Building Communities Of Change
U&I Annual Impact Report 2016- 2017
Letter from the Co-founders
It was back in 2003. I was living the “Great Indian Dream.” It was a dream which dictated that if you want to be successful, you got to pack your bags and leave the country. That’s exactly what I did. I worked for a firm in Yorkshire, England, and life was perfect – I was experiencing every high of the "successful" life. Till it suddenly came crashing down on me. I was on vacation in India when I got a call from my boss in England: my visa could not be renewed. The news knocked the wind out of me, but I decided to pick up the pieces and start an HR firm. It would be a social enterprise where I could place job seekers from all segments of society. But my dream of making a difference, became nothing more a drudgery as I found myself unwittingly joining the rat race.
Yet, in the midst of it, interviewing candidate after candidate, there was something I noticed: The Great Indian Divide. There was a distinct separation between the have’s and the have not’s. The have’s came to us with several job opportunities under their belt, figuring out if they could beat their last offer. The have not’s came with broken English, poor computer skills and a deep desperation for a job that would put food on the table. That’s when Ajit and I (we were friends at the time) decided we could use the office facility after working hours to run an English and computer class for those who were “left behind.”
What began as a small act of social service became the bravest – and some would say stupidest – decision we could ever make. We closed down the HR firm to begin U&I Trust in 2011.Today, from that one classroom, U&I has over 30 Learning Centers; from 15 kids in 2011, today we reach more than 1400 children (statistics for July 2017). All it took was one stupid, brave decision. And the grit for the long haul. When we first took our volunteer-centric model to industry leaders, we were told in no uncertain terms: this is not going to work. We were told that we cannot possibly run a teaching model with volunteers. Yet, six years and thousands of volunteers later, we’ve proved that to make a difference it sometimes takes a decision that doesn’t quite add up.2016-2017 was a year of consolidation. It was a year of laying the strong groundwork for our future. It was a year that far exceeded our expectations.Take a look at our journey. Take a look at why we do what we do. Let’s build communities of change together.
Best wishes,Satish Manchikanti & Ajit Sivaram – Co-founders, U&I
At U&I, our mission is to bring education and healthcare to disadvantaged communities across India.In 2016-2017, hundreds of children received a quality education, the differently abled received personal care and therapy, our volunteers gave it their all, and our team invested more than they thought possible.
Overview Of Teach And Care
At U&I we care about people. People who are denied privileges. People who are ignored andkept at the sidelines. People who deserve a community that cares enough to make a difference.
Through U&I Teach our committed tutors invest in the lives of underprivileged children at our afterschool learning centers across India. We teach them, we answer questions, we read with them, we affirm them, we let them know that they matter and that their dreams matter. In 2016-2017, we impacted the lives of 850 disadvantaged children. One child at a time.
Through U&I Care, our team works with one of the most neglected groups in our community - abandoned special needs individuals. These are differently abled men, women, and children who live in government-run institutions. For many of them, U&I is the closest thing to family. We conduct physiotherapy, we teach them about hygiene, we train them in vocational skills. We show them that they matter. In 2016-2017, we impacted the lives of 250 special needs residents in State-run homes. One person at a time.
We’ve discovered that children in low-income schools are not getting a quality education. We’ve also discovered that children thrive with personal attention and affirmation. Our team of 1000 committed and trained tutors teach 850 kids across India at our after-school learning centers. We keep the ratio small - one tutor to a maximum of three children. We give each child the individualized attention they need to beat the system and become the best version of themselves.
There is an education crisis in the country. Children are enrolled in school but not getting an education. The teacher to student ratio is often as high as 1:60, leading to a lack of individualized attention. Children are unable to grasp what is being taught in the classroom and have little opportunity to ask questions and clear doubts. Statistics show that 50% of students in Grade 5 cannot read a Grade 2 textbook or solve a simple subtraction problem. Learning outcomes are poor and morale is even lower. Almost 50% of students drop out before they enter high school. Many of these children find themselves as daily wage earners and the cycle of poverty continues unabated.
The good news is the crises in education in India can be tackled. The solutions are implementable. Give each child individualized attention and mentorship so they can get a quality education and the motivation to pursue their studies.
U&I has proved over the last seven years that using a volunteer-centric model is an effective way to provide high quality, personalized education to underprivileged children across India. We train our tutors so we're all on the same page, all across the country. We audit every class so there is accountability and impact. We maintain a 3:1 student to tutor ratio, ensuring maximum learning through individualized attention. We know that it's not only about academics. Through our 360˚ program, we conduct reading programs, we take kids on field trips, we do art camps and career workshops, we conduct medical camps and we ensure our children receive a well-rounded, holitistic education, a firm grounding for future learning. We make sure that in every single class we affirm our students. One kind word, a single conversation can change the course of a life. And we take that responsibility of mentorship very seriously.
In 2016-2017, every child we tutored passed their exams and moved to the next grade. Many of them have reached grade level competency in English, Math and Science. There was a marked improvement in performance from their first assessments to their final assessments. Yet, at U&I, the emphasis is never numbers. It's always about the children. Children like Nirmala who once would listlessly look away from her tutor and her textbook who now cannot wait to raise her hand and answer questions. Our children show a keener interest in their academics. They work hard to complete their homework. They have increased exposure to quality literature through our reading program. They take on leadership positions in their schools. They grow in their confidence and they know that their dreams are within reach.
By the Numbers
At U&I, we're certain of this one thing: It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the people. Always.
But sometimes the numbers blow us away too.
volunteers who invested in our kids
volunteer tutor hours
cities we were in
pass rate for English
pass rate for Math and Social Studies
Highest Post Assessment Center Average
Average Pre-Assessment Score
Average Post Assessment Score
Dhanraj was an 8th grader with big dreams. He was a bright kid and excelled in all his subjects at his State-run school in Coimbatore. But there was one issue: his grasp of English. No matter how well he did in his other subjects, English always baffled him.That’s when U&I came into Dhanraj's life and English classes began. Gradually, Dhanraj began to make sense of the language, even becoming fluent in it.The change was so remarkable that his mother decided that she wanted Dhanraj to pursue his
studies in an English-medium school where the quality of instruction would be higher. She was a single mother, a day laborer, and a daily wage earner. But she had a fierce determination for her son to succeed.
She decided to take on another job – simply to fund her child’s education, to give him the opportunities she never had.
She told Dhanraj’s U&I tutor: "I got the confidence to send Dhanraj to a private school only because of how I saw him perform at his U&I classes. He is now so good at English. Thank you for giving my son this opportunity." Dhanraj’s mother instinctively knew what statistics
prove: knowledge of English equates to better jobs. Jobs that pay 400% more than those that require only the local language. English is a game changer in the job market. A way from poverty to possibility.
At U&I, we’re about giving kids every chance to beat the odds. We tutor them. We mentor them. We believe in them.In 2016-2017 we reached 850 children. Kids like Dhanraj who have the talent and the ability. But just need someone who believes in them.
Thankfully, Dhanraj has his mom and U&I behind him.
We know he’ll go places.
Teacher Training & Orientation
We take our new and returning volunteer teacher through the why their role is crucial, what we expect of them, U&I's culture and best practices, classroom management, creative bank ideas and Flippen tools (a classroom management system developed by the Flippen Group, USA).
This three-day residential training is conducted for all of our leaders and next-generation leaders. Leaders from across the country meet together for intensive team-building workshops, goal setting, training in Firki (a Teach for India initiative) and learning how to lead from below.
This is a training program scheduled for the end of year to motivate volunteers to continue to inspire and lead students.
In addition to these trainings, U&I is intentional about volunteer engagement opportunities scheduled through the year as we understand that individuals thrive in community.
CELEBRATING GREAT WORK
We call it the “VIP” or the volunteer intern party. We know how to glam it up (at least once ayear!) and rock the red carpet. We let our top tutors and our top teams know that
they're making a huge difference.
Chapter of the Year
Chapter Fellow of the Year
Learning Center of the Year
AKKAMAHADEVI SEVA SAMAJA
HERE'S WHAT OUR STUDENTS HAVE TO SAY
They're the reason we do what we do. They are our best compliment.
5th grade, U&I Learning Center, Mumbai
Two years back when my first teacher started classes with me, I didn't know how to read English words. Now, I don't just read but actually look forward to giving my tests.
9th grade, U&I Learning Center, Bangalore
“I’ve been learning with U&I for three years now. My U&I akkas and annas have helped me become more interested in my studies and made me more responsible. Also because of the “good things” we share in class, I feel like it’s made me look at each day as a good day.”
U&I Care : a Look at what we do
At U&I Care we come alongside those who need us the most: abandoned special needs individuals. These individuals in State-run homes for the differently-abled need someone to advocate for them. We are that someone. Our staff ensures that the residents in these Homes are given the care that they deserve so that they can live with dignity. The programs we run are education and vocational training focused.
U&I has employed special educators, caregivers, cleaners, nurses, physiotherapists, and counsellors to ensure that the residents in two government-run homes for the differently-abled have access to proper hygiene and nutrition and are receiving therapy for their specific disabilities.
Institute for Mentally Handicapped Children
We worked with the boys at the Home to develop their skills. In 2016-17, our staff introduced the internationally-recognized Five Development Domain curriculum to help the boys grow in their physical, cognitive, social, language and emotional faculties. We celebrated birthdays and festivals with the boys. We played games with them to help improve their flexibility. We worked with each child to ensure proper hygiene and the meeting of individual goals.
Social Service Complex for Men
U&I worked with the special needs men in the institute to ensure that each of them receive physiotherapy, social skills training, special education and proper hygiene. The men also took part in various vocational training activities so that they stayed engaged and improved in their motor skills. U&I volunteers also meet with the men every week, providing much needed social interaction and a break from the routine.
At U&I, there’s one thing we’re certain of : It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the people.Always. But sometimes the numbers blow us away too.
Special Needs Boys
Special Needs Men
He would spend most of the day cleaning toilets. The manager of the institute called him a "full-time scavenger." Somehow, in Sadab's mind, this was where he was supposed to be - relegated to the restrooms of the State-run Institute for Mentally Handicapped Children (IMHC).
Sadab was the kid that everyone else steered clear of. He would react violently at times, lashing out at the other children, hitting them when he was frustrated.
Sadab is one of the 90 boys at the Institute. But U&I's staff didn't see him as just another troublesome kid.
They didn't choose the easy route of ignoring his cleaning stints or his hitting. Instead, they chose to persist in their efforts with Sadab. It was a gradual process, but eventually their concern and love won Sadab over.
"He has come to trust us," says Jay, U&I's Care manager at the Home. "He feels secure when he's with us." Through their faithful handling of Sadab's outbursts, through positive reinforcement, and through activities that keep him engaged, U&I's Care team has seen Sadab story do a 180.
"Sadab is now one of our fastest learners," says Jay, speaking of Sadab's involvement in all the vocational training activities at the Home.
Whether it's jute mat making or painting lamps, Sadab learns new skills quickly. Today, he doesn't feel the need to hide in the bathrooms.
U&I's team took the time to understand Sadam. They knew that he needed structure. That he needed new activities to keep him engaged. That he needed love. And when they offered Sadam those things, his story saw a dramatic shift.
Instead of hitting the other kids, Sadab now feeds meals to those children who are unable to feed themselves. He is quick to greet visitors. He is eager to keep learning. He is an example that proves that nobody's story is written in stone. Definitely not Sadab's.
Our TEAM. Our Superheroes.
Our team consists of incredibly talented and passionate people who make adifference by doing what they love. We decided to turn the spotlight on a couple of them(although they would have preferred to hide backstage).
"Even though I had a successful career at Flipkart, I knew I wanted something more. I wanted to stop complaining that things need to change and to actually be that change. U&I lets me use my skills as a manager in situations where I can make a difference. My work is changing lives - and there's nothing more satisfying."
I always knew that I wanted to serve others. When I came to the boys' home, I saw the dire need and knew that this was where I was meant to serve. I've served here for almost four years. It has been very challenging but I'm happy to be the change.
Teach Program Manager
"What would you want your story to be? That's the question that our co-founder Satish asked me. At that moment, I knew I wanted my story to be about making a difference through U&I. I took on the challenge of setting up U&I in different parts of the country with single-minded focus. It's been a four-year journey. This is home for me."
PR and Communication Manager
"I first joined U&I as a volunteer and loved the sense of community I experienced. That's the reason I joined the team when I graduated from college. This is my first job and I'm learning a ton because of the trust placed on me to handle various projects! I now see just how much hard work goes on behind the scenes to make sure every child is impacted positively. That's my inspiration to give it my all."
Corporate Connect Manager
"I had finished my engineering degree and couldn't find a job that ticked off all the boxes. While I was scrolling through Facebook one day, U&I's page jumped out at me. The recruitment ad said, "Are you crazy enough to change the world?" As kids, we all believe we can change the world. As adults, we accept the world as it is. We don't want to mess with the status quo. But it was heartening to know that someone out there still believed they could change the world. I applied for the job and there's been no looking back."
Project Manager - Social Service Complex for Men
"Six years ago I visited the boys' home as part of the nursing faculty. When I walked in I thought there's no way anyone could ever work there. The place had a terrible stench and was extremely dirty. But then one of the boys suddenly gave me a hug. In my shock, I pushed him away and he remarked, "I'm like your brother. Why do you push me?" That was a turning point for me. I knew I needed to be with those boys. Every day, I see the impact of my decision. The boys who sat listlessly in the corner without any engagement are now in classes and activities through the day. They now socialize with each other and us. We have become their family."
Individual Donations ₹6,386,114
Bank Interest ₹162,026
U&I Care ₹1,972,260
U&I Teach ₹5,604,432
You had our back and we’re incredibly grateful! Thank you to our volunteers who raisedfunds – you know firsthand that the children we reach need our support. Thank you to ourindividual donors, our well-wishers, who gave even though they didn’t have to.And, of course, our awesome corporate sponsors.
Thank you for believing in us!
A big THANK YOU to all our Corporate Partners
These organizations vetted us and gave us a thumbs up!
GuideStar India Gold Level Member
Vetted by CAF America
Vetted by Global Giving America
Ad grants partner with Google for Non Profits
Our Big FUNdraisers
We’re an NGO who knows how to have a good time – for a cause.
U&I Charity Comedy Festival!
We made people laugh at the U&I Charity Comedy Festival! An impressive lineup of
India’s funniest and best stand-up comedians played to a full house in September.
Eight hundred people laughed– and learned about how education can give wings
to underprivileged children.
U&I Latin Food Festival!
We got folks in Bangalore to put on their dancing shoes and let their hair down at the U&I Latin FoodFestival 2017!
Hundreds sampled the cuisine and the culture of the Latin America – in the very heart of Bangalore. To the Latin community and the performers who gave of their time and talent, U&I says, “Gracias”!
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