Student Verses – Poonam Waghri

One of our exceptional students, Poonam is a budding poet and a social change maker. Along with a team of students from her school, Avsara Academy, she participated in the International Changemakers Olympiad in January 2020, to tackled a relevant social issue she could identify. She and her team took sessions on anger management and stress relief for healthy behaviour practices for her peers in two schools including AIC. They reached out to at least 50 students and made a positive impact in their lives!

Here are a few poetry verses penned down by Poonam in June 2020

Dear our Mother Earth,

First of all

I don’t know how did

Humans know your gender?

What made us decide this?

And if we did

Do we take care of you

Like our Mothers?

Sometimes you are so parched

That you gulp a single rain drop in a flash of light.

You bear the scorching hot sun,

So that we could live in peace.

But we never asked you what you wanted…

We have infrastructural activities to rank ourselves number one

In economy

Every moment we plucked a flower or the whole tree

By its roots

We ignored your cries..

We spoiled your beautiful

Water bodies with our human waste

But this COVID19

Brought you in spotlight..

We are able to reflect on our selfish actions.

From now

I personally grow a small tree

Every Mother’s day


A change maker of AIC, if you wake up Parinaz, fondly known as Pari, in the middle of the night and give her a math problem, she will happily take out her books and solve it! She has been passing this enthusiasm for the subject to her beloved students at AIC for the last three years.

Managing multiple roles at AIC currently, Pari aspired to be a teacher since she was in the 10th grade and she finally believes she has the job she was made for! She enjoys being a part of the AIC family and feels a sense of belonging to the community. She aims to be a mentor to each of her students and loves to enthusiastically take on any task that is assigned to her which makes her to perfect fit for the AIC team.

“The naughtiest of the children brighten your days and the best ones give you pride. Such are the children at Ashraya!” – Parinaz


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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

Ranjanas große Reise

Unser ganzer Stolz, Ranjana, hat gerade als Athletin des indischen Floorhockey-Teams an den Special Olympics in Graz teilgenommen! Das ist wirklich eine unglaubliche (und so verdiente) Möglichkeit für dieses hart-arbeitende Mädchen, die sich durch Ausscheidungen auf dem Bezirks-, Landes- und nationalem Level gegen viele andere Athletinnen durchsetzen musste.

Letzte Woche hatte sie die Möglichkeit AIC Austria Obfrau Judith, die Ranjana schon jahrelang kennt, in Graz zu treffen, was für beide sehr emotional war!

Vor kurzem haben wir erfahren, dass Ranjanas Team die Bronze-Medaille bekommen hat. Wir sind wirklich sehr stolz auf sie!

Die ganze besondere Geschichte von Ranjana kannst du hier nachlesen.


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Ein bisschen Weihnachtszauber für AIC


Wir, von AIC, haben als oberstes Ziel unseren Kindern Selbstachtung und Selbstwertschätzung zu vermitteln. Außerdem wollen wir ihnen die Möglichkeit geben die Welt um sich herum zu erforschen und dabei mit anderen zu interagieren. Einfach gesagt: sie sollen ihre Kindheit in vollsten Zügen genießen und offen sein für Neues.


Indiens 70. Unabhängigkeitstag

Happy Independence Day!


Schon in der Woche vor unserer offiziellen Feier von Indien 70. Unabhängigkeitstag im AIC Bildungszentrum, konnte man den Patriotismus und die Aufregung bei den Kindern und unseren Angestellten spüren. Die Klassen probten und so mancher Besucher und unsere Mitarbeiten kamen so zu inoffiziellen Konzerten und Aufführungen. In der Zwischenzeit beschäftigten die Lehrer die Kinder mit Flaggenbastelstunden und Unterricht zur Geschichte und der Gesellschaft Indiens. (more…)

Die Ergebnisse sind da

… und wir können sehr stolz auf unsere AIC SchülerInnen sein!

Anfang dieses Monats loggten sich die AIC SchülerInnen und MitarbeiterInnen nervös in ein online-Portal ein, um die Ergebnisse der sogenannten Board Exams abzufragen. Diese Prüfungen entsprechen der österreichischen Matura und werden nach der 10. Schulstufe abgehalten. Die Ergebnisse des Examens sind sehr wichtig, weil sie beeinflussen, in welches College man aufgenommen wird. Natürlich nehmen wir bei AIC die Board Exams daher sehr ernst.

Standard 10

One of AIC’s 10th standard classes, with staff (© Sarah Lauzé Photography)


The AIC-difference

Die kleine Priya, die wir liebevoll Piyu nennen, ist 3 Jahre alt und hat gerade das einjährige Spielgruppenprogramm bei AIC abgeschlossen. Sie beginnt im Juni mit der Krabbelgruppe. Vor kurzem setzten wir uns mit ihrer Mutter zusammen, um ihre Gefühle zu AIC, der Spielgruppe und der Waghri-Gemeinschaft, mit deren Mitgliedern AIC arbeitet, zu besprechen.

Priya at playgroup (© Sarah Lauzé Photography)

Priya at playgroup (© Sarah Lauzé Photography)


Ein neuer Beginn und ein herzlicher Abschied

Februar war ein ereignisreiches Monat hier bei AIC. Eine neue Klasse wurde gestartet und mit schwerem Herzen verabschiedeten wir uns von einer langjährigen Kollegin und Freundin. Madhavi war drei Jahre lang Teil unseres Teams als Leiterin des Gesundheitsprogramms und war ein Segen für uns alle. Sie hatte keine Wahl zu bleiben, sondern muss aus gesundheitlichen Gründen gehen und wünscht sich weiterhin ein Teil der AIC-Familie zu bleiben und uns so oft wie möglich zu besuchen. Madhavis letzter Tag vor Ort beinhaltete eine Überraschungsfeier, viele Tränen und noch viel mehr Lachen. Sie erklärte uns: “Es ist ein Tag, den ich ewig voller Freude in Erinnerung behalten werde. Zu sehen, dass alle vier Aspekte von AIC hier in einem Raum repräsentiert sind, dass alle gekommen sind, um die Arbeit, die ich gemacht habe, zu würdigen. Ich fühle eine starke Verbindung und die Leistung, die wir alle gemeinsam zustande gebracht haben.”



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. Read more…

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.


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. Read more…

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.”


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. Read more…