Friday, 29 July 2022

IDSK Needs Assessment to Guide New Strategy at Udayan

 

In order to capture data on the situation in Leprosy Colonies, Udayan commissioned a Needs Assessment Study by Institute of Development Studies Kolkata which will be used to inform the Udayan strategy going forward.

For the past 6months, professors at the Institute of Development Studies Kolkata have been undertaking the in-depth research study and spent 21 days in the field interviewing leprosy affected families from 7 Leprosy Colonies.

A formal report has been developed which will be used as a baseline to develop in-community programs going forward, and to underpin the Udayan Strategy which will be developed over the coming months.

Communications Projects at Udayan


Udayan’s  leadership team, including Governing Body and management, have been busy on the communications front over the last 12 months.  A number of projects have been taken up to better communicate the work of Udayan, along with highlight the need among children of leprosy affected families.  

o       Case for Support

Udayan has developed its very own Case for Support – a crucial document for donors which walks them through every aspect of why Udayan exists, the problems we are addressing and our approach to helping children rise above leprosy. 

A case for support is one of the most important documents a non profit will create.  It explains what the NGO does, why it’s important and, most importantly, why people should support it.

To read the Case for Support click HERE

o      Stigma – the Hidden Scars of Leprosy

Udayan Chair, Emily R Menon, has captured the incredible stories and images of 20 leprosy affected people who live in the Leprosy Colonies of West Bengal, in the form of a Coffee Table Book.  ‘Stigma – The Hidden Scars of Leprosy’ will be harnessed as an awareness and fundraising tool, with 50 copies being printed and sent to key donors, supporters and prospects in the coming month.

To request an e-copy, write to emilyrmenon@gmail.com


o      Udayan Video

    Thanks to support from SBI Life Insurance, a short video has been made which outlines why Udayan exists. Scripted by Emily R Menon, and shot by Udayan’s Swapan Naiya, the film was created on a shoestring budget and will be used as a key tool in fundraising for Udayan.

      The first draft cut of the film is HERE

Health Camps Keep Udayan Kids Fit & Strong

  Reason to Smile – Dental Camp

Dentist examining teeth

Healthy teeth are a great reason for Udayan children to smile and to ensure this, Udayan conducts a Dental check up camp every year on its premises. On 14thMarch 2022, a team of dentists examined the teeth of all children and advised treatment as required – with 37 children being referred for IOPA test (Intraoral per apical) and prescribed medicines.  The program included demonstration of correct tooth brushing and information on the maintenance of oral hygiene  Medicated toothbrushes and mouth freshener were distributed to each child. 

Eyes are Precious – Eye Check Up

Eye being checked up 

Eyes are the most important sensory organ, so with the objective ensure the proper care of children’s vision and detect early eye ailments, vision disorder and refractive errors, every year Udayan organizes an Eye Check –up Camp on its premises. In the month of March, a team of renowned ophthalmologists screened all children, identifying 7 children who were given spectacles

                                                                 Skin Check-up Camp

Skin screening camp

Regular skin check up camps are organized at Udayan for all children, to identify patches of leprosy. This year a skin camp was organized with total 22 children suspected of leprosy and kept under observation, and leprosy identified in 3 children who were prescribed with medication and care by the doctor.

                                                       Orientation on Reproductive Health

Orientation to children on reproductive health

Orientation on Reproductive Health is essential to help adolescent children to learn about the biological, psychological and social-cultural perspectives of changes happening in the body during adolescence. Udayan conducted orientation sessions with a renowned gynaecologist to educate girls (aged- 12-18 years)on reproductive health, hygiene & self-awareness through interaction. Additionally,65 adolescent girls of Udayan prescribed with supplementary Iron Folic Acid tablets for 15 consecutive days, twice in a year.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Fundraising Snapshot @ Udayan


City of Joy Aid, UK has once again supported Udayan, this time for the installation of Wooden Windows, Perspex & Grill Painting of Udayan Vidyalaya.  This will make a significant difference to children as they have been studying at the school for many years now with open windows – battling mosquitoes and the rains as they try to learn.  City of Joy Aid, UK has also supported for the installation of solar panels in the Fred Kahl Health Centre which will help reduce electricity costs of running the centre.

In the Financial year 2021-22, Udayan got generous support from Constantia Creative Polypack Private Ltd of INR 2,00,000/- for the holistic development of our children.  Since  long years Constantia has been supporting us and we are grateful for their commitment to our cause and children.

 Mr N.P Sinha, Zonal Director of LIC India Corporation Limited visited Udayan for the inauguration of Tata Star 52 seated School Bus (supported by LIC foundation) valued at INR 24,43,424/-. The bus replaces the old Udayan bus which was, by law, set to be removed from the road as it was decrepitated.

Thanks to Wipro Foundation for providing 3 years of  committed support to Udayan. Each year approximately 20 lakhs will be supported by Wipro Foundation for the holistic development of our children.

Sponsorship for an integrated development of 10 children of Udayan by Mukul Madhav Foundation is also in motion. Mukul Madhav has been a supporter of our children for years and all sponsored children are from vulnerable and leprosy affected family.

Board Examinations for Class X and XII &Teacher Training


Director of Udayan with Higher secondary aspirants

Udayan believes that ‘Education is the tool to bring about a ‘kaizen’ change in life of our children.’ Children at Udayan are from vulnerable backgrounds and most of them are 1st generation learners – presenting a major challenge to them and the Udayan teaching staff.

In March 2022, 16 children appeared for their Secondary Board Examinations under West Bengal Board of Secondary Education and 8 children appeared for Higher Secondary Board Examination under West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Examination. All the children are from leprosy affected families, who aspire to build a career that they are passionate about. We wish them all the very best to achieve success.

Blessings to Board appearing children

To support our teachers in the classroom, an external resource person is engaged to conduct teacher training twice in a year. Training enhances their skills and current knowledge in pedagogical trends, methodology on Joyful Learning, ways to enhance child participation and the ‘ASER’ test to assess the linguistic skills of each child.





76 Leprosy Affected Youth Enrolled in Vocational Training

Udayan has been taking great strides to strengthen and expand the Employability Program, to ensure that every child at Udayan is settled in a strong and dignified job.


This program has received a huge boost with a commitment by the Steve Waugh Foundation to support 210 youth in undergoing training – 50 last financial year, with additional students selected each subsequent year for the following 4 years.  Additionally, SBI Life Insurance is supporting a further 28 youth to pursue vocational and professional training.


This year, 41 youth from leprosy affected backgrounds are pursuing General Nursing Midwifery Training (GNM) from reputed Nursing institute of Chhattisgarh, 21 youth are pursuing Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) in Hotel Management; and 14 youth in Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technician (DMLT). Total 76 children from various leprosy colonies are pursuing vocational training under the guidance and umbrella of Udayan. 

Udayan team in the field screening Youth for 2nd intake of Steve Waugh Training Scholarship

Udayan team have just returned from the field to select the second round of candidates for the Steve Waugh Vocational Training Scholarship, with 66 youth turning out to fill just 12 spots - highlighting the desperate need for vocational training in the leprosy colonies today.


Final Year Hospitality Students Earn Rs20,000 per month on Internship
Four youth, who took admission to undertake a three years Bachelor Degree (Business Administration in Hotel Management) in FY 2019, are now in their 3rd year of their course and all of them have been placed in a paid internship in the well-known brands - hotel chain ‘Royal Orchids Golden Suites’, Pune, Maharashtra, and Haldiram Foods International Pvt. Ltd. After completion of final semester in December 2022, they will be absorbed by the companies.     

         

 
Vivek Singh (name changed) from Simonpur, Purulia, is one of the students working as intern with Royal Orchids Golden Suites, Pune, Maharashtra. Drawing a stipend of Rs20,000 per month, the internship has changed his life and helped him become financially stable.  Vivek revealed “I have had a rebirth at Udayan - Thank you for making my life!”  

 
Career Counselling Introduced
To support Udayan’s Employability Program and provide guidance to our students, twice in a year Udayan has organized a Career Counselling program harnessing the expertise of an external resource person for the children of Class VIII and above. The Career counselling sessions supported the children to understand their own interest area and competencies, based on which they can choose their career path. Interactive group discussions and counselling sessions were held on communication skills, mock interviews, resume writing, self-confidence and grooming.
 




New HR Policy &Orientation Supports Staff

An orientation session on Human Resources was conducted by Udayan’s HR Advisor, for all the staff members of Udayan – walking staff through Udayan’s new HR Manual & Policy which was distributed to everyone on the day.  Through participatory methodology, staff members were made aware of various HR policies and benefits along with the importance of Human Resource Policy of Udayan. During the session, the Udayan Code of Conduct, leave allowances, ethics, values and decorum were discussed with all the staff members.

The new HR Policy & Manual is the result of a great deal of work by GB Members and Udayan’s Director Dipak  Sahu, who drafted multiple versions with inputs by our HR Advisor.  A strong HR Policy helps staff feel supported and clear about their work with any organization and is the backbone of any HR function.

The Manual also outlined a list of the core values of the organization – values which were carefully defined by Udayan staff in an interactive workshop back in 2019.

             Values that guide our actions, decisions and relationships:

        Integrity: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

Integrity is at the heart of everything we do at Udayan.  Our honest, transparent approach helps us foster trust – among the families whose children we care for, and the donors who have invested with us.

        Learning: The process of acquiring new, or modifying existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences.

We embrace a culture of learning at Udayan.  A willingness to learn is integral to the education, skill and personality development of our children, and our staff and board members also learn and evolve on their Udayan journey.

        Productive: The act of working hard to achieve a significant result.

We are productive in our work and days, and take a ‘results & goal’ oriented approach to generating outcomes at Udayan.

        Discipline: Abiding by rules, routines and displaying self-discipline

Discipline is essential to life at Udayan.  Following organization rules and being self-disciplined in our day to day activities helps us live and work in an effective way.

        Love: Affection for one another.

Love and kindness lie at the heart of Udayan.  We love and care for children from difficult, leprosy affected backgrounds, and exhibit kindness to one another in our service to them.

        Unity: The state of being united or joined as a whole.

We are a special family at Udayan, and we act with unity and solidarity as a result.

Udayan Welcomes 24 New Children

welcoming of new children


Like previous years, this year too, the Udayan team visited 19 leprosy colonies of West Bengal to conduct household survey for selection of children to be admitted in Udayan, as per the intake norms of Udayan. 
Team Udayan consisting of Director, Assistant Director and Paramedical Staff conducted the selection process, and assessed leprosy colonies of various districts of West Bengal and other states during the month of February 2022. 

This year 24 new children joined Udayan. New comers are getting quality education, nutritious food, safe shelter and care of House Brothers & House Mothers. All the children have been enrolled in school for formal education based on their age appropriate classes. 

The plight of colony dwellers remains the same, even in 21st century, suffering the additional canon of stigma and lack of awareness in the broader community. The brutal blow of the pandemic Covid -19 has aggravated the socio-economic status and subsequent health of those affected by leprosy.
Additionally, patients suffered a huge set back with the pandemic impacting the transport of medicines to infected persons, as well as the process for identification of new cases being blocked.

This trip once again provided valuable insights, awareness and data to underpin the work and strategy of Udayan.

Team Udayan Expands

                                        
The team at Udayan continues to expand, and we have been delighted to welcome a host of newcomers on board to the Udayan team: 
  • Priyanka Choudhury, Master in Mass Communication has 6 years’ experience in Development Sector and Communication joined as Communication Manager in Udayan Family. 
  • Sarbajit Das, Masters in social work & Phycology has 10 years of experience in Social Sector has joined Udayan as Superintendent (Boys hostel) in Udayan Family.
  • Debasmita Chatterjee, Masters in Geography, having 2 years 's teaching experience, has   joined as Teaching faculty at Udayan Vidalaya.
  • Bikash Chandra Sahoo, Masters in Social Work has 14 years experience at social sector,  joined Udayan as Store Keeper. 
  • Soham Deb, Master in English and having 3 years’ experience, joined as Spoken English   Teacher in Udayan.
  •  Doyel Sarkar, Master in Computer Application joined as computer teacher in Udayan.
  •  Ganesh Kumbhakar, Master in Arts joined as House Brother in Udayan.
  •  Rimpa Paul, Post graduated in Counselling and Stress Management with 2 years of work experience joined Udayan as Child Counsellor. 
  • Supriya Karmakar, completed her General Nursing & Midwifery from Karnataka State Nursing Examination, having more than 3 years’ experience as nurse at various hospitals joined as a Nurse in Udayan.
  • Robidas Tudu, joined as Cook in Udayan


Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Special Events & Celebrations

World Leprosy Day

Udayan celebrated World Leprosy Day on 30th January 2022 under the theme, ‘United for Dignity’. The day was observed for those affected by leprosy who are the victims of social discrimination. Udayan spread awareness about the disease, and associated stigma,by conducting a Leprosy Awareness Rally – honoring the dignity of people who have experienced leprosy, with all Udayan Staff members and children participating.

                                 

Annual Sports Day

Sports in Udayan act as a powerful tool that creates a sense of community among the children as they develop connections, a spirit of sportsmanshipand a united bond. Udayan organized the Annual Sports Day in February 2022 where children enjoyed sports and participated in activities like relay race, 100 meters & 400 meters race, skipping, discus, javelin, short marathon, balloon race, marble and spoon race.  At the end of the event children & Staff members were congratulated though distribution of prizes.

                                   

Celebration of Basant Utsav

Udayan celebrated the festival of colours in March, with active involvement of children and staff members who played ‘colours’ with immense fervour and zeal. Basant Utsav literally means the 'celebration of spring' and is held in West Bengal on the same day as Holi, where spring is welcomed through music and dance. The children, along with house mothers, house brothers and staff members applied herbal coloured powders (gulal) on one another, as is the tradition for the festival. The entire premise was filled not only with colour, but also with the feeling of joy and hope.



Staff Felicitated at Udayan Foundation Day

Lightning of lamp to inaugurate Udayan's Foundation Day Celebration

 
On 25th March 2022, Udayan celebrated the 52nd Foundation Day with great enthusiasm, with a cultural program and, for the first time ever, the Staff Awards were presented.

Three of the staff members of Udayan were awarded for their excellence in the following areas:

Mr. Swapan Kumar Naiya (Paramedical Officer) received an award for Operational Excellence at Udayan.  As Udayan’s oldest serving staff member, Swapan has proved himself as an invaluable asset to Udayan by driving many operational aspects at Udayan and turning his hand to almost anything to ‘pitch in and get the job done.’

Md. Rafique (Gardener) was recognized for Execution Excellence, for the leadership, self drive and creativity he has shown in beautification projects in Udayan’s campus.  Another long standing staff member, and ex-student, Mr Rafique found his forte and passion in the form of gardening – designing, creating and maintaining many of the green projects at Udayan.

Mr Safique Ali (Driver) was felicitated and awarded for his complete Passion to Serve in his work.  He is always eager to lend a hand to other developmental works at Udayan and is often like a wall of strength - standing by Udayan in any time of need! His contribution during the time of natural disaster; Amphan& Pandemic Covid 19 cannot be defined in words.

A surprise Award was also given on the day, with the complete Udayan Staff stepping forward to present Mr Dipak Prakash Sahu, Director, with an Award for ‘Best Director’ – a gesture which was greatly appreciated by Mr. Sahu and all members of the GB.

Staff Awards are a key initiative in boosting morale, motivating staff members making them feel valued for their work.

Australian Consul-General of Kolkata, Ms. Rowan Ainsworth, graced the occasion and was impressed with the work being done by Udayan. We were also delighted with the presence of Honourable Governing Body Members, local administrative representatives, sponsors and donors.

The program commenced with garlanding the statue of our founder, late Fr. J. G. Stevens, followed by eloquent speech by Ms. Ainsworth that invigorated us. Mr. Dipak Prakash Sahu, Director, Udayan presented his galvanizing speech for the staff & children of Udayan. Governing body members wishes children on the occasion and children of all age groups took part in the cultural program like dance, drama, song and manifested co-curricular activities like yoga, karate and pyramid.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Children, the Most Vulnerable

 

Before the introduction of multi-drug therapy (MDT), there was no effective cure for leprosy, and therefore people affected by the disease were isolated in leprosy colonies or leprosarium. This segregation was often enforced by law. As effective treatment and cure became available, many of these colonies were closed; but in a vast, developing country like India, they still exist in large numbers.



 Life in leprosy colonies offers few opportunities for the future.

        Access to education is fraught with challenges.

       Pathways to livelihood are often limited to rag-picking, daily labouring and begging (for those with deformities).

       The future for girls is limited to early child marriage, prostitution or becoming a maid.

 

Conditions here often fuel the spread of disease – cramped, unhygienic living conditions, lack of water and sanitation facilities, lack of proper nutrition, poor education – and other social issues born out of poverty (violence, abuse, alcohol) fester in the close confines of a leprosy colony.

 

And it is children, who are often the most vulnerable.

Risks at Every Turn

 The children of leprosy-affected families face risks at every turn.

 

       Risk of Disease – Leprosy is only contagious after prolonged contact with a person who is not undergoing treatment. Children are therefore most at risk of contracting the disease from other family members who they live in close proximity with.

       Malnutrition – Leprosy and poverty go hand in hand. And the first impact of poverty is on the health and nutrition of family members. With Leprosy affected people earning as little as 1500Rs per month, there is little money for 3 meals a day and everyone in the household suffers as a result.

       Lack of Education – Accessing education is fraught with difficulty at every turn: enrolment, transport to and from school, money for educational materials and accessing tutors are hurdles to jump. Leprosy affected children are ostracized in the classroom by teachers and peers, as well as bullied in the playground – impacting their ability to learn and grow into strong, confident adults.

       Unsafe Environment – Risks abound in a Leprosy Colony. Girls are vulnerable to being trafficked for prostitution or face harassment or abuse by older boys. Boys are susceptible to getting up to mischief, falling into alcohol or drugs or into petty crime. Violence is common. Substance abuse rife. A Colony is not a safe place for children to grow up in.

       Poverty - Leprosy has long been known as a disease of poverty and then leprosy itself, along with its disabilities and stigma, further pushes them toward poverty. This poverty becomes intergenerational as children are affected by the lack of money, lack of opportunity and the risks that come with poverty.

 

In order to break the intergenerational cycle of leprosy and poverty, childrenmust be given the chance to rise above leprosy – and Educationand Livelihoods provides the key …

 

This is what Udayan aims to do!

Monday, 14 June 2021

Udayan Serves 2 New Leprosy Colonies

 
In January 2021, the Udayan team, comprising of the Director, Assistant Director and paramedical staff, visited 10 Leprosy Colonies in West Bengal to select new children to intake at Udayan. 
 
As part of this process, Udayan has extended its support to 2 new leprosy colonies whose children are in dire need of education:
  • Barakar Leprosy Colony located in the Bardhaman District
  • Bachurdoba Leprosy Colony in the Jhargram Paschim Medinipur District. 
In both colonies, the financial condition of families living there is dire, with their main sources of income being rag-picking, and daily labouring in nearby coal mines. Other are employed as domestic help and van pullers.  However total household income leaves families below the poverty line - impacting children the most.
 
During our visit, we conducted a door-to-door survey to identify children to admit to Udayan and will continue to work with these Colonies to help break the intergenerational cycle of leprosy there.