Bye Bye 2010


Dear Friends,

The only way we could think of for starting this Email was by “Thanking” you all. So, Thank You to all of you from the bottom of our heart.

It’s only your support that has made Aham Bhumika a success and helped us bring some change to lives of our fellow countrymen in rural India. 

To sum up 2010:
 
This year happened to be the best year for Ahambhunmika since its inception i.e. 2007. There are reasons to say that year 2010 as the best year for the organization. Earlier we used to collect clothes, bicycles, books, stationery, shoes, toys etc. and distribute them to the needy villagers and Anganwadi children. We used to collect these materials on number of occasions even from door-to-door.
 
The idea of Grain School:
During distribution we felt that besides clothes there are people who even won't have handful of grain to eat twice a day and they are illiterate to know anything about the various Government welfare schemes meant for them. We got this idea to collect grain from us the privileged middle class / upper class people and use this to benefit the rural underprivileged by asking them (preferably women) to attend literacy classes lieu of a certain monthly quota of Grain.

Consequently we launched a campaign for the collection of Grain. We approached 10 schools of Bhopal and out of the 10 schools 8 schools joined us happily. These schools supported us in a great way and as a result we were able to collect around 20 quintals of Grain during a period of one month.

Details of Schools from Bhopal who helped us in Grain Collection:
1. Delhi Public School - 4 quintals
2. St. Theresa's Girls School - 4 quintals
3. St. Xavier's School - 1 quintal
4. Billabong High School - 1 quintal
5. St. Paul's School - 4 quintal
6. Bonnie Foi School - 1 quintal
7. St. Thomas School - 1 quintal
8. Queen Mary's School - 4 quintal

Our volunteer Niharika Mishra from Kolkata prepared poster for Grain collection while the logo was designed by Arlne Grace.

Subsequently from 15th of November 2010 we started our Grain School. So from clothes to grain it was tedious journey but we are happy that 20 women of a village Mahabadia, district Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh, India) who work as construction worker on the sites and in the brick kilns now attend basic literary classes regularly. The plan is to first teach these women to read, write and do arithmetic and then continue the school as a study circle where they learn various other skills relevant to improving their livelihoods. We also intend to make them aware of the various welfare schemes government runs for them and the RTI act. The whole idea is to make them self-reliant and aware of their social importance. 

Some Photographs from 2010:


Support:

Use of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter has bought a paradigm change to our support base. People for around the country have helped us and some even visited Aham Bhumika and our Grain School to see and understand what we’re doing.

Ashutosh & Mridula (husband & wife) both IT professionals from New Delhi paid a visit to the tribal village Bodakho and the "Grain School" at Mahabadia. Incidentally the first grain distribution was made in their presence. They brought number of sarees with them from Delhi to Bhopal for the women of Grain School. Earlier we hesitated to ask to people for monetary donations. They suggested that we should goto our support base (i.e. the people of India) and ask them for monetary support even if in small amounts.

Ashutosh now is an active member of our team and helps us with our several campaigns

Just a few days back Grain School had another visitor. Sneha Vashist a student of Journalism from Sophia College, Mumbai paid a visit to Grain School.
 
Pranay Diwan, Ludhiyana, Punjab sent us 20 new cardigans for the women of Grain School.

Sushmita Rao, Mumbai sent us sarees by courier and is know helping us in our online campaigns.

Mrs. Mamata Sing, Qatar sent us stationery material, clothes and 20 new brand sweaters for the tribal children of Bodakho. She has provided us constant moral support and has been our guardian angle.

Sujoy Mukherjee, Vivek Verma, Jignesh Parikh, Prof. Anil Aneja, Akesh Soni made monetary contributions. It was because of them that we didn’t only achieve but exceed our monthly fund collection target of INR 10,000 for the month of December, 2010. 

Anoop Saini, Rahul Gupta, Dhruv Nagapal and Mrs Kaml Goyal sent us a big parcel of clothes. We are obliged to them for their awesome support.

We meet Rahul Nayak who has shouldered the responsibility of organizing a fund raising Photo Exhibition for the Grain School.

Vipin Sharma and his company the IT Genie Group designed our fund raising poster and are now helping us with our website design and hosting.

We also thank you our many other supporters on social media whose support on Twitter which went beyond just 'following us' and liking us on Facebook.

We’re now registered under Section 12 (A) of Income Tax Act and would soon be eligible for 80 (G) tax exemptions.

Plans for 2011:
  • We intend to open few more Grain Schools for the few women and drop out adolescent girls whom we can not accommodate in the current school due constraint of Grain Stock (the 20 quintals of Grain we’ve can only support presently enrolled 20 women for next three months) 
  • We plan to run some health camps in the villages.
  • We’ll continue with out endeavour of supporting rural/ tribal children in Anganwadis.

To achieve all this we need your support. Please continue with your support in whatever way possible.
Even the smallest donation amount matters to us. You may also help us by sending clothes, Grains, donating bicycles, children’s book, stationary.
So, Thank You again. We wish you a rocking 2011.

Regards,
Aham Bhumika Team

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AhamBhumika
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Aham-Bhumika/120275261368589
Blog: http://anganwadikids.blogspot.com

Tulsa Bai, whose hunsband is absconding


This post is all about Tulsa Bai. She is one of the student of Grain School.Aged around 28 - 30 (She does not know her age) lives in a village, Mahabadia and works as a casual labourer in the field or on construction site, wherever she gets work. She was married 10 years back with Shankar.Her husband Shankar had borrowed a sum of Rs.12,000.00 for his marriage and mortgaged himself to a landlord for one year. They had two sons – Prem Singh (8 years) and Chotu (6 years).When Chotu was few months old Shankar suddenly disappeared from the field where he was working. The father of Tulas bai searched every where but Shankar was not traceable. No FIR was lodged as the poor family could not afford to pay bribe for lodging FIR. Shankar husnband of Tulsa bai  is still absconding and both of his sons does not go to school as Tulsa Bai leaves home early in the morning to work for the livelihood of her family. This lady who is strong enough won’t talks much when asked , why she won’t deposit some amount which she earns and try to got her sons enrolled in school. She says’,”itne paise kahan milte hain jo bank main rakhun.Aur bacche,kuch din school gaye the.Par bad main jana chod diya.”





Tulsa bai who goes to work daily early in the morning at 8.00 A.M. returns to her village around 5.30 PM and regularly attends “Grain School” to further support her family as certain qunantity of Grain is provided to the women who regularly attend basic literacy classes by "Ahambhumika". She is learning fast, speaks less and is committed.

Cardigan distribution to Grain School Women









"Grain School women " were distributed 20  new brand cardigans today. These cardigans were gifted by Pranay Diwan from Ludhiyana. He sent these new brand cardigans thorough courier. These cardigans are of immense help for the needy women who won’t have proper woollen clothes to wear during  severe winter. We are thankful to Pranay for his support. Above are few pictures of the women wearing cardigans.You may see how overwhelmed they are with joy   

Why Start a Grain School?


The village of Mahabadia is situated 17 kms from the city of Bhopal on the Kolar Road. It is a village dominated by influential rich landowners who own most of the land. There are mostly Other Backward Class, Dalit and Adivasi people in the village who are landless and have to work on the farms of the influential people for paltry wages. They also do backbreaking labour in stone quarries and brick kilns which makes them ill.
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is supposed to provide each household with 100 days of work annually. However, the reality is that in 2009-10 only three households out of the total of 162 households received a total of 42 days of employment. This works out to 14 days of work for each of the three households. What is even more of a concern is that if the 159 households who did not get work are taken into account then the average work offered per household comes to only 0.25 days. ( Calculated on the basis of data on the MGNREGS website - http://www.nrega.nic.in).
When this is the level of apathy of the government to the plight of the poor then civil society has to step in. That is exactly what Ahambhumika has done by acting as a conduit to link the poor of Mahabadia village to the privileged sections of Bhopal city. It is well known that poor households can overcome their poverty only when the women become educated. The Grain School is aimed at doing just this. The students of the following schools in Bhopal have contributed  20 quintals of grain and pulses to fund this effort -
1. Delhi Public School - 4 quintals
2. St. Theresa's Girls School - 4 quintals
3. St. Xavier's School - 1 quintal
4. Billabong High School - 1 quintal
5. St. Paul's School - 4 quintal
6. Bonnie Foi School - 1 quintal
7. St. Thomas School - 1 quintal
8. Queen Mary's School - 4 quintal
A total of twenty poor women- 14 from the Daroi adivasi community, 1 from the Korku adivasi community, 4 from the Other Backward Class Banjara community and 1 from the Muslim community are studying in this school. Given their need to work during the day and also take care of the domestic responsibilities these women do not have time to study. That is why the Grain School provides them with 20 kgs of wheat, 3 kgs of rice and 1 kg of pulses per month to study. The village ASHA worker is given 50 kgs of wheat, 10 kgs of rice and 2 kgs of pulses to teach these women. The school has commenced from 15th November 2010 and is running well.
The plan is to first teach these women to read, write and do arithmetic and then continue the school as a study circle where they learn various other skills relevant to improving their livelihoods. It has been rightly said that development should mean giving someone a fishing rod and teaching her to fish rather than giving her fish to eat continually. This is precisely what the Grain School is doing by teaching the poor women of Mahabadia the skills that will enable them to put their precarious livelihoods on a sustainable footing.
The great thing about this effort is that it has roped in the children of privileged sections of society to contribute to the development of the under-privileged. Where the government has failed to fulfill its mandate to provide welfare services to the poor civil society has stepped in to fill the gap in a commendable way.
Guest post by Rahul Banerjee

Photo exhibition for raising fund







Photo Exhibition Title

                                                             The photo themes Rural India

Subjects with Rural India in positive light: Examples Child nutrition, women education and empowerment, rural employment, health and sanitation. Food grains, green revolution, culture, festivals and traditions etc.

Dark side of rural India: Examples Malnutrition and Illiteracy, child labor, droughts and floods, lack of infrastructure, child mortality, religious malpractices, discrimination etc


Beauty: Examples Landscapes, farms and rivers. Heritage and monuments, costumes, handicrafts, decoration and celebrations etc.

Information for the photographer
Dimensions
Aspect Ratio = 2:3 (both landscape and portrait style)


Minimum Size = 1800x2700 pixel
How can you contribute?

Mode of submission -- CD (by post) or Jpeg file (maximum 4 MB)


Contact for any query  rahul.nyk@gmail.com
While sending mail please mark the subject "Photo Exhibition" Rahul Nayak whose e-mail is given above is a dedicated volunteer of "Ahambhumika" an avid photographer himself, presently lives in Banaglore. The whole concept of the Photo exhibition has been deisgned by Rahul.we are thankful to Rahul that in spite of his hectic schedule in Bangalore he  has taken up a big  responsisbility.



The Size we will print it on --The photographs will be printed on 12”x18” photoclass paper and elegantly framed for exhibitionontribute?  ubmission --> CD (by post) or Jpeg file (maximum 4 MB)
Please Sign the photograph with your logo/name on it.

Small Semi-transparent AhamBhumika logo will be put on the bottom left of bottom right of the photograph (as per your preference)

maximum 3 copies per photograph will be printed and sold


Maximum 2 entries per artist will be selected


30% of the sales cost (- the printing and framing cost) will be given to you. You may opt to contribute it to our cause at AhamBhumika

Certificate of Participation will be gifted to every participant.


Sample photograph With Artist Logo and AhamBhumika Logo attached with this invitation .
Co                                                           
Selection Procedure

We would like to include each and every Photograph generously Contributed by every artist. However we would like to make sure the quality of our Framed Exhibits. The photographs will be selected based on beauty and Relevance to the theme. You will be notified about the same on or before 31st January 2011

Exhibition Date and Venue

Venue of the Exhibition:


18 to 20th Feberuary 2011,in Bhopal (M.P.)
The venue will be announced shortly.

                                                                     About AhamBhumika

"Ahambhumika" is a Bhopal based NGO.The members of the NGO are from different walks of life and all of them are working to support their family and besides that utilzing quality .time for the social activities.The NGO is registered under Socities Registration Act and also under Section 12 (A) of the Income Tax Act.The NGO collect clothes,toys & books and provide the same to the underpriviledged children,women and widows of rural India . Recently the NGO has formed a "Grain Bank". People are encouraged to donate grain like rice,wheat & pulses for the disadvantaged people of rural India.The grain thus collected will be provided to the needy widows,children living in the villages. Besides that the illiterate women of the villages will be taught basic Hindi reading & writing and as an incentive for attending literacy classes they will be provided grain. The NGO has started one such class in a village namely Mahabadia, distt.Bhopal. Most of the women of these village works as construction labourer and during evening time they attend theliteracy classes. There are many adolescent girls too in this village who have never been to school due to domestic reasons and poverty. They too could be taught basic Hindi reading & writing. But since we won’t have much quantity of grain we are not able to accommodate them.To scale up this work and publicize our effort this exhibition is organized in Bhopal.

The quantity of Grain which we have promised to provide each women attending
classes is as under:

1. Wheat 30 kg per month


2. Rice 05kg per month


3.Pulses 0 2kg per month


4.Teacher


Wheat 50 Kg per month


Rice 10 Kg per month


Pulses 02 Kg per month


                                                       About The City Bhopal


Bhopal, the city of Lakes and the city of Surma Bhopalies, is the Capital of the Tiger State on India, Madhya Pradesh. Owing to its rich and diverse history, Bhopal has its own unique culture and even its own unique lingo called bhopali.


Life in Bhopal revolves around our numerous lakes and hills. We start our day with nice morning breeze flowing from bada talav refreshing the whole city, and we end our day walking through the lake view road with lush green hill on the one side and the lake on the other.The Bhopal is also famous for the hand made “batua” (ladies money purse).Hub of artists and art work namely ”Bharat Bhawan” is located at the heart of the city. Beautiful monument of Shiv temple,Bhojpour is a run of hardly 45 minutes from Bhopal.

Sponsor: We need sponsor to organise the exhibition.Any individual or corporate may sponsor/support.

We are obliged to Rahul Nayak for shouldering the responsiblity of this exhibition by working out every details.   

Fund raising campaign



We need funds.

As you know Aham Bhumika isn’t funded by the government or any corporate, we started it as a people movement and we want it to remain that. So, here we’re asking you again.

It is because of your exemplary support we’ve been able to come this far with our initiatives. We’ve successfully carried out Bicycle donation, we’re helping village schools and we’re running our own Grain school for village women. We’ve been able to do all this because of cloths, grains, books, stationary and bicycles provided by you. We’re planning to scale up our operation, start a few more grain school, and get involved with some more villages. Till now our scope was limited and hence we could manage with donation of items but now as we plan to include some more villages, we would also require funds. We’re sure you all would continue to support us in our fund raising campaign the way you’ve done in the past with other campaigns. 

Grain School is an initiative by Aham Bhumika to make village women self-reliant. The plan is to first teach these women to read, write and do arithmetic and then continue the school as a study circle where they learn various other skills relevant to improving their livelihoods. It has been rightly said that development should mean giving someone a fishing rod and teaching her to fish rather than giving her fish to eat continually. This is precisely what the Grain School is doing by teaching the poor women the skills that will enable them to put their precarious livelihoods on a sustainable footing.

To ensure attendance is regular to the school Aham Bhumika provide women a monthly quota of Grain. As these women work as daily wage labors, grain provided to them eases their burden of earning and hence ensures their better participation in the school.

Till now we’ve collected the grains from various schools of Bhopal. Looking at demand for enrolment in Grain School we urgently need to start another batch ASAP. We need your support to do this. Our expense for running the Grain School is around Rs. 12,000/- per month and we need to operate at least for six months till we can put it on self-sustainable mode. Hence, the total approx. expense would be around 72,000, and as you’re our sponsors here we’re asking you donations.

We’re a people’s initiative and we need your support keep going. Please donate even the smallest amount matters for us, and please spread the word around forward this email to as many people as you can. We don’t promise you Good Luck for forwarding this email but we pledge to make a difference to our country.

You can send us any amount even One Rupee a day which will be Rs. 365/- per year will mean a lot to us. (Can’t we do this much for underprivileged of our country?)

Receipt for every donation will be sent to the concerned donor and their names will be posted on our blog in Our Supporters section.

You can send your donations through Cheques/ DDs in favor of – AHAM BHUMIKA SWAYAM SEVI SANSTHA, Payable at BHOPAL (M.P.)

Online Bank Transfer- you can transfer do account transfer to our account AHAM BHUMIKA, ACCOUNT NO.- 2073101015874, IFSC Code- CNRB0002073, Bank - CANARA BANK, Branch - MAHARANA PRATAP NAGAR, BHOPAL


For any query mail us ahambhumika@gmail.com

You may also call Subrat Goswami, Founder, Ahambhumika on his cell No. 09826472718

Postal address: 458- B Sector, Sarvadharam Colony, Kolar Road,Bhopal -462042 (M.P.)

We want to thank Mr. Vipin Sharma and IT Genie Group for designing the poster of our campaign.


Our trip with Aham Bhumika: a life changing experience for us.


 Our trip with Aham Bhumika: a life changing experience for us
                                                                                        
                                                                            By Ashutosh Baranwal


My incidental tryst with Aham Bhumika happened on twitter. I saw on twitter some requests for donating old/ new sarees, request for supporting a grain program. Out of interest I spoke with them. Few things which I instantly liked about Aham Bhumika were, it is run by people who have full time jobs and this NGO is just their way to give back to the society. They're not funded by the Government or any big organization and it’s purely an effort of some individuals.


Since long, I was looking for an NGO to associate with and Aham Bhumika seemed to me the ideal one, only problem there work area was Bhopal.


Few days later, as I was scouting for a holiday destination, it suddenly appeared to me why not goto Bhopal and meet these amazing people. Wife agreed, so we were all set. At that time, Aham Bhumika needed sarees for donating to Village women of their Grain School, we decided to collect some and take them along.


In the fascinating city of Bhopal, we meet Subrat and Yogesh from Aham Bhumika. I can very well say that they were the two most inspiring people I've ever meet. Running an NGO despite keeping onto their full time jobs is no ordinary feat. They travel to remotest villages on their bikes (these are places where you can't take a four wheeler). Armed with their grit resolution they goto these villages talk to villagers, assess their needs and with their limited means do the best to help.


Aham Bhumika has run and is running some very innovative campaigns. Some of their most interesting campaigns are-


• Providing clothes, sports equipments, story books to children studying in remote villages primary schools.


• A bicycle donation campaign has been successfully run by people of Aham Bhumika.


• The most interesting caimpaigns is of educating village women in Lieu of Grain. Their plan is to provide them some vocational training after completion of basic literacy.


We accompanied Subrat & Yogesh to two of the villages where they're running their programs. Not knowing, it would prove to be a life changing trip for us. We went to a village called Bodakho around 15 K.M. from Bhopal. This village is 4 K.M.s away from any kind of road. Aham Bhumika is working with a school of this village to help improve lives of the village children and villagers. Because of Aham Bhumika efforts this village school got an Aganwadi status from the government. Aganwadi status means now children between 0-5 and pregnant women get some food and nutritious items from the government. So deep rooted is our corruption that even that food is some time stolen and never reaches the Aganwadi.


We meet two amazing teachers at this school who should be called the heroes of India. They work on salay of Rs. 2500 per month and yet have unmatched dedication to their work. They come to the school braving the weather and almost non-existent roads ridding their own bikes spending their own money on Fuel. One thing which Subrat told me is only because of their effort 1 bright student from this village got admission into a Navodya Vidayalya. What Aham Bhumika is trying to do is make this school and other such schools a better experience for these village children. They provide these students with clothes, story books, are planning to design a toilet block so that more girls are encouraged to come to school and are planning to get these some very basic sports equipment. Some story books or some small sports equipment like football, flying disks or skipping ropes could be great value addition to lives of these children. Their whole idea is to motivate children for education.


A little money from us can help boost their campaigns and bring a change to several lives. Think about it a children story book purchased by you in 10-20 bucks might just help and motivate a child to read and study further.


A hundred rupee by you might get them rag carpets on the floor and save them from ice cold floors during chilly winters. Is there a better way to spend your money?


We distributed some biscuits and candies to the school children. Around 300 bucks from us could bring smile on 40 faces. I've never spent my money better.


A random thought appeared to my mind, expenditure on education of a single child studying in one of those posh schools can actually transform lives of around 100 children in such villages.








The next village we went to is called Mahabadiya. Thankfully the village is accessible by road and has electricity too. Most women in this village work as stone crushers. Since no parent is at home children hardly go to school, the elder one's look after the younger children. Aham Bhumika is doing amazing innovative work. They're teaching these women in lieu of grain. Each woman who comes to attend the classes is given 20 Kg of wheat, some rice and pulses each month. It has been just 10 days and all these women can now write their names and Hindi alphabets to some extent. Aham Bhumika has plans to provide them some vocational training and help them earn better in a more human way. A literate mother can definitely give her family a better life. They also have plans to replicate this model in other villages.

The best things about Aham Bhumika were the personal level involvement of its members. They knew all women students of their grain school by name. They almost have a personal bond with these women. Same holds true for the children of Bodakho, they knew all the children by their name and shared a personal bonding with them.


Moreover, I loved the main objective of Aham Bhumika which is to provide basic support to underprivileged and make them self sufficient.


While the rich of our country are shinning there are a huge number of Indians who're not shinning at all and in fact, are moving into worst conditions. Around 70% of our country people still live at an income of less than Rs. 20 per day. I don't know how much we can change but if we all can lend our little support to Mr. Subrat and Aham Bhumika, I'm sure we'll make it successful movement and transform some of these lives.


Let’s pledge our support to them.


P.S. It’s been a week since we got back to Delhi but we can’t get over our visits to Bodakho and Mahabadiya. The best thing about these places was I didn’t find people cribbing. They were doing toughest possible jobs and earning so less still were content. It was a remarkable change for us from ever cribbing middle class to meet these people. We’ve decided to visit these places at least 3-4 times a year.





The writer of the above guest post is  Ashutosh Baranwal.He alongwith his wife Mridula  paid a visit to village Bodakho & Mahabadia. Both husband & wife are IT Professional based in New Delhi.They had also bought  with them many sarees and salwar suits from Delhi to Bhopal for the women of "Grain School". We are obliged to both of them for the support. Ashutosh can be contacted via e mail.His e-mail id is -  maverick.mm@gmail.com and on Twitter @MainKhuda