Splash is a sit-and-draw competition for specially-abled children that Concern India Foundation conducts across all our branches to encourage the artistic ability of special needs children. This allows creative freedom among children who do not have too many opportunities of this kind. But most importantly, this initiative gives a small number of underprivileged, differently-abled children a day to enjoy themselves and feel special.
We held Splash at our Pune branch recently where around 100 children participated. Their bright expressions as they arrived spoke volumes about their expectation and excitement. We had volunteers from a partnering corporate who enthusiastically teamed with these children to guide them through the event.
Once the drawing competition was over, the corporate volunteers helped the children with their food followed by entertainment in the form of a puppet show, a magic show, tattoo art show, balloon shooting, singing and dancing. The beaming smiles and loud chuckles of laughter heard from the children was our reward.
On our way out, we bid adieu to these children with a rose – a gesture that touched the hearts of the young participants. For all of us at Concern India Foundation, there was a lingering feeling of contentment seeing the happy faces of these children.
– Paroma Mukherjee, Branch Manager, Concern India Foundation (Pune)
During the monsoons of 2007, I searched the web for job opportunities in the NGO sector. I came across Concern’s website and looked up for a profile which suited my educational background. The thought of joining the team as a fundraiser was a little overwhelming, as I didn’t have much experience in the field. But I took it up as a challenge.
As I got involved in the day-to-day activities of the organisation, I saw the value Concern India Foundation added to the community. The thought forced me to retrospect on the priorities of my life, making me want to work in the development sector. Working for Concern India Foundation has not only changed my outlook towards life but also polished some of the skills that I thought I never had.
Initially I was struggling with my pitches. But my perseverance finally paid off after six months of my joining as I finally got my first breakthrough when a Corporate agreed to participate with us in a Management Training workshop.
Soon I moved to the programmes team as a programmes coordinator, and found my job very rewarding. To be a part of an organisation that works to uplift the society has been my biggest reward. It has over the years allowed me to don different lenses that help me view the people and the community in a diverse light.
My education gave me the knowledge, tools, experience, credentials and resources that have got me where I am today. At the end of each day, my job at Concern gives me an identity and empowers me.
I am humbled and ever grateful to my role and association with Concern India Foundation.
– Archana Nune, Programmes Coordinator, Concern India Foundation (Hyderabad)
When I was younger, I believed that life was give and take. Now, I feel life is more about giving than maintaining a fixed balance sheet of your credits and debits. The more you give, the more happy and satisfied you will feel.
Having worked in the corporate sector for 16 years and having made lots of money, I felt I had peaked my motivation for monetary gains. The opportunity at Concern India Foundation came at a time when I was looking to create value for those people who needed it the most. Over the years, my definition of charity has undergone its own changes.
Today Concern is what comes very close to my heart and my way of doing charity. Every time I look at the roads from the comfort of my AC car and home, I wonder if life is all fair and how I can make a difference in the lives of those who do not have even the basic necessities for survival.
When I came to work with Concern, I realised that it ensured that the money we get is actually used by the people who need it. I may feel for a cause but money is what is required to provide for the basic needs of the people. Joining hands with Concern means we take action, we work towards a goal, and we achieve it and then work towards newer goals.
It becomes very meaningful for me when someone gives a nod for a General Donation or a Sponsorship. I use Marketing tactics to raise the funds but my soul is rested within to see the money come in and then to know that we can add to the growth of my country by that amount. Children and older people get food, shelter, and clothing from the money we raise.
These are the basic needs of any living being. I am happy that I can in my own little position, make that difference. While there is this very emotional side to my work, there is also this feeling of knowing that we also do exciting work. The art world, which was very new to me was extremely interesting, and what a way it is to raise funds!
We, at Concern India Foundation, have a very happy way to make money and that to me is very exciting. All this makes it enjoyable to work here. Last but not the least, it is the people – so like-minded in their thinking, making it easier to connect with one and all.
– Pooja Bhasin, Senior Manager-Resource Mobilisation, Concern India Foundation (Delhi)
" At these schools, the children pick essential skills required for admission into a mainstream school. It also equips them with knowledge and the ability to support their families."
“If the mind is intensely eager, everything can be accomplished – mountains can be crumbled into atoms.” – Swami Vivekananda.
Nayeem, the son of a construction worker from Bihar, is a sharp 9-year-old boy who is the first person from his family to get a formal education. In an effort to help and support her family, Nayeem’s mother wanted to enroll him in to a bridge school by paying a nominal fee. We met him at one of these schools that aim to bridge the gap between special and mainstream education for these children. Funded by Concern India Foundation, the main objective of the school is to equip the students with knowledge and the ability to support their families.
“Being in a different socio-economic environment, they face a lot of hurdles and negative influences which could destroy their confidence, but through our endeavours we try to help them overcome such problems,” says Sowmya, a college student who teaches at one of these schools. During the time of our visit, we found that all the teachers were quite focussed and their dedication to the cause was commendable. Despite the ample amount of work at their workplace or college, they managed to attend the school every day with the same commitment.
In these schools, the students learn mathematics, hindi and english. “They pick essential skills required for admission into a mainstream school,” informs Reshma, another teacher from the school. “We also teach them life skills by helping them with some savings, so that they can understand the value of money” she added.
Since these children are slum dwellers, they are vulnerable to diseases and infections. Therefore, health camps are organised to teach them and their parents the importance of health and hygiene. Regular health check-ups are also done for them.
All these efforts have made these students realise the importance of education for a bright future. At the end of this empowering field visit, we could feel that their little world was indeed changing with their newfound confidence.
– Sahelee Pal Barua, Resource Mobiliser, Concern India Foundation (Bengaluru)
An organisation that provides supplementary education to underprivileged students, this programme caters to poor and needy children in the age group of 5-14 years, whose financial constraints prevent them from going in for paid private tuitions.
Identified in the rural background of Tamil Nadu, the project reaches out to eight remote and backward villages in Suviseshapuram and Tirunelveli. Currently, 512 children in 12 study centres are benefitting from this successful programme.
Apart from providing after-school assistance in education, the children are given inputs for overall development such as life coping skills, conflict management, stress management, self-acceptance, self-esteem and personality development.
As part of a holistic approach towards child empowerment, training is also given to teachers and parents on positive parenting, health and hygiene. Furthermore, training programmes have been initiated to motivate the children on environmental sanitation, global warming, personal hygiene and commonly prevalent diseases, their causes, prevention and cure.
Children also participate in cultural programmes, oratorical, essay writing and drawing competitions, cooking, cycling, swimming and drawing practice are also conducted in the study centre.
The children are also active within the community and have conducted 144 rallies using placards, processions and slogans about issues such as global warming, environment, sanitation and avoidance of plastic around the villages. Periodic cleaning of villages by these children is also undertaken and plastic bags strewn about in the streets are removed and bushes on road sides cleaned.
Independence Day, Republic Day and Teacher’s Day are celebrated by the children in all the study centres, and cultural programmes are regularly initiated to celebrate the same.
A successful off-shoot of the project has been the introduction of special coaching classes for selected children in the 8th standard and above to help them appear for the Talent Search Test conducted by the Tamil Nadu Government.
Nearly 17 children from three centres appeared for this test and with the support of this project, nine children succeeded in getting merit scholarship of Rs.500 every month till they complete the 12th standard.
– Rathna, Programmes Coordinator, Concern India Foundation (Chennai)
" Roshni provides a platform to these underprivileged children helping them bring out the hidden light of their talents and hence the name."
Roshni – a talent contest organised for the visually challenged children in Hyderabad has been an event that has touched me the most in recent times.
From the time they entered the auditorium you could see how special these children were. It was a wonderful experience to see such talented kids perform with so much enthusiasm.
It gave us a small insight in to their lives as to how courageously they face the world together, helping one another along the way. Their energy was infectious and the joy with which they performed and cheered the other participants was inspiring.
Roshni provides a platform to these underprivileged children helping them bring out the hidden light of their talents and hence the name ‘Roshni’. Many expressed how special they felt when they were given a chance to get onto the stage.
The best part was that every child whether a participant or someone who came as part of the audience received gifts to take back home. The programme was filled with fun activities like singing, mimicry and music. The children also munched on snacks in between.
At the end of the day the Concern India Foundation team was duly rewarded for their efforts in making this memorable event a success by the carefree smiles on the faces of these children.
– Sharon Lillian, Resource Mobiliser, Concern India Foundation (Hyderabad)