Hip Hop Needs More Love

In October, volunteers from Austria came to Pune to work on a music project with our Residential Program children during the Diwali break. For two weeks you could hear the kids rehearsing their lines, and the boys’ room was modified to function as an informal sound studio – basically a cupboard with a lot of blankets, mattresses, and a microphone.

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First Aid with Dr. Madhavi

Welcome to Dr. Madhavi’s first aid workshop at AIC! Here, you will learn basic first aid for common accidents.

Ms. Shital with her newly dressed sling

On an especially busy Monday morning, the AIC teachers were preparing for their students to bustle into the classrooms. Ms. Shital was hanging up two-letter word placards, when she suddenly fell off of her footstool, potentially spraining her wrist! Mondays can be so rough.

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A Reason to Give ~ Ashwini

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When Ashwini was growing up in the Waghri basti, or slum, she suffered from recurrent and extremely painful ear infections that were never adequately treated or completely resolved. Like many children in our communities, she adapted to the situation, and her pain, ear blockage and hearing loss simply became part of life. This cycle of infection, inflammation and irritation weakened her eardrum and caused a growth called a cholesteatoma, which can permanently damage hearing and turn into a potentially life-threatening condition if allowed to expand further into the skull and brain. Read more…

A Reason to Give ~ Sahil

Sahil 1The best word to describe Sahil is definitely masti, or mischief. This adorable 8-year-old keeps teachers and caretakers on their toes with his antics, but his love for trouble caught up with him this summer when the wall on which he was precariously balanced collapsed and crushed his femur. He suffered multiple fractures and skin and muscle lacerations, along with a serious puncture wound from a metal rod that pierced his leg when he fell. After the accident, Sahil was immediately rushed to the hospital, where he was met by a team of AIC administrators, health workers and caregivers. This team stayed with his family throughout the evening and into the night as doctors performed emergency surgery to repair his broken bone and torn muscle tissue. Finally, at around 1:30 a.m., the surgery finished. The final tally: 7 stitches internally, 15 stitches externally, plus two large screws and an external rod to support his fragile bone as it healed from the 3 fractures. Read more…

A Reason to Give ~ Keval

Photo0024Keval’s family is AIC through and through: his aunt is one of the Education Outreach Centre’s longest-running caregivers, and his mother, other aunt, and grandmother are all stalwarts of the Community Outreach Program and have worked at AIC in various capacities over the years. He himself has cycled in and out of the Education Outreach Program, although the firm rules on attendance have proved an obstacle. Keval was a normal, fun-loving teenager until May of this year, when he suddenly lost his ability to walk. AIC supported him and his family through the diagnostic process, which involved countless scans, probes, and tests spread over weeks of visits to specialists and hospitals. It is an intimidating and scary ordeal for any family, but especially so for Keval’s, as they are illiterate and unaccustomed to dealing with doctors and official procedures. Finally, the diagnosis came: rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of muscle cancer. Read more…

Breaking the Silence

Many thanks to Suneetha Giridhar for this guest post on the occasion of World AIDS Day.

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Imagine the following scenario faced by a girl in India:

Married as a young teenager, a mother one year later, abused,  battered, and deserted by her husband at eighteen, back to her parents’ house by nineteen,  given away in a second marriage to yet another alcoholic, irresponsible husband, and five more children by twenty-eight. Read more…

Divya’s Story

One might imagine that sending a child to school would be a relative easy affair – provide a uniform, pay annual school fees, purchase some pencils and notebooks – sounds doable, right?

DSC01387aHowever, the factors that affect this child’s success (or lack thereof) at school are much deeper and more complicated than that. Problems at home are often the root cause of poor academic performance, behavioral issues, and inconsistent attendance. Ensuring the health and welfare of families is a crucial aspect of providing educational opportunities for AIC’s students and we don’t have to search very far to witness the impact of this approach—we see it every day in students like Divya (name changed).

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Baby Nikhil

AIC is excited to announce the birth of baby Nikhil!

DSC02327Thanks to the diligent prenatal care provided by AIC’s Health Outreach Program, Nikhil’s mother, Gopi, delivered her healthy baby boy by scheduled Caesarean section on October 8th, 2014. While it may seem strange to highlight the birth of one baby in the Waghri community, given that AIC supports dozens of women through their pregnancies and deliveries each year, Gopi’s healthy pregnancy and Nikhil’s birth illustrate the profound impact that consistent, high-quality prenatal care can have for women and babies in the AIC communities. Read more…

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…

Monsoon Days

monsoondays2The monsoon arrived in Pune in July, bringing rain and the seasonally damp air that now, three months later, are starting to be replaced by sunshine and drier days as the rains subside. The monsoon is welcome as it is necessary for the success of crops and for replenishing the municipal drinking water reservoirs after the dry, hot summer months, but it also causes health and safety concerns for many of AIC’s families. 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 Teacher in the Making

On July 12th, students in India celebrated their teachers in an annual festival called Guru Purnima. It’s a day of thanks for the time, knowledge, and dedication they give, and an opportunity to reflect on the impact they make. Teachers, after all, encourage students to grow and often act as catalysts, guiding students as they turn goals and aspirations into reality. In addition to our wonderful staff at AIC, we have a budding teacher among our students this year.

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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

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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…