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ILP's 15th anniv

About 150 people attended an open house showcasing the myriad projects undertaken by India Literacy Project during the celebrations, writes Shalini Narang.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2005 19:19 IST

About 150 people attended an open house showcasing the myriad education and outreach projects undertaken by India Literacy Project (ILP) during its 15th Anniversary celebrations on Saturday November 5th at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

Besides the projects, the programme included hands-on learning activities for kids about India, an autograph session with former Indian Cricket Captain, Javagal Srinath and renowned international umpire S Venkatraghavan. Raffle prizes and refreshments followed the formal programme of the evening.

ILP, as the name suggests works in the arena of literacy spread in various states of India. The organisation was founded in 1990 by a group of young NRIs inspired by the work of Dr Parameshwar Rao, a nuclear scientist trained in the US who returned to India in 1967 to work for the underprivileged.

ILP started by extending a small grant to an adult literacy programme of the Bhagavatula Charitable Trust (BCT) in Vishakapatnam. Over the last 15 years, the NGO has formed strategic alliances with over 70 other NGOs in about 15 states and has distributed $1 million to support 100 programmes. To date, the programmes funded by the organisation have touched over 100,000 children and women. Over 200 patrons and 60 volunteers in US and India help mobilise funds and raise awareness for the group and its work via its varied chapters including Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, California, Milwaukee, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon and Washington DC.

"It is amazing that over 100 million people attained literacy in just one decade from 1991 to 2001, but sobering to know that there are still over 300 million illiterates in India," says Nandakumar Krishnan, ILP Marketing Coordinator, adding "imagine what India can achieve if we can fully tap the potential of the entire population."

"ILP has seen its vision evolve from one-off support in the early 1990s to supporting integrating holistic programmes that ensure upward socio-economic mobilisation within a community. "Incorporating elements of community involvement generates empowered individuals - a key factor for sustainable development. Every dollar contributed to ILP is leveraged to generate such empowerment," says ILP National Convener Padmini Ranganathan.

Projects funded by ILP have helped children who worked in cotton fields for less than 25 cents a day, to enrol in schools and illiterate women have attained functional literacy that enables them run their own small businesses.

In September this year, ILP received a $25,000 grant from The UPS Foundation, the charitable arm of the United Postal Service. The grant will strengthen ILP's efforts towards basic education provision to underserved children and related activities like teacher training and functional education aimed at livelihood generation for adults.

An Extra Hour

The day light saving time ended on the last Sunday of October and it felt good for a couple of days to have an extra hour in the morning. An extra sixty minutes at dawn are nothing less than panacea, especially on chilly mornings when rising from a cozy bed takes Herculean effort and enthusiasm.

The time difference between India and the west coast in US has escalated to thirteen and a half hours after shift to the new clock. The weather on our side of the world is getting cooler by the day and chill in the air is especially sharp on early mornings and late evenings. A twenty-step walk to the front yard for newspaper pick up for me can no longer be without a shawl or a light sweater and negligence of the warm cover results in a subsequent sneeze session.

The early risers in a family shoulder many significant yet uncounted chores of the house including paper fetch to bed tea to breakfast. I don't know who and why someone thought and coined the phrase about early to bed and early to rise making good sense. At our home, it only translates to more work and lazing in the bed seems to make more sense in the form of a hot cup of tea and bedside paper delivery.

First Published: Nov 10, 2005 00:00 IST