Working toward providing greater opportunities and a chance of a better life for the disadvantaged citizens of our nation, we at Concern India Foundation support programmes in the areas of health, education and community development through both financial and non-financial assistance.
Through our blog, we hope to give you an insight into the way we work, our initiatives for the development of our partner organisations, and the effort we put into making both our programmes and its beneficiaries independent and self-reliant. We invite you to engage with us by sharing your views, thoughts and suggestions about our work and how together, we can work towards a better tomorrow.
We recently got some employees from a corporate to join us on a Nature Walk at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali. These didis & bhaiyas (employee volunteers) who volunteered were more than excited to spend a day walking through the woods with some of the young minds from one of our programmes. We began with a little briefing and serving of breakfast to the children by the volunteers. As everyone walked through the early morning cold breeze, they could hear the birds singing and feel the dews dropping from the trees.
We took the Shilonda trail which was lined with bamboo groves, scrubs, tall forests, termite mounds, Pongam oil tree, and also has a small forest river cutting across it. There were two nature guides who accompanied the group & shared intriguing facts about nature with the kids & the employees. Every child was paired with an employee and they kept posing for the camera throughout the way. The best part about the trail was watching the kids enjoy themselves at the stream. On their way back, the kids collected leaves, ferns & stones as souvenirs from the walk.
Well, this was not it! Yes, to enhance the impact of this educational experience, we had arranged another activity for these kids. Post the nature walk, we took everyone to the auditorium at NIC where they made paper bags & painted diyas. Not only this, we organized two caricature artists to come and make sketches of the children which were then gifted to them. The children showed innocence and simplicity as they were delighted to witness the cartoon versions of their own self. Just as we neared the end, the volunteers served lunch to everyone. The employees realized that this little engagement with the kids gave them so much happiness.
This bond between the disadvantaged and the volunteers is a start to all the change we wish to see in our community.
Sports Day for the Differently Abled, an annual initiative of Concern India Foundation was presented by Inner Wheel Club Nigdi Pride on Friday, September 2nd, 2016 at Sanas Ground, near Saras Baug, Pune. It was also supported by Credit Suisse, AshtaVinayak Developers Govardhan, Dilasa Kendra, Club Delhi and Hyatt, Hinjewadi. Ms. Charu Chinchankar lighted the torch and flagged off the event. Inner Wheel District Chairman, Ms. Dinaz Tarapore along with other IWC members were present throughout the day, encouraging and motivating the kids. Special Child Artiste, Gauri Gadgil from the movie ‘Yellow’ was present for the Prize Distribution. She was felicitated by the IWC for her outstanding achievements. She also spoke kind words of encouragement to the kids present.
This edition of the sports day saw a convergence of 200 special children from different NGOs across Pune between the age group of 8 – 18 years. Sports officials from Special Olympics Bharat conducted the athletic events specially designed for these individuals, such as wheel chair races, relay and soft ball throw etc.
“If you really want to receive joy and happiness, then serve others with all your heart. Lift their burden, and your own burden will be lighter.” – Ezra Taft Benson
On a rainy morning in Mumbai, volunteers from an organization providing financial services gathered to ensure a bunch of kids from 2 special schools had the time of their lives in a fun filled event organised by Concern India Foundation as an employee engagement activity for the organization.
Myriad activities were put in place for the children to take part in and enjoy. The company volunteers took charge of the counters and started conducting the activities.
The activities including Blowing out candles, drawing and colouring counter, fish in the pond, blowing balloons, bowling, throwing the ring, mehendi, tattoo, hair braiding, nail polish and make up and a photo booth with props.
Since a lot of these activities required the sense of sight, we were initially quite apprehensive about whether the children would be able to take part in the activities. We were all proven WRONG!
The children and their teachers enjoyed themselves to the fullest and wholeheartedly participated in all the activities. Their enthusiasm rubbed off on the volunteers as well who pushed themselves harder to make this a memorable event for the kids and for themselves.
The girls were thrilled to bits with all the pampering and make up sessions. I was really moved when a visually impaired girl said she wanted to apply pink nail paint. I am not sure how they decipher colour but nevertheless the fact that all girls love pink has been proved J
After being treated to a sumptuous lunch, well co-ordinated by the volunteers, it was time for some music and dance.
The kids got together for a round of Antakshari and then showed off some mean moves on the dance floor. I was struck by their sense of rhythm and their joy at being able to dance with their new found friends. Some of the volunteers taught the kids a few steps of salsa and jive which was immediately replicated on the floor.
This was indeed Employee Volunteering with a Heart. It was a touching sight to witness how selflessly the volunteers took part in the event. Right from guiding the children to the room from their buses to taking them to the washroom or serving them food, the volunteers left no stone unturned in making this a day to remember.
Every child who attended that event went back home happy and content and every volunteer at the end of the event went back satisfied knowing they have managed to bring some sunshine in the lives of these children on that rainy day.
Last week, Concern India Foundation organized an interaction between the volunteers of Google as a part of their Google Serve initiative and the students at the Joining Hands Vocational Training Center located in Badarpur, Delhi. The 16 volunteers were shown the center and introduced to the students who were already in the class by the Concern team and Ms. Aparna Singh, Head of Programmes.
The vocational training center has been operational since January 2015 and it aims to improve the confidence and communication skills of youth in order to ease their entry into the workforce, feel more comfortable in a work environment, and put them on a level playing field with other prospective candidates. The students are enrolled in a comprehensive three month course which comprises of IT, English and soft skills training.
The volunteers were divided in three groups as per the scheduled activities (Computer Training, Personality Development and Painting/Graffiti). The volunteers conducted a basic computer training session and taught them about systems like Google Maps and Google Search. In the personality development class the volunteers conducted a workshop on the importance of soft skills such as appropriate body language (especially in reference to a job setting).
The day ended with some team-building exercises and the gifting of goodies from the volunteers. Interactions like these are especially valuable to the students, who are on the precipice of entering the workforce and can gain insight from employees of some of the world’s largest companies.
– Gunjan Lal, Resource Mobilisation (Delhi), Concern India Foundation
The last weekend of February had the Pune office team up with volunteers from Credit Suisse for a visit to the Katraj Zoo with the children from Cochlea, an NGO working with the hearing impaired.
The activity started as planned around 9:45am. Credit Suisse volunteers helped with the purchase of the tickets and leading the kids inside the zoo. The activity started with distribution of snacks and a brief introduction to Concern India Foundation and Cochlea. The Principal of the preschool sensitized the volunteers about the children and ways to interact with the children. Stress was laid on using language and gestures rather than sign language for communication. The children were paired up with volunteers for the day. They first went on a tram ride around the park followed by a walk around the snake park. The volunteers and the children alike had fun trying to keep pace with each other in the zoo, looking at the animals, trying to communicate with each other explaining what they were seeing. There was a quick round of Charades where the volunteers imitated some of the animals and had the children identify them. The day ended with lunch and distribution of return gifts. The volunteers were very proactive in clearing the place and separating the plastic, which was taken for recycling.
Interactions like this not only give the children a sense of normalcy but also help develop their vocabulary. It enhances their language and speech capabilities, thereby accelerating their integration into the normal schools. This is exactly in alignment with Cochlea’s vision.
In honour of Women’s Day on March 8th 2016, we participated in a number of campaigns across the country.
In Delhi, we joined hands with Cadence at their office for a fundraising drive to salute and celebrate womanhood, and support the education of the girl child.
It was essentially a pledge-raising activity in order to sensitize people to the importance of education and empowerment for a girl child. It was also an effort to disseminate to everyone present that women’s rights are human rights, something that should be respected regardless of gender, age, race or religion.
The I-pledgers that contributed towards the cause were asked to leave a message on the Wish Tree.
In Mumbai, we partnered with The Table whereby all proceeds from a select few tables were donated to Concern India Foundation in support of women’s empowerment programmes. A similar campaign is being run at Jean-Claude Biguine Salon & Spas across the city, where customers are given the chance to donate at the spa itself in support of these programmes.
For far too long, women have been treated as second-class citizens. There is simply no justification for this, and it is time to break down the barriers standing in our way.
It is no easy feat, but so long as we all do our part, change is inevitable.