Tuesday 30 June 2020

Director's Message - June 2020

The last few months had been very hectic for Udayan. While we were trying to proactively avert the Coronavirus crisis and manage things amid lockdown, Cyclone Amphan hit West Bengal which caused massive devastation across the state. Fortunately, Udayan’s staff members are all safe but one-fourth portion of the boundary wall of Udayan collapsed. Luckily all the building infrastructures did not suffer any damages.
However, the impact on Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal was severe with residents reeling in the aftermath.  It took significant time for Kolkata to get essential services like electricity and water back up and running and with lockdown still on, getting help for the ‘clean up’ has been a challenge.
To ensure the safety of our children and staff members, Udayan was closed in March and April. In this newsletter, we bring you the snapshots of major events and activities before lockdown. At the same time, we are also striving to ensure the best for our children and families through COVID-19 relief work. We hope things are soon normalized and Udayan operates in full swing.
On behalf of Udayan I wish you good health in these trying times. Keep safe. 

 Dipak Sahu

Sunday 28 June 2020

Udayan Revamps its Funding Strategy

With our administrative staff working from their homes, it has presented a good opportunity to forge ahead with our work to secure the financial security of the organization going forward.


There is great uncertainty in India among nonprofits about the future of funding opportunities and there is an expectation that many funding opportunities will dry up and or decline due to the economic impact of COVID-19 and diversion of funds to tackling the pandemic and its impacts (it is estimated that the pandemic may push 400 million Indians further into poverty).


Working with Mumbai based fundraising expert, Nandita Dalal, Udayan is conducting weekly fundraising meetings to revamp our strategy and diversify income sources. As part of our preparation, we are putting all our fundraising collateral in place, developing databases, qualifying prospects and allocating roles and responsibilities across our fundraising team.


Udayan collaborated with Nandita Dalal, a Mumbai-based Fundraising Consultant earlier this year to conduct a strategic review of the organization from a fundraising perspective and take Udayan to the next level.

Ms. Nandita Dalal

Udayan also welcomed new staff member, Shourya Chatterjee to Udayan in March who takes up the role of Fundraising Manager.  With extensive experience in raising Sponsorships and working with Schools and colleges in and around Kolkata, Shourya is a great addition to the team to help support our fundraising efforts.


Currently, the core fundraising team comprises Nandita Dalal, Dipak Sahu, Adrija Mitra, Shourya Chatterjee and Emily R Menon. 

Post Lockdown Planning by Udayan Team

The NGO sector in India has been in a state of flux over the last 3 months during Lockdown. As it tries to re-imagine life post COVID-19, Udayan is refining its strategies to suit the changed scenario.


Focusing on the immediate post-lockdown scenario, Udayan is channelizing its efforts to ensure the protection of our beneficiaries and staff. The Governing Body of Udayan has been working with our Director, Dipak Sahu, to develop a detailed operational plan that will help us continue working on our goals without putting people’s safety at stake.


Total Estimated Budget for proposed COVID-19 post lockdown measures is INR 1.96 Lakh – we seek your support to help us cover this additional expense.


Udayan will implement the following broad guidelines from our Post-Lockdown Strategy:

 Cleanliness and Hygiene

       All buildings and vehicles at Udayan will be sanitized on a regular basis.

       After entering into the premises, mandatory hand sanitization is to be followed by all.

       Sanitation of walls, doors and windows will be done twice a week.

       Washrooms and toilet cleanliness will be ensured. These facilities will be cleaned daily with phenyl to keep a check on infections.

       Masks are compulsory for all children and staff members.

       Sanitizers and hand wash soap will be placed in all cottages and common places inside the premises. House Brothers and House Mothers will ensure regular cleanliness and handwash be maintained by all children.

       All the staff members shall daily sanitize their respective mobile phones, laptops, electronic tablets, etc. 

       All the groceries and vegetables will be properly cleaned and  sanitized as soon as they are brought from outside before being used in the kitchen.

       All kitchen staff members will use hand gloves, headcover and masks while cooking in the community kitchen. Frequent hand washing by cooks will be monitored by the Accountant and Store Keeper.



Entry and Visit

       No staff member with symptoms of cold and fever should enter Udayan premises.

       Compulsory screening for all people visiting the premises.

       Entry gate will be equipped with a thermal scanner.

       Visitors, sponsors or volunteers are not allowed to visit Udayan cottages and interact with children. However, they can visit the office with proper permission from Udayan authorities.

       Children should get a fitness certificate issued by a Doctor before coming to Udayan. Any child with fever or related symptoms will not be allowed entry.

       Children’s entry in Udayan premises post-lockdown will be in  phase-wise manner.



Helplines and Other Information

       A contact person will be appointed for every cottage. This person will be responsible for reporting the health status of children on a daily basis to paramedical staff. The paramedical staff will bring to notice any illness to the Director.

       Staff members will avoid crowd formation in the premises and will ensure maintaining social distance while working and interacting with children too.

       Food will be served while keeping in mind the social distancing norms. Food will be served using spoons and tongs and will strictly not be touched by hands.

The Public Helpline numbers of the Central Government of India (1075) and Government of West Bengal HelpLine Number (1800313444222/03323412600) to be displayed in all prominent places inside Udayan premises. All House brothers & mothers must keep the same saved in their mobile phones.

Continuing Education During Lockdown

Udayan is committed to keeping up the educational interests of our children despite all challenges. Even during lockdown when children are at home with their family members, Udayan staff is making sure to keep them engaged with educational and awareness activities. Besides academics, the emphasis is also on highlighting the importance of social distancing, frequent hand wash and wearing face masks.


With whatever little access to technology that our families have, Udayan is trying to make use of it and conduct online sessions with children. For children from grades KG to 4th, our primary teachers are taking sessions over WhatsApp video calls or simple phone calls. Teachers have formed WhatsApp groups and are taking classes from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 1 pm. Our intent is to keep our children in touch with the subjects by revising concepts and clearing their doubts.

 It is encouraging to see children showing a lot of interest in the classes. In fact, those who don’t have smartphones are borrowing it from their neighbours.

For senior kids studying in classes 5th to 12th and who have been attending the local government schools, they have re-joined online classes from 11th June 2020 - after their summer vacation. The State Government has also taken initiatives and is telecasting educational programmes on television - Udayan encourages them to watch the series and clear their doubts during online sessions.

Seven of our children pursuing nursing courses in Chhattisgarh are also regularly attending online classes organized by their respective colleges.


We hope the schools and colleges will reopen soon and all children at Udayan will continue their journey towards a brighter future.

Saturday 27 June 2020

Ensuring Proper Nutrition with Ration Support Program

Current times have been particularly difficult for families surviving on daily wages – and with most families from West Bengal’s Leprosy Colonies relying on daily income from begging, rag picking and labouring work, the impact has been harsh. To ensure proper nutrition during this time, Udayan responded with distribution of ration kits to families, with the support of corporate donors, Wipro & SBI Life Insurance.

The nutrition of Udayan children was affected during the lockdown as it was becoming increasingly difficult for their families to arrange the basic necessities, despite rations delivered by the Government. Considering that many of our children and their family members are undergoing leprosy treatment or have been affected in the past, proper nutrition becomes even more crucial for them.

Despite government aid and support from ‘local groups’, it was evident that the members of our Udayan family would need more support to make it through extended lockdown with adequate supplies to ensure proper meals. 

In April 2020, Wipro Foundation extended its support of INR 6 lakh to provide dry ration for families facing the loss of livelihood due to COVID-19. Our staff members and community volunteers from the respective colonies quickly mobilized and coordinated with local grocery shops to finalize the rate of dry rations for relief work, with the support of our Director.  
With the help of Wipro Foundation, Udayan team provided dry ration support to 600 families in 10 colonies under the district Bardhaman Bankura & Purulia of West Bengal. Each family received 20 Kg rice, 1 Kg soybean, 3 Kg potatoes, 1 Kg masoor dal (red lentil), 1 liter of mustard oil, 1 Kg sugar, 1 Kg suji, 1 Kg salt, and 1 pc soap.