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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.
TO MOTIVATE 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 study in.
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
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
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
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
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.
learn about the impact of our intervention at an
organizational level let us take you through a few touching case stories of our
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
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 disappointed?
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
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 a reality.
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
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 graduation.
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 camps.
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 / TEACHERS MEETINGS.)
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.
CLOTHES 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
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.