staff with volunteers
clinical psychologist at work
preschoolers jun 01 - may 02
kindergarten jun 01 - may 02
first grade jun 01 - may 02
second grade jun 01 - may 02
third grade jun 01 - may 02
fourth grade jun 01 - may 02
LDSC volunteer, Maureen Totland
horse Ode with summer group
child with mother
Dr.George with parents
Independence Day 02 performers
Andrew Lauck with staff
PRINCIPAL’S REPORT FOR JULY, AUGUST, SEPTEMBER 2008STAFF
Sasikala from Bangalore joined our residential staff.
P. Chitra left after being with us for a little over four years.
The children of grades Kindergarten through eighth grade returned from their extended summer vacation on 13 July.
PARENTSDr. George spoke to the parents of the children from Kindergarten through eighth grade about his current financial situation. He communicated the difficulties faced by the institution and requested their understanding and moral support. He announced that there would be no School Day celebration this year. All parents responded positively to Dr. George. They expressed their appreciation of his support for their children, and assured him of their moral support.
We bid farewell to volunteers Maria Schuster, Marielle Amrhein, Betsy Mathew all three from the U.S. We also said goodbye to Francesca MacKenzie and Rebecca Versaci both from ASTEP. JJ and Molly, two young visitors were with us for a week. Keya Mitra, a writer, volunteered for three weeks.
We welcomed Genevieve Horvilleur, also from ASTEP, who will be with us till December. Suparna Gupta and Neil Chamberlain, both friends of Derek Etkin who returned to volunteer a second time, have also been working with our children. These three friends are from the U.S. Elsa Marina Gomez Barcelo from Spain will also be with us till December. Anetha Nataraj from the U.S. will be here till February 2009.
Mallika and Arnaud LeCoeur from France visited for a week. They worked hard to accomplish whatever they could during their short stay with us.
As we are understaffed at this present time, all these volunteers have accepted full-time teaching responsibilities and even helped with outdoor games, health education sessions, human rights classes, dance, music and singing. The ASTEP volunteers have provided academic support and arts education including theater, for our children. We are very grateful for their valuable inputs and we appreciate their generosity in gifting their time, talents, education and skills to help our humanitarian cause.
July: Mr. Eapen and Charlie Abro both from Campus Crusade for Christ, Bangalore; Mr. N.J. Yasaswy of the GMR Group, his daughter-in-law and a few executives from ICFAI; Julia C. Stenzel; Zachary Beemer & Charles & Susan Beemer from the U.S.
August: Molly Schaeffer and J.J. Russo from the U.S. volunteered for a week.
September: Anushka Patel, University of Sidney, Australia; Asvin Srinivasan, brother of volunteer Anjali Srinivasan, U.S.; K.R. Dorai & Rajeswari Dorai, Bangalore; Hans-Georg Hummel & Gabrielle Hummel, Mann & Hummel Company accompanied by Hubert Reilard, from Germany. Mrs. Gopi Narayanan, a former Senior Teacher who has had two terms at Shanti Bhavan, visited with her family to offer her support. Her daughter and son-in-law donated a sum of money towards the Shanti Bhavan Children’s Fund. Ms. Margaret Eastwood, Principal, Eastwood High School, Bangalore, visited with her staff members. They brought clothing, toiletries, stationery and sweets for our children. They also donated money individually to help our children. Eastwood High School was the first school in Bangalore that visited Shanti Bhavan and offered to help in whatever way they could. Former volunteer Chris Dwyer visited with Dr. Anushka Patel both from Australia. Chris very kindly hosted a special dinner for our children and staff. The meal was enjoyed and appreciated by all. It was good to see Chris again. Volunteer Anetha’s parents, Mr. Raj & Mrs. Chandra Nataraj from the U.S. visited, and donated money for a special meal for our children and staff. Ms. Nithya, Advocate, visited to see how she could help our cause.
One child returned from the summer vacation with typhoid. Sixteen girls were taken for a hemoglobin test to rule out anemia. Of these eight required iron supplements for three months. The other eight were asked to take iron supplements for a month. Forty-one children had viral fevers with colds and coughs in July, sixteen children in August. These children were taken to Agape, the clinic run by the Asian Christian Academy in Bagalur, near Shanti Bhavan. Another child developed typhoid in early August.
Referrals to St. John’s Medical College & Hospital, Bangalore:
One child was taken to an orthopedic surgeon for pain in the knee. Three children who are on anti-convulsive drugs for epilepsy were taken to a neurologist for their yearly follow-up check. One child was examined by a pediatrician for a severe cough and congestion. Two children with fairly serious eye problems were shown to an ophthalmologist for follow-up checks. Of these two, one child needed three visits.
The Agarwal Eye Hospital in Hosur conducted a free eye camp at Shanti Bhavan to check the eyesight of children above the age of eight, and that of staff members.
Dr. George convened a meeting with Mrs. Gracy Thomas, Administrator, Baldev Medical & Community Center, and Shanti Bhavan staff to provide procedural guidelines for medical-related issues with children’s health.
Dr. George took several sessions with the children of grades six through eleven on topics such as Caring for the Elderly (with the example of his father’s last days); Loyalty; Poverty – Causes and Solutions, the Necessity of Hard Work and Earning Money, and other general interactive sessions.
Volunteer Marielle Amrhein and the tenth graders presented a dance that was part of their Peace- through-the-Arts curriculum taught by her. Volunteer Betsy Mathew taught health education classes to the ninth, tenth and eleventh grades on alcoholism, substance abuse, HIV & AIDS and peer pressure.
ASTEP Volunteer Rebecca Versaci developed plays on the theme Friendship with the older children of grades nine, ten and eleven. The children presented their plays at the month-end entertainment program. A very exciting basketball match was played by the girls of the ninth, tenth and eleventh grades. Our senior girls were very serious about the game and did themselves proud. The senior boys had a soccer match.
The joint of the electric supply cable from Baldev Farm Three was repaired. The Kitchen and Utility Building air conditioners were serviced. A total of thirteen bulbs were replaced in dormitories, school extension, teachers’ quarters and the guest house. A BOSE music system was installed in the dining hall. A Home Theater system was installed in Staff Quarters III for volunteers. Electrical connections were repaired and new fixtures put in for the Third Grade Dormitory and the outdoor lighting to illuminate the steps leading to the walkway in font of the plaza. The starter switch of the lawn mower was fixed. Due to movable power cuts during peak working hours, the school schedule has to be changed every fortnight. Only six and a half hours of electricity per day is sanctioned for domestic use.
Shanti Bhavan was required to contribute funds towards the installation of a new 250 KVA transformer by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.
Two water tanks have been repaired in the school extension building. The pipeline from the well to the overhead tank has been repaired. The pipeline to the third grade dormitory overhead tank has been re-routed. Spindles have been replaced in dormitories. Blockages in washbasins and toilets of one dormitory have been cleared. The chamber of the gym dormitory has been cleared. A blockage in a 300-liter solar hot water system has been rectified. A new drainage connection was made for draining rice water in the outdoor wood-burning kitchen shed.
Two hundred custard apples and twenty-five coconuts were harvested. All hedges were trimmed and lawns mowed before spraying neem oil to deter ants and insects.
Electrical wiring for lights and oil servicing for the Bolero and Mahindra jeep was done.
Kitchen and bakery burners were serviced. New wheels were fixed on the kitchen trolley. The Prayer Hall was painted.
Buses were arranged for parents and children from Hosur to Shanti Bhavan and back, for Dr. George’s meeting. Support was provided for the memorial service for Dr. Mathew George, father of Dr. Abraham George, Founder.
An internet connection was installed for the Principal’s office.
A 40 Kg. capacity cooking vessel was purchased for the kitchen.
Teachers’ Day and Mothers’ Day were celebrated jointly on the 5 September, the birthday of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan which is observed as Teachers’ Day in India. The children put up a short entertainment program for the staff with the help of the volunteers.
A special commemoration service was held for the burial of the ashes of Dr. Mathew George, father of Dr. Abraham George, Founder. Dr. George, his younger son, Vivek, his niece, Mallika, and her husband, Arnaud LeCoeur participated in the memorial service organized by Mallika, Vivek and the ninth graders with help from some of our staff members. Vivek George arranged a Power Point presentation on a few special moments in his grandfather’s life. Mallika sang the Twenty-third Psalm during the service. The solemn ceremony lasted a little over an hour. It was well-organized and tastefully executed. Dr. Mathew George’s ashes were buried in the small garden plot in front of the Prayer Hall, set aside for the purpose. A Mayflower sapling was planted in remembrance.
A popular newspaper in Bangalore, The Times of India published an article in its Sunday edition, The Sunday Times on 21 September 2008. The article highlighted the need of Shanti Bhavan for financial support. Three children, Anith from eleventh grade, Shilpa from tenth grade and Deepika from the Kindergarten were interviewed on the phone. The Principal was interviewed in person at Bangalore.
Our sole priority is fundraising at present. Without funding, we will not be able to meet our operating needs and infrastructure. The Middle and High School dormitories and the school extension building need to be completed.
ASTEP, the Broadway, New York-based Foundation started by Mary-Mitchell Campbell, or Artistes Striving to End Poverty, is involved in fundraising projects to support Shanti Bhavan. We are very appreciative of their personal contributions and collective untiring efforts to win support for our humanitarian cause. Their professional performers and Art students who are former volunteers have sustained their desire to help our children. This is due to the inspiration of Mary-Mitchell and Michelle Miller, two well-loved friends of our children.
Other former volunteers are also doing their best to support our cause through fundraising activities. We are very grateful to them and their friends and families for leaving no stone unturned to help us in our hour of need.
For long-term sustainability, we need an endowment or grant in the form of a partnership to allow the institution to meet both operating needs from interest income, and infrastructure requirements.
PRINCIPAL’S REPORT FOR APRIL, MAY, JUNE 2008
Ruby Violet returned to work at Shanti Bhavan in April after her marriage and prolonged absence.. We were happy to have her back with us.
Resignations & Departures
Deepa Sivakumar and G.V. Sivakumar both left to take up teaching positions in their hometown. Deepa has secured a permanent position as a government school teacher. J. Jose Jayarani, teacher, left to take up a job in the Information Technology sector. Karthikeyan V who taught computer classes, left without notice, at the end of the academic session. Sunil Joseph, librarian, left for health reasons. P. Yamuna, M. Fathima Mary, Carunia Sundari, Carunia Jebanithi, Carunia Arunothaya, Carunia Rajamithri and P. Jasmin Rebekal, all residential staff, left at the end of the academic session. M. Muthumari, residential staff, left without notice, mid-session. Siddarth, our school driver, has taken up a position as driving instructor in his place of residence.
Leave of Absence
J. Sasikala Fernando, Jayashree Krishnan, Bernadette D’Cruz, Sindhu P. Tomy, Anjali R and D. Nirmala will rejoin Shanti Bhavan when their personal circumstances permit.
We have temporarily discontinued the services of our consultants due to our financial difficulties. Mrs. Gracie Thomas, Director, Baldev Medical & Community Center, is now in charge of procuring health-related assistance for our children and staff from local clinics and hospitals.
Dr. Rajashekar V. expressed his understanding and support in the face of our present crisis. He volunteered to be consulted on the phone, and offered to drive down to diagnose and treat sick children in case of an epidemic outbreak of viral fever or any other childhood disease, on campus. He completed his health reports about each child before his departure.
Ms. P.G. Priya and Mrs. Rashmi Rao both understood and accepted that their services would be temporarily suspended till our financial position improves. They gave us their reports about children screened for admission and children already at school with us, before they left.
Dr. George spoke to all staff about the current financial difficulty faced by the institution. He expressed his appreciation of their commitment to our children. Each member of our care-giving, teaching and managerial staff has voluntarily accepted salary cuts till the situation improves.
Maria Schuster from Rocky Mountain University and Marielle Amrhein from Columbia Teacher Training College , New York , are both taking a refresher course for our junior and middle school teachers. Their focus is classroom management, evaluation, conflict resolution and project work. Rebecca Versaci an ASTEP volunteer from Barnard, joined their effort to update our teachers’ skills.
We have not yet admitted a new batch of Preschoolers this June. Students of grades nine, ten and eleven returned to school on the 15 June. The children of grades eight and below will return on the 13 July.
Dr. George met with and spoke candidly to all parents about the current difficulty faced by the institution. Parents were invited to respond and ask questions. All issues relating to children, their support and schooling were discussed.
Jude Devdas, CEO, spoke to all parents when they came to take their children home for the summer vacation. We informed all parents about the current financial position of the school and why their children would have an extended vacation this year.
Katherine Grenzeback left for her home in the USA, in April. Our children enjoyed her dedicated teaching from September 07.
Jacques LaFortune left for Canada at the end of April. He was with us from early January when school reopened after the winter vacation. Jacques has done a great job of setting up the senior library and getting the junior library into shape, among other involvements. His magic show was spectacular in its humorous presentation.
Amy McAlexander from ASTEP spent ten weeks teaching piano and singing to our children. She organized a performance by the children from preschool through fifth grade. She left for the USA in early May.
Anjali Srinivasan and Victoria Su both from the USA , spent a month from mid-March through mid-April. They filled in for Math and other subject teachers. Vicky taught piano and Anjali participated in outdoor games.
Nick Dalton, also from ASTEP, did Puppet Theater, masks and other fun theater exercises and workshops with our children. He also joined them at soccer. He left early May.
Harry Fletcher-Wood, a gifted teacher, left in May after spending seven exciting months with our children. He taught English to the middle grades and social studies to the fifth grade. Maria Schuster, a trained teacher from Rocky Mountain University , Montana , USA , Marielle Amrhein from Columbia Teacher Training College , New York , USA , Rebecca Versaci, an ASTEP volunteer and studying at Barnard , New York , USA , and Betsy Mathew from Philadelphia , USA , are all currently working with our children. Each of them is dedicated and committed to give of their best for our children.
April: Dr. DPN Prasad, Principal,Bombay Scottish, Mahim, Mumbai, Inspector-ICSE/ISC; Rhea & Sabita Ittoop, Dr. George’s nieces and first volunteers from New Jersey, USA with Mathew Moynihan from New York, USA.
May: Hubert Reilard, President, Indo German Chamber of Commerce, Bangalore ; S Natarajan IAS, Commissioner for Disciplinary Proceedings, Vellore ; V Ganesan IFS, District Forest Officer, Vellore; S A Xavier, Asst.Executive Engineer Rural Development, Pudukkotai; Gopi Gopalakrishnan, Rakhi Jain, Dr. Archana Dayal, World Health Partners, GK II, N.Delhi; Priya Anand & Bharati Ramachandran, Murray Culshaw Consulting, Domlur, Bangalore; Stephen Sreshta, Ohio, USA; Surgeon Commander Dr. Hemalatha Ahuja, Retd. I.N., Bangalore ;
June: Srinivas Krishna, Bangalore; Feroze Abdulla, Feroze Estates & Properties, Bangalore-52; G M Rao, Chairman, GMR Group, Bangalore; Sridhar & Jaysheree Chari, International Division, ICFAI, Hyderabad; Srish Kumar, The World Bank; Nirmala & Srinivas Alavilli, Bangalore; Koshy Verghese, Vice Chancellor, University of Mizoram, ICFAI, Hyderabad; N Rajshekar, ICFAI, Hyderabad; T R Venkatesh, Director, ICFAI Business School, Bangalore
Our first batch of tenth graders all secured first class passes in the ICSE 2008. This is a public examination conducted at the end of tenth grade by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, New Delhi.
Dr. KPN Prasad, Principal, Bombay Scottish, Mahim, Mumbai, inspected Shanti Bhavan to ascertain our suitability for conducting the academic program for the eleventh and twelfth grades. We subsequently received approval from the Council for the ISCE for conducting the eleventh and twelfth grades (ISC) or the ‘Ten Plus Two’ section as it is commonly known as in India.
The tenth graders presented what they had learned from the outbound learning program at Pegasus camp. They constructed some of the equipment used in the workshop dynamics out of scrap material available on our campus.
Jacques LaFortune conducted a superb and hilarious magic show. His presentation was professional and staff and children both thoroughly enjoyed it.
Harry Fletcher-Wood gave an interesting presentation on Japan where he spent a year teaching Japanese children English. His photos were informative. Amy McAlexander from ASTEP, spoke to the children about Alaska where she spent a part of her growing up years. She also taught singing, piano, dance and acting to our children. Nick Dalton taught the children about Puppet Theater and how to make and use masks in performance.
Marielle Amrhein is conducting a learning unit on Human Rights Education with a special component on Peace Education. Marielle had designed this project specially for the children of Shanti Bhavan.
Dr. George has conducted three lecture sessions with our children. He gave them an overview of the history of the atomic bomb in the light of current events regarding the Indo-US peace Deal. In his second session, he spoke to our senior children about doing “More with Less.” The third session was about positive personality development. In addition to studying, our senior students are involved in cleaning their campus grounds, masonry work under adult supervision, and painting of inside building walls. In April before the summer camp commenced, Mrs. Law informed the children about their rights and the issue of abuse in disciplining children.
The department worked on repair and maintenance jobs on campus.
Sindhu, Residential Supervisor, and Tomy, Kitchen Manager are now proud parents of a baby girl.
ASTEP or Artists Striving To End Poverty, the Foundation started by Mary-Mitchell Campbell in New York, has been working with us for over a year now to provide art-based learning experiences including academic teaching for our children. Interacting with world-class professional performance artists from Broadway has been a great learning experience for our children and staff. ASTEP is currently on a drive to raise funds to sponsor our children. We are very grateful for their personal and other contributions. Without this support, it will be difficult to financially support our program.
Pegasus conducted an outbound learning program for our tenth graders free of cost from 8 th to 9 th April. The children and three staff who accompanied them had a fun-filled and unforgettable outdoor experience spread over two days and three nights. This is the second time Pegasus has sponsored our children.
PRINCIPAL’S REPORT FOR JANUARY, FEBRUARY, MARCH 2008
Ms. Monica Lily P., sister of our two residential staffs, Nirmala and Chitra, replaced her sister, Nirmala. Ms. R. Nithya Diayana joined our residential staff.
One child was taken for two neurological and one psychiatric assessment to NIMHANS, Bangalore. The child has epilepsy and behavior problems. He is now with his mother and family after five years in Shanti Bhavan, as he needs home care. Seven children were referred to the Department of Ophthalmology for vision problems, one to the department of Orthopedics for knock knees, one to the Department of Pediatrics and one to Pediatric Surgery for removal of an inflamed appendix.
The Preschoolers got their third Hepatitis B shots. One child was given anti-rabies for a dog bite sustained during her winter vacation in early January. Three children sustained playground injuries and required anti-tetanus shots.
131 children were screened for their socioeconomic status during this period. 52 children were screened by the clinical psychologists. Eleven boys and twelve girls have been cleared by the psychologists but their admissions will be finalized only after house visits. Four boys and four girls are on the waiting list. Screening of children will continue through April and May.
Our first batch of fifteen tenth graders appeared for the Indian School Certificate Examinations 2008 from 29 February through 28 March. Their results will be out by the end of May.
The next batch for the ISCE 2009 also comprises fifteen children.
Most of our children were delighted to see their parents in March. March was the month for parental visits.
Six children have left Shanti Bhavan during this period. One child’s father’s family did not send her back after the winter vacation in January. One child has left for health-related behavioral problems that were affecting his progress and that of his classmates. He was with us for four years. The remaining four children were discontinued because they needed homecare and were unable to benefit from our program. Of these four, one had been with us for five years and the other three, for three years.
Parents brought back their children after the winter vacation on 6 January. During each Sunday of March, parents paid scheduled visits to their children. These visits were also used to update them on their children’s progress and remind them about documentation such as children’s birth certificates or death certificates in the case of the demise of either parent.
Jacques and Micheline LaFortune came from Canada in January to work with our children and staff. This is Jacques’ second visit. Micheline taught Art to the Preschool, Kindergarten, First and Second Grades for approximately five colorful weeks. The Art Room was a beehive of activity. At the end of Micheline’s Art Course, each child received a certificate saying, “I am an Artist” and a portfolio of her/his work. Jacques came to teach our children, but he has obliged us by setting up the Senior School Library, and updating the Junior School Library, with our school librarian. We have managed to give him a few classes to teach.
Katherine Grenzeback from the U.S. and Harry Fletcher-Wood from the U.K. have both been doing great teaching. The children love their classes. We have been fortunate to have them with us from September 2007. Harry and Katie have involved the children in a number of enjoyable and interesting educational activities.
Chris Dwyer from Sydney, Australia, volunteered part-time at Shanti Bhavan to teach Science. He did excellent work with our adjoining project, Baldev Medical & Community Center, and for our computer project EDPS2000. Joan Grenzeback, Katie’s mother, was here for an overnight visit. She gave a session with her daughter to the eighth, ninth and tenth graders about admission procedures and application forms for colleges and universities in the U.S.
Matt Farnsworth from ASTEP, also a Broadway performer from the USA, sang and played the piano for our children and staff at a wonderful concert organized by him. Our choir sang and some of our children played piano pieces. Matt coached our children in music and singing during his stay. Matt taught our children ‘Waltzing Matilda’ to sing for our Australian volunteer, Chris Dwyer.
Two sisters, Madeleine and Evelyn Grant, from British Columbia, Canada, volunteered for a month. They taught all subjects including Computers. The children loved experimenting with Madeleine’s video camera. She made a film with the children titled, ‘A Day in the Life of Shanti Bhavan.’ Madeleine will send us the edited film after she gets home in several months’ time.
Amy McAlexander, also from ASTEP and Broadway, USA, has brought her expertise in piano, dancing and singing to share with our children. Anjali Srinivasan and Victoria Su, both from USA, also joined our group of volunteers.
January: Kolanda Reddy, Founder Velankani, USA; Dilip Verghese, New Jersey, USA; Dev and Preeti Ray, Bangalore; Patricia Bower Cooley and Dean Thomas Cooley, Stern School of Business, New York University, USA; Joan Grenzeback, Winchester, USA; Kentaro Toyama, Microsoft Research India, with Ravin Balakrishnan, University of Toronto, Canada, Leah Findlater, University of British Columbia, Canada, Sabine Dinges, University of Erfurt, Gerry Chu, Microsoft Research; Joseph Joy with his wife Chandana Surlu and daughters Diya and Keya, Prasad Navdurg, Rikin Gandhi, Digital Green, Prashant Mohan; Samuel Koilpillai, President, Johnson Koilpillai, Vice President, and Starlin Sydney, Managing Director – all three from Anantha Ashram, Hosur; Dr. Sasi Kumar D., Lotus Eye Care Hospitals, Salem; Dr. D. Palani, Asst Exec. Engr TNEB Bagalur
February: Sneha, Nithyavathi and S. Karthikeyan, with xxxxx students from Maharishi Vidya Mandir, Hosur;; Brent Hurd, Washington D.C.; Satish and Sharada Cherwoo, New York, USA; Tanushree Bhat, Bangalore; Dhritiman Deb Pillai, New Delhi; Dr. Abraham Kulangara, USA; Professor Edward A. Friedman, Stevens Institute of Technology;
March: Nupur nagar, California, USA; Sneha, Nithyavathi and S. Karthikeyan, Hosur;; Mrs. Meera Jeyaraj, Chief Invigilator for the ICSE, and Mr. Vinod James, Assistant Invigilator for the ICSE, both paid eleven working visits to conduct the ICSE at our school center. B. Gayathri Devi, Principal & Convenor – ICSE Bangalore South and Dr. Stella Samuel, Inspector ICSE, visited on an Inspection of the Examination Facilities and Conduct of the Examinations. Amar K. Murthy, Town Essentials (Suppliers); SN Chandrashekar, Bangalore; Dr. D.P.N. Prasad, Principal Bombay Scottish, Mumbai, inspected our facilities and suitability to conduct the Indian School Certificate _ Grades Eleven and Twelve.
Dean Thomas Cooley of Stern School of Business, New York University, spent more than an hour with our ninth and tenth graders. He told them something about his career and subject, and answered their questions. Patricia Bower Cooley spoke briefly to our children at assembly about her career as an actress and how she uses her skills to teach professionals how to give presentations.
Dr. Edward Freidman of Stevens Institute spent a few days at Shanti Bhavan and spoke to our children about his subject, Physics, and his work with the United Nations. Sharada Cherwoo, Partner Ernst & Young, and her husband Satish, spoke about building a career through study, perseverance and determination. They encouraged our children to aspire high and to work towards their goals.
Kentaro Toyama and accompanying visitors from Microsoft Research spoke briefly to our children about their countries and work. Kolanda Reddy from the USA appreciated our institution and encouraged our children to work hard towards their goals and in turn, help others not as fortunate. Joseph Joy, his wife Chandana Surlu, their daughters and friends organized a Treasure Hunt to break the ice with our younger children. They also spent time interacting with the children in order to get to know them better. Brent Hurd from Washinton D.C. spoke briefly about his profession of journalism and what led him to it.
Our Canadian volunteers, Jacques and Micheline LaFortune, and sisters Madeleine and Evelyn Grant, presented a hilarious, innovative and wonderfully educational “tour” of Canada that catered to all levels from the Preschoolers to the Tenth Grade and staff. This special assembly was organized by them after the early morning activities of Sports Day.
A lawyer, Nisa Ojalvo from a wine company in the U.S. spoke about her work to the seventh, eighth and ninth grades.
Sports Day was a successful event organized by our new Physical Education teacher, G.V. Shivakumar, with the help of all staff and children. Thirteen students and two teachers from Maharishi Vidya Mandir visited on a Sunday. They interacted with our tenth graders and donated exercise books from their pooled allowances. Science Day on 29 March was marked by Ms. Sasikala, Biology teacher, with a display of Science charts and demonstrations of a few simple facts and experiments at the school assembly.
Ms. P. Vidhunya, our Science teacher, put up an interesting project on ‘Sound’ with her students.
Fifth Grade presented a project on Egyptian Civilization at an assembly. Seventh Grade presented a project under their Social Studies teacher, Ms. Vijayanthi’s guidance on the monetary value of what they receive at Shanti Bhavan. This was done in the form of a puppet show. Ms. Vijayanthi guided the ninth grade in their project on Gandhi’s assassination and the Jalianwala Bagh tragedy. Amy McAlexander sang two songs at assembly for our children. Jacques shared his experience of his trip with his wife, Micheline, to Kovalam.
The Foundation House interior and exterior was painted. Staff Quarters One, the gym dorm and shoe store interiors were painted. The Security Staff Residence interior and exterior was painted. The exterior of The Facilities Managers’ Residence and that of the extension to the Preschool were both painted. The ground floor corridor and one room in Teachers’ quarters were painted. The kitchen, bakery and ceiling of the Kitchen store were painted. The interior of the water tower and the laundry shed was painted. The Main Gate was painted. The cooking gas safety mesh enclosure and two electrical mete boxes were painted. Sixteen children’s beds and five solar panel boxes were painted. White cement was applied to stop leakage on all bathroom floors.
Plywood boards were cut to size and painted to support books on library shelves. Library 2 on the top floor of the school building has been readied for use. Insecticides and pesticides are sprayed every fifteen days on plants. Neem cakes and other chemicals were put at the bases of all fruit trees. Routine maintenance activities of gardens and grounds such as trimming, weeding, removal of parthenium, spraying and earth moving were all carried out. The slope was cemented in the area for recycling of sewage water.
Routine plumbing, electrical maintenance and welding were carried out. A 10 HP pipe line was repaired in the Teachers’ Quarters and Mango Garden.The EPBX was changed from Alcatel to the Tata Exchange. 33 internal connections were given.The facilties department provided services for moving of furniture in preparation for the ICSE 2008 at our school center.
Republic Day and Sports Day celebrations were carried out with full support from our facilities staff. Two walls were built in the school extension block. Three buses were arranged from Adhyamaan College of Engineering to pick up parents and children from Hosur, and reach parents back to Hosur after the winter vacation.
Republic Day was observed with flag hoisting, singing of the national anthem and short presentations by our children. Ruby Violet gave a lunch for our children and staff on the day of her wedding, February 1st. As Ruby had been with us for seven and a half years, we miss her, yet wish her happiness in her married life. The wedding banquet coincided with our birthday farewell to Chris Dwyer for whom we sang, ‘Waltzing Matilda.’ Mr. Jude Devdas had ordered a huge cake in the shape of a kangaroo for Chris. Chris promised to return very soon.
We need to acquire approval from the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, New Delhi, to begin grades eleven and twelve. We need funding to complete the construction and furnish our school extension building for grades eleven and twelve. Additional funding is needed for dormitory construction and dormitory furniture for the middle and high school.
The minimum we need by mid-May is extensions to three dormitory bathrooms, 72 bunks to double the number of occupants per dormitory, and completion of the basement storage that can be used as an ad-hoc dormitory from 1 June 2008.
PRINCIPAL’S REPORT FOR OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER 2007
Residential: P. Jasmine Rebekal, K. Mahalakshmi and J. Kanmani joined our residential staff. Jasmine has a background of nursing experience, and all three of them are currently under training for the roles of housemothers.
Ad Hoc: Donphomgnam Khaling returned to help us out for a couple of months before leaving permanently to get married. Sheeja Mohan was tried out for approximately five weeks to ascertain if she could meet the requirements of the position of Assistant to the Office of the Principal.
Residential: A. Jespina and Leema Immaculate both left to get married. Leema’s sister, Jessya Gladys, left at the same time as her sister. Monisha left to take care of her family. Nirmala Ann has also left to take care of her family.
Pediatrician: Dr. Rajshekar has completed the bi-annual health assessment of all children as per our requirements. During the last quarter of the year, three children required orthopedic referrals for playground injuries, eight children required ophthalmology referrals (of these eight, five were follow-ups as they wear spectacles), one child was referred to Pediatrics for follow-up for his knock-knees and Nephrology for observation for two days, one child was referred to Pediatric Surgery as she swallowed a plain pin, one child was referred to Neurology for frequent headaches (this child was first referred to Ophthalmology). Four children required tetanus shots for playground injuries. 21 children had viral fevers, coughs and colds. Three children were referred to our Baldev Medical & Community Center mid-week before the pediatrician’s consultation day.
Our two consultant clinical psychologists took two sessions as per our requirements – one with the teachers and one with the residential staff -- on aspects of child management and the process of learning.
82 parents made additional visits for the festival of Divali and for their children’s birthdays. These visits were not clubbed with the regular three-month visits. Whenever parents and families visit, they are provided with free meals – breakfast and lunch, and tea with snacks. We have restricted family visits to four persons per child. Five parents were asked to attend special sessions for feedback about their children’s academic performance.
Children settled back into full-time studies after the excitement of School Day celebrations and meeting their parents and families in September. They completed their first term exams in September.
For a fortnight in October, our children had no classes while the teachers availed of vacation to celebrate their festivals. All children participated in campus chores and housekeeping tasks such as dishwashing, gardening, sweeping, swabbing, window cleaning, serving younger children meals and snacks in the dining room, checking inventories of clothing, and babysitting for the lower grades.
Daniel Kumar has been teaching the boys how to cut their hair. He has also roped in children to help him level the soccer field.
A tenth grader needed individual counseling by the principal for emotional and behavioral problems.
The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, Delhi, sent us a letter informing us that Shanti Bhavan has received permanent affiliation.
Cindy and Mauricio Salgado presented ‘Divest for Darfur’- a poignant overview in narration and dance of the Darfur crisis. The school assembly was in tears, as were the two main performers.
Cindy prepared the preschool through tenth grades for an informal dance performance of various dances that she had taught and choreographed for the children. Mauricio prepared the ninth graders for a presentation of ‘Julius Caesar’ in modern English, and the tenth grade performed a modern version of ‘Julius Caesar’ situated in the present day context.
Cindy and Mauricio Salgado, both alumni of Julliard, New York, spent a month to teach our children drama and dance. Mauricio made Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ come alive for our ninth and tenth graders, and Cindy took modern and contemporary dance for all grades from Preschool through twelve. Both Cindy and Mauricio demonstrated complete dedication and commitment to their chosen volunteer services. The children and staff thoroughly enjoyed their presentations and learning sessions. Their assembly presentation on Darfur was especially touching.
Ellen Schaeffer from the U.S. took Yoga sessions for a fortnight with our children, and some of our staff. Her gifts of puzzles and games for the children were very welcome and her approach to teaching Yoga was well appreciated.
Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Broadway music director and accomplished pianist, returned for a ten-day visit to teach piano and singing. She brought Heather Weiss, Stage Manager. Heather taught English Literature to the ninth and tenth grades.
Christopher Dwyer has been helping with Science classes for the middle and high school in his spare time from our Baldev Medical & Community Center where he assists our medical and community service staff.
Harry Fletcher-Wood from England and Katherine Grenzeback have both continued from the last quarter. They have been wonderful in assuming responsibility for the teaching of English Language. Katie has been teaching the third, fourth and fifth grades and helping with marking the English language papers of the ninth and tenth grades. She has also assisted our children in putting together their newsletter and in selecting suitable contributions for publication of a book by a supporter of Shanti Bhavan. Harry has been teaching English to the sixth and eighth grades and Social Studies to the fifth grade.
October:Tuhin Chowdhary, Lightcast, Bombay; Albert Perich, Girona, Spain; Belinda Rego, Myrna Rego, Jean Rego, Melville Rego, President Emeritus, Maria Seva Sangha, Bangalore; C.Gokul Srinivasan, Bangalore; Dr.Shalini D.S., Bangalore; Harinath Shekar,
November: Priya Agrawal and Aditi Agrawal, Mumbai; Ms. Margaret Eastwood, Principal, Eastwood High School, Bangalore
December: Atul Gala, Bangalore
Horticulture & Grounds: 30 jackfruit, drumstick and Mayflower saplings were planted. Neem cake was applied to the bases of all our mango trees. Urea was applied to all new plants. Routine spraying, weeding, cutting, trimming and lawn mowing has been done as per standard procedure. All tree trunks have been painted with lime up to three feet in height to ward off white ants. One truckload of compost was provided by Baldev Farms for all trees. Longer poles had to be installed for the protective nets of the pomegranate trees. Rain harvesting work – pits for water collection and one underground pipe - has been completed. The pathway to the gym dormitory had to be cemented as the pavers were breaking up and several children and staff were tripping over them.
Repairs & Maintenance: The main gate and security office has been painted, and the surrounding area both inside and outside the main gate have been cleared of weeds, overgrowth and debris including garbage. The kitchen roof was waterproofed and painted. The overhead tank for the kitchen had to be removed and put back for this purpose. One room in the Teachers’ Quarters with a tiled roof was waterproofed and painted. Residential works included removing blockages from several sewage pipes, and cleaning out two sewage chambers. Broken washbasins, urinals and pipes were repaired. Taps were repaired or replaced. About ten flush tanks in most bathrooms were serviced and some were replaced. Overhead tank leakages including replacement of the ball valve in the Guest House overhead tank were attended to. Concrete ridges were constructed around the septic tank chambers to prevent mud and rain water from entering. One bathwater heater thermostat had to be replaced and one bathwater heater was repaired in the Teachers’ Quarters and Guest House, respectively. Most tube lights and bulbs needed to be replaced. Two drinking water filter candles were replaced in the Preschool and school building. Gas leaks in the pipes were repaired and one gas pipe had to be replaced in the kitchen. The idli steamer was serviced. The two dough mixers for bread and cake were repaired.
Transport & Communications: The Adhyaman College of Engineering thoughtfully provided us use of four of their buses on payment, to transport our parents and children from Hosur to Shanti Bhavan and back. We need a school bus for field trips and transporting staff on weekend leave to and from Bangalore. The donated JAS telecom phones replaced the old phones. Eight main phones have been given the Tata Exchange Connection. The television set for the Teachers’ Lounge, presented by LDS volunteers Peggy and Gary Lambert, was repaired.
Dining: An extra sum of Rs.15,000/- per month was granted to the Shanti Bhavan kitchen in order to improve the quality of food. This was the outcome of meetings for the purpose with facilities, residential, academic and administrative staff from the head office of the foundation in order to address the problem. Staffing is an ongoing problem.
Construction: An outdoor kitchen with a cooking range for use of horticultural waste as fuel has been constructed behind the main kitchen.
School Vacation tasks: All water tanks have been cleaned with bleaching powder. Pest Control jobs have been completed in the kitchen. All three septic tanks have been emptied. All solar panels have been cleaned and flushed with acid. Our four-wheel and two-wheel vehicles have been serviced. All broken tiles in the kitchen have been replaced. All dorms, teachers’ residences, kitchen and other areas of heavy use have been thoroughly cleaned. The Security Staff Residence has been painted. Additional repairs and maintenance work has been carried out in all buildings
Gandhi Jayanti was commemorated with dramatic vignettes of his life and vision. Ayudha Pooja saw all our machines and tools cleaned and decorated in preparation for special prayers (Pooja) and traditional celebrations. Each support services staff member was given new clothes by the Baldev Medical & Community Center and Baldev Farms directors and senior managers.
Halloween was enjoyed by all, specially the middle graders. They were helped by the volunteers. Divali was the most grand celebration to date. The residential and facilities staff outdid themselves with the decorations, and Mr. Jude Devdas, CEO of The George Foundation, provided the fire crackers and fireworks display that one and all agreed was splendid. A special Divali dinner capped the celebration. Packets of Divali crackers were given to each facilities staff member.
Harry Fletcher-Wood spoke briefly about Guy Fawkes Day on 5th November at assembly. Guru Nanak’s Jayanti was marked by the Vice Principal’s speech at assembly. Ms. Beena Nair narrated the story of his life, his beliefs and ideals.
Thanksgiving Day was marked in honour of our American volunteers who were thousands of miles away from their families. They shared with the children and staff their family traditions for the holiday.
Santa Claus visited with gifts for all 216 children. Our residential staff did a fabulous job of decorating the dining hall and dining lawn for the arrival of Santa. Our school choir sang to entertain the gathering, and they welcomed Santa with songs and a dance around the real decorated evergreen Christmas tree on the lawn.
The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations has provided us with a list of requirements for affiliation of our school to the Indian School Certificate (ISC) or ‘Plus Two’ level of education – i.e. grades eleven and twelve. We need to be ready for an inspection by the Council by mid- January 2008. Accommodation and equipment for Grades Eleven and Twelve including laboratories has to be in order.
The Director of Education, Tamil Nadu, required all schools in the state to provide details of each student and staff member for purposes of maintaining a database of all schools in the state. Two day-long meetings were arranged for this purpose for schools in and around Hosur. School Principals were required to attend. As the principal was outstation, our Vice Principal and Administrative Manager both attended the meetings. A tremendous amount of paperwork was required to be done in preparation for both meetings. This placed an extra burden on our administrative staff. However, the collected data will be useful for our own school records.