Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer Activities 2013

This summer vacation (April and May) was as busy as usual at Karunya Mane.

The boys had a project to work on. They needed a new area to hang their clothing so they dug up the dirt, laid the cement, and installed new clotheslines and poles in their outside area (with adult help of course!).

Gathering dirt... (Pavan, Surya, Manikanta, Sreenivasa, L to R) 
The end result -- cement and clothesline poles!
Ten boys and girls attended the Natana art and drama camp, and even got their pictures in the paper! The camp is run every year by Mr. Mandya Ramesh, a famous actor, director, and theatre personality in India.

Two of our boys, Pavan and Padmanabha, even got invited to be in a film that will be shot later this year in Mysore! Yay!

Mamatha, one of our girls, learned modern dance at Natana and seems quite good at it!

(see a larger version on our Flickr page)

The kids who didn't attend camp had their own dance and art teacher for April, Miss Shweta. She engaged the kids for a couple of hours each day with arts and crafts activities and dancing lessons.

In May, the boys put on their own mini-show, "Kamsale" or "Cultural Program," and goofed around with shadows and lights... Kinda neat!

(see a larger version on our Flickr page)

Surya creating the shadowy figures
Creative use of a broom:
(see a larger version on our Flickr page)

School starts in two weeks, on June 3. As we say every year, boy, what a summer it was!

Friday, May 17, 2013

The annual home visit!

Each year, during the school vacation (April and May), the kids at Karunya Mane go home for two or three days. They like their visits home, where they see friends and family and eat good food cooked by mom. They are also happy to return to Karunya Mane (whew!), and we are always glad to have them back.

This year, the kids were home from April 7-10. During that time, the parents were given the task to take their kids to get their Aadhaar card (new ID card in India), and open bank accounts for them so that they could begin to save money for their kids. Most of the parents did well with their assigned tasks.

Of course, the kids had homework to do when at home, and the parents ensured that they all completed their reading and writing! The kids also wrote a report for us on their home visits. Here are a few excerpts.

  • Vinod (6th grade): "On 7/04/13 at 2.00 in the afternoon, my brother took me home. That day night we ate chicken. Later, I brushed my teeth. I woke up in the morning, brushed my teeth and took a bath. We went to the palace and other few temples. On 10/04/13, we came back to the ashram at 2.00 p.m. On 14/04/13, I went to summer camp."
  • Swarana (2nd grade): "On Sunday at 3:00 p.m. I went home in an auto. There my brother gave me fruits. I ate fruits. Later, when my father came back from his work, he brought some snacks. We ate it. Later, I had supper at night, took a bath and slept. Morning, I brushed my teeth, took a bath and had meals. Later, I played with my younger brother and had my lunch at 1.00 p.m. Later, I wrote my homework. My father gave me some money and I bought some snacks from a shop and shared it with my brother. My mother prepared vada and meals for supper. I ate it and washed my plates and slept. Next day, my mother was not feeling well. My mother was vomiting. I and my brother went to a shop and bought Vicks for my mother. Later, I took a bath. My father prepared uppittu for us. We ate it. My mother was washing the plates and I went there and helped her. My father was painting our home at night. My younger brother was running around. Me and my elder brother went behind him and brought him back home. Netra and I helped them. In the morning, I took bath and dressed in new clothes. We were preparing for the death anniversary of our grandfather. Me, Lalita and my elder brother went to a shop and bought flowers, fruits, camphor and other things. Later, we kept vada and other foods for grandfather and after that, we had our lunch and came back to the ashram in an auto. Thank you."

Little brother Harish, mom Uma, Vinod, Lalita, Netra, Swarana, dad Raju
  • Padmanabha (4th grade, who dod not go home because he just arrived at KM): "I came to Karunya Mane on 22/1/13. I like this place. Here everyone looks after me very well. I have committed two mistakes at school. I promised Banu Aunty that I will never commit such mistakes in the future. We all enjoyed here the day of Holi by applying colors on each other. I like the food serve here. I thank Tracy for sending me to the camp. I like the camp. My uncle was very happy after seeing me. He said to me now you are in good condition. My work here is to arrange the school bags. I will study well and bring good name to this orphanage."
Padmanabha and Uncle Suresh
  • Sharath: "When we went to home from Ashram we ate ice cream. Later, we purchased clothes and we tried them out, and then we reached home. After a bath, I changed my dress. Later, I had food and then we went to see KRS. We saw the fountain dance and went boating. We went to a shop and ate watermelon and we purchased fish and went back to home. Later, we had food and slept. In the morning at 6.00 a.m. I woke up and brushed my teeth and took a bath. I had milk and a bun and ate some food. We went to get our Aadhaar cards, we took photos for it and went back to home at 10.00 a.m. At 3.00 p.m. we went to the bank. They asked for our Aadhaar card at the bank and my mother gave it to them. They asked for a photo. We took photos and went home. Mother prepared milk and I drank it and slept for some time. She woke me up. Later, I washed my hands, legs and face and had food. Again, I felt sleepy and slept. At 12:00 a.m. at night they woke me up. I asked “why?”, they said “to cut the cake”. That was my birthday! At night, I gave cake to everyone. After brushing my teeth, taking bath, wearing dress and arranging my clothes in a bag, I came back here on the scooter."
  • Pavan (6th grade): "On April 7, at 2.00 p.m., I went to my native place along with my mother. My grandfather and grandmother were waiting for my arrival. That day night, they prepared chicken for me. I brushed my teeth before sleeping after food. On April 8, I woke up in the morning, took a bath, brushed my teeth, said prayer, had food, went to get my Aadhaar card, and went to the temple. On April 9, I went to see my friends. On April 10, I came back to orphanage. On April 14, I am going to the drama camp. I liked the holidays."
Pavan and mom Bagya
  • Kartik (4th grade, who did not go home because his father is traveling all the time): "As a counselor Venkatesh Sir comes to our orphanage. Here, Banu Aunty takes care of us. Yoga Aunty cooks food for us. Except Sunday, we have tuition on all the other days of the week. Weekly one day we have singing class. Weekly three days we have karate class. Every Sunday, we have shopping time. Every month on the last Sunday, we get chicken dishes. Every day, I read the Vijaya Karnataka newspaper. Here, my works are washing clothes and cleaning the staircase. I got 2nd place in the sack race. In tuition class, Savitha Miss teaches me nicely. In the future, I will study well. Here, we grandly celebrate the Ganesh festival, Yugadi festival and Christmas. On the day of the Holi festival, we all poured colors and danced here. On Sankrathi feast, we ate sesame and coconut. Every day we used the iPad for half an hour."
Kartik and dad Shivanna
Other kids and their parents:

Vishnu, Shilpa, Jeevan, mom Kamala, baby Aakash
Pallavi, mom Sushila, Vishnu

Mahesh, mom Sushila, Raju
Shanti and mom Puttamma

Thursday, May 9, 2013

School grades!

The kids at Karunya Mane just got their final grades for the school year (2012-2013, which ended in March). Here are a few highlights.

Adarsh, who had to repeat lower kindergarten, received all As and A+s this year and he'll be going to upper kindergarten this coming year (June 2013 to March 2014). Yay!

Surya did very well again in his elite English-based school, St. Francis. He ended up in 4th place in his 3rd grade class!

Surya (left) with his little brother Darshan
Shilpa, our girl who came to Karunya Mane at age six with no schooling, got an A+ average for the second year in a row!

Latha continues to struggle in school. She was allowed to pass 4th grade even though her scores did not merit the promotion because Indian law forbids schools from failing children, regardless of how badly they perform in school. We are currently searching for a teacher who can homeschool Latha for this coming school year. If you know an interested teacher candidate, please let us know.

Latha and her little sister Jyothi
Divya and Vijayalakshmi did very well this year, their first year in English medium (5th grade), with overall average grades of A. We thought they did well considering going from a Kannada-based curriculum to an English-based curriculum is like going from a French- to an English-based curriculum.

Divya and Vijayalakshmi

Next year, Pooja and Prema will skip a grade and go from 5th to 7th grade because they are older than their peers in class (they missed several years of school when they lived on the street and in the slum). They both did well in 5th grade, averaging A grades, and understand they have to work extra hard next year.

Arabia did very well in 4th grade, scoring A+s and As throughout the year, and will be going to 6th grade this coming year. Go Arabia!

Our oldest girl, Asha, passed 12th grade and will be starting her bachelor's degree this June. She's in the process of applying to colleges in Mysore -- stay tuned for more!

Harish, our 10th grader, also passed the nationwide 10th grade exam, and will start PUC 1 (11th grade) in late May. Harish, who lived on the streets before coming to Karunya Mane, went from 1st grade to 10th grade in five years. He started his education far behind his age and has worked hard during the past six years to graduate 10th grade this year.

Harish (left) with Manikanta, who passed 9th grade, and Sreenivasa, who passed 11th grade.
Our kids averaged an A grade, and they are all continuing their studies over the summer vacation with daily two-hour tutoring at Karunya Mane. The kids work hard at their schoolwork and really want an education. Let's wish all of our kids another excellent school year!

If you'd like to make a donation to help us cover our kids' school expenses, please do so at Donate Now! Expenses for one year of schooling are approximately US$92. Thanks for your continued support!