ANNUAL impact REPORT 2018-19
Not Your Usual Sunday
It all began when two friends decided to spend their Sundays in a rather unorthodox fashion. Instead of a self-indulgent weekend, they chose to start helping out at a Government-run Home for special-needs children. Sundays soon became about engaging with the children at the Home and helping clean the compound. What started out as just a few, turned into a following. With more than 50 volunteers helping every week, the Home was revamped and brought to life.
What began as a weekend plan turned into an everyday movement.
The same two friends began discussing what more they could do to help underprivileged kids in their neighbourhood. What would be of value? Computers seemed to be the answer. One of the friends ran his own HR firm - his office space could be used to start computer classes. The evenings would see small groups of kids from nearby slums, crowded around large systems, learning and absorbing all that they could.
It was this eagerness to learn, brought about by the simple exchange between mentor and child, that sparked the idea of what is now called, U&I. This report is a testament to the enduring power of kindness and connection.
We are U&I, a volunteer-powered NGO built on the foundation that change happens when we work together.
Bring education and healthcare to disadvantaged communities across India
Building Communities of Change
U&I Teach and U&I Care
Letter from our co-founders
"The Question that Requires Action, Not an Answer"
When we first volunteered at the State-run Boys’ Home for special-needs children back in 2011, our intention was very simple: the kids needed help and we had the ability to pitch in. So, that’s what we did. We swept, we painted, we mopped floors, we played with the children and we discovered the unparalleled joy of service. Today, that drive to make a difference has morphed into a movement that has impacted thousands of underprivileged children and at-risk individuals.
Like every growing non-profit, we frequently have to stop along the journey to answer the question: Why? Our reports regularly lead with the section, “Why U&I?” We routinely fill in various applications and paperwork that requires us to answer the same question. Our well-researched answer rolls out statistics about the quality of education in India and the power of youth volunteerism.
But today, let’s focus on the question, “Why not?”
Because “Why not?” requires boldness. It demands certain unreasonableness that reports can’t capture. It dares us to dream beyond what others say is do-able.
“Why not?” is the question that has propelled U&I forward in the last eight years. It gave us the freedom to take risks - because we knew those calculated risks meant more lives were transformed. It compelled us to think outside the box. In fact, in the face of nay-Sayers and doubters, it made us remark quite glibly, “What box? We don’t see one."
It was the playwright George Bernard Shaw who said: You see things; and you say 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say 'Why not?'.
This report invites you to take a look at the dreams that “never were” unfolding across the country. It tells the stories of boys and girls who just needed the mentorship of a didi or an anna to drive them to their goals. It sheds light on India’s educated youth who give back to their communities every single week, without dwelling too much of the “why?”
Today, let’s ask questions that don’t just require answers but demand action. Let’s ask, “Why not now?” Because now is the best time there is to make a difference. Let’s ask, “Why not us?” Because if we don’t get in the trenches, who will?
Thank you for fueling our passion and our daring these last eight years. Honestly, we wouldn’t have been able to ask the irreverent questions if we didn’t know that you had our backs.
Warmly,Ajit & Satish(Co-founders and Unreasonable Dreamers of U&I)
Bridging The Gap
While more than 95% of India’s children attend primary school, just 44% complete Class 10 (UN statistics). Many of these children who drop out of school end up as daily wage earners, with fewer opportunities and a lowered chance at success in life. This is where U&I steps in with a concrete plan to impact these children’s lives and create meaningful change for the future. U&I provides a uniquely-tailored program that enables passionate, educated young people to mentor underprivileged children. U&I Teach also includes the Child Enrichment Program where students receive a holistic education which includes art classes, field trips, reading programs, and computer literacy classes, among other activities. This serves to broaden the students’ outlook and boost their confidence. At U&I, we’re serious about making learning fun.
Child Enrichment Program
Our impact is more than just a report card.
At U&I, we truly believe in the power of an all-round education. We want our students to know the world around them and to hone their talents. With this in mind, in 2018-2019 we conducted a series of activities that not only encourages the children to retain their academic prowess but also give them scope and throw light on selecting a career path. These activities include:
Cities of change - hyderabad
Our Learning Centre in Hyderabad focused on academic progress and student growth. The aim of the centre was to build a stronger leader-volunteer community. Our leaders came up with creative methods to improve learning and retention. A Math lesson incorporated the stairs to the classrooms, allowing students to think practically. Every week, the volunteers came up with new methods of teaching because they saw their students’ enthusiastic response to this approach.
Pass Percentage: 74%
Cities of change - bangalore
Our Bangalore leadership team worked in unison - one vision, one team, one goal - with our volunteers across the city incorporating increased volunteer engagement, both online and in real time. The previous year witnessed outstanding results. The team was set on creating tangible impact at their Learning Centers. With combined efforts, the impact on the students beat their expectations.
Pass Percentage: 72%
cities of change - coimbatore
When it comes to closely-knit volunteer communities, we have a lot to learn from our Coimbatore team. In the last year, Coimbatore had the distinction of creating a strong team. Every new volunteer was taken under a leader’s wing - that way U&I’s core culture trickled down to each tutor and each student.
Pass Percentage: 78%
Volunteers: 171Leaders: 20
Cities of change - tirupur
U&I Tirupur built a stronghold the previous year and was able to expand its reach. The volunteer recruitment campaign and the Ketto campaign were a huge success in the city, with our volunteers giving it all. Starting classes in Tirupur was a herculean task. The leaders set out to find Learning Centre Partners and receive permissions from colleges that shared the vision of U&I and recruited volunteers. After several months, their hard work saw results: U&I Tirupur was up and running and transforming lives.
Students: 21Pass Percentage: 100%Volunteers: 16Leaders: 5Centres: 1
cities of change - mysore
Over the last two years, Mysore has become one of our fastest growing cities. We have now have three vibrant Learning Centres in the city. Two of Mysore’s biggest achievements were the Assessment Growth Impact of the students and winning the Most Improved City award of the year. The Learning Centers in Mysore focused on scaling while strengthening the existing leadership and also focused on creating a greater impact on the children at each of the centres.
Pass Percentage: 71%
cities of change - calicut
Our Calicut centre’s vision was to get the volunteers fully plugged in and integrate them into the unique culture of U&I. For our students, the aim was to get them to organically incorporate English into their conversations so it became more and more natural for them. Overall, Calicut embraces the aim of U&I - to give the children a more holistic education.
These stories showcase the real-life miracles that U&I achieves through its dedicated team of volunteers
and their passion to make a difference where it matters the most.
*Pictures and names of people and places have been changed in accordance to U&I's child protection policy
From 'Don't Care' to 'Can Do'!
When Prabhu started classes at U&I, he wasn’t very interested in studying on a Sunday morning. He didn’t think education would help him in the long run. In his first assessment, a disillusioned Prabhu scored all of 55%. But despite his lack of enthusiasm, Prabhu’s U&I tutor refused to give up. He began talking to Prabhu about the value of education, about how it had the potential to transform his life.
With each class and each passing day, Prabhu’s attitude gradually changed. He started showing a keen interest in learning. The boy who had started out with a 55% and an impossible attitude ended up not only believing in the power of learning but also scoring an astounding 85% in his assessment. Prabhu is now a firm believer that hard work and the right attitude can change the course of your life.
Cities of change - cochin
Last year’s focus for Cochin was organisation and change. The centres established were highly organised in the running of classes, emphasised on addressing problems and ﬁnding solutions. A brand new centre has also been set up that focuses on recruiting passionate volunteers who would empower children in the English language and also foster their conﬁdence.
Pass Percentage: 87%
Cities of change - guwahati
U&I established its ﬁrst Learning Centre in Assam this year. Enhancement of communication and teamwork skills, while instilling in students the drive to support each other was a top priority. A centre that was an abandoned, dusty room with spiders turned into a fully-functioning classroom, with chairs and tables - and, of course, lots of kids and volunteers. Keeping the U&I culture alive, the team also integrated elements like “The Door of Greeting”, “The Wall of Afﬁrmation” and the huge "We are Family” banner.
Pass Percentage: 75%
Cities of change - trivandrum
Another new city for U&I this year with a brand new leadership team, centre, volunteers, students and manager. Multiple challenges and yet a strong community of like-minded individuals has been built. The centre’s success is a true testament to the hard work of the Trivandrum team. As a new city, Trivandrum has worked to understand their volunteers’ needs, as well as develop their own skills for quick decision making.
Cities of change - vellore
The focus this time around was volunteer retention throughout the year. The aim was to maintain at least 70% average volunteer attendance ensuring that the kids had a regular teacher teaching them. Another goal was to retain at least 40% of the current team so as to start the next academic year smoothly and it worked out perfectly!
cities of change - delhi
Delhi ran a successful program at three shelter homes. The city faced multiple challenges and other logistical issues, the passion of the team won out. Overcoming hurdles one at a time, the team reached out to children who need a support system in their lives.
Cities of change - pune
The main focus this year in Pune was to transition from a one-day centre to a successful and stable bi-weekly centre with regular classes that was accomplished successfully. A connection with the parents was established, through parent-teacher meets. A solid resource box was worked on, to conduct classes more creatively with tools of art, drama, songs and storytelling. New modes for reducing volunteer attrition were developed by improving engagements and debriefs.
When Valentine’s Day came around, there was a buzz in the air in the Pune Learning Centre. One of the kids, Shalini, looked especially excited. Her eyes darted around the classroom looking for someone. When volunteer Meesha asked Shalini who she was looking for, she responded that she was waiting for her U&I teacher, Gowri. Turns out, Shalini had brought chocolate to give her U&I teacher.
When she saw Meesha and her concern, Shalini offered her the chocolate. Meesha, of course, encouraged Shalini to save the chocolate for her teacher. But Shalini was not to be outdone. She disappeared for a couple of minutes and then ran back with two chocolates - one for Meesha and one for her teacher, Gowri.
Meesha found out later that Shalini had used the pocket money she had saved up to buy her teacher the chocolates. That day our teachers realized that there was something significant that they had built with the kids outside textbooks: a connection born out of mutual love and admiration.
Cities of change - vizag
The idea this year was to improve volunteer engagement. The team worked to enhance retention for the next year by creating a community that truly supports and encourages each other. Since the children at the centre are all within the age group of 5-10, with not much exposure to English, classes were made fun for them by including a Creative Week once a month, where the focus was on learning through games, crafts and dance!
Cities of change - mangalore
Exciting new ideas were incorporated into the teaching program last year. The library program was particularly fun for the children, and they looked forward to starting reading all the books that were collected. Volunteers met for several engagements and brainstorming sessions that impacted the students with improved classroom management techniques.
Pass Percentage: 83%
Cities of change - ahmedabad
The vision at the beginning of the year was to start and get two centres running smoothly. The Ahmedabad centre also achieved a 30% academic growth rate in children. Another major goal was to build a community that helped the volunteers not only within the four walls of U&I but with their own lives as well. Thus, a strongly knit community was built.
Cities of change - KOLLAM
The focus this year was to work on stabilizing the centre and working on the small issues that were causing problems. Building a cohesive leadership team was of utmost importance which would, in turn, ensure a strong centre. Another issue that had to be overcome was being able to maintain a 1:1 ratio between the volunteers and students that was successfully accomplished by Kollam.
Cities of change - THrissur
Stabilizing the Thrissur centre by ensuring that the leaders were thorough with their roles and an improved relationship with the LCP was of primary focus this year. The aim was to change the centre from one that functioned ad hoc to one that could plan in advance. A wholesome learning experience was provided to the children and a positive relationship was built with the LCP and the volunteers.
CITIES OF CHANGE - tiruchy
This year the team experimented to explore new possibilities, consolidate, deepen roots and the centre has deﬁnitely grown. The aim was to look at the bigger picture and enrich all those who are a part of the family, to address and overcome any present or future constraints, and at the end of it all, to appreciate and just be there for each other as the team grew.
Stories OF change
A Few Words
Sometimes, you don’t know if your efforts are yielding results. That’s something our volunteers often feel. Is all their hard work paying off? When our Mangalore volunteer Veena met her student Pratham, she was pleasantly surprised by his grasp of English. Pratham was a quick learner - but it was a challenge to keep him engaged. But Veena persisted. She knew she could take Pratham’s gift for words forward. She used creative teaching methods. She researched new strategies. She encouraged Pratham. Then came her reward. At the end-of-year party, Pratham delivered a handwritten note to his teacher, Veena. It was a handwritten note - and every line was written in flawless English. Every word was heartfelt because Pratham knew something that couldn’t be taught from a textbook - he knew his teacher believed in him.
Cities OF Change - chennai
Chennai has been a star child in our pursuit of building a vibrant and powerful community, with its centres grow from four to six in the last year. 135 children enrolled in the program this year.
The annual U&I awards saw Chennai win the categories of:
Best Centre of the YearBest Centre Fellow - Harshan R
Best L&D Fellow - Rameez
Best Fundraising City
Best Fundraising Centre - Nesakarram Seeds
Pass Percentage: 91%
Leadership: 31Centres: 6
CITIES OF CHANGE - mumbai
More than 250 volunteers began the journey of change in Mumbai this year through one of the most successful recruitment campaigns the team had ever run, with almost 1000 applications for volunteer positions. Mumbai now runs seven centres with over 200 students.Notably, Mumbai worked on a new leadership structure. A new role called the Student Fellow was created to channel efforts towards student learning. The city witnessed strong academic results and the average for the city stood at 81%, a massive improvement from the previous years.In a major breakthrough for Mumbai, The team took students to visit parks, museums, and the planetarium thus pushing towards 100% student attendance.
U&I Care works to improve the lives of at-risk individuals that it serves in four state-run Homes in Bangalore. The idea this time around was to raise the bar with the services we provide and strengthen the structure of the program. Based on the specific needs of each project, a different curriculum was designed for each Care Home, which helped monitor progress.
Based on the domains prescribed, activities like hand stitching clothes and bottle making were designed to engage as many people as possible, along with a focus on vocational activities. This encourages the residents to push boundaries and reach their potential.
Further on, a new classroom schedule was designed for the home with primary school children.
A more practical approach was adopted to encourage learning and ensure full classroom participation.
Additionally, the primary focus was to improve the relationship between the team and the government authorities who are in charge of the Homes.
A big milestone for U&I Care this year was getting government authorisation for the residents to visit Bannerghatta zoo. It was the ﬁrst time in ﬁve years that the residents had left the Home.
Further, dental and medical camps were organised for all the Homes that gave a better idea about the current status of the residents’ health.
IMHC: Home for Special Needs Boys
The aim of our program is to ensure that the boys live to their fullest potential. The boys were encouraged to partake in a variety of activities like vocational training, academic classes, physiotherapy and exercise, outdoor play, field trips, music, entertainment. They also had frequent counseling sessions and sessions in daily grooming and hygiene.
No. of Boys - 67
Our Hardworking Staff
Prajwal Jayraj Gowda
Hemavathi, Visalakshi, Bhagya
Men's Home: Home For Differently Abled & Special Needs Men
Our main focus this year was on the men’s physical abilities, vocational training and on their day-to-day grooming activities. Weekly activities in the Men’s Home included grooming and hygiene, arts and crafts, outdoor time, music and physiotherapy. This activity helped them feel productive and gave the men a sense of worth. The staff also took the men on excursions and celebrated festivals and birthdays with them.
Number of men - 87
Our Hardworking Staff:
John Colins, Keerthi, Mallikarjun, Kempaiah, Marianna, Rajanna
Women's Home: Home for Abandoned Special Needs Women
The Women's Home focused on improving the lives of semi-skilled women. Vocational training activities had maximum participation, they had a lot of activities that helped them build on their gross and fine motor skills and their cognitive abilities. This not only helped their overall development but also gave structure to their day. The training and the items the women created through their vocational training gave them a sense of value and helped improve their social skills as well.
Number of women - 103
Anala H Reddy
Reception Center is a place where we have different women coming from different places with different problems and difficulties. The most common problems we see are that either the women were trafficked or abandoned by family. There are a few cases of women who are mentally unstable because of the violence they suffered at home. One thing that worked really well in the center is the policy of "Reward". At the end of every month, we would reward everyone who was coming regularly to class and that motivated the others to come to class as well. Diya painting is a favorite activity for the women. It is also a way of letting them express themselves using colours.
Number of women - 32
Our two women army : Anala, Kim
Shishu Mandir: Home for abandoned or orphaned toddlers and babies.
Shishu Mandir's main focus was to bring in innovative teaching techniques through which exposed the kids to practical learning as opposed to theoretical learning alone. We focused on basic essentials in value education along with their academics. We also conducted dental camps and took the students out for excursions to increase the practical learning aspect of their education.
Number of children - 50
Akshaya S, Harshika Rachel
Rudrakshi, Pushpa, Sujatha
Over the past seven years, U&I has built an extremely strong education program. Some of the crucial aspects of our program include a strong curriculum, well equipped and highly trained teaching volunteers and holistic learning. We believe in training our leaders and volunteers thoroughly so they are equipped to provide the best education to our kids.
LeadX 2018 saw 114 leaders across 12 cities come together in Bangalore for three days of community building and leadership training. Held in June, the conference focused on equipping our new set of leaders with the tools they need to effectively run their centres for the academic year.
2018 was a year of growth for U&I, we had expanded from 12 cities to 18 cities. To accommodate the volume of current and emerging leaders, we split our mid-year leadership development conference between Bangalore and Mumbai. With the help of the outbound leadership training organisation, Breakthrough, AUDACIOUS 2018 saw over 300 leaders at both our conferences.
First Class Training
This training was split into two days and focussed on easing our new volunteers into the program. This training occurred centre-wise, in 12 cities in June and July. The first day involved training our volunteers on our core values, curriculum, and expectations, following which they met their students for the first time, played games, did crafts together.
Kickstarter is U&I’s full-day volunteer training program where we empower volunteers with teaching techniques, Flippen and classroom management tools. The aim is to create an environment for sharing and community. Kickstarters took place in all 18 cities over the 2018-2019 year, usually after four teaching classes with students.
In-City Leader's Training
In May, even before the academic year began, U&I introduced a basic training program to its new leadership teams. This involved the introduction of our focus areas: curriculum, volunteer management and the Child Enrichment Program. It prepared the leaders with the tools they need when they arrived at the leadership orientation in June.
This is a volunteer training we have city-wide, at the beginning of the last quarter in order to recharge the volunteers with the motivation and skills they need to end the academic year with as much impact as possible.
The Hero Up Campaign
The Hero Up campaign is a pan India crowdfunding campaign that is run where the volunteers raise money for the children. This year, U&I raised a groundbreaking amount of 1.09 crores which made it one of the only NGOs in India to raise over a crore through one fundraising campaign. Our gratitude and a big shout out goes to the Drivers and Coaches who made this campaign a huge success.
You Can View The Auditor's Report Below:
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Where The Magic Unfolds!
Volunteer with U&I