When we visited the Venkateswara residential school varadannapet (120 km from Hyderabad the capital of Andhra pradesh) the location was an ideal place for a training and Motivational session to the Idealistic volunteers of the Vandemataram Foundation. The occassion was a Camp for the 85 Volunteers (District, Zonal and mandal Incharges only), the camp was meant to be a training camp to run the Summer Schools. Summer is the time for the children to get back to work (an obligation as it sustains them to earn their school fees) and this has become a threat to the students education. As the daily labour forced some of them to drop out of the schools the rate of which has been a growing trend observed by our Volunteers.
The Volunteers were a lot of strength and emotional about their villages. I am ready to challenge anybody who said that the youth of today are about just jollying and fooling around as well as enjoying. Looking at the volunteers all of them young and dynamic were the real driving force of the movement. I was more of surprises all my way, to the volunteers camp and back. The Schools wore a look of natural vibrancy with the intervention of the volunteers. Children the building blocks of any country have been the focus of the foundation right from the day one.
Vandemataram Foundation (A Unit of Seva bharathi)based in Warangal District and working for the All round improvement of the village through the improvement in the Schools (both Primary & Upper Primary as well as High schools) has been able to make a considerable impact on the district administration as well as the villagers.
The Foundation working with the inspiration and ideals of the Hon. President H. E. Abdul kalam has in the first phase selected 100 schools of the district for their programme.
The schools in the division of Varadannapet supported children from a very poor background. And the teacher attendence as well as the student drop out coupled with lack of infrastructure added to the under performance of the schools for the past several years. With the intervention of the Volunteers of Vandemataram Foundation (a minor but Qualitative intervention like just visiting the schools every day and noting down the attendence of the children as well as the mid day meal attendence) things started to improve today the attendence of both students and staff has improved by 28% in the schools.
The Foundation has started its work with a vision to empower the schools of rural India in July 2004 but only started to actually function from October 2004 coiciding with the centenary celebrations of the Vandemataram Movement which has changed the Indian freedom movement forever. The Movement now has a base of over 214 volunteers who have been working at various levels including the School level, village level, Mandal, Zone, District levels. Apart from all of them there are the teachers who guide the children and the Village elders who keep on comming back to the volunteers for solutions in their village. Most of the Volunteers are independent and truly voluntary (without benefit of a single pie).
Also accompanying us were the representative of IDRF as well as Telugu One Foundation Mr Vijay Kumar Mallampati, as well as the Jt secretary of Sevabharathi Sri Subrahmanyam to the camp. Incidentally Telugu One happens to be the Sponsoror of the Movement, which was being run on bare minimum expenses most of which was self generated by the volunteers. The Volunteers most of them were College Students who have been themselves inspired of the movement. One man who hasnt been showing off and is the engine behind the movement is Mr Ravinder rao who won the Youth Award for his efforts and contribution to the movement.