Saturday, January 2, 2016

Reflections on a Year Gone Past -- Udayan Care’s Year in Review 2015



"When I woke up today in the morning, I started replacing old calendars on the walls and my desk. I noticed that the calendar in my mobile had also changed. Standing at this milestone in time, I think it is time to recall our past and our thoughts, words, and deeds, and see where we stand. Let's scan our fears, dreams, doubts, achievements, experiences, activities, behaviour, trials which left an impact, may be bigger or smaller, on our lives. Leave behind the demons of the past and look forward to a brand new start in 2016. The New Year can mean a fresh start, some much needed change, or a continuation of success and happiness. 
New Year is not about changing the dates but direction; it’s not about changing the calendar but commitment; it’s not about changing the actions but attitude. May each and every day of yours be renewed with lots of happiness and love. Let us also light a few candles at the altar of suffering humanity. Let each one do his or her very best for a noble cause filled with love that flows freely, uncontaminated by petty considerations of the ego." 
--Arun Talwar, Udayan Care COO 
~~~ 
This year has been a beautiful year, full of smiles and joy and hope.

This year has been a year of new beginnings, with the start of a new Udayan Shalini Fellowship chapter in Hyderabad (the first batch funded by Genpact and Microsoft),  the grand opening of a new IT training center in Sahibibad (sponsored by United Decoratives Private Limited), the creation of a new Paper Craft Studio and Enamel Painting workroom in our Greater Noida Skill Development Center, and, through the generosity of the ASOS Foundation, the construction of a Girls' home in Noida and a commitment for a home in Kurukshetra.  Also, finally emerging from the stone age, our website now supports online donations!

This year has been a year for change as we left behind our cherished logo of 21 years, designed by volunteer artist Ajay Zharotia, to embrace a new logo brimming with the diverse colors of life and life’s endless experiences, the colors of hope and opportunity.

This year has been a year of academic achievement as an astounding 99% of our Ghar children, many who came to us nearly illiterate, passed their board exams (with over 30% of the children scoring above 70%), and 100% of our Shalinis cleared their 12th board exams (with nearly 60% of the Shalinis scoring above 70%).

This year has been a year of activism and social responsibility, as our Shalinis participated in campaigns on topics ranging from child trafficking to environmentalism; our Ghar children collected and gave away their favorite things to other, more needy, children; our IT Centre students became agents of societal change through the American India Foundation - Adobe Youth Voices programme, and our Big Friends and Little Friends partnered up to protest against using crackers during Diwali.

This has been a year for the celebration of talent, as our Ghar children garnered numerous accolades in various areas (even winning medals at the Special Olympics in USA!), were invited to speak and perform at events in USA and Indonesia, and started their own e-newsletter, The Udayans, written by the children themselves.

This year has been a year in which we ran for education, in which Udayan Care staff, volunteers, and Shalinis ran in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon alongside partners Make My Trip, Vatika, Arrows Group and ICG Medical, raising over 30 lakh for India’s future.

This year has been a year for fun and learning too, with workshops and summer camps and sports meets and holiday cheer all around, thanks to the support of partners such as Adidas, CPM India, Genpact, and Microsoft and the help of countless volunteers.  We have even taken our learnings to others, organizing a day of discussions and training workshops under the topic “To Deliver Better Outcomes For Institutions:  Towards A Socially Adjusted Young Person”.  Additionally our staff members Mr. Rahul Raja Sharma and Mr. Anirudh Raghuvanshi partnered with Save the Children to instruct Punjab’s Child Protection Officers on the new foster care guidelines, and our Managing Trustee, Dr. Kiran Modi, delivered a paper on “Addressing Challenges of Transition from Children’s Home to Independence” at the 10th ISPCAN conference in Malaysia.

This has been the year Udayan Care’s 21 years of commitment to the wellbeing of children and youth has been recognized by the Government of India with the awarding of the National Award for Child Welfare 2014 – India’s highest award for a non-profit.

This year has been a year full of too many things to list – however, most importantly, this has been another year in which we have been blessed to see a smile light up a child’s face when he achieves what he never thought was possible; in which we have been inspired by the tenacity of a girl who grasps the chance at education with all her might, knowing its value in the face of deprivation; and have been graced with the glimpse of the glimmer of hope and eagerness in the eyes of youth imagining brighter futures with new skills.

This year has been a beautiful year, full of smiles and joy and hope.

To see more of what Udayan Care has done this year, you can read our new Annual Report 2014-15 here.