Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 2012 CORDUSA News


Summer is in full swing and roses are in full bloom here in Portland. What a spectacular sight!  Hope you are all having a great summer so far too.

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This quarter we have a lot to talk about the CORD activities around the world.  I encourage you to read the annual report and quarterly reports by our CORD centers in India and Sri Lanka at http://www.cordusa.org to get the full perspective of the work that is going on.

CORD Sidhbari’s mission is to EMPOWER! How is it that as of March 31st, 2012 CORD Sidhabari has spread its area of operation to 531 villages? By strengthening these village communities to be the agents of change through a variety of programs such as the Mahila Mandals. As of March 31st there are over 543 Mahila Mandals in more than 531 villages. Some highlights of the progress made within the Mahila Mandals include women rallying against the opening of an illegal wine shop, as well as a donation of RS.81,700 for various social causes such as marriage, illness treatment, and funerals. Mahila Mandals are also conducting Bala Vihar activities benefiting 3,103 children from ages 6-14.

CORD Siruvani is all about preventative health! Around 4,000 patients have undergone pap smears and blood cholesterol tests, as well as 500 patients completing their Hepatitis B vaccinations. Dental awareness continues to be a strong initiative of CORD Siruvani with more than 400 villages being screened for dental caries, oral cancer, and other problems.

As part of an awareness campaign, CORD Thamaraipakkam organized career guidance workshops for 10th and 11thgraders. Renowned personalities from a variety of fields gave motivating presentations and guidance to the students.  Computer training classes are also offered to a total of 1203 children. A 6-month course is offered on Microsoft Applications and Tally where students are given an exam at the end of the course and successful candidates are given certificates.

CORD Delauhida creates awareness among young adolescent women.  The Yuvati mandal now has a membership of 128 young women. Through CORD, they are educated about the challenges faced by women at different levels of growth.

CORD Kaza, Chinmaya Vijaya girls orphanage, takes education to the next step.  CORD now engages private tutors who impart special coaching to our children who need to improve their grades in certain subjects.  This will help them clear their exams and be promoted to the next higher class.

CORD Lathikata showers new growth. The lift irrigation point at Lohadar which has been non-operational for the past two years is now back in action due to CORD Lathikata’s intervention.  Because of this, around 20 acres of land will be brought under irrigation.
Many of you are aware of the recently concluded civil war in Sri Lanka. This has left hundreds of individuals devastated, homeless and often hopeless. The most vulnerable of these are the children, orphans who are innocent victims of this decade’s long conflict.

CORD Sri Lanka has been very active working with these destitute children, bringing emergency relief to the war hit areas. Now we are also actively involved in the rehabilitation and recovery of these innocent children’s lives.

We have an ongoing child sponsorship program which is $360 per year. This covers his/her ALP (Accelerated Learning Programs), providing uniforms and school kits, daily nutritious food including milk, medical check-ups, and vitamin and mineral supplements for the child.  Once a child is matched we will send you the detailed profile of the child and a yearly progress report. We hope that you will be inspired to help. Please contact me and I will be happy to help you.  CORD Sri Lanka is also able to organize fun activities over the weekends and counseling and motivational sessions to the students and their families.

Now let us talk about the happenings in our hemisphere.

CORDUSA Atlanta Chapter did a "Walk for CORD" and raised $5K. Within the past year, in addition to the CORD walk-a-thon, they organized blood donation drives, food drives, and various other community service projects. Encouraged by the enthusiastic support of its member families, CM Atlanta is now planning several exciting community service projects in future under the auspice of CORDUSA.

Hunger can take both a physical and emotional toll on those it inflicts. Beyond the physical effects, food insecurity wears away one’s self worth.  CORDUSA enthusiasts from Los Angeles have started a program called "Brown Bag Brigade" where each Saturday, they get together, make peanut butter sandwiches and pack them in brown bags filled with other foods like bananas, juice, nuts, chips etc and feed the homeless in a park near the ashram in Tustin.  We are also happy to report that Los Angeles Walk for CORD brought in $13.5K this year.

CORDUSA Portland Chapter did their 6th annual "Walk for CORD" and brought in $13.5K.  This year they offered "CORD Cafe & Spa" services.  The participants had lots of fun enjoying tea, snacks and channa jor garam while waiting for their massage and eyebrow treatments. All proceeds went to CORDUSA.  It was a fun and memorable event.

A new CORDUSA Chapter was established at University of Miami under Ansh Grover's leadership. 

CM Halton Region did a very successful CORD Sri Lanka fundraiser. They also visited Jaffna CORD site to discuss possibilities.

The Chicago CORD fundraiser banquet was organized by Chicago CHYKs and it brought in $80K net!  This money is raised specifically for the CORD Sidhbari training center. With its 27-year journey, so far Dr. Kshama Metre has nurtured a comprehensive rural development program in 550 villages of Himachal Pradesh. This work has been replicated since 2003 under the aegis of CORD in other parts of the country beginning with two sites in Odisha, two sites in Tamil Nadu and one orphanage in Andhra Pradesh. We are striving hard to expand this work so it may benefit many people, especially those who are beyond reach and in underserved rural areas of the country.  CORD is also focusing on training a batch of ‘foot-soldiers’ and ‘foot-commanders’ who are willing to serve rural India through this experiential learning program.  To build this center of excellence in experiential learning in holistic rural development, CORD will need to expand its training facility.  This one-time investment in construction of its vision center in Sidhbari, Himachal Pradesh will benefit many more from different walks of life like development professionals, volunteers, interns, government functionaries, NGOs, and program beneficiaries. By transforming such groups into resource people, we will expand the group of people who are willing to serve, learn and contribute in rural India.  The creation of this facility will require approximately $1.2M. 

CHYKs from Pittsburgh are doing something out of the ordinary. They decided to purchase bags from CORD's Self Help groups for their CHYK camp!  Check out the picture of the bag on the cover!  If you have such camps coming up, this is a way to create something beautiful and help our Self Help groups. It's a win-win situation!

The Junior CHYK service visit team is now at Sidhbari. I am sure they will have their exciting stories to report for our next newsletter. For more information about service visits, please visit http://www.cordusa.org/index.php/about-us/68-servicevisits, You can also view a video presentation compiled by participants at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk5CFAKHqTw.  We usually have at least one service visit for High School students a year.  As these get filled fast, please sign up to receive the newsletters so that you can apply as soon as it is announced and avoid disappointments.

Inspired by the success of our Junior CHYKs service visits, CHYKs are organizing a service visit this year under the leadership of Apurva Bhatt. They are going to CORD Kaza, Chinmaya Vijaya Orphanage in December and will be teaching the girls basic computer skills and English.  The dates are set on December 23rd to 31st. For more information, please go to http://www.cordusa.org/index.php/about-us/68-servicevisits or send a mail to Apurva at chyk2012@cordusa.org

Over the last 3 years of its existence, CORDUSA has gotten numerous requests from donors to apply for Matching Grants.  We want to thank all those donors who help us maximize the impact of your donations. Many companies sponsor matching gift programs that contribute to their employees’ philanthropic interests.  Your company may be one of them. If your employer offers such a program, please request a matching gift form from your employer and send it, completed, signed and scanned to subha@cordusa.org.

I want to thank my two great helpers in putting together the newsletter, Paulomi Campbell and Shabana Dipchand. They make it fun and productive!

I am very excited about my summer trip to India, where I get to go visit Tamaraipakkam, Siruvani and Sidhbari! I will write about it on my next blog.

As always, if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, I am just an email away...

Have a safe and fun summer…
Subha