been an extremely interesting journey.

It is like I couldn’t find my passion but the passion found me. While many believe that this is social work and selfless service or charity but the real reason why I am doing this is coz I love seeing those smiles and it leaves me smile-hungover for days. Most of the times we undermine the power of a simple smile, it has the greatest healing properties and can help in worst of situations, so please don’t forget to smile!

Sheetal Agarwal                                                                                                                     Founder Clownselors | Spreading Happiness

Artika Singh – MEMBER ENACTUS HANSRAJ

This story is the part of the Nibblers chapter in the book of Humans of Society:

These are stories by people who have started out on the path of social good and will be form the pillars of strength for the society in the times to come.

Hi, I am Artika, currently a student of Hansraj College, Delhi University. I’m a keen reader and writer, mostly of fictional stories. I enjoy getting to know new people, their stories and even working with them. I feel privileged that I belong to the educated group of people in this country and can do so much for the society and subsequently the world as a whole if we put our knowledge and skills to good use and put aside our personal biases.

Out of all the issues that lurk in each and every alley of our society, the one that has irked me the most is that of cleanliness on the streets and public places. This is for two simple reasons:

Firstly; I feel that just keeping your surroundings clean is not much of a Herculean task. Logically speaking, how difficult can it be to use a dustbin that has been placed for that purpose. If everyone does their bit and keep their own areas clean then automatically the work will be done, yet no one really sees it as their responsibility.

Secondly; just by keeping our surroundings clean we can tackle several other problems like that of diseases, infections, pests and so much more.

My first volunteering experience in this area was mere serendipity. It was in the winter of 2015, when a friend and I would go to jog on the streets of Dalanwala locality in Dehradun to de-stress ourselves after studying for our board exams. We noticed that the roads which seemed clean were actually littered with wrappers, kitchen waste, even biomedical waste. We decided to walk back home each evening and on the way, we handpicked the garbage (as much as we could) and disposed it at a suitable site. As days passed on, we procured gloves so as to even clean the drains! Our work was appreciated by those passing by, some of them even helped, most of them were teachers from our school and other schools in the neighborhood.

It was one day, while we were struggling to pull out solid waste from a drain that a man walked up to us to ask about what we were doing. We had gotten used to this by now. As we talked he told us that he worked with an NGO called Waste Warriors who specialized in waste collection campaigns and had recently moved to Dehradun after working in other areas of Garhwal. He offered to provide us with equipment to pick up the trash, even large collection bags and also, from that day on, helped us in waste segregation and disposal.

I moved to a different city as I stepped into college but I realized that this is something that can be taken up by students to create awareness and in the process also clean up certain areas. To do the same I have now organized and participated in several clean up campaigns as a member of an NGO (Humans for Humanity), in public places like the metro station, bus stands, market places etc.

Every wrapper casually strewn across the street adds to the garbage and every wrapper picked up from the street indicates positive change.

Artika Singh                                                                                                                   Enactus Hansraj College

Bhupesh Gupta -Member Enactus Hansraj

We are pleased to announce the Nibblers chapter in the book of Humans of Society:

These are stories by people who have started out on the path of social good and will be form the pillars of strength for the society in the times to come.

Our 1st story is by Bhupesh Gupta.

I am Bhupesh Gupta, a simple boy from Jaipur, with myriad interests, Economics, teaching, talking and volunteering being the prominent ones

“You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give”, quoted my teacher in school while discussing an opportunity to work with Care Promise Welfare Society, Jaipur during the summer vacations. The idea made sense to my young mind and I decided to volunteer. The days I spent spreading awareness about and collecting funds for those suffering from cancer, hepatitis-B and swine flu might not have been highly successful in terms of numbers but they really helped me in experiencing the joy that volunteering entails. I was able to end this drive on an amazing note by meeting the beneficiaries of the funds collected and spending a day with them. That day I realized how one’s small deeds can make others happy. That day I decided to undertake more such activities; not because I was suddenly generous, but because I was quite selfish. I realized how volunteering for different causes helps ME to experience different flavors of life.

Coming to college not only meant more opportunities but also more ideas. Thankfully, I got selected in Enactus Hansraj- my college’s chapter of an international NPO working towards betterment of disadvantaged communities by empowering them with the magic of social entrepreneurship. As a member of this student run organization, I am able to work on and develop various social entrepreneurship projects that sought to strengthen the underprivileged. After finding communities needing help, we convince them to become social entrepreneurs and take up the projects decided by our team in the light of their skills and needs. I, along with my team, have developed various products, marketed them and supported the social entrepreneurs in their stride to create a change, both in their personal lives and in the society as a whole. Apart from the impressive impacts that the brand of Enactus allowed us to make with support from corporate giants like KPMG, Walmart, Coca Cola, the essence of Enactus allowed us to spread smiles. I wish to mention a really small incident I experienced in the first month after joining Enactus. I knew my role and responsibilities, but I was still confused about how to fulfill them in my first field visit as a member of Enactus. With little experience in personal selling, I reached our stall in a fair in Noida. We were selling low cost water purifiers that work without electricity to the low-income people living in slums under our project, Boond. I was nervous until I met Jatin, an intellectually disabled person from NGO Samvedna, who correctly introduced himself to me as an entrepreneur of Boond. I decided to make the day count and tried to derive the best from the four hours I had to sell the purifiers. After a few disappointments, I was finally able to celebrate with Jatin and hand over the money to his NGO’s head.

Our discovery, their efforts and our marketing finally bore fruit. Enactus has become a dear place and I have worked for it since the past two years. I have also worked with Enactus India in its national competition. Also, to gain greater exposure, I interned with Connecting Dreams Foundation and worked with communities from villages in Uttar Pradesh. I feel that by working for the needy as they are called, I actually fulfill my own needs; my needs for a happier life, my needs for meeting more people, my needs for solving different problems and my needs for being grateful.

Bhupesh Gupta Member                                                                                                       Enactus Hansraj College| Social Activist

 

Varun Khullar – Chhoti Chhoti Khushiyan

I am Dr. Varun Khullar, a resident of Dermatology and Founder of Chhoti Chhoti Khushiyan. I started this foundation almost 2 years back, but what is interesting is how I got inspired to start it.I was visiting an orphanage in Bareilly and during my interactions with the kids, I got to know that they wished to have a birthday celebration just like many other kids of their age. They were wishing for something which most of us thought of as our right. I got down to making a list of all the kids who were there… rest is history… The celebrations of their birthdays lasted for almost a year… and this is when I decided to make this celebration a lifelong activity.

While I wanted to continue this journey of adding happiness to the lives of people who needed my support, I also wanted that this happiness should last for longer than a day or two. That is when I decided that in whatever I do for the underprivileged, I made sure that it builds up concrete pillars in their life from where they can take it forward and be successful and independent.

With this spirit, my organization has created some patented events like Dilwalo ki Diwali, Jingle Bells, etc. My organization has also adopted an entire village Udaypur Bhuta Block in Bareilly where over 200 families reside. We have also conducted over 10 free health camps distributing free medications in Delhi (Balsahyog) & and villages around Bareilly concentrating on children and old age homes.

In the education sector we have managed to get admissions for 70 girls on the eve of last year’s Independence Day along with renovating an entire public school in the village.
Recently, Chhoti Chhoti Khushiyan launched “BETI SIKHAO”, a skill development initiative with an aim of uplifting girls who have been forced to leave education. For the same cause, we have distributed 25 sewing machines and have started classes for around 40 girls teaching them embroidery.

Recently, we also sponsored 300 underprivileged girls form government schools and villages for BIKEATHON, a Dainik Jagran event in Bareilly. We wanted to spread awareness about physical fitness among these girls. One little girl from this group walked up to me and said, ‘sir I don’t know who Jimmy Shergill is who came to gave away the awards, but for me you are the biggest hero of my life’. These are somethings which motivate me every morning and fill my heart with an undying spirit to do something new…something better, to do the good for the society.

Even today, my biggest struggles continue to be lack of funds and lack of people’s interest in these activities not only in major cities but also in small cities.

To motivate everyone Dr. Varun has a message:
“I started my journey at 26 and being a doctor my day begins at 7 with no definite end time but my hectic schedule keeping time for my patients but that has never deterred me from following my passion. It’s not about timetables or hectic schedules, it’s all about willingness, our collective effort will go a long way in uplifting our society.

Varun Khullar                                                                                                                           Founder Chhoti chhoti khushiyan | Women Empowerment| Social Activist