It is said that women are the real architects of society. HatkeStory got an opportunity to closely observe the commendable work, a motivated group of women from Hyderabad is voluntarily doing for the benefit of Govt. School Children. They identify their group as UDAAN which means “to take off” and we must say, these women are doing justice to the name.
It is a fact that slowly and steadily English is being accepted as the International common tongue. Thanks to globalization, we all aspire to learn and master this International Language. UDAAN has taken the initiative to help one and all master this affluent language spoken worldwide.
UDAAN is the brainchild of Mrs. Charu R Shah. The Co-Founders of this group include Neeta Shah, Kalpa Gondhalekar, Roma Shroff, Monica Bhandula, Sonal Doshi, Kavita Boorgu, Anantha Lakshmi, Shridevi, Usha Bhagia, Sarita Chimalgi. They took the initiative to form the group and started off with Bandimet Government School, Pattigadda, teaching Spoken English and Basic Computer Science. UDAAN now has around 200 active volunteers covering 12 Govt. schools in Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
What is UDAAN?
UDAAN is a fully voluntary group that helps one and all master ENGLISH, an affluent language spoken worldwide that has contributed significantly in narrowing the gap between geographical boundaries.
When we asked Charu, how she would describe UDAAN, she quoted the Indian Urdu Poet Majhrooh Sultanpuri, saying:
मैं अकेला ही चला था जानिब-ए-मंज़िल मगर
लोग साथ आते गये और कारवां बनता गया
I was alone when I had started my journey towards my destiny.
But people started joining me, and we as a group started travelling towards our goal together.
What inspired you to take a step forward?
On the 2nd of August every year, my Mom’s Birthday, I visit senior citizen homes to spend some quality time and distribute goodies in her memory. While driving down the road, I passed by a Govt. School. I stopped to look around, spoke to a few kids, but found it hard to communicate as they could only speak Telugu, and again donated some goodies.
This became a routine for me until one fine day, the Head Mistress (HM) of one of the Govt. schools asked me if I could do something for the betterment of these children. After talking to the HM, I found that the children at the Govt. schools were finding it difficult to communicate in English. The HM asked me if I could do something about it.
So, I started taking classes for students as well as adults at these schools. For a period of 6 Months, I did this all alone. The best thing I understood from this experience is that it’s good to tap into a rich pool of talent when the students are young. So I restricted my classes only to students from 6th to 9th Grade in government schools.
Who are all the members of UDAAN?
I started talking to people at social gatherings and other meetings about my initiative. Some thought I was crazy while some felt it was a Good Idea. The first few friends who genuinely believed in my new found passion where Neeta Shah, Kalpa Gondhalekar, Roma Shroff, Monica Bhandula, Sonal Doshi, Kavita Boorgu, Anantha Lakshmi, Shridevi, Usha Bhagia, Sarita Chimalgi.
What are the hardships that you had to face? How did you overcome them?
The First School adopted by Udaan, was Bandimet Govt School located at Pattigadda, Secunderabad. To start with, I faced a lot of hurdles. For instance, the HM of this School asked me to schedule my classes after school hours. I did this for 6 months, later I was asked to take Permission from the DO of Govt. Schools to continue.
I met him at his office and he finally approved. But getting together students after school hours was a Herculean job. I tried to convince the teachers and HM of the school to allot us three periods in the Morning session for our English classes. They were kind enough to agree.
How did the present volunteers come to know about your group?
I started spreading the word about Udaan, when I would go for my morning walks, visit to my Dentist waiting for my turn, would talk to people in the waiting room, various womens’ Organizations and many more. Whether people wanted to hear me or not, I just wanted to talk about Udaan.
What is the outcome that you expect?
My passion and urge to reach out to these Children made me do whatever it is, to the best of my ability. We Call Ourselves Volunteers, as in true sense we work voluntarily. We are not paid in Currency Notes, but we get our pay-cheques at end of each class, when we see wide SMILES on the faces of these beautiful and talented children.
It is pleasure to see and hear them putting in effort, fumbling with words and trying to form sentences entirely in English to communicate.
We believe that their journey of Learning with us has just Begun!
UDAAN needs VOLUNTEERS to help with their Mission to impart skills to as many people as possible. Udaan is NOT just limited to women. It’s open to all irrespective of gender.
If you want to be a volunteer at Udaan too,
Charu R Shah
Let us see what a few volunteers have to say about UDAAN:
“Society has given us so much. So, we must return something back, and what could be better than sharing knowledge that we acquired because of our privilege. Joining Udaan has been a great experience, and I am grateful for this opportunity.”
“My association with Udaan has been the most gratifying and fulfilling in true sense. The immense pleasure and satisfaction seeing joy on kids’ faces through our teachings and other charitable donations is worth every minute spent on this journey with Udaan. Wish to be a part all through. We work for a noble cause with no ulterior motive.”
– Shridevi Valluri
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give” is a meaningful quote which inspires me to volunteer besides many other factors. Indeed, there can be no greater joy than volunteering. I am proud & glad to be a volunteer at Udaan, which believes in empowering children through education & sports.”
“Udaan has given me connect with children. Their smile when we teach and their naughtiness in class has brought me near to childhood. I thank God every day for what we have and share my gratitude with society whenever I am with those children. My dad would say Vidya-Daan is best Daan and I just remember it every time I see twinkle in those little angels’ eyes!”
“Udaan has enabled people like me to take part in this great endeavor and provide wings to these children to fly high and fly far. It is a laudable effort by these ladies over an extended period to enhance the scope and depth of their services. I feel very proud to be a part of this noble venture. I’m confident these trainings would enable these children to reach great heights in their career.”
-S. Uma Rajeswar
“It’s a humble experience being associated with Udaan. I feel if we are able to contribute little to the society we have done our bit, but Udaan is doing so much more by giving not only education but awareness and happiness which is like achieving a milestone. For years, people will appreciate and thank Udaan for a mild blowing work.”
“I feel extremely proud and happy having joined Udaan; Firstly, it is a totally voluntary service, non-profit group in which we like minded homemakers and few professional ladies devote time for imparting education to govt. school children. We teach spoken English, basic grammar which helps them in their career building.”
“Thankyou Charu ma’am and your team, for giving us this platform to contribute to our society. I have only empowered and expressed myself by this. Thankyou Rekhaji, for being with me, thank you so much.”
“My two years’ association with Udaan has been a great experience. It’s really a double satisfaction of sharing knowledge with the future generation and helping the less privileged students. Hats off to UDAAN. Thank you!!!”
“It’s a great experience to join Udaan. It was just amazing to find myself growing with Udaan. I started enjoying teaching children, how to speak English. When I changed my pattern of studying from regular lessons, even children started grasping fast.”
“I am extremely proud and blessed to be a part of UDAAN group. Our sole purpose here is to share a bit of our knowledge with the underprivileged kids. It gives me a feeling of immense satisfaction when I go to my schools. May UDAAN grow by leaps and bounds.”
“I met Charu 7 yrs. back with a wonderful reason to work together for a noble and selfless cause. I have seen UDAAN grow in leaps and bounds all these yrs. with wonderful people around and fortunate enough to be a part of it. It’s a great and satisfying experience to touch the little hearts that are less privileged but equally capable”.
“Udaan helps me celebrate the teacher in me, by providing an opportunity of learning and giving love to so many children.
The energy and enthusiasm shared mutually makes learning English lively and fun.
“If you learn to love, you definitely love to learn”.
Thank you Udaan for giving me this amazing platform to make a small difference to the society”
“One of the most beautiful thing for the heart is to see these little children, the smiles, the tears of their gratitude to receive the education they do through Udaan. We take it for granted sometimes but for these children that little bit of care and concern from our part can mean a lot. It is an feeling of enrichment and blessing to be part of such a true cause foundation.”