Friday 25 January 2019

'Tis a New Dawn!

Emily R Menon is the Chairperson at Udayan
As we bring in a new year, it is apt that we celebrate with the re-launch of our much loved 'Dawn' Newsletter.  In years gone by, Dawn provided the Udayan 'family’ around the world, with an indepth look at life at Udayan, outlining the latest news and initiatives.  We have now gone digital and hope that Udayan supporters over the last 49 years, reach out to us with their email IDs to stay abreast of the latest and greatest from the beloved, Udayan!

New Branding ...

We felt it an apt time also, for the unveiling of our new and improved logo!  Udayan gives children affected by Leprosy a 'new life' and for most of its life, this new life was signified by the 'rising sun' in the Udayan logo.  We are delighted to herald it back in and have re-branded all our digital platforms with a new, modern look and feel, which holds true to our former, original identity.  We have also developed a new 'tagline' - Rising Above Leprosy, which we believe reflects the work that we do here at Udayan.

It Takes a Mighty Team ...

2018 was a marathon year for the team of hard workers behind Udayan!  Our Governing Body members, the teachers, house brothers and mothers, administrative and other staff who work tirelessly to provide a warm, loving home for 250 children and a place where they can learn and grow into a dignified livelihood.  We applaud the efforts of Dipak Sahu, our new Director and take this opportunity to warmly welcome 2 new senior staff members, Adrija Mitra (Assistant Director) and Sreoshi Ghose (Communications Manager) who will help us professionalise and take our organisation to an all new level in the coming year.

We Couldn't Do it Without Support ...

We have been humbled by the continued support from our friends both near and far, and have the utmost gratitude for their generosity in supporting our cause. We take this opportunity to send compliments of the season to our major supporters, who help keep Udayan operating, and look forward to a long and meaningful friendship as we work together in this important mission! 

·      La Fondation de la cite de la joie de Dominique Lapierre

·      City of Joy Aid, UK

·      Steve Waugh Foundation

·      SBI Life Insurance

·      Australian Department of Foreign Affairs

·      Dolores Coronaggia Donazione

·      Calcutta Foundation

·      Tata Trusts

·      Constantia Flexibles

·      Mukul Madav Foundation

·      Hazel Nash

Going Digital

To keep up with the technological world we live in, we’ve gone digital and do hope you are all following us on Facebook, have seen our refreshed website and have registered your email details with us!  It's a great way to stay connected and seamlessly keep in touch, no matter where in the world you live!

Cheers to a great year ahead for you and, for all our children and staff at Udayan!


Aid from Down Under!

Deputy High Commissioner from Australia, Rod Hilton unveiling new bunk beds at Udayan
Diya jumped up and down on her new bed - she had claimed the top bunk and her excitement was clear ...

The bunk beds are just one feature of the support given by the Australian Consulate as part of their 'Direct Aid Program' and Rod Hilton, Deputy High Commissioner (Delhi) along with Hilary McGeachy (First Secretary) unveiled the new items on their recent visit to Udayan.

Previously, the children aged 2-5 in Charinda Home in Udayan, slept in long rows of mattresses on the ground - with home sewn 'teddies' gracing their pillows when they made their beds every morning.

Today they have their own mattress, pillow, sheets, blankets, mosquito net and bunk bed with storage for their few possessions - and they couldn't be more thrilled about it!

"Udayan has a long association with Australia and its great to see this relationship strengthened with this incredible support" said Chairperson, Emily R Menon, who is herself, an Australian.

"This grant helps us maintain a certain quality in delivering our Home program to children, and we are grateful for the investment in these essential items!” she said.

The grant also helped buy new plates and cups for the children who fill it full each day with 3 hot meals of nutritious Bengali food.

The Direct Aid Program (DAP) is a small grants program funded by the Australian Government and managed through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The program supports NGO based projects that have a strong development focus, contribute to poverty reduction, and strengthen communities in India.

'Father' Book, Launched in Style

Author Deborah Bedford, Oindrilla Dutt & Father James at the Oxford Book Launch in Kolkata

A book, Father, on the biography of our founder Rev. J.G. Stevens, OBE, was launched this year. It was after undertaking lengthy research that Australian author Deborah Bedford released the book in a series of events, about the extraordinary journey of Rev. J.G. Stevens of transforming the lives of many.   

Oxford Bookstore and Calcutta Foundation hosted a book reading and discussion featuring renowned Kolkata personality, Oindrilla Dutt and Father James and a very interesting and engaging session unfolded amongst all present.

The book was also launched separately at an evening function at the ITC in collaboration with the Calcutta Foundation and many Udayan family, friends and influential business people were in attendance. 

Udayan invited current and ex students and staff along with members and community to a function which coincided with the Annual General Meeting of Udayan.

Father was also unveiled at an international launch in Sydney, Australia, where over 100 of the crème-de-la-crème of Sydney turned out to learn more about the life and work of Father James Stevens.  

Author Deborah Bedford was thrilled with the response - "I hope the book is used as a tool to spread the good word of Udayan around the globe."  

The book is available online at:

Sketching a Different Route - From Leprosy to Art School

Bapi Dey came to Udayan in 1995 as a chirpy kid. Though average in studies, he always showed a keen interest in Arts. His father passed away when he was in school. His mother, Nilima, had only one wish that Bapi should grow up to become a financially settled man. She did not want Bapi to go through the difficulties of a life in poverty. Nilima begged on streets to survive. 

However, Bapi was not able to cope up with the pressures of formal education. We at Udayan understood that his success lay elsewhere. It was the that Udayan got him admitted to La Matenere SEOMPE Art College for a course in Arts. He later went on to complete his graduation through distance learning.

Today Bapi is doing what he loves most. He is earning his living through Arts. He runs his own ,very successful Art School, Nilima Art Center, named after his mother. The school has over  200 students. He is also associated with two local schools where he is the art teacher. He now earns around Rs.25000 per month. 

Bapi sketched a different route to success and Udayan was with him every little step of the way.

Clubbing Up ...

A new initiative has been taken up toward the holistic development of our children. We have formed three Children's Clubs at Udayan, namely, Discipline, Sports and Culture.

The Discipline club will look after the health and hygiene of the children. They are also responsible for maintaining discipline at the cottages. The Sports club members will ensure that all children participate in sports and play everyday. The Culture club members are responsible for organising the various cultural activities at Udayan. They will also oversee that the children practice their dance and music routines on a regular basis.

The objective behind forming these is the following:
  • Improving the Child Friendly environment at Home
  • Improve the decision making skills of the children
  • Help children raise their voice
  • Help children know their rights 

The club members will discuss the issues and take actions with the support of the care givers. Through these clubs we aim to build leadership and communication skills of the children so that in the future they can do their own advocacy with the government.

World Leprosy Day - 30th January 2019

World Leprosy Day is observed internationally every year in January to increase the public awareness of the Leprosy or Hansen's Disease. This day was chosen in commemoration of the death of Gandhi, the leader of India who understood the importance of leprosy. 

In 2019, we will celebrate it on January 30 and our children will be there at The Leprosy Mission Hospital to participate in a rally to raise awareness on Leprosy. The rally will cover a distance of 5 kms from The Leprosy Mission Hospital in Kolkata and end at the same place. 

This year's the theme is Zero Disabilities in girls and boys and Udayan will be 'live' on Facebook at the event ... tune in at

New Child Development Plans

In order to take a more individual approach to each and every child at Udayan, a new initiative has been implemented in 2018 which saw the development of individual Child Development Plans for students.
An initiative of new Director, Dipak Sahu, the plans aim to capture baseline data of children, identifying key areas to uplift child competencies. Speaking about the new plans, Dipak explains how they are developed. 
“The domain areas of the Child Development Plan are divided into two sections.” He said.

Section 1: 
  • Child Development & Child Rights
  • Physical, Cognitive, Emotional, Social and Moral Development
  • Building Resilience, Provision/Protection/Participation Rights

Section 2:
  • Towards Quality In Settlement
  • Education, Career, Competencies & Settlement
“Based on the sub-contents of the Section 1 and 2, the CDP supports the staff to find out the strengths and concern areas of each and every child. The findings then help the staff to develop an action plan, in consultation with the child.” Dipak said.
The overall exercise supports the child to overcome concern areas and become more competent in their areas of strength. 
“Udayan staff then develop Action Plans for each child for a year, and through this exercise, come to know the interest areas of the child towards his/her career, based on their competencies.” He said.
"The exercise supports the staff in setting career goals for the child and tries to provide all the necessary support to help the child reach their objectives. This is reviewed every six months.” Said Dipak.
Areas of Development of the child:
  • Education Improvement
  • Physical, Emotional, Social & Moral Support to Overcome Trauma
  • Support in Decision Making
  • Conducive Environment for Growth
  • Enhancement of Competencies of the Child, 
  • Career Plan and Job Placement
  • All types of protection
Udayan Director, Dipak Sahu, who has over 12years experience running a children's Institution in India

Christmas Celebrations!

Every year, the children await the Christmas celebration with a lot of enthusiasm, and 2018 was no different!
The main reason, is the Cottage Decoration Competition which sees fierce, good spirited competition among the children’s ‘houses’ to decorate their cottage in elaborate art and design.
An annual event, the planning starts months before where children select a theme and decorate their cottages accordingly (there are 5 boys cottages and 1 Girls’ Hostel).
A small amount is handed over to the children to invest in buying the basics for decorations, and a lot of ingenuity and creativity results, with each cottage trying to build the biggest and best creations to celebrate the festival.
The best three designs are acknowledged and all of the cottages and the children get Christmas gifts!  

Lunch with the Govenor!

Our longtime Patron, Ms. Shamlu Dudeja , Chairperson, Calcutta Foundation, hosts a children’s party on the south lawns of Raj Bhavan every year in December, and once again, Udayan children took part!
Around 600 children from various schools are invited and around 40 of our Udayan children went this time.
The girls gave a dance performance and all children enjoyed music, games and treats at the event.  The Honourable Governor of West Bengal Shri. Keshari Naryan Tripathi also spent some time interacting with the children.

Volunteers Go the Extra Mile!

Our names are Sara, Sarah and Emily, and we spent a week volunteering at Udayan in March 2018. We had such an amazing experience getting to know both the incredible children and staff at Udayan, we wanted to do something when we arrived home from our travels to show you how appreciative we are of the time we spent with everyone at the home.

In August 2018, the three of us held a fundraiser with our friends, families, and neighbours. Here, we had information boards on Udayan, played live music, served dinner and dessert, and made a speech to our guests. In this speech, we discussed the profound effect Udayan and all the incredible children had on our lives. We tried our best to convey to our friends and family how much we learned in our eight days at Udayan and how it was an experience we will remember for the rest of our lives.

It was our goal to raise $5,000 through this event, all of which we would give directly back to Udayan. It ended up that, through our fundraising efforts and the generosity of our friends and family, we were able to surpass our goal and raise just over $5000! We are overjoyed to be able to give this financial support, and hope that it can go a long way for the children. The money we have raised is to give back to the home and all of the incredible children that touched our hearts.

Additionally, we would love if you could possibly please pass on a message from us to the children and that is:

We love you all and think of you often. You are still all our brothers and sisters and we have raised this money with you in our hearts. We will never forget everything you taught us and will always speak about the memories we made with you. We hope to come back to India to see you all again soon, but until that point, know we think of you all every day.

Sending love your way,
Sara, Sarah, and Emily