This project continues to grow steadily month by month and year by year so that the VIE network database today consist of 58 educational organizations and schools, and with a total of 19,876 children who have been reached to-date!
With the changes that the VIE management have gone through in the past few years, the biggest challenge for 2014 was to locate and hire a local manager and get back to the ground level, where follow up and strong communication with our network of users can be established. This aspect is key to continued success, and so for months I worked to reach out to experienced social workers, introducing the project, explaining the vision and the present need for a project manager.
In September 2014 I was able to travel to India to get on the ground and meet with two key people who have jumped on board with the VIE mission and goals, who were excited with all that has already been accomplished and want to help propel our project to the next level. I arrived in Mumbai for a workshop and delivery of our library to one of the foundations that we partner with there. This organization conducts life skills training and was very excited to have our library as additional material that will empower them to teach the younger aged children of which in Mumbai alone they have 1,500 students. (see attached pictures 01 & 02)
The next day I had the privilege of revisiting a community school in the heart of Dharavi, the most notorious slum in India. Here I talked with the organization’s Executive Director and the school principal, who explained how the VIE library has influenced the school starting with the teachers, and then how they incorporated the story books and materials into the classes with the children.
This offered me a truly blessed experience, to have a glimpse of the ripple effect which our project has. I got a chance to record many of the teachers express their experience of using the materials and testifying to the positive effects it has on the children’s behavior almost immediately. They were so grateful that it touched my heart, and what a boost it was to keep reaching out to empower such committed social servants of underserved communities, and their beautiful children.
I then traveled to the city of Hyderabad where our project manager works and lives, Daniel (see attached picture) and had a day to showcase the VIE library, organize product supply, set new goals, explore sustainability and much more. Arun, one of our VIE consultants, was able to help do some follow up in another city and got footage of testimonials from three schools which utilize our library, it was a boon to benefit from his years of experience as we discussed the future of our project.
All in all, the trip to India was successful and achieved the planned objectives, providing a solid platform for continual growth. Thank you for supporting VIE this year, and even though this trip focused on re-set up and backend work as you can see from the achievement list below, VIE continues to progress steadily month by month, year by year, and as we near 2015 we look forward to another successful effort to build a caring culture one child at a time.
The ripple effect of the trip to India continues, as we have regular, bi-monthly Skype meetings with our project manager. Since returning from my trip, two new organizations have been identified for our library, and we are currently coordinating a delivery date while exploring funding for the library contents/products.
“We have incorporated into our curriculum circle time which is used to teach values to the children and I was racking my brain as to what material we can use, and so your visit was timely as you brought the library kit with you, it was a God send!
“At the beginning, I myself enjoyed going through the library and then I started with the teachers reading through the stories. We discussed the values together and I asked the teachers how are they doing at home, even in regards to cleanliness and throwing out wrappers. So to begin with, we explored these values with the teachers and once the teachers were impacted it had a cascade effect on the children and transferring the values became easy. The proof is in the pudding at our school, as if you look in our hallway, the posters taped up on the wall are an influence from the materials you gave us. So thanks a lot Mark!”
– Mrs. Vishwanatham, (School Principal)
The above comment sows how grateful this school was for the VIE library, and gives a small taste of the feedback we receive from our network of schools and organizations which you have helped us reach and impact with your support and encouragement. Thanking you once again from the VIE team!