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Life is but a dream, and at DRIK, learning but a theme

The students and facilitators come together alongside with other DRIK members to share one single goal to address the fundamental inequities in our education by shifting the notion of a school from a fixed place, to experiential learning in different locations, utilizing different and diverse learning design formats.

DRIK succeeds in doing this by channelizing knowledge and understanding created at numerous dimensions– physical, emotional, cognitive and psychological, in ways that interact together, resulting in a holistic and transformative educational experience for the students.

Our Youth Ambassadors Impact Communities.

GANGARAJU

FROM MOTLUR VILLAGE SAYS

My name is Gangaraju. I am from Motlur village. This area is 10 kilometers from Chikkaballapur, and one hour’s drive from Bangalore.

My world was very small before DRRT and AVAS came into my village. At that time, my personality was not like it is today.  I was very shy and scared and had low self-esteem.  I used to hate my village and I believed in the caste system.

After DRRT and AVAS created platforms like DRIK Jeevanotsava and DRIK CEF, they changed me a lot. I got confident, I have love towards my community, and am now against the caste system. I fight for gender equality and am a leader in my community.

I have done more than 850 social entitlements for my community people.  My community always approaches me for help. This potential and strength were given to me by AVAS, DRRT and the DRIK Jeevanotsava platform.

We have always been told that DRIK Jeevanotsava values shouldn’t be like water in a pond or lake.  Instead, our values should be like a flowing river. Keeping this in mind, I spread my service in Bandahalli and Kandawara slum.

Bandahalli is a village which is on a rock bed.  For 70 years this place was neglected by the government and political leaders. Women in this community were unaware of their rights.  They didn’t have fundamental facilities like toilets. Our DRIK Jeevanotsava children and people from this community started to tell us their problems.

Our organization listened to the plea of the people and tried to find solutions. We educated the community people on women rights and their responsibilities, we developed leadership among women and youth.

We successfully used innovative ideas to build 68 toilets for the community. From our organization,along with government help, we were able to make house list documents.

Similarly, in Kandawara slum, people from this community were economically backward and very poor but they had very good values in them. They were not selfish and they were well-wishers of others. But they were deprived of their housing rights.

We conducted many meetings in this community. We united the community people and educated them on their rights, duties and government projects.

We organized many health camps and are still organizing health camps in the community.

Now we are constructing houses for them with the help of the Government and DRRT. We are also conducting Jeevanotsava programs to develop leadership qualities among the community children.

I believe I have changed these three communities to some extent. This is possible only because of DRIK Jeevanotsava values and the support of AVAS and DRRT. The values that I learnt from DRIK JEEVANOTSAVA helped me change the thinking in these communities.

As an individual Gangaraj is nothing. As part of an  organization like AVAS and DRRT, I am a leader.

DRIK Jeevanotsava values are deeply entrenched in our heart and mind. Anithamma always told us “A leader is not the one who has followers,he is the one who creates more leaders.”Therefore, as a leader, I am now motivating the next generation of children towards leadership and educating them on rights and issue-based learning to help them create model villages.

Because AVAS and DRRT worked in my village there was DRIK Jeevanotsava and DRIK CEF. And because of these organizations and programs we are able to see many leaders in our villages. Being part of an organization like AVAS and DRRT has  helped us to change our thinking and made us “rights oriented”, responsible people.

I would also thank RCF for the support it has given to our entire Jeevatma team.

SHILPA

FROM NALLAKADIRENAHALLI VILLAGE SAYS

My name is Shilpa.  I am from Nallakadirenahalli village located in hilly hinterlands, 10 kms from Chikkaballapur, in Karnataka, India.

I have been participating in DRIK Jeevanotsavafor the last 10 years and I have gained a large amount of courage through our songs, dance, and theme or issue-based education.

We are four children in our family.  It was very difficult for our parents to provide education for all of us. Similarly, there were many other parents and students like us. I feel DRRT understood our problems and started DRIK CEF for poor children. This fund has helped many children for education.

At first, I was very shy and nervous to speak in public, but now I have the courage and confidence to speak in public and speak to officers about our facilities, issues and rights.  This was made possible by our DRIK Jeevanotsava program.

Now people in my village come to me for help for several things such as getting Voter ID, Aadhaar card, caste income certificates, pensions and other social entitlements. I am completely involved in helping them.  I got this helping nature from the DRIK Jeevanotsava Program and I am inspired by DRRT and AVAS work. Now I motivate my community people to take responsibility for their family and community.

It used to be very difficult for us to reach a hospital which was far from our community. DRRT constructed one health centre for our community and now a doctor attendsto our community once a week. They brought Sarvodaya (SIT-KC) also to help us for the centre. My heartfelt thanks to Appa and Anitamma for giving me this opportunity to become leader and help in many rural communities. I would like to thank them on behalf of our community people.

ASHA FROM JANASHAKTHINAGAR (ERSTWHILE HOSAKEREHALLI)

I am from Janashakthinagar, the new name given to our layout which was earlier the Hosakerehalli slum. I am the eldest daughter for my parents Jairam and Latha. We lived in utter poverty in our huts in what was called the Hosakerehalli slum. Our elite neighbours would call us ‘the mosquito huts community’ as we lived in extremely dilapidated huts, and in a congested space. During this time AVAS came to our area to organize people to fight  for our land and shelter rights.

There were so many  children in my area and they were not doing anything in the evenings. DRRT joined hands and started a program called DRIK Jeevanotsava, which means ‘celebration of life’. Earlier when we returned from our schoolswe used spend our time infront of the TV. DRIK Jeevanotsava really changed the life style of all the children. Every week on one chosen day a teacher from DRIK came to teach us dance, songs, drama and value based stories. It helped us to grow holistically. I was the oldest child in Jeevanotsava and i took the initiative to teach other children twice  in a week in my area. This motivated many children to become part of DRIK Jeevanotsava.

I always wanted to study further beyond my schooling. To overcome the economic situation at home, in the mornings I did domestic work, and then went to college. It was tough keeping going with all the challenges. Many children who wanted to pursue higher studies could not due to financial crisis’ at their homes.

DRRT saw our struggles and started the DRIK Children’ Education Fund, ie. DRIK CEF. I was the first bank signatory for the group which was modelled to make us into responsible young leaders. This education fund helped us to study further. I was the first young person including girls and boys to complete my B.com through DRIK CEF. After me many others were also benefitted and completed their education.

After I completed my B.com, I took up a job as a flower decorator and beautician, two skills that I equipped myself with. I worked for another person who paid me wages as per my work. Once i learnt the work properly I began to take orders individually, and today I want to share with deep pride that i was able to build a 4 floors house on the land that AVAS fought and got for us, and iam even able to repay the loan without any default.

Everybody is appreciating my entrepreneurship qualities and my mother is proud of me too. I am married  now and i told husband that he should allow me to continue working!

I also motivate other children when there is DRIK Jeevanotsava in the area and i share my life story with them and encourage them to be a part of this movement. All the little children in my area treat me as their role model, and I continue to teach them all the values and leadership qualities that I developed and learnt through DRIK Jeevanotsava and DRIK CEF . If these programs  were not there we wouldn’t have been what we are today.

I am thank full to APPA (Dwrakanath Reddy), for when we didn’t have water in the area he provided us water and electricity. He also gave us education through DRRT and I feel that God used Anitamma as His tool to come in to our life’s and make us what we are today.

I am so happy to share my story.

ANTHONY

FROM SUDHAMANAGAR SAYS

I was born years after Anita Reddy had come to our area to help the people there. When I was a small boy my parents used to tell us that from 1978 she worked relentlessly and had managed to convince all concerned authorities to adhere to peoples dreams and aspirations for independent houses. As our families grow we could develop our homes incrementally. AVAS helped us solve our infrastructure and housing problems. Water was a big issue but now we are all settled well. They taught us to struggle for our rights and win.

I was involved in all the DRIK Jeevanotsava programs from many years. We participated actively in drama, dance and music practices and performances. But to me the encouragement and opportunities I got in sports in the Jeevanotsava platform is what changed my life to who I am today. Football became my passion and I practiced hard as I learnt the value of perseverance and determination in Jeevanotsava. I play National level Football today and am a leader for many youth in my teams. The DRIK CEF helped many children in my community who are in higher studies. I pursued my dreams for excellence in sports. And I remember that when Anita amma helped me buy the first couple of pairs of special shoes for football that I could not afford then my dreams got ignited to action. I want to thank her and her friend Latha amma for their encouragement.

MUNIKRISHNA.G FROM NALLAKADIRENAHALLI VILLAGE SAYS

My name is Munikrishna. I am from Nallakadirenahalli village which is in the interior regions, about 10 kms from Chikkaballapur city.

Despite all the development around us, in my village,people had no education. They would work for their livelihood but they were very innocent. DRRT gave an opportunity and direction for such people to live, to learn and to meet one another through its activities in the rural areas and through DRIK Jeevanotsava programs.

She (Anitamma) was a light for our path. She educated us through DRIK Jeevanotsava. From 2005, when I was studying 1st PUC, by participating in DRIK Jeevanotsava, I have learnt many art forms and gained a lot of knowledge. Today I am socially and culturally aware and responsible and moving forward with my life.

Through DRIK Jeevanotsava, I learnt social responsibilities and it is the reason for my intellectual growth. Now I have completed my post graduation and am working in Williams International College as a librarian and NSS officer.  I am successfully carrying my responsibility by using the strength given by DRIK Jeevanotsava.

I completed my education by using the DRIK CEF fund. It was the backbone for my education. This fund also helped many other children and youth who were about to dropout from schools and colleges to successfully complete their education. It is a unique way in which a scholarship like program keeps growing to help others as we the youth take direct responsibility for it to self- manage the finances once it is given to any of the rural or urban groups formed for this purpose.

Overall, DRIK Jeevanotsava is a package of love, kindness, justice, truth, social concern, humanity, cultural awareness, cultural heritage, environment awareness, protection and leadership.

RAGINI FROM GOLLAHALLI VILLAGE

I am Ragini, and I come from Gollahalli village which is near Chikkaballapur in Karanataka. My village is very small. Near my village DRRT set up the DRIK Viveka campus where they started a program called DRIK Jeevanotsava, and had inspirational week end camps every Saturday and Sunday. I was then 13 years old and my brothers is used to go for this program. I began to accompany them. There would be dance and music, and theater that would be meaningful for us at the DRIK Viveka campus. I began to enjoy learning there in the DRIK Jeevanotsava program.

Amongst the first things I learnt from DRIK Jeevanotsava was to understand that we were all equal. Until then our villages were all divided on caste basis. But the DRIK Viveka campus was a great levelling space as all of  us used to come together and play, dance,sing and act with absolutely no divisions amongst us. We would learn about our rights and we were exposed to learning values by actually putting them in action. After this all the village discords and schisms also began to break down. We are all much more united now.

My personal development was also happening simultaneously. Initially i used to get scared to stand before others and speak , but today I am able to speak in front of hundreds of people. If there is injustice iam able to question the situation.I learnt so many values in DRIK Jeevanotsava to become a good human being. DRIK Jeevanotsava moulded my life completely. In the villages, girl children either dropped out in the 7th class or at the most went upto the 10th.  It was hard for parents to give children higher education even if they wanted to as they could not afford it. That is when the timely starting of the DRIK CEF program  in our villages enabled us to not become drop outs, to pursue higher education through this platform, and become leaders as this program made us take direct responsibilities, manage our own accounts, and made us the bank signatories of the group accounts, guiding  us to lead many other children too. This helped me to mature into a confident, and stronger person where I learnt my rights and values through DRIK Jeevanotsava and DRIK CEF.

Seeing my skills in music, and dance, and ability to work with and lead children in the villages I was taken as a Jeevatma team member to organize other village communities and children in Government schools. I beagn to feel the difference in myself and the courage I had developed to live upto my convictions and I felt empowered to enable others.

APPA (Dwaraknath Reddy) cared about us and started the programs to empower us. Our lives changed after Anitamma came. I want to say that DRRT, AVAS and RCF have given me golden opportunities and I want to thank all the organizers who supported me in my growth.