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Archive for May, 2009

Skit 4: Non-Violence

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Part of a series about skits produced for the Ramavaram children.

Skit 4: Non-Violence

Narrator: Karthik is a boy in his teens. He has just recently moved, and he is very excited by the prospect of going to a new school. However, his experience at the new school does not turn out as he had expected it to.

Karthik: Wow! This school is amazing. I think I’m going to have a fun time here.

(Karthik enters the classroom, and the teacher introduces him.)

Teacher: Everyone, this is a new student to our school. His name is Karthik. Say hi to him.

All Students: Hi, Karthik.

(Karthik takes his seat)

Narrator: Karthik sits right next to the class bully, Rajiv. Karthik minds his own business and tries to focus in class. However, Rajiv keeps disturbing him.

(Rajiv throws a small paper ball at Karthik)

Karthik: Please, stop throwing things at me.

Teacher: Karthik, pay attention. Don’t talk while I am teaching.

Karthik: Yes, Ms. Chandra. But Rajiv keeps disturbing me.

Teacher: Rajiv, leave Karthik alone.

Rajiv: Yes, Ms. Chandra.

Rajiv (whispers): You think that will help you?

(Rajiv throws another paper ball at Karthik. This continues until Karthik gets very angry and yells out.)

Karthik (In a loud voice): Stop throwing things at me!!

(All the students look at Karthik because they are surprised by the outburst.)

Teacher: Okay, Karthik that is it. Sit outside until you can remain in class calmly.

Karthik: But Ms. Chandra it is Rajiv’s fault. He was throwing things at me.

Teacher: Karthik, I saw only you misbehaving. Go outside now!

Narrator: Karthik sits outside for the rest of the class and goes through the rest of school in a dejected mood. He is disappointed by his experiences in the first day.

Sathya (Dad): Hello Karthik. How was the first day of school?

Karthik: Not good

Maya(Mom): Why? What happened?

Karthik: Someone in my class was bothering me, and I ended up getting kicked out of class.

Sathya: What did you do?

Karthik: Rajiv was the one bothering me, and I asked him to stop, politely. He kept on going, and then finally I screamed at him while the teacher was talking. The teacher kicked me out of the class because of that.

Maya: Rajiv, when someone is bothering you, you must never lash out at them. Stay calm and don’t get angry. I f someone both
ers you, just ignore them.

Raja: Okay, mom. I will try that tomorrow morning.

Narrator: The next day, Karthik goes to school with what his mom said in mind.

Rajiv: So Karthik, did you have fun outside in the classroom yesterday?

(Karthik doesn’t reply)

Rajiv: Did you go and cry to your parents last night?

Teacher: Rajiv don’t talk while I’m talking!

Rajiv: Yes mam.

(Rajiv throws a ball of paper at Karthik just as the teacher turns around)

Teacher: Who threw that ball of paper? Rajiv, it was you wasn’t it? You have been bothering Karthik ever since he got here. Go outside. And tomorrow you will sit next to me.

Copyright © 2008-2009 Sangam India. All rights reserved

Written by: Krishnakanth Chiravuri, Srikanth Chiravuri, Vidhi Makanji, Neil Mithal, and Abhiram Gunturi.

Movie Clip: Teamwork

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

In this movie clip, Nazneen tells the kids about the importance of teamwork. From our April 11th, 2009 visit.

Lesson Planning: Our Objectives

New PR team

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Hello, this is your new reluctantly titled Public Relations Director for the United States division speaking. My name is Priyanka Boghani and I am a complete stranger to most of you. I became involved in Sangam India through my really good friends, Nivedita and Sriram. Having completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology at Tufts, I then made the mistake of thinking there’s a future in print journalism and just recently got my Masters degree from Boston University. This position at Sangam India for me will be 70% fumbling in the dark and 30% learning from those far wiser than me.

For now, I have set up a twitter account for Sangam India so that we can easily connect with other NGOs that have twitter. It is not the most efficient tool, but it does grab attention, and within one short week we have managed more than 100 followers. Our blog updates will automatically be posted on twitter, and I would love any “live” information from Chennai that I can update on the account. We also have the facebook group to connect with our supporters and we will be updating regularly with news of our progress with the website redesign. Our friend Tina from Tufts University is working on the site design right now.

In addition to getting the word out through twitter and facebook and our website itself, it is also important to network with other NGOs who have similar interests and websites that list non-profit organizations (i.e:, Of course, we might have to wait until we get official registered status in India and 501(c) 3 status in the US to register for some of these sites, but if any of you come across such listings, please let one of us know.

If any of you would be interested in helping out in the Public Relations section, please let me, Nivedita or Sriram know. Looking forward to getting to know all of you and hope to hear your ideas soon!

Skit 3: Determination

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Part of a series about skits produced for the Ramavaram children.

Skit 3: Determination/Perseverance/Dedication

Narrator: A little girl named Saraswati lives in a poor neighborhood across the street from a very renowned doctor’s house. One day on his way to the market, he sees a doctor treating his patients.

Saraswati: (In the market, she observes the doctor for some time.) Wow! What great service this man is doing. His life’s work is to help other people. What higher calling can there be?

(She buys what he needs from the market and then goes home.)

Lakshmi: (Upon Saraswati’s arrival) Saraswati, what took you so long? Were you dawdling at the candy shop again?

Saraswati: No, mom. Today, I saw one of the most amazing things.

Lakshmi: (Confused) You saw an amazing thing in the market?

Saraswati: Yes! I saw a man performing service. But this was no ordinary service. His whole life is filled with service.

Shyam (Saraswati’s Dad just walks in): What are you talking about, Saraswati?

Saraswati: Dad, the man that I was talking about he is a doctor. He was taking care of his patients near the marketplace, and I couldn’t help but watch him. It was amazing. I want to be just like him. Do you think I can do it?

Shyam and Lakshmi: Of course you can do it. Bangaru, you can do whatever you put your mind to.

(Then, Saraswati runs to her room ecstatic with the hope of new opportunities.)

Narrator: The next day is Saraswati’s first day of school.

Ms. Gupta: Hello class. My name is Ms. Gupta. Please introduce yourself and tell us what you would like to be when you grow up.

Shekar: My name is Shekar. When I grow up, I guess I will be an engineer like my mom.

Chandu: My name is Chandu. I’m not sure what I want to be

Devi: My name is Devi. I’m not sure what I want to be either.

Saraswati: My name is Saraswati. I want to be a doctor, a great doctor who always cares for her patients with love.

Narrator: After school, Saraswati gets onto the same auto that she always rides in. Saraswati has known this auto driver, Raj, almost all her life because they’re from the same neighborhood.

Raj: So Saraswati what did you do in school today?

Saraswati: We introduced ourselves to the class and the teacher and told everyone what we want to be when we grow up.

Raj: So what do you want to be when you grow up?

Saraswati: I want to be the most caring and compassionate doctor in the world.

Raj: Hahaha. You want to be a doctor?

Saraswati: Of course

Raj: You must work very hard for a long time. Even top students have a tough time in medical school.

Saraswati: But I know that I can do it.

Raj: Whatever you say, Saraswati. We are at your house.

Narrator: Later Saraswati is lying in her bed, thinking about whether she can really become a doctor. The next morning before going to school she voices her concerns to her parents.

Saraswati: Mom, Dad, do you both really think that I can become a doctor?

Lakshmi: Of course you can. You can do anything you set your mind to. Who said you can’t do it?

Saraswati: Raj, the man whose auto I ride in, laughed at me when I told him that I wanted to become a doctor. He said that I have no chance of succeeding.

Lakshmi: Saraswati, you must understand. There will always be people who will tell you that you cannot do something. You must not listen to them. As long as you believe in yourself and are determined to achieve your goal, nothing can stop you. Also Saraswati, know that both your Dad and I believe in you completely. We know that you will achieve great things.

Shyam: Your Mom is absolutely right. As long as you work hard and persevere, you will definitely achieve your goals. Do you understand, Saraswati?

Saraswati: Yes, I think so.

Narrator: Saraswati learned that determination and perseverance can help anyone achieve any goal no matter the obstacle.

Copyright © 2008-2009 Sangam India. All rights reserved

Written by: Krishnakanth Chiravuri, Srikanth Chiravuri, Vidhi Makanji, Neil Mithal, and Abhiram Gunturi.

Global Education Committee Established

Thursday, May 21st, 2009
As you may already have heard, we have now established a global educational committee. Members of this committee are from India, Australia, and the United States, and will be working to create an educational model and curriculum to be used in Sangam India projects, both current and future. The following message was sent to members of the Facebook group “Sangam India Educational Committee” by Vasundhra Jain, our Director of Infrastructure, part of the Groundwork division.

“Hey guys, I’m vasundhra and I head the infrastructure committee under which the education department operates. Now I want to get started on the lesson plans of the education program that happens every week. Basically for people who haven’t attended the education program, we conduct lesson plans for the kids. The lesson plan usually consists of a educational activity and a health lesson. We need help in planning out the educational activities for the kids. Keep in mind a couple of things when planning out an activity:

1) It should be educational. by this I don’t mean academic oriented. It can incorporate things like creativity, team building exercises, values, ethics.
2) Easy to understand and execute
3) Entertaining for the kids

There are certain goals that we want to reach with the educational program which are listed on the blog and on the facebook group.

We also need help in coming up with activities for the elder boys( 10-15 yrs). we haven’t been able to get them involved and it’s really important because the little boys look up to the older kids, and some role models would play a great role in their lives.

If you have any other ideas or suggestions please feel free to share them.
It’s really important that we get this program going because we can really make an impact in the lives of these kids. If we can succeed in this goal we can use these models and lesson plans in other communities in need.

Thanks a lot,

If you are interested in joining the committee, please email or, or visit the Facebook group here.

Movie Clip: Teachers

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

In this movie clip from our April 18, 2009 visit, Yogesh tells the kids what teachers do and the kids get a chance to write on the whiteboard.

Lesson Planning: Our Objectives

Initiatives: Healthcare and Nutrition

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

an excerpt from our upcoming website
written by Sriram Ramgopal

Healthcare: Problem Statement
Healthcare – and the lack of easy access to it – prevents people from upward social and economic growth in India. The lack of healthcare stems from two important issues:

The first issue is a lack of access. Healthcare facilities in India are difficult to access. Government hospitals, though technically free, are so burdened by a massive population of patients and a deficiency of qualified medical staff that they simply cannot cope with the load. They have a perpetual shortage of essential medicines and are simply unable to do essential diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Corruption in such hospitals also plays its role in limiting access to ordinary people. Thus, people are unable to utilize these hospitals in their time of need. “Experts and the general public perceive public hospitals as inefficient, dirty, unhygienic and their staff as rude, negligent and callous,” writes Ratna Magotra, for the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics1. However, while ‘free’ government hospitals are unusable, impoverished people in India simply cannot afford to go to more expensive private hospitals, where the costs of treatment are exponentially higher than what they might earn in a year – or even in several years. The long-term costs of treating chronic ailments such as diabetes and hypertension put a heavy, often unbearable burden on people with a limited income.

The second issue preventing access to healthcare is a lack of knowledge, awareness, and initiative and an ignorance about the importance of health. Such a statement is not intended to allocate blame to these people. However, they are unaware that treatment is available for many conditions, that it is affordable and easy to obtain. They do not know that many diseases – such as debilitating complications of diabetes – can be prevented by simple and inexpensive means. Perhaps more ominously, we have found in our short work here at Ramavaram that patients are unwilling to receive treatment, even treatment that they perceive as necessary and that our group has been willing to sponsor. This can be attributed to a cynical attitude towards the healthcare system and the importance of good health in their lives.

The economic and social toll that lack of proper healthcare takes in such urban communities cannot be calculated in any straightforward way. Children suffer in school because of undiagnosed refractive problems. Adults suffer from bone aches due to osteoarthritis. Acute trauma such as fractures from road traffic accidents, when improperly treated, prevents adults from being economically productive in the future. Death tolls in children due to untreated diarrheal and respiratory diseases are also distressingly high. The tragedy is that many of these people suffer from conditions that can be treated easily – and often inexpensively.

The Importance of Healthcare in Community Rehabilitation
We have chosen to work on heath care for several reasons. Most of our members, being students and workers in the healthcare field, grasp the vital importance of health in the chain of human suffering and poverty; we share a keen sense of empathy for their pain. Our belief is that ethically, the choice of providing health care when we have the power to do so is a matter that requires little deliberation. We see it as a clear responsibility with few shades of gray to complicate the issue. Helping those who are sick serves additional advantages as well. It allows people to get to work and to school and to become productive – thus breaking a chain in the disease-poverty-disease cycle. Socially, it shows our solidarity with those who need help and creates a strong bond with them based on our concern for their welfare. This leads to trust, and over time, it allows us to work with these people in other arenas as well, such as education and vocational training.

Our philosophy of health care is that of ‘self care.’ When someone is sick, we believe that the immediate course of action is to help them get better. However, this is not the end-all of health care as it does not provide a long term solution for health problems that are an inevitable part of life. People from impoverished backgrounds lack access to healthcare for a number of reasons. But armed with information and support, they can make the right healthcare choices and play a positive, active role in their health.

Our Approach to Health Care
Our approach to health care has a number of facets. As the axiom says, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure,” and this certainly applies to underprivileged communities. Health education is an important part of this process. Teaching children and adults alike the importance of basic hygiene and sanitation is critical to combating common infectious diseases. Preventing children from using drugs forestalls long term, chronic health problems ranging from alcoholism to lung cancer. Informing women about contraception and its importance decreases complications associated with excessive and frequent childbirths. Thus, health education is the cornerstone to our approach in underdeveloped communities. It is the cheapest and the most effective way to avert disease and debility.

Prevention, though better than a cure, by no means replaces it. It is also important to develop ways to treat patients who are in need of curative therapy. We plan on increasing access to health care by two means – bringing health care to those afflicted with minor conditions, and for more serious conditions, taking them to centers for definitive treatment. Bringing health care to the community involves running health camps and bringing qualified medical professionals to help the residents deal with their medical complaints. By eliminating the cost of treatment and bringing doctors to their own neighborhoods, we can surpass many of the barriers that they face in getting treatment. By individually assisting the patients, we help them overcome their fear of what seems to them as a complicated and menacing system and get them the treatment they deserve as human beings.

To finish the rest of this article, check back on our upcoming website, releasing June 2009.

  1. Magotra, Ratna. “Revitalising public health care.” Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. 1995. Forum for Medical Ethics Society. 14 May 2009 <>.

Skit 2: Humility

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Part of a series about skits produced for the Ramavaram children.

Skit 2: Humility

Narrator: Vishnu was a smart boy of 11 years. He did very well in school and became very proud and arrogant of his intelligence. Let us see what happens as a result of this.

Teacher: Okay students. I will now give you some practice problems which you must finish before class ends. If you do not finish, you will receive a bad grade. If you finish early, you may help your classmates.

Narrator: The teacher had given very hard problems, and very few students were able to finish early. All of those who finished early tried to help their classmates. All except Vishnu. Several of his friends asked him for help, but he just made fun of them. Meanwhile, his best friend Keshav is struggling, and he decides to ask Vishnu for help.

Keshav: Hey, Vishnu can you help me on this problem? I do not understand it.

Vishnu: Hahaha. That is the easiest problem Keshav. If you cannot do that one, then I cannot help you. Haha.

Narrator: After saying this, Vishnu goes to sleep even though he knows that many of his friends need help finishing the problems. All of his friends are angry with him for his attitude and try to finish the problems on their own. Later after school, Vishnu catches up with his friends.

Vishnu: Hey guys! Wait up for me. (His friends look back at him and keep walking.) Why didn’t you wait up for me, guys? (None of his friends answer him, and they all keep walking.) Hello?? Are you all not talking to me now?

Vivek: What do you expect Vishnu? All you did today was make fun of us.

Sandeep: All we wanted was your help.

All the other friends: Yeah

Vishnu: That’s not true. That’s not true, is it Keshav?

Keshav: Yes, that is absolutely true Vishnu. You were completely arrogant and selfish today. All we wanted was your help. And how did you respond? You made fun of each one of us. Now you expect us to be your friends? No, Vishnu. Not until you change your attitude. I hope you learn your lesson.

(All of his friends leave, and Vishnu is left alone.)

Narrator: After this, Vishnu goes to ask his parents.

(Vishnu enters his house)

Shiva (Vishnu’s Dad): Hello Vishnu. Did you do well in school today?

Vishnu: Yes.

Uma (Vishnu’s Mom): That’s great!!

Shiva: You are saying that you did well, but you look upset. Did something happen?

Vishnu: Since I understood the lesson, my friends came to me for help. However, instead of helping them, I made fun of them for not understanding.

Shiva: It sounds like you thought that you were too good for your friends.

Uma: What your dad is talking about is humility. You must never be arrogant or too proud of your deeds. You must never brag about your abilities. How do you think your friends felt when you made fun of them? You do not like to be made fun of do you? Why then would you make fun of your friends, Vishnu? That is very wrong. Do you understand?

Vishnu: I understand. I’m very sorry.

Uma: We are not the ones that you insulted, Vishnu. You must go apologize with sincerity to your friends.

Vishnu: Do you think they will forgive me? Will they talk to me again?

Shiva: Well Vishnu, that is up to them. What you did was very wrong. Tomorrow, go to your friends and apologize to them. Hopefully, they will forgive you.

Uma: But that is only the first step. Next time they ask for help, give it willingly. You must always help others, Vishnu.

Vishnu: Okay. Thanks, Mom and Dad

Narrator: The next day at school Vishnu sees his friends before school on the cricket field. Vishnu decides to follows his parents’ advice.

Vishnu: Hello guys. (No one responds.) I know what I did yesterday was not correct. I am sincerely sorry for my actions.

Keshav: We will only be your friend on one condition. You must promise to be humble, and you must not treat those who know less than you badly.

Vishnu: Yes, I promise to be humble in the future.

Keshav: Okay, then let us put this behind us and play some cricket before school starts.

Everyone: Yeah!!

Copyright © 2008-2009 Sangam India. All rights reserved

Written by: Krishnakanth Chiravuri, Srikanth Chiravuri, Vidhi Makanji, Neil Mithal, and Abhiram Gunturi.

Movie Clip: Staying Healthy

Friday, May 15th, 2009

In this movie clip, Vandhana and Nazneen tell the kids how they should healthy so they don’t fall sick. After this, one of the kids from the slum tells the rest of the group what to do again. From our April 11th, 2009 visit.

Lesson Planning: Our Objectives

Promotional E-Packet

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

We have compiled the Promotional Packet into an e-version which allows it to be viewed easily, on the computer. A sample is included below but you can view it in full-size if you would like.

Viewing requires Adobe Flash 8 or above. This feature is powered by Issuu. These e-format pdfs are a great way to incorporate the content onto a website – and we hope that we’ll be using more of them when our new site launches.

The Promotional Packet contains the following:

It is still available as a .pdf here.