Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas at KM 2011

Christmas at KM this year was about the room decoration competition. The boys and girls each decorated their rooms for the holiday. The winners? The boys! The prize? Huuuuuge amounts of snacks and sweets.

Boys room -- lots of dancing and singing to Christmas carols!
The boys had a manger in their room. Left, Jyothi (tutor), Pavan (as a mini-Santa), Meharbanu (boys' house mother), and Anuradha Aunty.
Nice Christmas art by Pooja. 
In the girls' room; judge for the competition, Ganesh, sitting in the chair. 
Sulochanna, girls' house mother, passing out Christmas gifts to the girls.

Thanks to Kavitha!

Many thanks to Kavitha Mhatre and her fundraising efforts in December. She ran the Goa half-marathon in December and found generous sponsors for her run, raising Rs. 80,000 for our kids!

On the 18th, Kavitha and a couple of friends came to KM to visit the kids and hand over the donation. Thanks again to everyone involved, particularly her good friend Gautham, for the tremendous fundraising effort!

Meeting the girls
Checking out the boys' room

Monday, December 26, 2011

News flash: The Kids with Dia Mirza!

On the 23rd, a few of our kids had a real treat and got to meet a glamorous, charming Bollywood movie star and talked to her about Christmas and giving! For details, see the article:

(The girl with the glasses in the pink top is Arabia; she and Dia had a nice conversation in Hindi!)


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Our new website!

Dear Friends of Operation Shanti,

News from Operation Shanti -- we have a new Operation Shanti website!

We hope the new site provides you with a good understanding of our programs and the people we help.  We welcome your comments.

Link to new website

Note: see top right section of the blog page to sign up to receive an email of each new posting.  You will be asked by FeedBurner to confirm your email subscription. You can also sign up to receive posts via other reader feeds, such as Google or Yahoo, or you can “like” the Operation Shanti Facebook page to see posts.

Thank you for your continued support,

Operation Shanti

p.s. thanks to matt and marianne for the incredible effort they put into our new website design!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Garth's Third Fundraiser

He did it again! Garth Hewitt and his team raised over $10,000 for us at their third LA Rocks! Operation Shanti event.

Garth and his team
The event was held at the Boys and Girls Club of Venice on September 17, and a ton of dedicated yoga practitioners came to help our kids and enjoy a nice practice.

The group


Asana time
Thanks again to Garth and his friends for the support -- a new home will be a great way to give the kids we help, and the many more that we could help, a chance for a new life.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Daily chores

The older kids at Karunya Mane all have their own chores to do each morning and evening. This teaches them self-discipline and gives them a sense of responsibility for keeping their home clean. 

Some of the kids love their chores, and find them more like "play" than work. Other kids are a little lazier and know every trick in the book to avoid doing their chores! 

The girls and boys have their own chores, including cleaning their living areas, washing the dishes after meals, washing their clothes and sheets and towels, feeding and washing our dogs (a definite favorite), and keeping the outside areas clean.

Vinod, Surya, and Sadiq bringing in their dry clothes.

Sample chores schedule by day.

Suma bringing in the girls' uniforms.

Drying the school socks, ties, and belts.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

DEAF JAM fundraiser for Operation Shanti in the UK

If you're in Manchester in the UK, or anywhere in the vicinity on December 18, feel free to drop in on a fundraiser being held for Operation Shanti. See the posters below for more information -- it looks to be an amazing musical event!

See them on FB: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=180316298720384

Friday, October 28, 2011


On Sunday afternoons, the kids have some free time to hang around, finish up homework, and play. Here, they decided to put on a skit and did some singing and dancing from activities they learned at summer camp. They sure do love the spotlight!

Shanti, Suma, Manjula, and Prema

Divya, Renuka, and Manjula


Little Vishnu and Big Vishnu hamming it up

Jyothi and Thanmaye singing their favorite song

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Ganesh Festival

The Ganesh festival, which fell on September 1 this year, is a popular festival in India. On this day at KM, our boys expressed their creative flair. For their Ganesh puja (a religious ritual performed by Hindus as an offering to the Hindu god Gaesh), the boys built themselves a little Ganesh altar in their room to celebrate the day.

They used whatever materials they could find around the grounds, including flowers and custard apples for decorations and they made a clay Ganesh figure from mud and water. Quite creative kids!

Lokesh and Sharath

Manikanta and Vinod drew the Ganesh figure.

Lighting the deepam.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Drawing class with Nasera P.

As part of their extracurricular activities, the older boys and girls at KM now enjoy drawing class on Sunday afternoons with Nasera, a drawing instructor who lives in the area.

Some of the kids are quite talented, while others just see the hour as more play time... kids!

Nasera and the girls


Monday, August 22, 2011

Garth and the Fundraisers

Thanks again to Garth Hewitt and his amazing efforts to raise funds for our kids! The June event raised over $9,000 and you can get more information here on the upcoming September event.

Take a look at a few pics from the June event:

Garth and a young supporter

A full crowd...!

Amazing volunteers and helpers

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

the Eco camp!

This past May, during the school break, we sent four of our oldest kids to an eco camp for four days. They got to meet other kids their age, slept overnight in the camp facilities for four nights, and learned about "going green" habits and practices, cooked their own food, and went on nature walks to see birds and animals and plantlife.

Pooja, Shanti, Vinod, and Sharath said they had a great time and hope to go again next year! Here are a few pictures from their adventure.
Pooja, third from left, cooking dinner

Sharath, on the right (blue shirt), hanging out

Vinod on the right


Monday, June 20, 2011

Thank you for the school bags!

The employees at Wurth Elektronik in Mysore have such great timing -- they came to Karunya Mane during the first week of school in June to donate spankin' brand new school bags to our kids! We're so grateful for such a thoughtful and practical gift, as our kids go through their school bags like they were made of paper! They have so many notebooks and textbooks that they have to carry around all day.

Take a look:

Mr. Kemparaj from Wurth Elektronik and our little ones.

Great bag, nice colors, and heavy duty!

Suma, our oldest girl in 8th grade, packing up her new bag.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Matt and Lina's wedding

In May, two good friends of Operation Shanti came to Mysore to be married by Swamiji. The kids were invited to the celebration at the cave temple, and they really enjoyed the festivities and excellent lunch!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Little Nanjunda

A couple of years ago, we wrote about little Nanjunda, who has had a very difficult life even though he's not even ten years old. While on the street with his mom, he was often ignored and physically abused by her, and often didn't get enough to eat. Now, at Karunya Mane, he has had the chance to show us how smart he really is -- and he's pretty smart, getting straight A+s in school this past year.

Nanjunda has always talked about wanting to learn English, so we decided to give him that chance and are enrolling him into the nearby English medium school. So, Nanjunda and five other promising kids living at Karunya Mane will be attending St. Francis CBSE School this year.

Nanjunda is happier and more excited than we've ever seen him. He used to be a sad, unmotivated boy who, even though he excelled in school, he often didn't finish his homework and lost his books and pencils all the time.

During the two-month summer break, Nanjunda is spending his time with his tutor, brushing up on his English, and learning Hindi. He proudly shows us what he is learning every day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Brush your teeth Canadian style

Earlier this year, our friends Tomasz and Tamara from Canada and their current group of travelers visited the kids at KM. This time, one of the younger women in the group showed the kids how to properly brush their teeth.

The guests first had lunch with our kids...

...then everyone played for a bit outside...

Adarsh and his new friend from Canada

Sreenivas having a chat...

Tamara and Shanti

then everyone went upstairs to learn about brushing teeth...

...and our kids even got new brushes!

Thanks again, Tomasz and Tamara and friends for a really great visit!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


One year ago, we talked about three of our children at Karunya Mane who were to attend an English medium school in the area. It was sort of an experiment, since we weren't sure what to expect when enrolling former street/slum children in a middle- and upper-class school like this. The curriculum is more rigorous and the fees are relatively high.


Unfortunately, two of our three children struggled a bit this past year at St. Francis. Lalitha and Shwetha weren't able to show enough improvement in their performance throughout the year to merit continuing at St. Francis -- they tried their best but sometimes it's just not meant to be -- and they will attend Deepa Primary School next year with the rest of our kids.

Little Surya, on the other hand, was ranked #1 in his first grade class at St. Francis for the entire school year. He now speaks almost fluent English and earned *SO* many extracurricular awards during the school day ceremony! We are very proud of him, not just for the excellent grades but also for his outstanding behavior.

Surya in his school uniform
Thanks so much to Surya's sponsor for helping to pay for his educational expenses for the coming year.

Next year, we'll enroll two more of our top performing kindergarteners at St. Francis. These two girls, Sowmya and Vinuta, did very well in kindergarten this past year and their teachers say that they are very bright and demonstrate an interest in learning. Coincidentally, Sowmya is Surya's little sister. 

Vinuta, Surya, and Sowmya at KM

Let's wish all of our kids an excellent 2011-2012 school year!