Greetings from Mitr – A Friend Indeed!
At the outset, we would like to wish each of you a ‘Happy New Year’ and hope that 2015 brings you happiness, good health, peace and prosperity.
September to December 2014 has been a truly wonderful phase for Mitr. We would like to extend our gratitude to each and every one who has chosen to support Mitr and its initiatives for the underprivileged. Your belief has enabled us reach out to over 600 children and 250 families over this period. Thank you for being the reason for smiles on so many faces. We do hope that you will continue to be a part of the Mitr family.
A glimpse of the activities conducted during the period September to December 2014:
1. Drawing Competition to mark World Literacy Day and Teacher’s Day
On the 6th of September 2014, to mark the occasion of World Literacy Day and Teacher’s Day, Mitr – A Friend Indeed organised a drawing competition for the children of migrant workers. The competition, which had 80 participants, was held at three centres of Tara Mobile Creches Pune, at the labour camps at Magarpatta, Kondhwa and Kharadi.
2. Mitr’s First Training and Orientation Session for Volunteers
The first training and orientation session for Mitr “Agents of Change” (AOC) was held at the Mitr office on 7th of September, 2014. Techniques and methods to help optimize our path to our goal and vision were discussed. An open discussion moderated by Mitr’s in-house psychologist, was well appreciated.
3. Embroidery class under Mitr’s “Spark the Interest” initiative
On the 30th of September 2014, the children at the Kondhwa centre of Tara Mobile Creches were introduced to the art of embroidery, under the guidance of Mrs Avantika Rayneau. Through the “Spark the Interest” initiative, Mitr provides vocational training to children in skills that they can later use to earn an income.
4. The “Gift a Smile” Initiative
The ‘Gift a Smile’ initiative was introduced to spread the festive spirit among families who are rarely able to celebrate with special foods due to costly medical treatment and poor financial condition. Under this initiative, hampers containing a kilo each of sugar, maida and rava & half a kilo of ghee were distributed in October. Owing to this, 100 underprivileged families, affected by serious, incurable conditions were able celebrate Eid and Diwali in their homes. The Eid hampers also had a packet of sheer khurma mix while the Diwali hampers included a kilo of besan.
5. Cleanliness Drive
Responding to Prime Minister ‘Narendra Modi’s’ clarion call for “Swacch Bharat”, Mitr conducted its first cleanliness drive, in collaboration with EcoFriends, on Sunday, the 9th of November, 2014, under the leadership of AOC Hussain Harianawala. Over 60 volunteers, mainly college students, signed up for the drive. We covered the stretch between Gera Junction and Fakhri Hills in Kondhwa. The biggest challenge was the area around the PMC garbage bin just outside Kubera Park.
6. Children’s Day Celebrations
To celebrate Children’s Day, on the 15th of November 2014, Mitr organised a mini fete for 180 children of migrant workers at the Kondhwa and Magarpatta centres of Tara Mobile Creches. The volunteers, which included Mitr Little Helpers, took great pains to set up games, and children participated wholeheartedly in the event. They enjoyed the snack that followed the games. Each child also got a gift at the end of the session. It was an exhausting, but memorable day for the volunteers and children alike.
7. Funfair at Gandhi Bhavan
On the 16th of November 2014, Mitr participated in a funfair organised by ARC (Action for the Rights of the Child) at Gandhi Bhavan, as part of the celebrations for Child Rights Week. Interactive workshops, being Mitr – A Friend Indeed’s forte, we chose craft as the activity at our stall. We taught over 300 children, from various centres in Pune, to make paper bags using coloured paper in a span of three hours.
8. Dance Competition for the children of migrant workers (under the “Development through Participation” initiative)
Mitr’s dance competition for the children of migrant workers on the 23rd of November 2014 commemorated Child Rights Week. The competition, held at the Kondhwa centre of Tara Mobile Creches Pune, had 68 participants from 7 labour camps across Pune. The excellent performances showed the efforts of the very talented children. A special thanks to Justine Bhat of Justine’s Dance Academy and Pradeep Pawar of Dance Addicts who not only judged the event but also shook a leg with the children at the centre.
9. Spreading the joy of the Season at ISC Yerwada
Mitr set the spirit of Christmas rolling with a celebration for 67 slum children at ISC Yerwada on the 13th of December 2014. Mitr Little Helpers helped in the setting up of this event with a Christmas craft session, games and snacks. The highlight was Santa’s gift distribution at the end. The joy on the faces of the children definitely made each of us realize that there is no better way to prepare for Christmas than by spreading the joy of the season to others, especially to little children.
10. Mitr – D. Y. Patil Collaboration
On the 15th of December 2014, the students of grades 11 and 12 of D. Y. Patil International School organised a morning of fun for 61 children of migrant workers, as part of their CAS activities. Mitr is grateful to the management and teachers and to the students who were involved in making sure that the event was perfectly organised.
11. Spreading Christmas Cheer at the Residential School for the Deaf
On the 20th of December 2014, Mitr enjoyed a fun-filled morning at the Residential School for the Deaf at Wanawadi, Pune. It was Mitr’s most challenging project so far and it was so different to see our otherwise confident and well-spoken volunteers struggling with instructions which they eventually managed to communicate very effectively. A pat on the back to all our volunteers for stepping out of their comfort zones and making this day a memorable one!
12. The Spirit of Christmas
Mitr extended the ‘Gift a Smile’ initiative to spread the spirit of Christmas as well. Hampers were distributed to 140 underprivileged families from seven parishes across Pune between 14th and 22nd of December 2014. These hampers included a kilo each of Basmati rice, maida, rava and sugar and half a kilo of ghee. With contributions received for this cause, we were also able to clear pending fees for 10 children studying at St. John’s School for the academic year 2014-2015.
13. Spoken English and Life Skills Classes
Mitr’s Spoken English and Life Skills Classes aim at developing confidence as well as communication skills and encouraging talent among underprivileged children continues at three centres of Tara Mobile Creches Pune, at Magarpatta, Kondhwa and Kharadi. Weekly classes are also being conducted for the students at St. John’s School, Camp for the students of classes 6 and 7.
We are able to successfully carry out these activities owing primarily to the dedication of school and college going volunteers from esteemed institutions such as The Bishop’s Schools, St. Mary’s School, Delhi Public School, Symbiosis College of Management Studies, Symbiosis College of Commerce and Arts, Cummins College of Engineering, Ness Wadia College of Commerce, Nowrosjee Wadia College, St. Mira’s College for Girls, Vishwakarma Institute of Technology and the like. Our volunteer body also includes a few working individuals and housewives. We are grateful to these youngsters who chose to spend some of their time helping out their less fortunate peers.
We would like to extend our gratitude to the management, staff and the students & parents of VIBGYOR High (Magarpatta), St. Marys’ Church Nursery School, Littlesparks Montessori and D. Y. Patil International School for joining hands with Mitr – A Friend Indeed for social outreach projects. Thanks to their contribution, we were able to distribute brand new and sparingly used clothes, toys, stationery and books to the children at St. John’s School, Mamta Foundation, Tara Mobile Creches Pune and St. Crispin’s Home during the Christmas week.
A special thanks to Forennte Patisserie for providing delicious cupcakes at the Children’s Day and Christmas celebrations at TMCP and ISC and Foodsmiths for the sumptuous meal provided at the Residential School for the Deaf.
Our newsletter offers but a glimpse of all that we do. For detailed reports on each of our activities, do read the complete article under ‘activities’ and like us on Facebook to get regular updates.
As always, your valuable feedback and suggestions are welcome!