Saying Goodbye

THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN THE BEAUTY OF THEIR DREAMS: Eleanor Roosevelt

Saying goodbyes is always difficult, especially if it is to our beautiful graceful angels.  On 8th of April, our 11th-grade students along with the teachers bid farewell to the girls of 12th grade. They successfully completed their schooling at FFLV’s Sandipani Muni School.

It was a time for celebration & time for tears.  Our students looked back to see their journey & what they had learned, the adventures they had and reflected on the wonderful memories they shared.

However, it was not an all tears and no fun day. The show began with a very beautiful Saree Fashion Show. As the girls gracefully walked the stage, the students in the audience cheered them. The children had also organized some really fun games that made everyone laugh. We had the tug of war and musical chairs that made the audience jump out of their seats with excitement.

What followed that was a lot of dancing, where everyone let themselves loose and had a great time and then had a really special lunch together !!!!

Our 12th-grade girls are looking forward to stepping into the Universities now. With new dreams in their eyes, they are ready to fly out and see what lies beyond. We wish them all the best for their futures.

Life of Rita

A single mother of two, Rita had little hope when her husband passed away in the year 2010. She was married at a young age with no education and little did she know what life had in store for her. She struggled to bring up her two angelic daughters aged 3 and 5 that time. As the sole bread earner of the house Rita had to leave her children alone at home and go out to do work until she came across Food for Life Vrindavan. Her daughters were immediately taken in the school and she was offered a cleaning job at the office.

Rita lived in a temporary hut previously, that used to have a metal rooftop and used to be as hot as an oven in summers, with FFLV’s help she was able to rent a room for herself and her daughters where she lives now. She was also given help to get a cooking gas. Along with a monthly salary for her work, she is also given monthly rent and rations from FFLV. Both of her girls are bright and very well behaved students at school. Life seems to have made them more mature for their age. Rita does not want them to face the hardships that she had to in her life. She has great hopes for her daughters and really believes that education will change things for them.

Strategy Planning Workshop by InFocus

On the 31st Mar and 1st April 2017, a two day workshop was organized by Dr Damian Hatton, the Managing Director of InFocus. The purpose of the workshop was to develop a plan to address the following focus question:

“What should FFLV do over the course of the next 5 years to motivate and nurture a staff team. who can support & sustain the anticipated growth of the charity, to benefit even more children across Vrindavan?”

Over the course of two days, Mr Hatton facilitated a brainstorming session with the FFLV management to answer this question. The workshop was very productive and gave us all clarity of vision for the next five years. We were able to gauge our goals and the hurdles that stopped us from achieving them. We thank inFocus for their worskhop has greatly benefited FFLV and we look forward to implementing the discussed strategies.

About Dr Damian Hatton

Managing Director / Senior Consultant inFocus

Damian founded inFocus in 2007. He overseas the inFocus consultancy team, leads on business development and marketing and undertakes delivery work, particularly to plan and implement shared measurement and evaluation of collective impact initiatives. His high-level facilitation, training and strategic planning expertise are applied within a wide variety of client projects, utilizing his monitoring, evaluation and research experience across a number of different interest areas. Previous to inFocus, Damian founded Street League, a leading social development programme, working with severely disadvantaged youths and adults across the UK. He originally trained as a medical doctor at University College London Hospital, practising in both the UK and Australia for 5 years. For more information visit: http://impactinfocus.com/

Farewell Season

Dear Friends,

March is a very special time of the year, a time for new beginnings and bidding farewell. We have two very dear teachers at Sandipani Muni School who rendered their services for many years. Vishnu Priya taught english to senior school girls since 2007 & Madhurima Dubey taught hindi to junior school since 2003.

Vishnu Priya is soon getting married and Madhurima ji retired from her post. The school organized a farewell for both these teachers to thank them for their wonderful contribution to the lives of these girls over these years. We thank them for their services & wish them all the best for their future.

Time for Exams & Results

Dear Friends,

Savita receiving her gift from Rupa prabhu

It is starting to get hot here in Vrindavan. Not just the weather, but the heat is on for the students of Sandipani Muni School too. While our 12th grade girls are appearing for their board exams, girls from the junior and senior sections just got their results.Every year Sandipani Muni Schools recognize and award the best students in studies, attendance and behavior. This is to appreciate the girls for their hard work & encourage the girls to study well.

The results were announced and the girls performed wonderfully, one of the girls from the kindergarten even scored 100%. Radha from grade 8th topped the junior school & Savita topped the senior school.

We deeply believe that exams & grades are temporary but Education is Permanent. And this is what we always tell our girls too. On the day of award distribution FFLV founder, Mr Rupa Raghunath Das addressed the children and said, “We may be giving away the prizes to only a few of you today, but I want to let you know that you all the best”.

The girls were overjoyed to receive the prizes, however, what was really inspiring to see was how other girls clapped in joy and encouraged them as they walked towards the stage. We wish our girls a very successful future and thank all of you who support them by helping them continue their education.

A Sweet Farewell

On the 22nd of March, 2017, the students of 7th grade of Sandipani Muni School organized a small farewell party for the 8th graders. This was done as a sweet gesture for the 8th class students because they will now be moving to the Senior school and have more serious studies ahead. So before that they all got together and had a bit of fun.

The program started with a prayer. The students performed a small drama that made everyone laugh. Some of the girls performed a song while others recited a poem. Followed by words of wisdom by the teachers and principals. Then they had some refreshments.

The 8th graders will now be senior students. We wish them all the best for their new year.

Sridhar & Rebecca Visit FFLV

Sridhar and Rebecca with SMS girls

Recently, We had the pleasure of a visit from Sridhar & Rebecca accompanied by some yoga students. They arrived at the morning kirtan and had a great time with the children dancing and singing.

They then distributed 200 beautiful woolen scarfs to the girls that were lovingly hand made by Rebecca’s grandmother. The girls were overjoyed to receive them and were so grateful for the gift.

Rebecca distributing scarfs

Sridhar have been visiting FFLV for many years along with the yoga students and have always supported FFLV. He is the founder of Bhakti Fest, which is a premier yoga, sacred music, and personal growth festival in the United States. Since 2009, for six days each September, they feature the best Yoga Teachers, Kirtan Musicians, and Workshop Leaders in the world. To know more visit : http://bhaktifest.com/

Through their activities they raise funds that goes to their chosen causes and help them give support to those less fortunate than us. FFLV is one of the charities that have benefitted from their wonderful endeavours. Bhaktifest is currently sponsoring the education of 5 girls at the school.

We really appreciate the continuos support of Sridhar prabhu & Bhaktifest towards our cause. We hope that their community grows and through their festivals, they spread the message of love & peace all over the world.

Shivani’s Transformation

Dear Friends,

Sponsors are the lifeline behind the running of FFLV. We really appreciate their support. However, it is delightful for us to hear words of encouragement. Our long time friend and supporter Henry T Dom took time to write down his beautiful experience when he recently visited us, and here we are sharing it with you all.

“More than two years ago I met Shivani, a young and vulnerable school girl who could hardly speak a word of English. She was shy, made sporadic eye contact, with little confidence. It was obvious that she came from a troubled background where Shivani had to bear domestic responsibilities not common to girls of her age. She touched me on a deeper level which so often defy language. I decided to sponsor her education and whatever else comes with that.

In February this year I returned to the school as one of my highlights when visiting Vrndavan. It was obvious that a meeting with Shivani was going to take place. I had no expectations in fear of being disappointed. A mature, self-confident, neatly presented and self-assured young lady introduced herself as Shivani. For a moment I was left astounded. The transformation was striking. If not breathtaking. Her English had improved dramatically and she held a conversation that was reflecting her passion for education. Shivani took the deficits in her young life into positives by sheer determination and willpower. For  her the sky is the limit and studying medicine beckons.

At these Food for Life schools small miracles happen daily and I urge others to spend a very small proportion of their income on changing forever the lives of girls who come from the poorest of the poor” – Dr Henry Dom, aka Hari-dhama dasa, London.

Meal Supplement Program by Dr Jacob’s

As many as a third of the world’s people do not meet their physical and intellectual potential because of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The toll being taken by vitamin and mineral deficiency in 80 developing countries, India being one of them. The severe effects of vitamin and mineral deficiencies are anemia, cretinism and blindness, etc. Methods that have worked in industrialized nations are now so inexpensive and available that they could control vitamin and mineral deficiencies worldwide. Chief among the solutions is food fortification, adding essential vitamins and minerals to regularly consumed foods.

At FFLV, we provide the kids with healthy nutritious food. However, we knew that these kids were from underprivileged families. They lacked certain essential nutrients in their bodies, that food alone wasn’t sufficient to fulfill those requirements. Therefore, many years ago, the meal supplement program was started with the help of our generous donor company Dr. Jacob’s Medical GmbH.

The medical doctor Ludwig Manfred Jacob (1971) is the founder of Dr. Jacob’s Medical , the author of numerous articles and the 3rd edition of the German book “Der Jacob’s Weg”. He also supports the education of 30 girls in Sandipani Muni School and is also assisting with the upcoming Govardhan School construction.

Dr Jacob especially made a formula for our kids called India Mix. Kids, especially up to the age of 5 and also above were given the formula along with their morning breakfast. The formula contains Iron, Zinc, Iodine and Vitamin B12. All these nutrients are essential for the proper growth and development of the kids.

This is what our school doctor had to say, “I noticed, since the beginning that the girls showed improvement in their  health fast. They get less sick, less cases of dysentery, pneumonia, and bronchitis, tolerance is better towards extremes temperatures, like summer and winter. They are more resistant to Malaria and Typhoid fever too”.

Devaki’s improvement over the years:

We thank Dr Jacob for his continued support to Food for Life Vrindavan and are very grateful for his contribution. His program has shown great results over time. The children comparatively fall less sick due to their developed immunity to fight against diseases. Their skin and hair got healthier and shinier because they got regular nutrition. Thanks to Dr Jacob, our girls are growing into intelligent individuals who have the potential to be the future leaders of our society.

Spela’s Service

For the month of February we had a wonderful volunteer Spela from Slovenia. And like she always says that sLOVEnia has love “in it”, she also carried it all the way with her for Vrindavan and FFLV kids. In a month long service, Spela showed great enthusiasm in giving group coaching classes to the school girls. She also taught the girls some lessons on ” GO GREEN AND CLEAN” and ”PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT”. The girls learned public speaking, and english conversational skills. Another important topic that Spela taught the girls was “SWOT ANALYSIS”. After the training, the girls also gave a presentation about what they have learned and surprised everyone with their confidence and lovely presentations. We are very grateful to Spela for her time and dedication towards teaching the girls. We hope that you can come back again to FFLV next year.