Bhumi is a non-profit volunteer organization based in Chennai that does some great work with children. I came to know of it through Vaishnavi, one of my friends from school, who volunteers with them and regularly bombards us all with Bhumi-related news and Facebook status updates (the highest level of commitment in modern civilization). Bhumi runs a number of programs for children that are practical in approach and aim to give the children livelihood choices.
Bhumi's significant projects:
1. Kanini – Computer literacy programme involving teaching of basic and advanced concepts based on the children's aptitude levels. The programme is ongoing at 11 centers where over 250 children benefit.
2. Make A Difference (MAD) – An interactive English learning programme for children who have limited or no proficiency in the language. This programme is ongoing at five centers in Chennai where 250 children benefit apart from another 250 through Cognizant Technology Solution’s CSR initiative Outreach. The Make a Difference programme is the proud winner of the Ashoka Changemakers - Staples Youth Social Entrepreneur Award 2008 (Link).
3. Little Einsteins – Through an activity-based learning approach live demonstrations and multimedia tools are used to ensure better understanding and retention of Mathematics and Science. The programme is ongoing at a government aided school where 55 children benefit.
4. Career Counselling - Bhumi creates awareness among children of classes 9-12 about the abundant career opportunities and their individual potentials through individual mentoring and group counseling sessions.
5. Think Green - As part of this environmental initiative, we are developing a park at Kotturpuram and planting trees in residential areas.
6. Siragugal - Annual Inter-orphanage Art, Cultural, Science, Athletic and Sports Talent fest for children to exhibit their talents and explore their potential in an atmosphere of healthy competition. Last year Siragugal was held on 15 Nov 09 (photos> http://picasaweb.google.com/
BhumiChennai/Siragugal2009#) This year the 2-day event is planned for July 2010.
The MAD initiative uses bilingual books from Tulika (among others) to teach children the language in an easier way. It felt great to know that the two-minute tales one comes up with in ten minutes can actually contribute towards something like this. NGOs in general are a dicey lot. You enter one feeling all glorious about yourself and nine times out of ten, you come out feeling like a dried up raisin. But going by Bhumi's performance, it's clear that they are a genuine bunch. Bhumi's looking to recruit more volunteers this year. If you are interested in joining, you could register at www.bhumichennai.org or mail your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.