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Deepalaya – An overview
Enabling self reliance to marginalised children of Delhi slums.

Deepalaya’s Humble Beginning - History and Development


Deepalaya, the Delhi’s largest operational NGO started on July 16, 1979. It had a humble beginning with five children, two teachers in pre school education and an investment of Rs.17,500/- by seven founder members. By 1985 students increased to 133. By 1992, the Integrated child development programme reached 13000 children and 400 staff. The annual budget was around Rs.25 million. By 2000 Deepalaya reached out to over 35,000 children, their families and communities under integrated development with a budget of Rs.30 million. By 2005, Deepalaya became the largest operating NGO in Delhi reaching out to 40,000 children in 76 slums, 84 villages in Mewat and nine villages in Uttaranchal.



Deepalaya Vision: A society based on legitimate rights, equity, justice, honesty, social sensitivity and a culture of service in which all are self-reliant.


Deepalaya Mission: We in Deepalaya commit ourselves to-

           Continue to identify with and work along the economically and socially deprived, the physically and mentally challenged – starting with children, so that they become educated, skilled and aware; and


           Enable them to be self-reliant and enjoy a healthy, dignified and sustainable quality of life


           And to that end, act as a resource to and collaborate with other agencies - governmental or non-governmental, as well as suitably intervene in policy formulation.


The Bird’s Eye

Deepalaya focuses on empowerment, capacity building and social transformation of the community through interventions at three levels, the child, the family and the community. It lays extra emphasis on rights of the child specially girl child, street child and disabled child.


The key sectors where Deepalaya initiated growth of the rural and urban poor are:




Education at Deepalaya is beyond the 3R’s (Reading, W’Riting and A’Rithematic). It is tailor made to suit the requirements of the children coming from the underprivileged community. Deepalaya Schools cater to the holistic development of the child where latent talent development is integrated with the Formal curriculum where they are given opportunity to learn and practice music, dance, painting, debating etc. We have applied a participatory way of learning as most of the children are first generation learners who take back home what they have learned at school and in the way assimilate the teachings in the day to day activities.


Studying at Deepalaya is fun filled where the children get the ample opportunity to explore and develop their latent talent. The Schools do not observe the mandatory two months summer holidays. Instead the children come to school and attend hobby classes; learn music, dance, art and craft. During these months the children see and learn a different perspective of education which has produced numerous talented budding artists in the horizon. These in a long way go to build the overall personality and confidence levels of the child thereby enabling them to become better and responsible citizens of the country.


Deepalaya aims at promoting and providing quality education at affordable costs to children and communities, which are socially and economically deprived. Schools of Deepalaya are an endeavour in this direction. The schools combine academic studies with vocational courses to fulfill the diverse needs of the poor and needy.


Since the targeted community are slum dwellers, it becomes crucial to link education with other healthy practices like proper sanitation, hygienic living conditions, regular medical check-ups and awareness about common diseases.


Deepalaya does all this through its four formal school located in different parts of New Delhi and one near Gurgaon.


Some of the successful projects under this program are-


1.         Education on Wheels: Its education traveling on wheels – ‘A Mobile Bus’, for the benefit of the marginalized and the underprivileged. The project started in 2006 with the purpose of identifying and reaching out to marginalized children through innovative and joyful teaching methodologies - in order to attract and retain out of school and working children. The basic aim is to educate “children at risk” in an alternative way using a mobile unit to achieve a high accessibility & education at the doorsteps at a convenient time of the working children, thus allowing a maximum coverage of the target group. As there are space shortages in slums, the concept of a mobile bus gives a complete solution and therefore allows more utility.


2. Vocational Training Center: Deepalaya started the Vocational Training Centre at the Deepalaya School in Kalkaji Extension, out of the realization, that majority of the students of Deepalaya Schools cannot pursue a long academic career for various reasons. There was, therefore, a great need to equip several semi-educated boys and girls in the slums and resettlement colonies of Delhi, to earn their livelihood. The Vocational Training Centre started with two trades in 2000– Computer Basic and Beauty Culture – with Deepalaya’s own fund. Because of a generous support from the Dewan Foundation, new trades could be added. Currently, the Chameli Dewan Institute for Vocational Training is providing training in Computer hardware, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Beauty culture, Tailoring & Fashion designing, Photography & Videography, Electricals and Electronics. An additional class on spoken English is also imparted on weekly basis.

People Boast But Deepalaya Does It – Its Strong Placement

Deepalaya provides help to find a good placement for students who pass the vocational training courses successfully. In this regard, the placement cell of the VTC has made linkages with corporates/ organizations like Intex Technologies, Ahuja Radios, Salora, LG Service, Orient Fashions, Habibs, Shanaaz Beauty Parlour, National Thermal Power Cooperation, Hyundai Motors India, ESSAR Infotech etc for organizing placements/ internship/ exposure visits for the trainees.


3.         Deepalaya School Sanjay Coloney: Sanjay Colony project is an integrated child development programme. Started in 1990, in a dome with the help of the local slum dwellers, the project is one of the largest functional projects of Deepalaya. The objective of the project is to cater to the educational needs of about 1000 most underprivileged children. The project also works for the family and the community ‘to enable the child look beyond slums’. Besides Education, health programmes for children and community, vocational training and community development programmes are also run.

Sanjay Colony is a large slum cluster and similar to other slum clusters of Delhi, civic problems of poor sanitation, open drainage, inadequate water supply, unreliable electricity connections, and inadequate public utility etc. prevail there as well. Deepalaya creates awareness about the hygienic living condition through door-to-door visit, sanitation drive, health campaigns etc.


Interesting Highlghts of this Project


Social Entrepreneurship: It is an innovative concept of Deepalaya. Social Entrepreneurs are local cadre of independent service providers, supported by Deepalaya. As the target people need regular motivation and monitoring, the community based teachers and social workers that are called Social Enterpreneurs. are engaged in teaching, health work and other activities in the project. These Ses can influence the community to a great extent and hence are result oriented.


Disability Unit: A special needs unit is running at Sanjay Colony for both mentally and physically challenged children.


Sahyog Samiti: It is a co-operative society, formed by the Social Entrepreneurs to independently run the programmes in the locality with guidance of Deepalaya.


Self Help Group: Before Deepalaya started the Self Help Group revolution in the Sanjay Colony community the slum dwellers were unable to save a single penny. Now they are motivated to make small savings of 50-80 rupee (1-1.5 US $) a month and deposit these savings with the bank. The group is linked to the leading banks, which improves their financial stability


4.         Deepalaya School Kalkaji Extension: Deepalaya started the school with the aim of providing value-based education to the children coming from economically and socially weaker sections like the narrow and slum cluttered streets of Okhla, Govindpuri, Transit Camp and Bhoomiheen Camp of South Delhi. School gives special emphasis to the promotion of education of ‘girl child’.


The children of Deepalaya schools are exposed to interactive classes with personalities from different walks of life. They are also initiated to take part in various activities such as quiz, declamation, singing, dancing sports and physical education etc, that would help in empowering the children with knowledge and information. The students are also taken for periodic excursion trips etc.


The total strength of the school for the year 2006-2007 is 904 with the girl strength coming to 571. The ratio of the girl-boy comes to 63:37 as Deepalaya encourages girl child education.


The most interesting and beneficial part of the Kalkaji School is the Motorola e-learning project as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility of Motorola. It has two basic elements: technology in education and distance education.

The technology in education is implemented by using computers paired with a smart board, an electronic pen, a camera and a microphone to teach. Teaching through a smart board with software very similar to MS Word is made. The focus is to provide quality education at large scale. The vision of Motorola e-learning project is to use the benefit of technology and make teaching an attractive and interesting process. With this project we aim to reach out to more students from the limited available resources. Further interactive classes can be held at the same time in different places. At present two schools of Deepalaya i.e. Deepalaya School Kalkaji and Sanjay colony are connected through this e-learning project.


5. Deepalaya School Gol Kuan: Keeping the main focus on child, the Gole Kuan project is working for the nearby Golkuan slum population. The population in Golekuan mainly comprises of migrants from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Nepal, Madhya Pradesh etc. There are about 1600 huts with a total population of 10,500 people. With the intervention of Deepalaya through various educational programmes, the community has now become semi literate. The project has been working for the total integration of the children from the nearby slum clusters. Deepalaya has been able to create a demand for education. Started with door visit and counseling by Deepalaya’s social workers, we have been able to contact each and every 1600 families of the community.


6.         Deepalaya Gram: Deepalaya attempts to put together a resource centre in the heart of Mewat (Mewat lies 60 kms south of Delhi) at Gusbethi, Haryana. This area was considered for intervention, as it is one of the most backward areas of India. Mewat has taken its name from the Meo Muslim inhabitants.

The literacy rate of Mewat is at far below when compared to the national average of 65%. The female literacy rate stands at only 13% among females above 15 years.


Deepalaya started the Transit home for boys and girls located at the Deepalaya Gram, which includes a School, a Clinic and an agricultural area and in future an elderly home.

Most of the children are runaways from their families because of various exploitations.  They are the result of break down of the family due to poverty, alcoholism, illiteracy, AIDS etc. Having run away, they have usually no contact with their families and are illiterate.


The hostels for boys and girls are located in this area so as to provide the best environment for the overall development of the children. The children can stay in the hostels, as long it is possible to educate them to self-reliance and to be an independent human being. During the school holidays Deepalaya organizes a program that the children can spend their time in useful activities at the Deepalaya Gram.


Deepalaya Gram’s Vision

1.         To identify and counsel the street and working children

2.         To  restore them with their parents

3.         To provide them with food, cloths and shelter

4.         To provide education that is meaningful and training that is productive.

5.         To provide health care

6.         To  nurture qualities like self-esteem, leadership, discipline, mutual love, peace and brotherhood

7.         To build a future for the children

8.         To prepare the children for struggle against exploitation and oppression

9.         To disseminate information to highlight their difficult circumstances through print and electronic media exposure.

10.       To create an awareness in public to eliminate child labour and establish forums with policy makers, legislatures, and bureaucrats as well as like minded NGOs and corporate sector to evolve effective measures.


7.         RJRND Deepalaya School Malviya Nagar: Ramditti J.R. Narang Deepalaya School is one of the five formal schools of Deepalaya. It is located in a slum cluster called Jagadamba camp, close to Panchsheel Enclave. It is a collaborated project of Deepalaya and Ramditti J.R Narang Trust; New Delhi.


           Community Healthcare: To establish effective and sustainable mechanisms in the releams of promotive, preventive and rehabilitative health.


Some of the successful projects under this program are-


Chameli Dewan Rural Health Clinic: Deepalaya initiated the Chameli Dewan Rural Health Clinic and Mobile Unit with support from the Dewan Foundation for providing health services to the rural poor of Mewat region in Haryana. The region is located 60 kms from Delhi, nearly 35 kms from Gurgaon, which is a developing metropolitan city. The project was established in 2005 in collaboration with St. Stephen’s Hospital, Delhi to bring about long-term changes in health which would help in development and capacity building of the community. St. Stephen’s Hospital provides the necessary technical/professional inputs in running the community outreach programme.

Deepalaya’s goal in initiating the project was to offer better accessibility in health care in Mewat region. At present we are able to provide health services to 14 villages through our clinic and mobile unit.


A.P. Dewan Memorial Clinic: In our years of providing services to the children and community, it was observed by us that the health services are scarce and there are no qualified doctors accessible in the locality. For this reason, Deepalaya established the A.P. Dewan Memorial Clinic aided by Dewan Foundation, with the aim of providing the basic health services to the slum community - especially women and children. The clinic functions 5 days a week, between 2.30pm to 5pm in the evenings. It runs under an experienced and well - qualified doctor who is assisted by an attendant. On an average 25 to 30 patients visit the clinic everyday. The clinic is based at the Deepalaya school Kalkaji Extension.


           Gender Equity: Deepalaya works towards gender equity in which women have enhanced socio-cultural, economic and political opportunities, enabling them to take crucial decisions. This includes Self-help group, Women Empowerment Programmes, Emphasis on livelihood, Micro-enterprises, Thrift & Saving.


           Differently abled: Deepalaya works at developing positive attitudes among parents and communities towards physically and mentally challenged. The process includes identification, assessment, intervention, mainstreaming, treatment etc of the beneficiaries.


Some of the successful projects under this program are-


Deepalaya’s intervention in differently abled started in 1993. These projects enabled deepalaya to identify and work with one of the marginalized sections of the society, and we have addressed different type of  the differently abled which includes the orthopaedically handicapped, Mentally challenged, Hearing impaired, and visually affected. The main focus of the project is mainstreaming and inclusion of the differently abled children  with special focus on girl child . For achieving this objective  we undertake  survey , identification, awareness building, referral, diagnosis, intervention, counseling, use of professional linkages, inclusion, community based rehabilitation etc.


The project activities focus on:


1.         Creating large scale awareness in the communities about disability, it’s causes and prevention.

2.         Sensitizing the community towards the needs and concerns of the differently abled and developing a  positive attitude.

3.         Informing the differently abled and their families about  the various schemes and provisions available and helping  them to procure documents like disability certificate, Railway concession certificate.

4.         Assisting the differently abled children to bring out their latent talents and creativity by organizing various events for them.

5.         Organizing exposure trips  for the children in order to spread the  message of creating an inclusive society.


For achieving this, we have regular special education, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, home based services, regular individual / group counseling, training workshop, puppet shows, street plays, PTA meetings, exposure visits and competitions


           Institutional Care: Street children, children of sex-workers, alcoholics, drug addicts, children of HIV-AIDS positive parents, broken homes, runaways, mentally challenged and the like are provided food, shelter and clothes at Deepalaya Institutional care program. Under this program the beneficiaries are provided leadership training and confidence building sessions too besides caring their basic requirements.


> Advocacy / Networking: Deepalaya plays a crucial role in advoxating and spreading awareness about Right to Education, Child Labour, Inclusion and Women Rights to the communities. Social Entrepreneurs form the basis of this program. 

> Capacity Building :-  Deepalaya Reach India Project (DRIP) and the very reacnt one Deepalaya UTI Foundation (DUTIF) aims at developing and building the capacities of other smaller NGOs across Delhi region. The staff of Deepalaya assess other NGOs and study them on various parameters. The DUTIF project is funded by the UTI Foundation as part of its corporate social responsibility.

  • Marketing:- Deepalaya raises own funds through communication and fund raising activities.
HR and Cadre Development: - Established Social Entrepreneurs and Grass root Volunteers. 

In a nutshell the sum total of the organizational philosophy, core competencies, self evolved concepts, the proven strategy of fund raising, in house expertise and a very long experience, make Deepalaya a “RESOURCE”. 


Deepalaya’s Shimmering Achievements:

Reached out, educated and mainstreamed over 40,000 children - Emphasis on – Girl child education (ratio of Girls 55%), street and working children, Differently abled children.

  • Largest operating NGO in Delhi with 380 staff, in 160 locations.
  • Raises 43% of resources locally and growing towards self-reliance.
  • Infra –structure (10 buildings) covering 1,20,000/- sq ft. of floor area.
  • Assets worth over Rs. 120 million.
  • Part of 11 networks on Child Rights, Child Labour, Inclusion, Gender Equity, etc.
  • 36 ongoing projects.
  • Recognized as a Resource and implementing capacity building projects, linkages with over 80 professional institutions.

Established 43 CBOs, 309 Self Help Groups and aligned over 10,000 families.  Facilitated savings, invested Rs. 30 million for over 500 micro-enterprises and provided employment to over 3,000 families.



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