STUDENT FEATURE – ANJALI SANTOSH WAGHRI

Meet our football superstar Anjali! Striker to now goalkeeper, she has been playing football for her school team for years now. An enthusiastic learner with a positive attitude in school and Ashraya, Anjali has is a valued member of her school football team. Having received various medals and certificates for her performance nothing comes in the way of her goals!

Anjali is an allrounder both in school and Ashraya and has an excellent way of balancing out her studies and extracurriculars. In January 2020, she won Man of the Match for the Just for Kicks football tournament held in Pune. Anjali was the Captain of the Under 12 girls team and led their way to the semi-finals by only letting in 5 goals in the entire tournament.

We are proud of Anjali for breaking stereotypes around the sport and excelling at it too!

Student Feature – Bhagyashree Ghodke

Bhagyashree is in her last year of college and she’s boldly going where no Ashraya child has been before….into fashion designing! In a society with a preference for doctors and engineers, Bhagyashree’s unique career choice and her internship with Ashraya makes her our feature for this issue.

She has been attending Ashraya classes nearly every day since she was in the 4th standard. After 10th, she was given the opportunity of interning with Ashraya for two months, in which she learned how to use the computer, developed her English skills, and taught a few pre-primary classes.

Bhagyashree was happily surrounded by clothes as a child and her sister was a tailor, so she learned how to sew and decided to pursue fashion designing in college. She is great with the sewing machine; she put together an entire salwaar kameez dress in a day for a younger student for the Annual Day.

Now that she is studying fashion design, her favorite part of the process is sketching and imagining ensembles, especially the long, embellished skirts worn as traditional wear in India, called gaghras.

She also received the Fashion Designer of the year award in her college in 2019. She has also been chosen to represent her college in the Lakme Fashion Week. Bhagyashri plans to open a boutique after her course is over and is working extra hard to achieve that dream.

We are proud of her success and wish her the best!

Student Feature: Aditi Burutkar

Aditi Burutkar’s ambition is extraordinary. She has taken advantage of every single opportunity that has come her way. A school “topper” and a recipient of quite a few school awards, Aditi is all about achieving success in the fields that she excels in and is passionate about.

Ashraya selected two students to attend a leadership camp in Dehradun, Uttarakhand at the end of May. Aditi was one and Saniya Dalal the other (we’ve written a Facebook post about their selection). This ten day camp included adventure activities, critical thinking exercises, theater, and space to debate about big social issues facing India.

Continue reading “Student Feature: Aditi Burutkar”

Ashraya’s Goals for the 2018-2019

When we say that our models for adolescent development and education are holistic, we literally mean that we start from the womb and end when the child is placed in a job.

A child cannot grow up well if her/his mother is not well fed and cared for. We see to the mother’s health when she is pregnant by providing supplements. When the child is born, the mother brings her baby to our health center’s mother-baby classes and we focus on their nutrition and hygiene. Then, the child attends extra classes, beginning from nursery, all the way to 10th standard. And we don’t stop there; we want to see our students studying in colleges around the city (and around the world) and then land a job. Ultimately, we want them to take the leadership in transforming their communities, where once, going to school wasn’t an option. But we don’t live in such times anymore. Quality education is a right for every child and we want them to become change makers in their own communities. by teaching the importance of education to future generations.

Continue reading “Ashraya’s Goals for the 2018-2019”

Ranjana’s journey

AIC rockstar student Ranjana is in Austria right now competing as a part of India’s national floor hockey team in the Special Olympics World Winter Games!! Talk about an INCREDIBLE (and so, so deserved!) opportunity for this hard-working girl, who climbed her way to the top through district, state, and national-level selections for the team. Last week, she was even able to meet up with AIC board member, Judith, who is based in Austria and has known Ranjana for years.

Please join us in congratulating Ranjana on the team’s bronze medal in the floor hockey events!

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India’s 70th Independence Day

Happy Independence Day!

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Leading up to our official celebration of India’s 70th Independence Day, the AIC Education Centre was brimming with excitement and patriotism all of last week. Staff and visitors alike were treated to unofficial concerts and mini performances as classes rehearsed their songs and dances to practice for the big day. Meanwhile, teachers spent time organizing activities like flag-making to gear up for the main event and squeeze in a lesson on Indian history and civics. Continue reading “India’s 70th Independence Day”

A New Beginning and a Fond Goodbye

February was a busy month here at AIC, with a new class being launched and a bittersweet farewell to one of our longtime staff and friends. Madhavi has been with our team for nearly 3 years as the Health Outreach Director, and has been such a blessing during her time here. She is leaving not by choice, but for medical reasons, and wishes to stay connected with the AIC community as much as she can. Madhavi’s last day on site was one filled with a surprise party, many tears, and even more laughter. She stated that, “it is a day I will cherish forever, to see all four aspects of AIC represented in one room, all come together to appreciate and acknowledge the work I have done. I felt such a sense of accomplishment in that moment, to see everyone there together.” 

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Continue reading “A New Beginning and a Fond Goodbye”

The Fight for Change

AIC team members had no idea that Thursday, February 18th, would be a particularly eventful day when they prepared to head into work that morning. However, around 8:45, Education Program Director, Bunty received a call from teachers at Krantiveer Lahuji Vastad Salve E-Learning School (a nearby government school where 34 AIC students are enrolled) informing her that several AIC students were believed to have been involved in a theft earlier in the week.

SL-6621Since we are making an active effort to encourage families to take an increased role in their children’s educations, Bunty told the parents of the children in question to head to the school to get more details, and that she would be over shortly to sort things out. Continue reading “The Fight for Change”

My Children will be Different

Happy International Day of the Girl Child! As everyone who is familiar with AIC undoubtedly knows, the rights and education of girls are central to the work that we do. Although change is happening slowly within the Waghri and Sikligar communities, women and girls still bear the brunt of inequality, violence, illiteracy, malnutrition, child marriage, and early parenthood.

One such girl is Archana, a student in AIC’s Education Program, who has decided to speak publicly about her experiences fleeing her husband earlier this year.

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Archana in 2008

Archana was a student in AIC’s Education Outreach Program from late 2007 to mid-2012 when her parents covertly arranged her marriage. Continue reading “My Children will be Different”

A Child who Reads Becomes an Adult who Thinks

International Literacy Day, according to UNESCO, is a day to celebrate and promote literacy, a “basic human right and fundamental building block for learning as well as a personal empowerment tool.”

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As the underlying themes that underpin our work are the education, cultivation, and empowerment of the next generation of Waghri and Sikligar community members, this occasion is quite significant for us here at AIC. Continue reading “A Child who Reads Becomes an Adult who Thinks”

The Gift of Water

This spring, our Education Centre received a tremendous gift: clean, pure drinking water. The preciousness of this gift cannot be understated. Reliable water connections are hard to come by in the slum area that is home to our Education Centre, and the water that flows through the government water pipes is of dubious quality and cleanliness.

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Although we had relied on a water filter to provide clean drinking water, Continue reading “The Gift of Water”

Happy International Day of the Girl Child!

The U.N. has declared today, October 11th, “International Day of the Girl Child” (admittedly, a bit of a mouthful and not to be confused with India’s National Girl Child Day, celebrated in January). We here at AIC celebrate girls every day! Here are just a few recent shots of the girls that we work hard to educate and empower: Continue reading “Happy International Day of the Girl Child!”