Unit – 1 Harlalka Kothi Nawalgarh – 333042 (Raj.) # 91-1594-222930/223094 Unit – 2 Khemi Shakti Mandir Jhunjhunu – 333001 (Raj.) # 91-1592-237537 Unit – 3 Near Nageshwar Bagichi Sikar – 332001 (Raj.) # 91 – 1572- 256537 E-mail : email@example.com & asha_k_j@ rediffmail.com ACTIVITY REPORT 2007 JANUARY 2007 New Year dawned with new hopes and resolution to take our cause new heights. Children expressed their feelings on the canvass designing and exchanging greeting cards. Traditional festival depicting transition to higher altitude - Makar Sakranti was observed with children getting kites and sweets. Children participated at Inter State Abylampics – A gala event to showcase their abilities. It was a grand show held at Mumbai with about 200 special children from 6 states competing in 17 skills. One of our child Mo. Shakir made A.K.J proud when he stood second in the event – Greeting card designing on computer. Other girl also gave good performance in mehandi skill. In the great season of cool breeze and nature’s love, Basant, Basant Panchami (Day of Goddess Saraswati) was celebrated by children with colours and small programmes. Children took part in small dramas, dance/music show and did their best efforts. Sweets were distributed at the and of the celebration. A foreign delegation from Ninash Foundation, USA (A voluntary organization dedicated to education and other service objectives) visited us They showed a keen interest in our teaching methodology; interacted with children and educators and overviewed our future plans. Mr. Malhotra, Ms. Linda and others were short of words in their speeches before parents and media while profusely praising A.K.J. They were particularly delighted with the class room management ; in - house developed teachings aids ; daily lesson planning etc. Foundation offered its helping hand in our endeaures and supported the cost of a cow for our community development centre. Another admiration; this time from a section of Mumbai businessmen who on a tourism itinerary happened to visit A.K.J and were spell bound by children. They committed teaching and learning aids worth Rs.75000/-. Republic day was celebrated with fanfare with youngest child unfurling the national tricolor. Social activist Mr. Bhanwar Lal Jangid at Sikar, noted citizen Mr. Shrikant Morarka at Nawalgarh and prominent businessman Mr. Shyam Tibrewal at Jhunjhunu were distinguished guests of honour among cross section of society present to witness colorful cultural programmes by children. FEBRUARY 2007 Our senior special educator attended a one week CRE refresher course held at regional centre, NIMH Delhi jointly organized by National Trust. Delegates delved upon rehabilitation issues concerning early identification, impact, practices involved in management of developmental disabilities, role of family etc. After the training, professionals were better equipped to handle such children. Twenty five trainees of diploma in mental retardation from college of special education, Bhuj (Gujrat) stayed at our three units for fifteen days. It was a two way learning process. While they got a first hand experience of curriculum planning and teaching, we learnt recreational activities and games. Rajasthani and Gujrati culture was mixed effortlessly. Winds of change flowed at Jhunjhunu unit. Ms. Shruti Sinha took over charge of centre coordinator from long service of Mr. G. S. Purohit who expressed his desire to take rest. Ms. Sinha has a long career of ten years with social sector to her credit. Ms. Karin Teflar from USA visited our three units. She is associated with such organizations for last three decades. She spent three days at AKJ overseeing in detail all activities and was simply overwhelmed. She specifically mentioned our quality of services with such minimal resources at remote rural heartland. She vowed to be brand ambassador and promised to do her bit of volunteering for AKJ. Nomination of AKJ manager was sent for children welfare committee, Distt Jhunjhunu under J.J. Act; 2006 (Revised). This is the local body created by Govt. to oversee the welfare of children in need of care and protection. Children performed brilliantly in a number of events held during Shekhawati Festival – Annual feature at Nawalgarh showcasing the rich heritage and traditional folklore. Occasion provided a platform for children to express their talent in front of august gathering of town community. Network meeting on child rights organized by CRY at Prayas, Jaipur was attended to. We deliberated on number of issues concerning their welfare. MARCH 2007 District level Sports meet for children with special needs was organized by SSA at Jhunjhunu. Show was a steal for A.K.J as its children clinched whopping 76 medals in various categories. Fellowship among NGO’s – A principle we preach and follow, our senior special educator was a resource teacher at Prayas, Jaipur for regular teacher foundation course by RCI. It has been years of capacity building with organizations in Rajasthan and elsewhere. Festival of colours – Holi brought lots of fun for Children. Rangoli, gulal, sweets made the atmosphere lively and charged us with energy. Resource persons from Disha – National Trust SNAC centre were at A.K.J for TOPS (Training of professionals and Siblings). Total of 29 teaching staff learnt new skills and clarified their queries. Birthday of Lord Ram – Ram Navmi was observed with stories of character building being recited to children. Rajasthan Foundation Day at Jhunjhunu was a occasion with noted personalities Ms. Santosh Ahlawat and Mr. O.P Abusaria in attendance along with parents, media and community. Children did their best while performing dance, drama, physical drill. Guests lauded the activities and distributed stationery. Electronic media captured this programme as well as later school functioning. At the end of financial year 2006-07, total receipts and expenditures on account of AKJ various activities can be summarized as: TOTAL EXPENSES =Capital ( RS. 85 Lacs) Recurring (RS. 40 Lacs) ~: FINANCIAL STATUS (2006-07) AT A GLANCE :~ 100 Rupees Comes From Donation/Sale of Cards 14% Grant in Aid 4% User Fees 7% Management 75% 100 Rupees Goes to Administrative 19% Project 81% Usually there are no regular sources of funding and organisation has to draw detailed plans to generate income. There is always excess of expenditure over income. In case of Asha Ka Jharna management contribution is very prominent and account for approximately 75% of the total recurring expenditure and 100% capital expenses. In Income & Expenditure a/c approximately 81% of total expenditure is attributed to project related expenses and 19% is attributed towards administrative expenses, which is a good indication. APRIL 2007 Keeping our tradition of observing days of national and social importance, ‘Mahavir Jayanti’ - Day promoting non-violence & world peace and Earth Day for protecting environment were remembered. Children were given sermons on these issues. ETV – ‘Voice of electronic media in Rajasthan’ made a documentary on the functioning of Jhunjhunu School. The programme was broadcasted across the length and breadth of Rajasthan, thus enabling A.K.J reach thousands of households. Government both at national and state level recognizing the profile and services rendered by A.K.J reciprocated by making us NGO member of local level committee, Churu District (A Sta tuatory body headed by Distt collector constituted by National Trust (Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt. of India) to oversee the welfare of persons with developmental disabilities) Similarly Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Flagship programme for universal education by Union and state govts.) extended our mandate to provide resource teachers at Jhunjhunu district for further one year. MAY 2007 We never miss a chance to expand the horizon of staff members by enrolling them into various training programmes / courses / seminars etc. Our senior special educator (mental retardation) was deputed for one month certificate course to NIMH, Secunderabad (Apex body for intellectual handicaps). He learnt various communication aspects for multiple disabled. On returning, he shared new insights gained with other staff. Lions club Jhunjhunu sponsored the visit of A.K.J children to local circus which was thoroughly enjoyed by one and all. After a stringent screening spanning nearly one year, National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) New Delhi (A National Open Board of school Education) granted accreditation to A.K.J for its Open Basic Education (OBE) stream; levels A, B and C. These levels are equivalent to class 3rd, 5th and 8th of any state board. Now we have a choice of flexible curriculum tailor made to needs of special children. They will get certification and be confident. Our manager attended one day workshop on non - farm activities to be taken in collaboration with NABARD (National Bank for Rural Development). Various developmental projects which A.K.J. is pursuing qualify under NABARD ambit. JUNE 2007 To update our database of children with special needs, annual exercise of door to door survey at Jhunjhunu was carried on by our team in which nearly forty new cases not detected earlier were identified. Parents were urged upon to contact the school for a thorough functional assessment and audiology. Our name crossed national boundaries when a volunteer with ASHA (Reputed network of students at various American Universities united for the cause of underprivileged children education) was contacted by us. She asked about our projects in detail and was very much impressed with our vision. She took a fancy of AKJ greeting cards and first lot of cards was dispatched to her for onward sale. This opportunity provided us a source of Fund raising Avenue as well promoting our mission across cross section of intellectual youth at USA. JULY 2007 A prominent business family from Surat got it acquainted with voluntary movement AKJ is spearheading at Nawalgarh, its hometown. Family members of Patodia business house met our children and staff. They praised profusely our activities, distributed sweets, gift hampers to all children and donated one physiotherapy traction machine to cater therapeutic needs. During a function at Jhunjhunu, while distributing hearing aids, Hon. Speaker of Rajasthan legislative assembly and local MLA, Ms. Sumitra Singh appreciated our work in public gathering. She interacted with our hearing impaired children. To expand their outlook in creating the empathy with special children, we regularly invite regular public school children. Students from S.S. Modi Public School at Jhunjhunu mingled with them; various contests were organized among the both groups. While normal children and their teachers got a new insight, our children showcased ‘Can Do’ approach by focusing on their abilities. These interactions serve the dual purpose. Guru Purnima – A day in reverence of one’s teacher was observed across all centres. AUGUST 2007 National Independence Day was celebrated with traditional fanfare. Flag hoisting was followed by a kaleidoscope of cultural programmes by the children which were cheered by one and all present. At Jhunjhunu, we invited children from a fellow NGO ‘Akshay Pratishthan, Chirawa’ to participate in a range of activities including sports. Joint celebration was rounded off with prizes to all children and sweets distribution. Raksha Bandhan – Hindu festival depicting brotherly love was celebrated at AKJ, with girls tying colorful strings on boys’ arms. These rakhis and other decorative pieces were designed/made in house by the children. Class room management plays a vital role in teaching special children. Training and learning material was redistributed and organized in sync with need of the particular section. While utilizing aids procured from market, importance is also given to developing these in school itself from local resources available. Disability and concession certificates got made at a medical camp at Jhunjhunu. This task, once cumber some, is now duly streamlined with the active canvassing of AKJ. Govt. doctors and officials have become proactive in lending their support to needy persons. Yet another endorsement by Govt. administrative official. Ms. Anju Rajpal, R.A.S. as part of her pursuing a course covering community based rehabilitation visited our Sikar and Nawalgarh units. She spent considerable time with children and enquired about their teaching methodology, lesson plans, TLM, demographics and other relevant details. She recorded encouraging comments on our functioning. SEPTEMBER 2007 AKJ technical advisor Ms. Monalisa Mehta visited USA to have a glimpse of working style of similar organizations. She took an exhaustive round of a grand centre at Houston (Texas) where more than 300 persons with intellectual disabilities across all age groups were housed in community setting. Their overall development was exemplary with individual needs according to age of beneficiary being fulfilled. We learnt that rehabilitation practices followed at developed countries are at higher standards. This visit was made possible courtesy our well wisher Ms. Karin Telfer of Houston (USA) who continuously patronize our cause. National football coaching camp jointly organized by Special Olympics and Sports Authority of India at Kolkata for children with mental retardation was attended by ten of our children. Our senior special educator Mr. Bairwa accompanied the team and learnt the nitty-gritty of the competition. He was selected national coach of the games to be held in future. To sensitize the normal population of the issues concerning disability, we keep on sending news articles to various news papers and periodicals. One such article was published on ‘World day for Deaf ‘in which aspects of hearing impairment; its identification, intervention, speech and communication development, interaction of H.I. child with family surroundings etc. were touched upon. During the month, many days of national importance were celebrated / observed. These included Shri Krishan Janamashtami, World Tourism Day, Birthdays of Martyr Bhagat Singh and Lord Ganesha. Children were told about the personalities and their lives from which inspirations could be drawn. One day workshop at Jaipur called by Rajasthan Hon. Cabinet Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment Sh. Madan Dilawar was attended by A.K.J Secretary. Yearly round up of state policies concerning social sector was taken up. Secretary and commissioner presented the snapshot of various undergoing schemes. They also presented a vision for the next year. During the Open House session, we strongly raised the issue of providing income opportunities to persons with special needs. We told the minister that Govt. order making a provision of procuring goods by NGO’s had not been followed. He promised to look into the matter. Two Days Annual General Meeting of National Trust, Apex body to look into welfare of persons with developmental handicaps was attended by A.K.J Secretary. AGM provides a unique platform for NGO’s across the nation to gather and brainstorm on number of issues. During this event, National Trust new website exhaustive enough to provide maximum information was launched. To encourage best practices in rehabilitation sector, annual awards were conferred upon various entities / persons. On the second day, there were very useful presentations on technological, developments that could be used effectively with person with special needs. Members from IBM, NID, Media Lab Asia and IICP presented various tools relating to augmentative & alternative communication, information Kiosk, special software (SLATE), systems like text to speech engine, speech recognizer, screen reader device. In a nutshell, participants of AGM gathered updated knowledge. OCTOBER 2007 Lions club members visited our Sikar unit. They went through all classes, therapy and computer rooms and observed minutely the teaching methodology which was a first hand experience to them. Children performed a brief cultural programme. Club, when told of our requirement of a group hearing aid machine was kind enough to accord their sanction. They committed for the one in near future. During the Durga Puja days , it becomes easier to connect with local community as the whole town remains in festive mood and ventures out for a look at various pandals. A.K.J seized this opportunity by placing two stalls at Sikar Mela Ground and Jhunjhunu Khemi Temple. Products made by children (Candles and Greeting cards) were displayed at these counters which drew huge crowds. In the same league, our children participated in the inter school competition events held at Khemi Shakti where they presented rocking patriotic and spiritual dances. Media coverage of these actions was all over there. Annual exercise of awareness creation by visiting normal schools and colleges was undertaken. Simultaneously achieved was our fund raising drive which saw candles worth Rs.35, 000 /- and cards worth Rs.10.000 /- sold at various places including Jaipur. Notable buyer of A.K.J Greeting cards this season was celebrity Bollywood Star Mr. Salman khan who along with noted movie dialogue writer Mr. Salim Khan through their foundation purchased 500 cards. Salman khan once again displayed his golden heart. He had been our patron before also. Birthdays of Mahatma Gandhi – Father of nation and Lal Bahadur Shashtri who coined the phrase ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kissan’ were celebrated urging children to walk on their footprints. A workshop on legal rights for persons with mental illness was organized at Jhunjhunu where judicial and members from legal fraternity along with citizens & parents of special children delved upon the subject. They vowed to strive for their rights conferred by constitution and law. NOVEMBER 2007 Schools broke for Deepawali holidays but not before hectic fun filled activities. Children and staff cleaned the premises; prepared colorful Rangolis; made designer candles & diyas. On last working day before the break, children along with parents assembled at schools; played with fireworks; lit the place decoratively and relished sweets. Rajasthan State Special Olympics – 2007 was organized at DISHA Jaipur in which 22 of our M.R. children took part. They participated in various athletic events and returned home with a kitty of 19 medals and lots of gifts. Also planned at Jaipur was a function by Lioness club Jaipur Capitol. Club distributed one colour computer printer and uniform fabric to the children courtesy generous donation by its member Ms. Nirmala Agarwal. Ms. Agarwal kept her promise of helping A.K.J done during her earlier visit in July. World day for epileptic was observed by organizing a medical camp at Jhunjhunu sponsored by a pharmaceutical company. Doctors dealing in psychological symptoms discussed and counseled parents and local community about epilepsy related issues. Gura Nanak Jayanti was celebrated with preaching on universal peace and harmony addressed to children. After a long period with repeated correspondence, A.K.J finally got itself registered under Juvenile Justice Act (Revised). Those children who are in need of care and protection can be brought under organization shelter only if they have this registration. As our mission comprises of planning for destitute/ orphan children, it becomes mandatory to cover under this law. Statutory requirements met, now A.K.J can look forward to serve this section of disadvantaged community in future. DECEMBER 2007 World Day for Disabled was observed at all three places with various activities lined up for the day. At Nawalgarh , day long event promoting integration with normal school children was planned. Sixty students from five schools mingled with our children. Various competitions like painting, dance, 50 meter race, musical chair, spoon race were organized in which children enthusiastically show cased their skills. Chief Guest of the occasion SDM, Nawalgarh was full of praise for this show and idea behind it. Prizes were given to all participants courtesy State Bank of India, Nawalgarh Branch. At Jhunjhunu, a rally of differently-able persons went through the town highlighting their presence. It was terminated at Keshav Adarsh School where SDM, Jhunjhunu felicitated the special achievers and professionals serving them. Our senior special educator Mr. Bansi Dhar Verma received the citation. At Sikar, a function was organized by Rajasthan Viklang Seva Sansthan, Sikar chapter. Our children performed the cultural show while coordinator stressed upon their welfare measures. Our training initiative - Package for parents on mental retardation was successfully conducted. During the three months course which was conceived by Rehabilitation Council of India in collaboration with Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi we taught them practical aspects to deal with a special child. Theory inputs were provided by the study material supplied by IGNOU. During a personal contact programme, print media interviewed the learners; all of whom expressed gaining a lot from the training. After evaluating their knowledge skills, we recommended for the certificates which were sent by IGNOU. This certificate holder can pursue higher training in this field to become a professional. Inner Wheel Club (Ladies wing of Rotary International) members at Sikar paid a visit to A.K.J. They oversaw the activities being undertaken there and distributed fruits & sweets to children. They also promised to look into the demand of winter clothing’s by the coordinator. Idul fitar festival was celebrated across all units. Children shared the feeling of brotherhood and learnt about the preaching’s of Paigamber (prophet of Islam). A very generous Id gift of Rs.21.000 /- was received at Sikar unit courtesy Suleman Bhai Mistry. More gifts came our way as Christmas and New Year eve dawned. In keeping its promise, Lions Club, Sikar donated one group hearing aid system for simultaneous learning of twelve hearing impaired children. Now our both classrooms for H.I. section had this system. Lions Club, Jhunjhunu donated one mike set at Jhunjhunu unit to be used for cultural programmes and celebrating national days. Need was felt earlier for the set as we used to hire the same from the market Adarsh Sewa Pratishthan, Chirawa distributed school uniforms to some of poorest children studying at Jhunjhunu school at a public ceremony at Chirawa where the organizers also praised the selfless services by Asha Ka Jharna since 1997.