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Sunbeam - A Ray of Hope
TRANSFORM THE LIVES OF UNDERPRIVILEGED INDIAN CHILDREN GIVING THEM
AN OPPORTUNITY TO REALISE THEIR FULL POTENTIAL.
TO OVERSEE THE HOLISTIC DEVELOPMENT OF UNDERPRIVILEGED CHILDREN
– THEIR PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EDUCATIONAL NEEDS.
AND EMPOWER THE COMMUNITY TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OVERALL DEVELOPMENT
OF THEIR CHILDREN.
MAKE SUNBEAM INTERVENTION A PROGRAMME OF TRANSFORMATION RATHER THAN
SERVICE DELIVERY – WITH CLARITY ON WITHDRAWAL STRATEGY, SO THAT THE
COMMUNITY CAN BECOME INDEPENDENT AND SELF-RELIANT.
UNDERTAKEN (IMPACT OF OUR INTERVENTION)
Formal and Formal)
than just the ability to read and write, education gives them confidence
in themselves. With space
generously donated by contractors at construction sites or by the
Education Officer in BMC schools, we conduct Balwadis for pre-primary
children (age-group 3 to 5) and Non Formal Education (NFE) classes
for newcomers at our existing centres / new initiatives (age-group
6 and above).
a regular basis, we introduce sessions like songs, drama, drawing
and poetry to enliven the atmosphere in the classroom so as to make
studies more interesting. Once
the children have mastered the basics, they are made to join the mainstream,
with the centre giving them the appropriate coaching even after they
have joined formal schools.
courses are conducted for children who are of age-group 5 to 10 but
those who have never had an opportunity to attend formal schools.
Appropriate training is imparted to enable them to join the
mainstream by ensuring direct admissions to classes based on their
age and aptitude.
80% of the children attending Sunbeam study classes are up to the
desired levels in the academics and only 20% still attend bridge courses.
By the beginning of the next academic year i.e. June – 05 we aim to
bring them too up to the desired levels at the formal schools they
HEALTHCARE AND NUTRITION
covers the aspects of nutrition, health awareness, and counseling.
When we started, healthcare was never a priority with the parents.
Now they are empowered enough to take the responsibility of
their children’s healthcare.
These communities avail of the medical facilities available
at the Government clinics / hospitals.
They also provide nutritive meals to their children. Hence, our midday meals programme is limited only to the street
a period of time we have realised that Sunbeam would have achieved
little without the underlying support from the parents.
In order to understand the children, their motivation, and
their behaviour, it is important for us to build a rapport with the
parents. Contrary to
popular belief, they are very concerned about their children’s welfare
and would like to give them the best opportunities.
They want to be a part of this positive change that is taking
place in their children’s lives.
Therefore, we have introduced community meetings once a month
to give them an opportunity to share their thoughts with us.
Here it must also be mentioned that they willingly contribute
part of the expenditure incurred on each child.
There has been a steady decline of dependency levels on Sunbeam.
on in the project we realized the importance of this aspect.
Homework would be completed doubly fast, with the brighter
ones coaching, coaxing and even scolding those who had trouble catching
up. So, we regularly
take the children on excursions to places of interest or parks.
Besides being a channel for entertainment, we believe that
recreation can also be instructive.
So we arrange to take our children on exposure visits. We
have also been fortunate to have the services of NGOs such as Magic
Bus as well as individual donors who have been sponsoring overnight
outstation camps. Thanks
to Magic Bus, sports too has become a weekly activity for our children,
thereby utilizing a child’s potential to its fullest.
Sunbeam is a story written
by many tiny hands - hands of street children, slum children, children
of migrant construction workers. Children who very early on learn
that dreams are not for them.
II TOTAL OUTREACH
– CENTERWISE NUMBER OF CHILDREN – OCT’04
III IMPACT OF OUR INTERVENTION – 685CHILDREN.
YEAR – 04 – 05
Sunbeam started out as an unusual friendship
in 1996. Between six children at a construction site and Khurshid
Dabdi and her colleagues, who worked in the adjacent CRY office. Soon,
a collection bag went around and money was pooled in to start the
‘Neighbourhood Project’. The contributions took care of their immediate
needs - a nutritious meal and colouring books!
The construction ended in two years time,
but not without setting the foundation for something bigger. The Neighbourhood
Project crystallised into Sunbeam and the first centre was set up
at Arthur Road with 18 children. On 10 December 1999, Khurshid Dabdi,
along with two colleagues, and with encouragement from the CRY management,
registered Sunbeam as a charitable trust.
Today, the Sunbeam family includes 650
children in 5 centres, 18 teachers and hundreds of volunteers and
donors. All of who believe that childhood is a time to be happy and
carefree. And that no child should be deprived of this right.
about the impact of our intervention at an organizational level let us take you through a few touching case stories of our children.
What do you do when your parents move to another
construction site and your school report hasn’t reached you? And what
do you do if that means you can’t be admitted to a private school?
If you’re Ganesh, age 11, you don’t complain
that life is unkind. You don’t wait for your teacher to figure out
what to do. You take charge. You march into the nearest post office,
have a word with the postmaster and return to the centre within an
hour - report card in hand.
Proactivity like this is unique. But then,
so is Ganesh. In the 5 years that he’s been with Sunbeam, his parents
have moved sites as many times. But come rain or shine, by bus, train
or on foot, he’s turned up at the nearest Sunbeam centre. And not
just that, he’s ensured that he’s among the top in his class.
Because of his sterling performance, Ganesh
was one of the 25 students who was selected for admission to a private
school. But before Ganesh could step into a private school, there
was one final test. The teachers reported that they couldn’t find
a good private school in the vicinity of Ganesh’s home. Was Ganesh
If you’ve gotten to know Ganesh a bit by now,
you’ll have guessed what he did next.
That’s right! He personally scoured the area
and came up with the names of a few private schools. Today he’s gained
admission in a good private school in Wadala.
Bhurjamma was in the Phoenix Mills centre
for a brief period before her parents moved to a construction site
at Dadar. She was disappointed of course, but that didn’t stop her
from canvassing for Sunbeam among the 40 children and their parents
at Dadar. Next, she confronted the contractor and got 2 tiny rooms
where classes could be conducted. “Now you have to start a centre
at Dadar,” she said with a winning smile.
The centre was started in Jan 2002. Unfortunately
for Bhurjamma, her father passed away and her mother contracted a
bad case of tuberculosis. Bhurjamma went to work to support her family
until her mother recovered. It’s a sad irony that Bhurjamma who helped
set up the centre never got the opportunity to study there herself.
But thanks to her proactivity, 40 children went to school
When we faced a staff crunch at
Kamala Mills, unlikely help came from 9 year old Tara. She took it
upon herself to coach 15 children for 2 hours every morning. And completed
her own studies in the evening. Thanks to her efforts, all 15 children
were promoted to Std. II, while she went to Std. III.
SUNBEAM DOES FOR A CHILD BENEFICIARY
Education and Community Development
history at all of our 5 education centers has been the same. Sunbeam
reaches out to slum children, construction workers children and children
living on the pavements of Mumbai. Ours is a secular organization
where all children are welcome, with no discrimination whatsoever
between children from different religions, castes, etc. Given the
right opportunities and an environment that’s conducive to learning,
our children are capable of achieving good results.
first 3 months are the most challenging. At the time of entry into
Sunbeam, the children are completely illiterate and fall into the
age group between 2 to 12 years [which means that they should be between
pre-primary and std.5 levels]. We not only have to work towards winning
the children and their parents’ trust, but also have to ensure that
activities at Sunbeam are interesting enough to keep steady attendance
levels in the class-rooms. So at least for the first 3 months we have
our Non Formal Education [NFE] classes where studies is mostly through
games, drawing and other related activities.
next 6 to 8 months is the crucial period when our teachers have to
complete 3 to 4 years portion in order to bring these children up
to the required academic levels. [The emphasis is on the Language
and Mathematics.] We
keep 2 teachers for an approximate 50 children, with 5 to 8 children
in mind their age and aptitude, the children are coached to seek admission
into formal schools at the beginning of the following academic year.
For instance, a child who is 8 years old will be coached for direct
admission into std. 4 in the formal school because Sunbeam has managed
to bring him up to the level of the class to which he has to be admitted.
This is known as Bridge Course whereby those children who were totally
ignorant and uneducated have managed to ‘bridge’ the gap between illiteracy
and education and are now on their way to making a career for themselves.
the children begin with formal school [which is either in the morning
or afternoon], they continue to attend Sunbeam for the other half
of the day. It’s a matter of pride for Sunbeam that every child who
gains admission into formal school, does so on merit. This is largely
due to the teachers’ efforts in preparing the children and bringing
them to the desired academic levels.
parents too are made to understand the importance of education in
their children’s lives, notwithstanding the temporary setbacks they
may have to face in the event of their child not being available to
complete the house work, look after the younger siblings, etc.
our best intentions and efforts, we found that our teachers faced
an uphill task. They usually encountered a problem even though there
were only 5-10 children per batch because they had around 4-5 batches
of different classes simultaneously. But naturally, it became difficult
for them to give quality time to each batch of children, a factor
that largely contributed to the progress & results not being up
to the mark.
one learns from experiences and so did Sunbeam. From the unfortunate
occurrences in the 2nd year, we decided to introduce a
change in the system. From the 3rd year onwards, the teachers and
the community workers started convincing the parents to send their
children to a Sunbeam center where the same class [as their child
studied in] was being conducted. This was because there happened to
be the maximum number of children from that class at that particular
center. Most of the parents
were agreeable, even though it involved traveling fairly long distances.
This arrangement benefited the teacher as well as the students and
progress levels started to improve. Quality education truly became
the 4th year onwards, the process was systemized. Every teacher has
20 children on an average with 3 batches a day of different stds.,
and 2 hours committed for every batch, congruent to the subject-wise
syllabus followed in formal schools. Sunbeam thus became a proper
coaching class, with the teachers being able to give undivided attention
and the personal touch.
community is further empowered by active participation in their children’s
welfare. With the exception of the pavement dwellers’ children for
whom Sunbeam provides school items such as uniforms and footwear,
the parents from the construction sites and slums take on the full
responsibility and purchase the material on their own. Moreover, all
the parents make it a point to attend the community meetings that
are held at the respective centers on a quarterly basis. Almost all
of them have given the commitment that their children will continue
with their studies until the 10th std. and 50% of the parents
have expressed their desire to see their children through college
and further studies.
and nutrition no longer remain issues that need to be tackled because
by now the parents are aware of the benefits of sound health that
result from wholesome nourishment [that is also affordable] provided
to their offspring.
labour and child marriage that earlier were issues needing constant
intervention and monitoring on the part of our community workers,
are now matters belonging to the past.
this academic year i.e. 2004-2005, Sunbeam has decided to recruit
English teachers – one for each center. Up until now, we relied mostly
on volunteers to fill the gap since we were unable to attract the
right talent at the pay scales we had to offer. Lack of knowledge
of the English language [being vernacular medium students] could well
prove to be one of the major handicaps our children are likely to
face once they move to S.S.C. and beyond. Volunteers still remain
major partners in our effort to induct English in our curriculum.
Most of them take care of conversational English while the teachers
follow the formal school syllabus.
each center we have 2 to 3 vernacular medium teachers which translates
into 6 to 9 batches of students per center being handled every day.
For all these batches we’ve appointed 1 English teacher, allotting
1 hour to each batch of children. In the formal schools, English starts
from std. 5. The children, though they may have reached the7th
or 8th stds., do
not know the language at all. Hence, our all-out efforts at initiating
English at all our centers on a war footing.
indicator of success is the equal ratio of girls vs. boys in the 8th
and 9th stds.
for those children who have reached the higher secondary section,
we have admitted them into professional coaching classes such as Chate
and Aman Classes. [While Chate classes have offered a 30% discount,
Aman classes have charged only the registration fees, the coaching
being completely free.]
are also planning to have sessions on career counseling and vocational
guidance, which, we believe, will open up a variety of options for
our children to choose from once they complete their 10th std. or
per the Sunbeam event calendar for our 650 + children, we have planned
out different types of trips for the entire year. These include exposure
visits, fun-filled day trips, trekking trips as well as overnight
exposure trips are for std.5 and above. These include visits to the
Parle - G Factory, Nehru Science Center and Planetarium, Worli Dairy,
Bank visits, visits to the Fire Brigade, Post Office and Police station.
the children of std. 2nd to 4th we have had
visits to the zoo & parks.
Sunbeam Annual Day Event
year for the first time in the history of Sunbeam we had our Annual
Day Function on the11th of December at the Sahitya Sangam
Mandir Hall at Charni Road – and it was a grand success.
It provided a novel platform to see the children’s inherent
talents on the stage.
look forward to meeting all of you at our Annual Day function.
year we take our children to the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital for
a fun fair where our children not only enjoy playing different games
but also get a chance to interact with handicapped children. We’re
also planning to celebrate Teachers Day, Children’s Day, Independence
Day and Republic Day.
Bus Events 04-05
Bus covers 250 children under their Mentorship Program. They plan
out their yearly event calendar that includes 5 one-day trips / exposure
visits and a yearly overnight camp per batch of 40 + children [separate
for the older and younger lots of children].
CRY, Xaviers College & IVOL send volunteers who are placed at
our different centers – need based.
of our volunteers not only teach as per organizational requirements,
but also go beyond their role and attend the community meetings. They
take it upon themselves to explain to the parents the importance of
education for their children and why it is necessary for them to study
beyond the 10th std., and with Sunbeam intervention, making
promising careers for themselves.
Education, we believe, is the most valuable legacy we can gift to our children. Our achievements, though modest, indicate the tremendous efforts that have gone into planning and executing the minutest of details that have made Sunbeam an exemplary grass-root level NGO working in the fields of child development and social welfare. We owe our success to the many like-minded individuals who’ve supported us in the past and continue to partner us in this challenging assignment for the betterment in the lives of our child beneficiaries.
Collaboration Possibilities:WORK WITH CORPORATES, SPONSORS, OTHER NGOs, SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, ROTARIES
Corporates, sponsors, Rotaries
· Sunbeam can make presentations to each of the above mentioned entities, providing detailed budgetary information wherever required.
· By helping raise resources – both cash and material donation (especially stationery items, since our key focus area is education).
· Corporates specifically can raise funds through their own employees via the ‘Pay Roll Giving’ scheme.
· Volunteers for English & Computer training for our children and also ones who’d like to join us on our camps / one day excursions / weekly sports would be welcome.
Sunbeam can save precious resources if both private and BMC schools (in the areas where Sunbeam has its study centers) can provide space free of cost / nominal cost to conduct our study classes.
General check-ups for our children are already being conducted free of cost via the BMC schools and private clinics. Hospitals – both private and government - can assist by providing free medical treatment in case of emergencies.
Sunbeam would be interested in interacting with other NGOs who are also working with disadvantaged children and are into formal education, getting to know of their objectives, goals, strategies, implementation of plans, etc.
WE CAN TAKE THEM FOR CENTER VISITS WHERE OUR STUDY CLASSES ARE BEING CONDUCTED. IT WOULD TAKE ABOUT 2 -3 HOURS BETWEEN 9.30 TO 5.30 PM. ANY TIME CONVIENIENT TO THE SUNBEAM WELL–WISHER.
ON SATURDAY MORNINGS (EXCEPT ON 1ST
SATURDAYS WHEN THE CENTERS ARE CLOSED) ANYONE WHO IS INTERESTED MAY
VISIT THE STUDY CLASSES. IN THE AFTERNOONS, THEY MAY FEEL FREE TO
JOIN US IN OUR MONTHLY MEETINGS WITH THE COMMUNITY (i.e. PARENTS /
Yearly budget (in Rs. Lacs) (APPROXIMATELY RS. 32 LAKHS)
ANNUAL FUNDING NEED FOR F.Y.05-06 IS AS MENTIONED ABOVE I.E. (APPROXIMATELY
VOLUNTEERS WHO COULD TEACH COMPUTER SKILLS OR ENGLISH TO OUR CHILDREN AT THE EDUCATION CENTERS MENTIONED ABOVE. ALSO INDIVIDUALS WHO’D LIKE TO BE VOLUNTEERS DURING OUR ONE DAY EXCURSIONS / EXPOSURE TRIPS. BESIDES, SUPPORT IN SPECIALISED SKILLS OF COMMUNICATION, ADMINISTRATION WORK AT THE OFFICE OR DATA ENTRY WOULD ALSO BE WELCOME.
AND TOYS ARE NOT REQUIRED AS OTHER NGOS ARE TAKING CARE OF OUR NEED
FOR THE SAME. RATNA NIDHI & LIFE – RAJKOT, SEND US CLOTHES IN
BULK FOR OUR 650+ CHILDREN ONCE A YEAR.
STEM INDIA HAS ALREADY HELPED US WITH WEB DESIGNING AND OUR WEBSITE SHOULD SOON BE ON.
Organization Contact Details:
309, ZAVERI BUILDING
Name: Ms. Aban Bharucha
phone: 23867796 Best
times to call: 10am to 6pm.
Names of Trustees (with age of the most active one):
Ms. Khurshid Dabdi Age-
I have known Sunbeam since its inception, when a small core group of people from the CRY office decided to do something for the children of construction workers in a nearby building. What started out as a voluntary effort with about 6 children has grown into an amazing organization called Sunbeam transforming the lives of hundreds of children in Mumbai.
What’s been extraordinary about the Sunbeam journey is that it was not started by experts / professionals to address an issue, rather it was started by a few ordinary people with an extraordinary capacity to love and the courage to offer themselves fully to the children they were drawn to work with.
What makes Sunbeam special is the fact that its learning and development has happened with the active participation of their children. At every point the children’s voices have been paramount, often challenging the current wisdom on an issue. I have rarely come across an organization that is truly as child centered as Sunbeam. When we talk of the ‘right to participation’ Sunbeam has made that right one of its core principles.
At the heart of Sunbeam is Khurshid Dabdi - its soul, conscience keeper, energy and founder. Nothing in all her previous years of work as an Executive Secretary and then H.R. Executive at CRY indicated what her real purpose would be in life. And yet when the calling came, she responded with a courage and faith I have rarely seen. And she has nurtured this dream and filled Sunbeam, each volunteer, staff member, well wisher and board member with a new vision for children. A vision that starts by simply respecting each child as a special gift and unique individual, with a voice that not just needs to be heard, but valued and acted upon. To see the children with Khurshid is to understand the essence of Sunbeam.
Recognizing that Sunbeam is a living entity that would need to outlive us all in the service of children, Khurshid is in the process of ensuring this vision is institutionalized as a way of life in Sunbeam.
Most people have been transformed by their involvement with Sunbeam, but the most profound transformation has been brought about in the lives of the hundreds of little children. Every story is another affirmation that no matter what the situation, children will find healing and self confidence and expression, when loved unconditionally and given the opportunity to discover and realize their dreams.
I count my association with Sunbeam as one of the blessings of my life.