Diwali Lights

Blog Diwali-003As usual, the Residential Program kids had a couple weeks off for Diwali to enjoy the festivities and take a well-deserved break from daily rigors of school.  This year, we kicked off Diwali break with a four-day trip to the Mahindra United World College of India (MUWCI), an International Baccalaureate junior college where one of our our oldest girls, Jyoti, recently began the 2-year IB program. The children were delighted to be back on MUWCI’s picturesque mountainside campus for the second year in a row, excited to be reunited with Jyoti and away from the booming firecrackers and bustling crowds that fill Pune’s city center during the Diwali season. Read more…

Partners in Learning

3U7A9680It’s no secret that active parental involvement in a child’s education enriches the learning experience. This year, one of our main areas of focus in the Education Outreach Program is to provide more opportunities for parents to partner with us and to concentrate on creating deeper, working relationships that ultimately set a standard of solidarity on which children can rely for support and encouragement in school. Read more…

A Pre-Primary School Trip

IMG_9484As the school year came to a close last month, the AIC Pre-Primary School children were treated to a field trip at Pune’s historic Empress Gardens to celebrate the hard work of all of our students and teachers this year. The children were thrilled to have an opportunity to trade the crowded, slum environment of urban Yerwada for the lush, green landscapes of the so-called “Jewel of Pune.” On the morning of the outing, they were so excited that they even began lining up at the AIC Education Outreach Centre several hours before the bus was scheduled to depart! Read more…

Going Places

geetajyoti
Last week, Geeta and Jyoti from our Residential Program learned that they have been selected to attend United World Colleges for the next two years!

Jyoti will begin the new school year in August at UWC Mahindra College, the alma mater of several of AIC’s founding directors, and Geeta will be heading to Germany to attend the newest UWC campus there, UWC Robert Bosch College! We are so incredibly grateful for the stars that aligned so that they could receive full scholarships to attend UWC. UWCs are prestigious IB schools that bring students together from all over the world in the spirit of global peace and understanding, and we have no doubt that our girls will have much to contribute to their new schools.

Thank you to the many wonderful people who advocated for them throughout this process, and of course, the countless supporters who have helped them get to where they are today. Finally, we are proud – SO proud – of these two lovely young ladies and their hard work and achievements. These two are going places (literally!) and we can’t wait to share their upcoming adventures with you!

Brick Walls

“The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
– Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

She was standing near the flag pole, dressed in her gray salwar kameez uniform. Her eyes, shining with the pride of achievement, visible even from a distance, constantly flitted in a particular direction, as if seeking some sort of reassurance. I followed her gaze and saw a middle aged couple – her parents, I guessed. She was Suman, a 13-year old student of the AIC Education Outreach Program and the Chief Guest of our Republic Day function at Ashraya. Read more…

A family retreat

In July, the Residential Program kids had a long holiday weekend. And, after a hot, dusty summer (March – June in Pune) and a month at boarding school in the heart of the city, how better to spend a long weekend than in the rural outskirts of Pune, enjoying the lush greenery and clean, crisp air of monsoon season? Read more…

An interview with Aakash

For anyone wondering where Residential Program big brother Aakash has been recently (since there hasn’t been much mention of him in the blog and he hasn’t been in too many photos), we figured a little update was in order. Aakash, who turns 21 (!!) next month, has been working and living with extended family in the area since last year, after having initially transitioned from the Residential Program to shared accommodations for working/studying young men. He comes over to spend time with the rest of the kids when he gets a break from work, and last week we took the opportunity to catch up with him about his plans, goals and life of late. Read more…

New Faces!

We have new faces at AIC!  Just two weeks ago we welcomed Bunty and Manali to the team, and we are thrilled to have them on board.

Bunty comes to us with years of experience teaching, and will be our Education Outreach Program Director following Claudia’s (very, very sad!) departure in January.  She brings a desire to inculcate the love of learning in our children and a commitment to effectively manage of those who directly influence our children, our teachers.

Manali is a recent graduate of Rhodes College in Tennessee, and as a dualcitizen of India and the US she brings the perfect background for her new role: the Onsite Program Administrator.  She will be liaising with our directors onsite and our CEO in the US to take care of volunteers, our accounting needs, and our Child Sponsorship program.  Manali brings an award-winning work ethic and a much-needed attention to important details.

Please help us welcome them to the AIC family!

More Diwali festivities

Pooja, helping with the rangoli design

More rangoli
Note that almost all of the children are the same height as Sangeeta (or taller!)

Spending time with AIC’s new CEO, Christie Pettitt-Schieber

Tushar, Geeta, Poonam and Santosh

Organizing the CD/movies cupboard

Cleaning out the water filter (no need to call a professional when you’ve got a Tushar in the family!)

  

New Diwali outfits

  

Pooja and Rahul

 

Awww…brotherly love (this probably didn’t end well)

 

Geeta, Poonam and Kajal, looking so…OLD!
Everyone has been enjoying some much-needed time at the Residential house this week!  And of course, Diwali vacation wouldn’t be complete without the activities that have become annual traditions for the AIC family – firecrackers, lights, diya painting, rangoli, getting to pick out a new Diwali outfit (seriously, the children start planning their Diwali outfits six months in advance!), not to mention lots of cleaning, organizing, and some good old fashioned time together as a family.  
More soon from our other programs!

Arjun’s update

Here he is post-surgery, rocking some very stylish protective glasses while his eye heals!  We are happy to report that he is doing quite well after a two-week hiatus from school and tutoring (straining his eye during the recovery period could have led to irreversible damage), during which he continued to receive nutritional supplementation like milk and eggs from the Education Outreach Centre. (Many of AIC’s students, like Arjun, face daily food insecurity at home, and truly suffer when the Education Centre is closed or they are unable to attend.)

Arjun’s family is extremely grateful that the surgery was successful and is finally over.  As for Arjun, well…Arjun blows bashful kisses and looks like a rockstar in his glasses.  And that’s thanks enough for us. 🙂

Happy almost-weekend from AIC!