Monday, February 2, 2009

Trip to Ananya.

On Saturday, January 31, folks from Team Asha in Bangalore had a run with the Ananya kids. Here are the folks from Team Asha who were there: Noel, Kanishka, Pramod, Sriram, Vibha, Alok, Vinodh, Thushar, Balu, Manjula and Santhosh.

Ananya is a learning center in Bellandur that works with children who have dropped out of mainstream schooling (primarily due to learning disabilities or behavioral disabilities). It was started in March 1998, by a group of individuals concerned about the dearth of schools that provide relevant and meaningful education for the underprivileged children in and around Bangalore city. Even though the Indian constitution guarantees free and compulsory education to all children up to the age of 14, there are no schools that the poor can choose from. Either the schools are very good, but expensive and therefore beyond the reach of the underprivileged, or they are free but have poor physical facilities and offer a standard curriculum which is dull and boring. Most children, who drop out of school, do so because the schools do not cater to their special needs. Education in such critical context has no meaning or relevance to these children. It does not provide them with the required skills to overcome the social traumas or the emotional and physical hardships they face everyday. Asha had supported the initiative in it's early stages till 2003. Though Asha Bangalore has not supported the school financially, we are still in touch with the co-ordinators. You can learn more here -

Asha's project page -
Ananya's Blog -

About 10-12 kids from Ananya will also be running the 10K distance at Auroville this year. They have been following a schedule and training for the run over the last few weeks.

You can read more about our earlier trip and the story of the play ('Hope for the flowers') here:

After some initial confusion about the directions, we made it to the school and started a little bit late. All of us got out on the run which was in a loop of 6kms. The kids were full of energy! They distributed amongst us to make sure none of us got lost :) - Some of the kids were blazing fast and had a lot of fun. 8 year old rajesh was the youngest in the group and kept us entertained! Shashikala was quite good and natural at her running as well. Some of the Team Asha folks did a few more loops as we tapered down this week for the upcoming Auroville marathon. After the run, we all got together and there was a spontaenous call for a game of volleyball. Slowly, almost everyone around joined the game! We had quite some fun with a very well fought tight volleyball game. George is one of the teachers at Ananya who encourages all kinds of sports at the School.

We then had a hearty breakfast of Idlis, Sambar, Chutney and boiled eggs! We also had some tasty filter coffee. We discussed about Ananya's efforts over breakfast. Uddhav (teacher at Ananya and avid runner) gave us a brief history of the school and its efforts. He also narrated his experiences and how he became a part of Ananya. We also discussed the recent efforts of Asha and B2F (back 2 fitness) in involving itself with children through running. Some of the kids have also expressed themselves through art and drawing. One of the kids drew about her jogging experience :). We went through the work of many kids and also browsed through the informative charts put up in the dining space.

The school next door was an 'international' school holding its sports day competition. The principal of the school was going on and on with a long speech on the need for more physical activity :) - then they conducted many events like the 100m sprint for LKG kids etc. It was quite a contrast to what was happening at Ananya!

We chatted with the kids for a while and got to know more about their backgrounds, their aspirations etc. Later, we clicked a lot of photos and it was time to bid goodbye! All the kids wanted us to stay for longer and play cricket with them! But, we all had to go and it was unanimously decided that we all will meet up again for a similar run-together next Saturday!

You can see the rest of the photos here:

These are the volunteering opportunities available at Ananya for those interested (as sent by Uddhav from Ananya):


27/2, Devi farm,Chikkabellandur Village, Varthur Hobli, Sarjapur road, Carmelaram Post, Banglaore-35

1. Day: Monday
Time : 11 am to 1 pm
Venue: Ananya campus
Activity: Morning Movies
Description: Watch a movie with the children followed by a discussion. (During this time we have a staff meeting while the children arrive from their homes):

2. Day: Thursday
Time: 10.30 am -- 1.00 pm
Venue: VS Dental College
Activity: Visiting the dentist
Description: A group of 10 children go to visit the dentist at VS Dental College near KR Market. A new group goes every Thursday morning. After the children have had a check up, some children go through remedial treatment if they need to. The volunteers are expected to escort the students from Ananya to the Dental College, or receive them there, and see them off at the KR Market bus stop after the check-up.

3. Day: Monday to Fridays
Time : 5 pm – 7 pm
Venue: Ananya campus
Activity: Homework and Tutoring
Description: Any weekday evenings convenient to the volunteers can help a group of 10 children with their home work and tutor the tenth standard students. The students are taking the following exams: Economics, Science, Kannada, Social Studies, Hindi, Business Studies, and Mathematics.

4. Day: Saturday
Time : 11 am to 6 pm
Venue: Ananya campus
Activity: Games and Sports
Description: Anytime! The volunteers can play games and sports that inculcate a team spirit and sportsmanship ( cricket matches, hockey, football etc.) at the campus. They are welcome to stay for lunch and beyond.

5. Day: Saturdays
Time : 11 am to 1 pm
Venue: Ananya campus
Activity: Computer Classes
Description: The volunteers conduct computer classes in our computer lab consisting of 10 computers. Our resident staff will help with the curriculum.

6. Day: Anyday
Time : Any time convenient to volunteers
Venue: Any place convenient to volunteers
Activity: Fund raising
Description: We need help with networking and fundraising. Volunteers can help build a network of Ananya supporters who in turn can help fundraise or create visibility for Ananya.

7. Day: Anyday
Time : Any time convenient to volunteers
Venue: Any place convenient to volunteers
Activity: Web site updating and maintaining
Description: We have a website and we need help updating the website periodically and maintaining it so that the latest developments and information is available to the visitors to the site.

8. Day: Saturdays and Sundays
Time : 11 am to 1 pm
Venue: Ananya campus
Activity: Mentoring
Description: We want mentors for our children. Mentors who are there for the children—to talk to them, listen to them, be a part of their lives and occasionally socialize with them, help them make informed choices, take decisions and widen their perspectives.

9. Day: On Activity days
Time : Depends on the activity
Venue: To Ananya campus
Activity: Transportation
Description: The volunteers (if they can drive or arrange transport) can drop the 12-15 children off to campus from the following activities:

o the Karnataka State Hockey field near Divya Shree Chambers, Langford Road at 9. 00 am) on Wednesdays after their Hockey practice,
o on week days (except Thursdays) from Jayanagar 4th T Block to the campus from the Table Tennis coaching at 6.30 pm.

10. Day: Saturdays and Sundays
Time : 11 am to 1 pm
Venue: Ananya campus
Activity: Outdoor Activities/ Campus Cleaning
Description: Volunteer at any of the outdoor activities as and when planned. Help with gardening or cleaning the campus.


Balu said...

yes, it was very nice to meet up with kids at Ananya.. I thoroughly liked being there.. hopefully I'll be back again this saturday !

Sharanya said...

How cool is this!!! Love the concept of kids learning about themselves through running. Where's the picture that the child drew of herself running?

Medha P said...

hi dear very nice blog, planning to spend your weekend in a different way the you must visit bandipur
and also the nearby place br hills resorts

sitara kumari said...

Super article! I love the pictures you used in them as well! Was easy to read. Keep up the great. resorts near Bangalore

lostfile said...

Hi!I would like to volunteer! Please provide me contact information to discuss further.

Jenifer Thomas said...

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