Blending Spectrum is a project of The YP Foundation that connects urban young people through a peer-to peer community interaction with street and slum children, with the aim of increasing sensitivity between street and slum children and the urban youth. Blending Spectrum provides healthcare and non-formal education (including Life Skills Based Education), building the potential of children with limited access to opportunities.
The Blending Spectrum Management Team, or the BSMT, is the core group of 5 young staff members who execute and develop the project’s goals on 2 locations in Delhi. The project was founded by 17-year-old Manka Bajaj in 2006 and has also been run by Rohanjit Chaudhry since. Aditi Kaul, a 3rd year student at Delhi University, currently heads the BSMT.
When I joined The YP Foundation a few months back, I didn’t know what to expect. I had never volunteered with any not-for-profit organizations before and there was a nagging fear in my mind that I’ll soon loose enthusiasm (the way I usually do whenever I undertake something) and that would be the end of it. Moreover, constant insinuation by “cynics at large” about how NGOs are sneaky little organizations and it would be a foolish mistake to put my trust in them, made me a bit of a skeptic. However, after much deliberation, I decided to give volunteering a shot.
Living in a nation like India, it’s a banal sight to see little kids living, playing and begging on the streets. But, actually knowing their life stories without prejudices and accepting them just the way they are, is a different thing altogether. This was precisely the reason I chose to be a part of Blending Spectrum which works with street and slum children. Volunteering with BlenSpec gave me an opportunity to work with their partner NGO, Music Basti, which was a pure delight.
The visits to the location were always good fun. We used to go to Kilkari which was a home for children-at-risk (only girls) at Kashmere Gate. Now, there is one thing which I completely detest and that is human touch. Perhaps I am exaggerating but seriously, I do not like hugging others. There I was, visiting the location for the very first time and all those girls came running towards me and wrapped their arms around me as if they had known me forever. And finally this warm, fuzzy feeling dawned upon me which I didn’t quite understand but I knew that it was a good start. Being with those kids made me realize that we aren’t very different after all. We may have varied preferences and our very own set of dreams, but eventually, each one of us crave for love , support and a dignified life.
Workshops conducted by Music Basti proved beneficial to both the kids as well as the volunteers. We got a glimpse into their lives which they were happy to share. All of us interacted, played, sang and participated in the activities and all in all, just had a really good time. Finally, there is one thing that I learned from those kids and it was being open and accepting.
Even though I still don’t understand the many facets of their lives and the ordeal they had to go through, their wide grins and toothy smiles were an assurance that maybe, in my own small way, I brought a smile on someone’s face and that was worth a million bucks. I hope that I can do the same, if not more, for the kids (at either locations of BlenSpec- Nizamuddin and Qutub) that I’ll be working with in the coming days.
I have no intention of invoking sympathy in the hearts of others for those kids because the truth is, no matter what we do for them, they’ll always end up teaching us more about who we are and all that is really important.
Volunteer- Blending Spectrum
Four years ago, The YP Foundation initiated a programme to help empower Delhi’s street and slum children, to provide them with skills and information to effectively deal with daily life and access their rights to health services and education. Today, Blending Spectrum, in collaboration with NGOs across Delhi is going full steam ahead. It not only aims at supporting these children, but also provides a gateway for the urban youth of Delhi to contribute their time, and to channel their efforts for this purpose.
Since 2006, we have assisted 110 children to get formal education, and a little more. Blending Spectrum has, and continues to work towards developing Life Skills within these children. Life Skills are the ability to adapt to, and effectively deal with challenges in everyday life, as defined by WHO. They include personal, interpersonal and problem-solving skills.
At present, the project works with children between the ages of 3 and 20 at two strategic locations – a Nizamuddin Basti, and the Ummeed Home for Boys at Qutub, Mehrauli.
The Ummeed Home for Boys is an all boys hostel for runaway, abandoned and orphaned children, managed by partner NGO Aman Biradari. Blending Spectrum works with the 110 children between the ages of 3 to 20 at this hostel to:
a) Inculcate life skills and raise awareness on socio cultural awareness, civic awareness and health.
b) Develop technical skills with the boys between the ages of 12 to 22 years on digital storytelling and photo essays, as a medium to express themselves and as a skill to increase employement opportunity.
Our basic requirements for volunteering are that you:
If you fit the above criteria, and can give us your valuable time, please do apply and help our cause!
The Induction and Orientation are happening on :
Induction: 18th December, 2010 – 2.30 to 4.30 pm
Orientation: 19th December, 2010- 11 am to 5 pm
(It is mandatory to attend both the events to clear the induction process)
At the Bluebells School International, Opposite Lady Sri Ram College , Kailash Colony, New Delhi
Register at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Further Queries: +91 9711198336/011-46792243
Also, check out the Facebook event for the induction to this project
Written by Ishita Chaudhry for Music Basti, featured at musicbasti.org
Six years ago, I met a young lady over a cup of coffee. A few features of that meeting stand out in my mind. It was early evening; the lady in question was meticulous, interested, with a cool reserve and friendly interest in exploring not just what was, but the possibilities of what could be. Her notebook, stands out in my mind, for no particular reason, other than the fact that I had nothing to write in and wasn’t quite sure what my answers were going to be, to some serious questions about what The YP Foundation was and how we could work together.
But if you know Faith Gonsalves like I have, the questions are always specific. A blend of curiosity mixed with intent, pure purpose, genuine passion and the seriousness of ability in a conversation that will always challenge you to think and then think again. The stakes are always higher with some people when you work, because they raise the bar, by virtue of how they think the picture can be re-crafted to begin with. They bring a new kind of challenge to the work that you do, force you to move outside your comfort box. They help you grow, in immense outspoken, quiet ways.
Close to nine years of working with more than five hundred young people, in the staffing structure of an organization like TYPF that has worked with over five thousand young people over the past nine years, sometimes it is hard to remember each and every contribution made without needing to peer down the books of memory lane.
Yet sometimes, it isn’t hard to remember at all, for people’s presence is marked so clearly by their contributions, their inimitable footprints in the sand.
- Sumaya Saluja, Programme Coordinator
Blending Spectrum began in 2007, on the basis of 3 realizations:
It started out as a fairly simple process. We brought together young people from schools and colleges to work with urban street and slum children across the NCR at three locations - the New Delhi Railway Station, a home for the orphaned and the abandoned run by a partner NGO, and at the Nizamuddin Basti (an urban settlement of a community of rag pickers at large), which was inhabited by 30 families.
Over the past five years, we have progressively increased our involvement with these 250+ children, from providing material resources to help with clothing and shelter, to getting the children into school and helping them with their academics and homework, to finally implementing a Life Skills based education model. The focus is on empowering the community to realize their rights through raising awareness on health, socio cultural and civic issues; building their communication, interpersonal critical thinking skills; developing self management and coping mechanisms while assisting the children in their access to and progress in formal schooling. The approach has involved using interactive mediums such as theatre, dance and art, through a peer to peer educational approach. Three years into the programme, the Global Fund for Children came on board to support the programme as has the NGO Dream A Dream in 2010, as our Curriculum Development Partners.
We learned from the responses given and feedback received from the children and their parents and have developed a response based on what the community identified as their needs. With time and continuous interaction, our understanding of these issues have strengthened, as have our ties with the community.