Gifting compassion and love

Bhumi recently conducted an event in an attempt to connect two groups usually set wide apart by age. Some of our children visited a home for the elderly with beautiful cards and gifts tightly clasped in their tiny hands and the experience was quite priceless. The children, through this activity, learnt that to spread love one needn’t invest in great deeds, just small gestures would do. We were overjoyed by the profound respect our children had for the elderly.

Bhumi wholeheartedly thanks Akshaya Trust for giving our children this wonderful opportunity.

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Careers: Tutor (Part-Time)

Location: Chennai
Subject: English / Mathematics (classes 1-5)

The tutor is expected to supplement Bhumi’s teaching programme at our shelter homes (orphanages) during weekdays.

Primary responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Teaching children after school
  • Coordinate with the Coordinator of the centre to understand what needs to be delivered that week

Preferred Education Qualification / Experience:

  • Work experience – not necessary
  • Students doing Under Graduation/Diploma (any stream) – Preferred
  • Any graduation – desirable, not essential
  • Class 10 pass – Essential

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Reasonable interpersonal and communication skills –Tamil & English
  • Willingness to travel

Other Information:

  • There are no age restrictions
  • Scope: Part time, weekday evenings and either of Saturday or Sunday
  • Remuneration: Stipend of Rs.3,000-Rs.5,000 p.m. based on the candidate’s profile and work
  • Expected Joining Date: Immediate

If you qualify and are interested to take up the role, send in your resume to careers@bhumi.org.in

The journey behind Yantra: January 2015

There come these occasional moments when we realise that all the preconceptions we held about some things were absolutely flawed. I had one such moment during the Robotics Workshop which was organised by Bhumi and Dwengo (a Belgium-based NGO which supports people interested in robotics) this month. The workshop was primarily held to enable under-privileged children to improve their interest in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). A Google Rise winner (hence, the UDAVI Project was funded by Google), it saw participation from 35 children across six shelter homes and orphanages in Chennai. Now, mind you, very few children here were even familiar with computer applications beyond MS Word or Paint. But, the enthusiasm they showed in learning unfamiliar concepts is what led me to bust that notion I had.

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In one instance, Veerachan and Jakulin (students of Class 8), who were using computers for the first time, impressed the audience with their active participation and performance in the introductory robotics course. They took minimal effort to comprehend the concept of binary numbers, loops, shortest path algorithms and finite state machines. I must say, the organisers from Dwengo also put in commendable efforts to make the children learn these concepts in a fun and interactive way, thus engaging all of them and developing a passion in them to learn new things.

On the second day (of the workshop), the children were introduced to basic hardware used in robotics, like LCDs, motors and sensors. Many said they were able to understand the working and functioning of each part separately. They were also able to understand, with relative ease, the pin diagram of the microcontroller used in the Dwengino board and its interface with other peripheral devices. They gained hands-on experience with these devices. And of course, they were thrilled when their names appeared on LCD panels and they made the motor rotate to their wish and will.

On the third day of the workshop they actually built robots by themselevs. They challenged their limits by coming out with creative ideas to build robots that could fly, that could be an obstacle detector, a light,  a line follower, a garbage collector , a painter and even a scorpion . The fact that the robots were autonomous is an icing on the cake. They learnt the tricky part of coding and logic, using interactive games and simple software. They could even design their own algorithms with the assistance of volunteers.

I02Overall, it was surprising to see that, even after a few days, the children remembered every small detail from what they learnt about robotics. Studies and learning aside , the biggest positive they could take out of this workshop was that they were exposed to a world they never knew existed. They made new friends (Bharati from Webbs found new friends in Avvai Home and Kali from Seva Samajam befriended children from SISTWA), and they developed an attachment with the volunteers, especially with Francis and Naveen, the workshop organisers. A second revelation was that language never proved to be a barrier . They interacted with Francis at ease and cleared their doubts.

The most humbling opinion they put forward was that they felt special when individual care was given to them. Since the children were used to being one among many in a classroom, the sudden importance and individual attention given to them boosted their confidence. With no presumable exaggeration, I recall their words; “What we learnt these three days is imprinted in our minds. We rarely learn such fun and interesting things in school.”

What this shows is that they are more than happy to attend such sessions and are looking forward to even more. Such heartfelt feedback not only reassured us of our work, but also motivated us to reach greater heights in giving these children the best the world can offer.

Photos from the workshop can be viewed on: http://bhumi.org.in/2015/01/27/robotics-expo-by-children/

– Nithin Krishna, Bhumian

Yantra: Robotics Expo by children – January 2015

35 children from six of our learning centres participated in a Robotics expo in Chennai on January 25, 2015. The children had earlier participated in a two week workshop by volunteers from Bhumi and Dwengo (Belgium) and made their own robots. Here are the results of their enthusiasm and tireless efforts. The UDAVI Project is a winner of Google Rise 2014.

Scorpion – A robot that runs on all terrains

Image 01 Image 02Garbage picker – An automated robot that picks up garbage in its way and drops it at a predefined point

Image 03 Image 04Buggy – A four legged bug robot that walks

I01 I02Light controlled waste dump robot – A semi–automated garbage cleaner that picks up and drops garbage depending upon the lightI01

I02Light Eater – A simple light following robot

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I02The Phoenix – A robot that flaps the wings at a speed depending upon the light intensity

I01 I02Line Tracer – A robot that follows a black line on the floor

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 Collision avoiding art-bots – A robot that traces its path on white paper and forms patterns by avoiding obstacles in the course

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Volunteer Den – John Savio

JohnA little about yourself (origin, education, past work experiences)
My origin :P to be specific, It was in the year 1991 that I was born in Chennai, while my ancestors belong to Kanniyakumari. And the first half of my schooling began in Bangalore, While the latter part, till now – as I stand as an Engineer – was completed in Chennai. And yes, of course, Chennai has been the best part of it. Now I’m working as a technician in an Engineering firm. I guess that’s as much as I can say about me :)

How did volunteering with Bhumi happen (including beginning, which project you volunteered for)?
On a totally bored Sunday, during my third year of college – three years back – I was roaming with my friend here and there, and we happened to visit an orientation without any intention of joining, but the presentation given on that day regarding teaching a child, was what made me become a volunteer at Bhumi. I selected Arts as my first option and sports as my second one, and well.. I’m in Arts for the past three years :P

What change did these experiences bring in your life? How has Bhumi altered you, personally
Like small stones that alter the course of the river, Bhumi with all the characters in it has gradually altered my personality, my perspective of Life and also who I am now as a person. I have learnt extraordinary things from the smallest of children to the greatest of volunteers, and I’m still learning. Came to know a lot of people over a short duration of time. For I was never a sociable person before, and Bhumi with all its lovely people have changed me from being an Introverted person to a somewhat sociable person :P

One most memorable incident in your life as a Bhumian
Every Class attended as a Bhumian is a great memory, but to name one, the following incident will always be my most memorable one. Last year, one of my students whom I had taught Arts, won the first place in Kutty Nakshatra, and she gave me the credit for her winning. That is something to be held memorable :)

Tell us about one Bhumian, who you think is a very good inspiration for you
There are lots of Inspirational Volunteers, But Ganapathy (Gana) is the first that comes to my mind on seeing this question ;) A very sincere and dedicated volunteer who makes me go “Wow!” He puts everything in what he does”

Any specific, special moment with kids or volunteers you would like to share with us?
Well there is this specific moment (two years back) when the children of MSS, gave my fellow volunteers and myself a gratitude speech, for teaching them, the speech was simple but with great value :) 

A message to every volunteer at Bhumi
Enjoy the ride, but always remember the purpose of Bhumi and your part in it.

Volunteer Den – Hanika Arora

HanikaA little about yourself (origin, education, past work experiences)
Family roots are from north of India, Delhi. Born and brought up in Gujarat. I have a professional working experience of 14 years in varied fields like teaching, HR, Counselor and I have finally landed up as QA in IT field.

How did volunteering with Bhumi happen (including beginning, which project you volunteered for)?
I was working for a visually challenged association in Gujarat and after shifting to Bangalore, I was searching for a NGO which hasn’t flourished and wasn’t well known to people. I found BHUMI and registered online and started volunteering for the Kanini project.

What change did these experiences bring in your life? How has Bhumi altered you, personally
Last 2 years have been extremely joyful. Teaching was always a passion but I wasn’t aware kids have potential to teach us values of life. I was much disciplined, organized and always turned up before time for meetings/classes. Kids made me realize that there is no harm in sharing stupid ideas and being crazy. Quality time matters rather than quantity.

One most memorable incident in your life as a Bhumian
Last year during HI5 activity, I visited Madhu Mansion center.  I had spent only three hours on that day with them this year during Nakshatra. I was standing and a few kids were screaming out to me. I didn’t know why they are shouting.  I got worried; I was wondering if someone was hurt. They started laughing and said akka you forgot us. We met last year when you visited our home. I was so surprised and happy by the way they met me and started asking when you are coming and so many questions.

Tell us about one Bhumian, who you think is a very good inspiration for you
Arpit has inspired me a lot. Though he had a language barrier he stretched himself for the well being of the kids. He never complains for what we don’t have, he always talks about what we can do for the kids rather than for us. He shows how a small contribution can make lot of change in kids’ life.

Any specific/special moment with kids or volunteers you would like to share with us?
This year during Nakshatra price distribution, I was shuttling between many activities when suddenly few kids came and called a volunteer “come akka photo”. Volunteers and the children were talking to each other like they’ve known each other for years.

A message to every volunteer at Bhumi
Bhumi is a source for volunteers to reach out and bring a change in the lives of children and society. While taking some responsibility or doing something we should not think that this not my work as it’s not my career or my job. We all share equal responsibility for all events.

Careers: Operations Executive (Part-Time)

Location: Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkatta

The applicant should be willing to travel extensively within the city and interact/work with people including beneficiaries, centre authorities and vendors.

Primary responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Visit & identify shelter homes and community centres to assess suitability and need for Bhumi programmes
  • Visit & shortlist beneficiaries for Bhumi’s programmes
  • Identify and engage vendors, procurement of materials (on need basis)
  • Assist HR team in organising recruitment campaigns
  • Day to Day Operations

Preferred Education Qualification / Experience:

  • Work experience – not necessary
  • Any graduation – desirable, not essential

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Reasonable interpersonal and communication skills –Tamil & English
  • Basic computer skills – MS Word & Excel – Desirable
  • Resourceful, responsible and self-starting
  • Willingness to travel extensively – locally
  • Having a two wheeler – essential

Other Information:

  • Reporting to: Chief Operating Officer
  • Expected Age: Below 30
  • Scope: Part time, willing to work flexible hours
  • Remuneration: Rs.5,000-Rs.8,000 p.m. based on the candidate’s profile
  • Expected Joining Date: Immediate

If you qualify and are interested to take up the role, send in your resume to careers@bhumi.org.in

Field Visit to Museum in Chennai

Bhumi’s volunteers put together a memorable trip to the Museum for children from our Little Einsteins – Science project. They were allowed to explore all the buildings thoroughly, which housed a variety of artifacts of scientific, cultural and historical significance. They were shown an unimaginable and out of this world performance of a life size animatronics dinosaur (T. rex), creating a huge round of applause in appreciation from everyone. Above all, close to the end of the day, a scary 3D movie was screened, which made them all shout in excitement and piqued their curiosity the most.

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Volunteers Speak:

“A day of exceptional fun and enjoyment. I realized that even the smallest duration let alone an entire day, spent with the Webbs kids will be beautiful and make them ecstatic. I learnt that every kid has a thirst for knowledge, and he/she has to be fed that in the right way. The credits go to every single volunteer at Webbs who were able or unable to make it for the trip.” – Shri

“The trip has brought another dimension to the kids knowledge base. Their eyes have been opened to a wide array of possibilities, and this is only a glimpse of the world of possibilities. Hopefully the kids retain this experience for long. Awaiting many such trips in the future.” – Ben

“The trip to the museum was fun and extremely informative, for both kids and the volunteers. It helped the kids get a broader view of the subject and would definitely make them more interested in them. It wasn’t difficult managing the kids, as we had enough volunteers and the whole trip was planned out well, with work delegated to each volunteer, and everyone working efficiently.” – Vanathi

“60+ super enthusiastic kids herded by 15 equally enthusiastic volunteers was the perfect group for a field trip. Although I was initially apprehensive about the kids’ ability to appreciate the exhibits, I was pleasantly surprised when they insisted that they don’t rush through the exhibits. Seeing their faces light up as I explained the exhibits made me realize that this experience has taught them more than several months of classroom teaching. Looking forward to the next field trip.” – Gayathri

Run for Bhumi – Our volunteer champions, 2015

Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon has assumed a stature of eminence, being the largest single charity and philanthropic sporting event in India. Each year, more than 200 NGOs participate in the event and raise funds for their respective organizations. Many participants use the event as a reason to give back to their society and the underprivileged. The run is on Sunday, January 18.

Image1Dr. Madhu Shankar G: “Education is the key to many doors. It empowers people, it breaks down shackles, it gives wings to dreams, it encourages dreams, it fosters independence. Education is the answer to lots of social problems we are facing now. I am a medico who is on the run. Child education has always been a cause close to my heart as I always believe change has to come at grass root level.” Read further on Dr. Madhu Shankar’s fundraising page

Dr.Prahalathan KKDr. Prahalathan KK: “I am one the co-founders of Bhumi. I am running in the 10KM run at the Republic Day Half Marathon in Chennai to raise five lakhs for Bhumi. For every lakh I raise for our cause I pledge to be stay vegetarian for a month.” Read further on Dr.Prahalathan’s fundraising page

 

Volunteer Den – Shivabalan V K

A little about yourself (origin, education, past work experiencesShivabalan
I am from Erode in Tamil Nadu and did most of my schooling there. My parents encouraged me in sports apart from curricular activities and started playing tennis from an early age. At school I was comfortable with two things – tennis and visiting the library, but I cannot say the same for school curriculum. But by good fortune and hard work I scored good marks in my school leaving exam and got into College of Engineering-Guindy at Chennai. Boarding at college was a very different experience for me. For the first time I was completely independent except financially. For the first two years in college I engaged myself in NCC (A, B, C certificates) and the college dance team. At college my friends and I used to talk a lot about doing something for the society. We talked politics, hygiene and sanitation, youth empowerment and so on. But in the last two years, I relaxed a lot and sort of became lazy. After college I wanted to prepare for UPSC and prepared for one year and gave my first attempt. But I couldn’t clear the second stage and later I realized that the problem was with my attitude. I had become very lazy in college and it was hindering me in my preparations. So I consciously got into banking thinking that a job will make me systematic and disciplined. I have quit my job now and am pursuing my studies.

How did volunteering with Bhumi happen (including beginning, which project you volunteered for)?
While working I realized that my routine had become mechanic and that I was missing out on different things I could be doing. I missed meeting new people and making new friends. I remembered reading about Bhumi while in college, and searched for Bhumi on the internet and got myself registered. I had a lot of fun at the orientation and I was already feeling happy because the atmosphere there was so exciting. Maths being the strongest suit, I opted the Maths project.

What change did these experiences bring in your life? How has Bhumi altered you, personally?
One change that I would say that Bhumi has brought in me is responsibility – since volunteering is a personal commitment, I feel morally obliged to honour mine. Also when I see some of my friends  at SISTWA turn up every week without fail;come what may, I was truly inspired to emulate them. I am thankful to Bhumi for letting me be a part of conducting workshops, volunteer meets, etc.  It has improved my inter-personnel skills and organizing capabilities.

One most memorable incident in your life as a Bhumian.
Friends from Bhumi surprised me on the morning of my birthday at my house. I did not expect that one bit. I was brushing my teeth when they came marching in. They knew how to throw in a good surprise. Now, it is almost like we are searching for one event or the other to celebrate. My life has become a celebration after Bhumi.

Tell us about one Bhumian, who you think is a very good inspiration for you
I am really glad that I met and made friends at Bhumi. It has been a great learning process for me at Bhumi. Princee has taught me how to be more organized. Ganesh has made me realize what it truly means to be efficient. He always gets things done then and there, and one could always rely on him to get the job done. Ranjani always goes the extra mile so that the program does not suffer. Sandhiyan brings out the elegance in being humble.

Any specific, special moment with kids or volunteers you would like to share with us?
At the math project, we conducted an activity based “Math Carnival” to assess the progress of the kids. I enjoyed the carnival like I was a kid and was very happy to see the kids excited about Math. We had life-size snake and ladders, markets, balls and hoops, drawing competitions, Tom and Jerry shows, etc. It was like being in an amusement park, ironically the amusement being Math. We also had a lot of fun, brain-storming, planning and organizing the carnival. Special mention to Keerthi and Thangaraj for making it so enjoyable

A message to every volunteer at Bhumi?
Bhumi is a great platform to make changes in our society collectively. Bhumi offers a great opportunity for volunteers to interact with like-minded people and to grow personally. Once we decide to volunteer it is our obligation to be committed and make Bhumi grow from strength to strength. I pray that Bhumi attracts more change makers into its fold and continues making the changes it has been making.