Deepam is an NGO working to empower lesser-privileged children with access to information and opportunity. We hope to light the spark in the child's mind and make them curious for life, through computer classes, English lessons and personality development.
Our vision and mission
Deepam is a registered non-profit organization conceived with the goal of improving literacy and education among less-privileged children in Chennai. We work to instill in a child the curiosity to learn and to give him or her the key to the greatest pool of knowledge out there - The Internet - by suitably augmenting school curriculum.
We transfer four sets of practical skills to these children: computer and internet usage; language and communication skills, particularly in English; current and social affairs awareness; and personality development. The first of these, Computers and the Internet, lies at the core of our effort, and is used to drive the other three. These four skills, we believe, will give them a base of tools and help the children understand, identify, and access opportunity for themselves.
Deepam reaches out to about 200 children through 5 centres around Chennai. We have over 50 regular volunteer members (drawn from our volunteer pool of over 300 members). We use netbooks, laptops, and the Internet as teaching tools and resources, even as we teach children the skills needed to use them.
How did Deepam start?
Deepam as an idea was initiated in January 2008 when Ram Viswanathan discussed giving-back to the society, over an early morning run with Karthikeyan. Since then, a bunch of enthusiastic volunteers have made the idea, a reality. As we realised since the start, it has been us, volunteers, who have benefitted the most out of the interaction with the children.
We ran a pilot program in April 2008 at Perungudi in Chennai, with the help of Nalamdana, a SHG. Every weekend during this period, the children who gathered at Nalamdana's centre in Perungudi played with the laptops, with guidance from Deepam volunteers. The children were hooked to the idea of "playing" with the computers. They were taught to browse the internet, send e-mails and work with the Office tools. The enthusiasm shown by the children inspired the Deepam team to take this idea to other parts of Chennai.
We celebrated our first anniversary in April, 2009 when we issued certificates to children who completed our course. We were officially registered as an NGO in the same year.
Currently five years, we operate 5 centres in Chennai and hope to touch as many as 1000 lives by 2015 with over 10 centres.