SRMAB Bangalore 1






We have started teaching two new computer classes (std. VIII and IX) adding more fun to our programme. It was heartening to see that all the students are performing well. Std. VII students are doing extremely well at computers. They have become comfortable with all sorts of calculations in Microsoft Excel and editing in Microsoft Word. It was heartening to see them writing letters in Microsoft Word.






Shree Ramana Maharishi Academcy for Blinds (SRMAB) has arranged extra space for computer lab. Now, we have 2 computer labs with a total of 20 computers for the children. As a result, managing 15-20 students at a time has become much easier with extra space and new computers.






  • Old faulty computers were replaced with new working computers.
  • JAWS trial version was installed in all computers.
  • Headphones were arranged for some of the computers. With headphone, student can continue their work without disturbing other student which was a problem when we started.
  • We are planning a ~Pankhudi Meet in February.



Vote of Thanks



  • Thanks to CGI for their generous donation of computers for children’s education. Special thanks to  Lipika, Ajay and Subhash from CGI for arranging computers and repairing the old faulty computers.
  • Thanks to SRMAB to for providing extra space for computer lab.






Looking for JAWS license to replace the trial version.












The feature of this month was the Republic day function that was held on 26th January at Lions Club, Kurla. Students of ~Pankhudi participated in various song and dance activities. This function gave ~Pankhudians a good platform to showcase their cultural skills and volunteers also used it to spread the message of education among children’s parents. The event was graced by Lions President Mr. Kanti Jain and Lions mr. Ashok Joshi, Lion Mr. L.N. Sharma and Lion Mr. Ugamraj. The guests were welcomed by Pankhudi Foundation President Mr. Shahzad Wakeel who also took charge of taking the event through.






A ~Pankhudi volunteer meet is scheduled to be held on the 2nd Saturday of every month. This meeting will help us to envision useful ideas to further strengthen our activities.






English has been identified as the weak link among students and hence a lot of emphasis is being laid on improving students reading and writing skills by conducting periodic reading and dictation tests.


Performer(s) of the Month

  • Ms. Smriti  Dey / Mr. Abhishek Shenoy / Mr. Abhishek Jha – Planning and executing the entire Republic day event. Smriti single-handedly coordinated all performance pieces of songs, dance and  Abhishek prepared the speeches. Abhishek helped greatly in dance performances.


  • Mr. Rutvij Kotecha – For managing rest of the responsibilities, from stage to decoration, from food to bouquet for guests.



Vote of Thanks



  • To Lions Club members Shri Kanti Jain and Shri Ashok Joshi for their constant support in all the cultural and educational activities
  • To all members and volunteers of ~Pankhudi Mumbai for their active participation and support in the Republic day function






New volunteers to participate in classroom teaching and other related activities.












~Pankhudi Pune kicked off the 2009 in a great fashion with three major events, Movie Theatre Visit, Circus Visit and Republic Day celebrations. Protsahan kids relished the screening of ‘Jumbo’ at Adlabs on 1st January.






There is a substantive improvement in the Protsahan weekday (school dropout) children. They have started showing interest towards study. Their attendance has improved over the last few months. At ‘Nachiket Balgram’, organized teaching activities is being continued.






Movie Theatre Visit

~Pankhudi Pune children enjoyed the screening of the movie ‘Jumbo’ at Adlabs on 1st January to kick off the New Year in ‘Jumbo’ style. All the 10 kids (from dropout batch) had splendid time while watching the movie with 3 Protsahan teachers (Ms. Swati Kshirsagar, Ms. Gauri Pagare, Ms. Gauri Udhade) and 2 ~Pankhudi volunteers (Aabha, Sheetal). We took the kids to McDonalds after the movie where they had a real gala time.


Circus Visit

~Pankhudi Pune team along with a couple of new volunteers (Aditi, Nitin, Niranjan, Dimple, Madhuri, Savita, Pallavi Bakre and Pallavi Oak) organized a trip to Rambo Circus on 25th January. All the children had hilarious time at the show.  Following are a few quotations of the kids (translated to English) when they were asked “How boring was the event”? 

“Aapan sagale ithun nighaalo naay kaa bus madhi, tyevhaa malaa aawadla, mang circus madhi pan aawadla sagla, aani mag parat aalo bus madhi tyevhaapan aawadla. Sagale yetaanaa gaani mhanat hote, naachat hote bus madhi, tyevhaa majaa aali. Malaa bore naay zaala didi” { “We all left from home in a bus, and I liked that, and then we all watched the circus, and I liked that, and then we all came back in the bus, and I liked that a lot. We all sang and danced in the bus. I liked it all! I did not get bored at all!”}

 Most of the kids enjoyed the most unlikely part of the event- the bus ride back home, the most. Others also liked the snacks served. 


Republic Day Celebrations

~Pankhudi Pune celebrated 60th Republic Day with Protsahan kids with the help of TCS Pune. Children enjoyed various competitions targeted to nourish their artistic skills. Young children (std. I - V) participated in singing, dancing and poetry competitions while the elder group (std. VI - VIII) were more enthusiastic in writing essays. Prizes were distributed to the winners. Winners of the Essay Competition were Mahesh, Tushar and Poonam. Top two performers among the younger kids were Aashiq and Swati.


Performer(s) of the Month

Ruby – Planned and executed Circus for the Protsahan kids, contributed to the Protsahan weekend batch significantly.

Purva – Contributed substantially to the Protsahan weekday batch.



Vote of Thanks



~Pankhudi Pune was overwhelmed by the help and support from many people without whom our activities would not have been possible. We are greatly thankful to

  • Puneet and his team from Amdocs Pune, for organizing movie theatre visit for Protsahan kids.
  • Rambo circus authorities for sponsoring the trip and helping with seating logistics
  • Mr. Vikram Sukthankar on behalf of Infosys team for arranging the bus for circus visit
  • TCS Pune for organizing the Republic Day celebrations for Protsahan kids.


We are also thankful to all ~Pankhudi Pune volunteers who planned and executed the event with great love and passion for the welfare of the children. Especially, we thank

  • Ruby, Asim, and Shrikant for pre-event planning and coordinating circus visit.
  • Nivedita, Zarna and Shrikant for coordinating Republic day event






  • Volunteers for Protsahan classes situated near Shivaji Nagar
    • Weekday Batch (Mon-Fri: 6 pm – 8pm)
    • Weekend Batches (Sat: 3pm – 7pm, Sun: 2pm – 6 pm)
  • Volunteers for Ashayein project situated near Sukhsagar Nagar/VIT College or Kothrud (only on weekends)
  • Volunteers for Sahayog project at Nachiket Balgram situated near Pimpri/ Chinchwad/Dehu road (only on weekends)
  • Sat - Sun: 10 am – 12 pm (Maths); 4 pm – 6 pm (English)












We are excited to report that the children’s education at Priyanka Camp, Okhla Modh slum is progressing with great enthusiasm from both children and ~Pankhudi members. Children are learning more via new curriculum created by the Content Cell by their teacher Ms. Aasmeen at the slum. We are seeing a dramatic change in their English skills. They seem to enjoy learning new things and are excited to come for class and show off what they have newly learnt. They seem to be becoming comfortable with English.






Protsahan activities continued with full force. We visit every Sunday to test the children on what they learn with Ms. Aasmeen during the week, and teach them basic conversation skills (learning to say their name, what fruits they like, the colours they like etc.). The daily teaching program recently implemented is going very well. The older children are learning phonetics and how to create words using the basic sounds, while the younger children are being taught their alphabet and basic writing. Our activities have been boosted by several new volunteers over the past few months.



Vote of Thanks



We are greatly thankful to Ms. Aasmeen who is working hard with the children to improve their skills. Her dedicated efforts are paying off as children showed a big improvement in English.






  • Sheltered area close to the slum to conduct classes on Sunday mornings. The space should be big enough for classroom of size 25.
  • Help us with your advice on ‘planned volunteer teaching programme’ for upcoming summer. The goal of this programme is to provide teaching on a regular basis to the children. One of the ideas is to induct students from nearby colleges during their summer vacation. These students would be the regular teacher of the children. Apart from academics, activities like theatre workshop are also being conceived (just like we had before).



Abhishek Shenoy

Education system in India and the changes that need to be made


Views of Mr. Abhishek Shenoy,

Volunteer, Pankhudi Mumbai



“We don't need no education

We dont need no thought control

No dark sarcasm in the classroom

Teachers leave them kids alone

Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!

All in all it's just another brick in the wall.”


Pink Floyd says it the best. And how true can it get. As I type this article, the video of this famous song flashes through my mind –A lad gets scolded at because he was writing poems in class. As the video progresses, school kids pass through an assembly line and turn into puppets.


This is what we have been for all these years with regard to the education system in our country – Puppets. We have been nothing but victims of this education system and now we are as good as shredded bits of paper. A lot of people brag about how good the education system in India is and so on. Yes. I agree. We have a very high level of education system as compared to other countries. And that is one of the reasons Indians are never turned down when they apply to universities in other countries. It is said that the amount of competition here amongst students is the highest in the world. An Indian is always involved in any major scientific/technological event that takes place nowadays. But has this been the result of our education system or the efforts that have gone into making this possible? This is a question worth pondering on.


Sadly but true, our education system has been a complete mess. From the time we enter into kindergarten till the time we graduate, things never look stable. In school, students are subjected to tremendous pressure nowadays. There is cut throat competition amongst students and everyone is concerned only about one dreaded word “Marks”. In all this competition, noone really bothers about the quality of education. How do kids in the 10th and 12th standards study for their exams nowadays? They go to classes, borrow notes and study only those notes that can help them ace their exams. When we get our 10th std and 12th std. results, do we really care about how much knowledge we have and are we worth passing out? We don’t. If these marks are sufficient to get us admission into a good college, nothing like it! This is what our education system has done to us. The level of competition is so high that there is no time to think about the quality of education and the quality seems to be detiorrating with time. With the exceptions of a few institutes like the IIT`s and IIM`s, the rest of the institutes are in a complete mess. And the IIT`s and IIM`s are running away leaving all the others far behind.


If our schools and colleges are in a complete mess you can imagine the condition in municipal schools.

As I conducted the quiz competition on 14th November for the students in ~Pankhudi, it was shocking to see that 8th and 9th std students take so much time to answer simple questions like,”Who is the prime minister of India?”, “What is India`s national sport?” etc. This defines it. I wonder what their teachers must be teaching them. Their books are not covered properly, pages are torn etc. Their handwriting also speaks volumes about the quality of education in their school. Some of them can’t even spell simple words like potato, carrot etc. being in the higher classes. It’s a very sad state and to make it even worse, students have also not yet realized what kind of mess they are in. They behave as if its an obligation on their part to go to school. They do not realize the value of learning and we cant blame them for this. Our education system is the one to blame and noone else.


The desperate need of the hour is a transparent education system. First and foremost, we need to have a transparent admission system. Only those who deserve a seat should have the right to take that seat. Sadly so much corruption exists nowadays that getting a seat has become as difficult as climbing Mount Everest even for those students who do exceedingly well in their exams. Parents spend sleepless nights thinking on how to land a seat for their child even if the child is a 90 percent-er. This frustration is then let out on the child who is forced to study for endless entrance exams and attend endless interviews. This in turn puts tremendous pressure on the child and he/she ends up taking drastic steps which are in turn reflected on the increasing number of suicide cases among children that appear in newspapers nowadays.


We need to learn things more practically. Sadly such things don’t seem to exist nowadays. Even after I have graduated, I still feel that I have spent 4 worthless years in Engineering. I still feel that anyone can land up with an Engineering degree. All you need to have is a couple of notes of some stupid class, the capacity to learn by-heart and that’s it! You can easily score a distinction in Engineering without much effort at all. But is it really worth it? Is this how we define education? Sadly but true this is how it actually is. People who try to sit and understand the matter in their books are always looked down upon nowadays. They are mocked at and others believe that such people are fools to sit and study in that way. More practical oriented exams should be organized as these exams test the true mettle of the student.


We need to have teachers whom we can idolize and sadly very few of these exist nowadays. We need teachers who can relate things practically and give us more practical oriented knowledge. We need people who can look more into a futuristic point of view rather than looking at the “examination” point of view. Anyone lands up being a teacher or a professor. I have friends who always believe that teaching is the last option if they don’t land up with a job. The importance of a teacher in a student’s life is slowly depreciating day by day. Teachers complain that they are not paid well. This gets reflected on the paper corrections. Even after giving their board/university exams really well, students spend sleepless nights hoping that they would pass. Its impossible to believe that even if you are cent percent sure of passing in a subject, you can land up failing. And the procedure after that is terrible. Taking endless rounds of the college or university and by the time the revaluation results are out, you would have already given your re-exam. This tells the sorry state of our system.


As for municipal schools, sorry to say that these schools are in a terrible state. The government needs to allocate more funds and revenue to these schools. And more importantly such schools need to have better and focused teachers. Sure the government can pay these teachers more for the increased workload that these teachers are subjected to. In such schools we need teachers who can drill the importance of studying and education in these students. More importantly, these teachers should have the qualities that enable students to look upto them. Teachers should be able to transform the student into a person who can be looked upto and respected in society. And if we want to see these kids being the future of this country, we need to do this desperately. And what’s more? .We need to do it fast.

You can write endlessly on this topic but it is said that “empty vessels make a lot of noise”. We can make all the noise but that’s not what we are here for right? We as ~Pankhudians may not be able to change the education system but we can sure make a difference in some way. Each ~Pankhudian should have his/her own education system. Let us all take it up as a challenge and ensure that the children whom we teach end up becoming the best in the country. Let us all ensure that they achieve their goals. If we can do this we can sure add millions of feathers to our cap. Let’s leave the education system aside. Many people have blabbered on this topic for millions of years and several articles have been written on this never ending topic. But some things never change, you agree right?


As the famous Mark Twain puts it, “Many public-school children seem to know only two dates--1492 and 4th of July; and as a rule they don't know what happened on either occasion.” This sums it up!




Submitted by PR Reps, Pankhudi Foundation

Delhi: Ms. Vidha Jain

Bangalore: Mr. Vaibhav Choudhary & Mr. Ram Kumar

Pune: Mr. Vinay Golecha

Mumbai: Mr. Abhishek Shenoy


Edited by Kumar Varoon (Minnesota, USA)@ News-Desk Pankhudi Foundation


Designed by Amrit Vatsa (Bhubaneshwar, Orrissa)@ Design-Cell Pankhudi Foundation