Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dronacharya & Ekalayva - Leadership development program

DnE is experiential learning leadership program which pairs underprivileged children with volunteers who act as their mentors and role models. The program helps the children realise their potential and transforms the volunteers into more socially aware leaders.

• To enrich the lives of underprivileged children (Mentees) through a caring relationship with a personal mentor who will support, encourage and build their self-confidence.

• To groom the leadership qualities and the sense of social responsibility in young volunteers (Mentors), our country's future leaders, by exposing them to some of the most pressing social problems of our country.

The program is modelled on mentorship programs like the ‘Big Brothers Big Sisters’ (USA), Perach (Israel) and Dronacharya & Ekalyva (Hyderabad, India).

Tutors conduct classes for small batches for four hours every week, helping the children build a strong academic foundation and providing an impetus to continued education through improved academic performances.

Mentors meet mentees for two hours every week and assist them with school or home work, listen to their problems and support them in challenges they encounter. In the process, Mentors instil self confidence and the ability to solve one’s own problem in the children.

Mentors will undergo Bhumi certified training program in personal mastery, Communication, Problem solving and leadership and group learning cycles developed in collaboration with renowned experts from across the country.

Mentor’s Gain: Communication skills, Leadership, Inclusiveness, Social Sensitivity
Mentee’s Gain: Absenteeism decreases, Academic grades, Pass rate, children pursuing higher education, entering organised labour etc increases.

The advantages for children: Statistics Show that children with mentors are: (Source:
• 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
• 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
• 53% less likely to skip school
• 33% less likely to engage in violence

The advantages for Young Volunteers: Young people who mentor benefit in the following areas: (Source: Boyer 1996)
• Improved employability as a result of better communication skills
• Develop leadership skills
• More patient and understanding demeanour.
• Enhanced cognitive and moral development
• Respect and compassion towards fellow human beings.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

National Bravery Awards 2009

The 'National Bravery Awards for Indian Children' are some of the prestigious civil awards in India, which are presented to the Indian children for meritorious acts of bravery against all obstacles.

The children, eight girls and 13 boys, have been selected by a high powered committee in recognition for their outstanding deeds of bravery and meritorious service. Two Awards will be given posthumously.

The coveted Bharat Award will be given to 13-year-old Gaurav Singh Saini of Haryana, who saved approximately 50 to 60 people in a stampede at the Naina Devi temple.

Karan Nishad of Uttar Pradesh has been selected for the Sanjay Chopra Award, the 11-year-old boy had saved five persons from drowning.

The prestigious Geeta Chopra Award will be conferred on 10-year-old Maibam Prity Devi of Manipur, who saved several lives when miscreants hurled a grenade inside their shop in Mayang Imphal Bazar.

Late Ranu Mishra (10 years) of Uttar Pradesh will get the Bapu Gaidhani Award posthumously for displaying exemplary courage in saving her brother and his friend from drowning.

Vijith V. of Kerala and Narendrasinh Natvarsinh Solanki of Gujarat will also get Bapu Gaidhani Awards for their acts of bravery. Vijith had saved four children from drowning in river Kallada while Narendrasinh had saved his father from the clutches of a crocodile in river Dhadhar.

Along with courageous acts there are instances of bold decisions and revolts against prevailing social-evil. Three girls from West Bengal-Rekha Kalindi (11 years), Sunita Mahato (11 years) and Afsana Khatun (12 years) refused to get married at early age and wanted to continue their studies.

The other recipients are: Uddesh R. Ramnathkar (Goa), Dijekshon Syiem, Thoi Thoi Khumanthem (Manipur), Zonunsanga, Lalrammawia (both from Mizoram), Sujith R., Amal Antony, Krishnapriya K., Sujith Kumar P.(all from Kerala), Master Dijekshon Syiem (Meghalaya), Vaishaliben Sambhubhai Solanki (Gujarat) and Yogesh Kumar Jangid (Rajasthan).

The Sanjay Chopra Award and Geeta Chopra Award are two of the most coveted awards among the National Bravery Awards. The awards were instituted in the year 1978 in the memory of the two brave Chopra children, who laid their lives while confronting their kidnappers. These two awards are presented to a boy and girl, respectively for their acts of bravery. The Bharat Award is considered the highest award among all the National Bravery Awards. This award was incepted in the year 1987 and the other prestigious award in this category, named the Bapu Gayadhani Award was started to be presented from 1988. The names of the award winning children are announced on 14th November, every year and the children receive the award from the Prime Minister of India, on a later date. A reception is also organised in their honour by the President of India and they take part in the Republic Day Parade at Rajpath, New Delhi, on 26th January, as well.

The National Bravery Award was a brainchild of India's first Prime Minister, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, who thought about it on 2nd October, 1957, while watching a performance at Delhi's Ramlila grounds, at the Red Fort. An accident occurred in that programme, when a fire broke out in a Shamiana, due to a short circuit. A 14 year-old scout, named Harish Chandra reacted bravely at that time and he instantly ripped open the burning Shamiana, using his knife. He saved hundreds of people who were trapped inside, with this act. Pundit Nehru was stunned and inspired with the brave act of that child and he instructed the authorities to constitute an award to honour brave children from all over the country. Action was taken immediately and Harish Chandra became the first one to receive this award.

The awardees, who will receive a medal, certificate and cash, are selected by a committee comprising representatives of various ministries, non-governmental organisations and Indian Council for Child Welfare members.

Eligible awardees are also granted financial assistance until they complete their schooling. Since its inception in 1957, the bravery awards have been given to 777 children, including 554 boys and 223 girls.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Siragugal '09 - When Bhumi spread colour, joy and more!

Siragugal 2009 was a one day Art, cultural Fest held on 15 Nov, 2009.  796 children from classes 1-12 of 26 orphanages in Chennai, Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur Districts participated. The event consisted of  16 different competitions for three age categories, a science exhibition competition, fun events including a magic show and a theatre workshop for the children.

S09 - 004

S09 - 005 In spite of the heavy rains the children made it to the the venue, Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Kilpauk thanks to the buses Sponsored by Velammal Educational Trust. Siragugal'09 was inaugurated by Ms.Archana Raghuram (Cognizant Outreach), Mr.Kannan (Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development), and Mr. Mukesh (playback singer of ‘where’s the party tonight’ fame). An electrifying performance by Mr.Mukesh and Bhumian Ms.Aakansha set the tone for the day getting the children and volunteers into a frenzy.

S09 - 015 The children then spread out across the venue as six events started simultaneously. The morning session consisted of events like group song, solo dance, quiz, English and Tamil elocution, Tamil essay writing, Tamil poetry, drawing-painting, mimicry and monoact. While Siragu Montessori School delivered a prize winning traditional  villu paatu  during the group song event, many enthusiastic children drew and painted their message to society (“Say no to child labour”, “Give life by donating blood”, “Educate children” and the like).

S09 - 011 In the meanwhile, the six game stalls including balloon shooting etc and the Science Exhibition which had models prepared by Bhumi's Little Einsteins Team and also those brought in by the children for the competition were thrown open to all participants. The children and Bhumi volunteers displayed their scientific models, and actively explained the theoretical concepts to the other children.

S09 - 078 Immediately before lunch Magician Elango‘s show, a surprise element for the children doubled up the energy and the excitement in the auditorium. Lunch was sponsored by Cognizant Outreach and Food King.

S09 - 021 Post-lunch events commenced at the respective venues – Tamil skit, soap carving, pot painting, rangoli, group dance, and solo song. Despite the registrations being closed before the event, groups of children turned up with requests to participate in art events like soap carving and pot painting turning the venue into a colour riot! Meanwhile at the auditorium, an outstanding performance from a child who participated in group dance was asked to perform Solo on demand. His moves to the title song from the movie Villu  had the audience on their feet for a standing ovation! Definitely a moment that will be remembered by all those who were present there!

S09 - 045 The valedictory function marked the close of Siragugal’09. Our Chief Guest ‘Food King’ Mr. Sarath Babu delivered an inspirational speech to the children. The guests of honour for the evening were Mr. Balasubramanian and Mr. Sattainathan (SBI, one of our sponsors). The guests distributed the certificates and medals to all the prize winners.

And the Awards went to!

Best Children's Home Rolling Trophy - Bala Mandir Kamaraj Trust, whose children made a clean sweep at Siragugal’09

Best Participating Children's Home Trophy’ - Indian Council for Child Welfare

S09 - 042 Best Individual Performer, Male -- Mst. Udayakumar from SISTWA who stole hundreds of hearts with his realistic mimicry concept that revolved around the dancing styles of actors Kamal Hassan, Vikram and Vijay

Individual Best Performer, Female - Ms. Nancy Lavanya from St. Thomas children’s home for winning the most number of awards

Best Actor - Mst.Manikandan from CHILD Children's Home

S09 - 038 Volunteers from Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development (Thamaraipakkam), Cognizant’s Outreach, Infosys’ Sneham and NCC cadets from college of Engineering, Guindy contributed with zest equivalent to that of the organising Bhumi volunteers.

We are deeply indebted to our Sponsors including Cognizant Outreach, SBI, Infosys Sneham, Food King, Velammal Educational Trust, Welmech Engineering, Sniper Systems, ISHRAE and over a thousand individual donors also contributed towards the finances of the event.

Participating homes (in alphabetical order) - Aadhiswarar Home, Adi Dravida Samooga Sevagar Sangam (Manavar Illam), Anbagam Street Children Care Centre, Annai Bharathamatha Educational trust, Annai Trust, Bala Mandir Kamaraj Trust, Bharatha Matha School, Child Children's Home, Ebenezer Home Of Social Outreaches, Good Life Centre, Indian Council for Child Welfare, Maranatha Intermission children's home, Mottukkal Good Shepherd Convent, Nalmanam, Nesakkaram Seeds, Open Door Orph. & Community Centre, Parisu Trust Child Development Centre, SAC Dr. P.V.Rao School-Children’s Home, Roshini Home, Sathiya Jyothi Destitute Home, Siragu Montessori School, SISTWA, Sree Sarada Sevasramam, St. Thomas Orphanage, Swami Charitable Trust, Webbs Memorial Orphanage.

S09 -100

  Team Bhumi celebrating the close of Siragugal '09

A bigger and better Siragugal 2010 beckons! Siragugal '10 will be a two day Art, Cultural, Science, Athletic and Sports Fete. See you all again in July 2010!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Diwali '09

Bhumi Cares: Passive smoking kills and so do crackers!!
Copper - Irritation in respiratory tract
Cadmium - Anaemia and kidney damage
Lead - Affects the nervous system
Magnesium - Causes metal fume fever
Sodium - Skin diseases
Zinc - Vomiting
Nitrate - Mental impairment
Nitrite - Coma

Not-so-happy Diwali: At the Madras ENT Research Foundation (MERF) at least 15 to 20 patients, mostly youngsters, are diagnosed with permanent hearing loss every year after Deepavali.
Research has shown that excessive noise levels lead to hearing loss, high blood pressure, excess secretion of adrenaline, dilation of the pupil, sleeplessness, nervous problems, blood vessel constriction and even cardiac arrest.

Bhumi Suggests: Purchase crackers
• Which are easy on your ears.
• With ‘No Child Labour’ stickers.

Bhumi Requests: Say NO to crackers!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bhumi Torchbearers Speak!

Bhumi conferred the Torchbearer of the Year Award 2009 to five Bhumians for their commendable contribution towards Changing today... Changing tomorrow! (Link)

Here's what they feel about the award...

Akhila Hari
Akhila is an example of how an ideal “teaching” volunteer in Bhumi, specifically MAD, should be! Bhumi is very proud of her consistent and dedicated contribution.


I cant just believe what has happened with me on the 15th of august 2009. This will remain as one of the most memorable days of my life in BHUMI.

This journey began way back in 2008, July when i was hunting for a community service which was supposed to be a part of my college curriculum. It was then when i traced out through my community radio in college about Bhumi. I cannot believe that this Bhumi will become an intimate part of my life. But now community service is something that comes as the last priority for me. Bhumi as such means more than anything else.

I am extremely thankful to Bhumi and its members who thought me as a deserving person to take this award. Life in Bhumi has been wonderful especially with the kids as well as the volunteers. I will always look back to this day and cherish its memories always.

I am not able to express my happiness and thankfulness for giving me the torchbearer award and making me feel so special amongst everyone.

I look forward to live up to the expectations and will give my best to Bhumi.
Once again thank you so much Bhumi for this. I have no words to show my gratitude towards Bhumi.

Uma Sekar
For her consistent contributions to MAD, Think Green and overall interest in Bhumi.

"This award came as a huge surprise to me. I personally don't think I deserve a Torchbearer award. There is a lot more to do for the society. We who have are the ones who can and must give to people who don't and the best way is through education. Bhumi is an organization which identifies and helps people who want to do something to change the current way of things, actually do it!

Bhumi gives me the confidence that a group of people with the same vision can make a huge impact in the society and inspire more people to work towards change.

I'm so glad I joined Bhumi! I've wanted to do something like this since my childhood and I thought I could achieve that dream only when I was older! Thank you Bhumi for making it happen much earlier! :)

Vaishnavi Srinivasan – The Karate Kid
For her consistent and dedicated contributions to Career counselling, Kanini and overall interest in BHUMI.

"Until December 2006, my final year of college I was living with the only ambition of Joining Army. It was my dream .. my goal and everything to me.. I saw that as the best way to do something for my country. But for various reasons I had to give it up and I felt drained, empty and useless. After that I tried to involve myself in various activities but Its only after I joined BHUMI that I again gained a focus and purpose. 
I am immensely honored to be working with such committed minds and I always feel I am the one gaining more and more each day with Bhumi in terms of satisfaction, Knowledge, Refinement People skills and what not..
I had never got any award before.. This was my first and best.. Cant explain how it felt.. 
I thank BHUMI and each Bhumian for their extraordinary support and encouragement that I have always received.
My special thanks to INR, Vivek, Prakash, Vaish and Doc for the inspiration and encouragement. 
Hats off to u Guys!!!
Its a honor and responsibility now for me to keep up to the expectation. I hope to do my best."

Vijayanand S
For his consistent and dedicated contribution to Kanini, Joy to the World and overall interest in BHUMI 

"It is a great honor in receiving the Torch bearer Award from Bhumi. It was indeed a big surprise! I always felt that joining hands with Bhumi was very easy as its vision and mission are quite simple and practical. Teaching for the kids at TMV is always a pleasure. Its an year since we started Kanini here, though we continuously faced the inconsistency of students there are many who are regular, inspired and motivated. I remember the days where in the volunteers have continued the class till 4, after a lunch break. Those days are really a memorable one! At this time i would like to give my hearty thanks to our Project Head Ayyanar, co-volunteers of TMV and all enthusiast of Bhumi. I would also like to thank Kuppusamy and Kalaivani of Nest, for their cooperation and efforts.

Focusing on Changing Tomorrow..."

Vijayalakshmi Gnanasekar
For her enthusiasm and energy level in structuring and stablising the Kanini project.

"To be honest, only because of the support given by my fellow Kanini friends I was able to do at least something to the kids. Bhumi people never treated me as a fresher when I initially joined Bhumi which boosted me to enthusiastically participate in all the Bhumi activities. J I am glad to hear that my contribution has reached the kids in a good way.

I am proud to tell everyone, that I am a bhumian :)… Thanks for recognizing and encouraging me to contribute even more.

Change today... Change tomorrow...

Bhumi Torchbearers of the Year 2009

BHUMI has changed a lot from the days when ten of us used to have meetings at Gandhi Mandapam to now, holding meetings at open air auditoriums. This has not been made possible without Bhumi’s greatest asset… our volunteers. Last year we had over 130 volunteers who contributed for at least a month. Who were the most exceptional of them all?
While every volunteer is a torch bearer of BHUMI, the organization is proud to recognize these five who have walked that extra mile - towards Changing Today… Changing tomorrow and confer the Torch Bearers of the year award for 2009.

Akhila Hari
1) She doesn’t know Tamil well. But, to ensure a strong rapport was established in the initial phase, she made extra efforts to learn Tamil – this was very inspiring
2) She has always added components to ensure her classes are fun and interesting – like printing her own flash cards, preparing handmade games. Her scrabble game won the “most innovative idea” poll on orkut. These handmade board and letters were also circulated amidst all volunteers from Dr. PV Rao School. To ensure good class strength, she maintained a well-made attendance register which was marked both before and after class.
3) She was always ready to substitute for volunteers from Sunday. Due to rains, towards the end of the academic year, when children had school on many Saturdays. She didn’t want to miss teaching her children. So made it a point to attend Sunday classes. We had to make her a permanent Sunday volunteer, since her credits were bouncing off the limit!!! Last year, she had the highest number of credits, almost double of any of the existing MAD volunteers.
4) For her effective contribution to classes @ Dr. PV Rao School: Good class control and discussing issues faced in class, with her project head.
Akhila is an example of how an ideal “teaching” volunteer in Bhumi, specifically MAD, should be! Bhumi is very proud of consistent and dedicated contribution.

Uma Sekar
1) Initially, had a very hard time in getting her children to understand the need to learn. But she roped them in by preparing materials, made copies of lots of activities, read out stories every week, and now, children look forward to her classes!
2) She openly discussed issues faced in class, with her project head.
3) She showed high interest, and participated regularly in Think Green activities too.
4) For her enthusiasm in trying to implement the “books from waste” programme where volunteers were expected to bring recyclables from home sell it off and purchase some storybooks for the children.
5) For her interest in trying to implement workbooks for the children as part of the MAD programme.

For her consistent contributions to MAD, Think Green and overall interest in Bhumi.

Vaishnavi Srinivasan – The Karate Kid
1. She continues to play a major role in stabilizing and strengthening the Knowledge Management team of the Career Counselling project. Her role has been inspirational to others in this team.
2. The responsibilities that she has taken till date have been addressed with utmost dedication, perfection and above all in a timely fashion
3. Her contribution works as an indirect spark that will light the lives of many students tomorrow
4. Her equally dedicated contribution and effective handling of classes in Kanini at WET, Pallavaram, Community centre is worth a mention
5. Her role in Kanini admin team and panel member has been pivotal
For her consistent and dedicated contributions to Career counselling, Kanini and overall interest in BHUMI.

Vijayanand S
1. His abilities as Kanini center head are commendable. Through his dedication, he was able to inject hope in students which helped stabilise the student turnout at his centre.
2. He played a major role in taking Kanini to more children in Thiruvallur district.
3. He was the Joy to the world coordinator at Wipro and was nodal in fulfilling simple wishes of many students
4. Although a resident of Ambattur, he never missed any General or Kanini meetings which are usually held in the heart of the city. His contribution in general Bhumi discussions have been invaluable.
5. The 'One man Army' of Thirumulaivoyal who handled four different sessions for more than 40 students in a weekend!

For his consistent and dedicated contribution to Kanini, Joy to the World and overall interest in BHUMI 

Vijayalakshmi Gnanasekar
1. She has been the primary syllabus designer for Kanini
2. Exhibited immense character by handling Kanini classes at both NEST, Thirumulaivoyal, Community centre and Balamandir Orphanage with great responsibility when there was lack of volunteers at both centres [Topographically, they’re 30 kms apart]
3. Her skills as a good teacher helped stabilize classes at Balamandir orphanage.
4. For making an effective contribution towards Joy to the World
5. Her charming and friendly nature makes her very popular among volunteers and students
For her enthusiasm and energy level in structuring and stablising the Kanini project.

Bhumi is proud to confer the Torchbearer of the Year Award 2009 to these five Bhumians for their commendable contribution towards Changing today... Changing tomorrow!

 Bhumi Blast 2009!