January 18, 2012

A Visit to Vaidehi Ashram and A Call for Raffle Prizes...

Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival. ~ Dalai Lama

..and one of my 2012 resolutions was to be more sensitive and compassionate towards people around me. Quite unexpectedly (and thanks to my mom), I got to spend my New Year day at Vaidehi Ashram  for Destitute Girls located near our house here, in Hyderabad. 

January 3rd is my grandpa's birthday and my mom wanted to do something in memory of him. My grandfather (mother's father) was a man of few words and a heart of gold. He, despite of his hard childhood with no mother since a little kid lead a life of honesty and benevolence and there could have been no better way to celebrate the day, with the little girls of the Ashram.

On inquiring on what they needed the most, myself, my parents along with my uncles pooled together and donated - 60 Kg of Toor Dal, 30L of Vegetable Oil and 20 Kg of Sugar. The very thought that we could do something for the little girls filled our hearts with warmth and happiness. :-).

I wanted to do more for them, hence this post and a Fund Drive that I wish to organise next month. *fingers crossed*.

Vaidehi Ashram is home for about 108 girls (from 3 to 22 years of age) who have no parents or a single parent who can no longer take care of them. Each one have a story of their own which will melt your heart and bring you to tears. The smallest one, Samatha as I was told was wandering on the streets near a railway station with her baby sister, when the police rescued them both and brought into the ashram.

It was New Year. So we were invited with these beautiful rangoli by one of the elder girls.
The lady who runs the ashram and makes sure everything is in order is Mrs.Suvathsala. She is one of the kindest women I have ever met in my life, whose smile is so infectious that you instantly fall in love with her. Everybody in the ashram endearingly call her as Mataji (which means mother). Her accounting skills are impeccable. It doesn't matter how much you donate and what you give to the ashram. You will get a proper reciept for everything and anything. Such is the commitment of the people and volunteers who come here day and night.

Mrs.Suvathsala a.k.a mataji
There are three storeys in the ashram, each of them with a big hall where the children sleep in rows. No beds, just cupboards where they can store their belongings.

All the girls eat their food as one big, happy family - the communal way. You can see in the photograph below my uncle, my mother's youngest brother (in grey suit) serving food to the girls.

Watch the video which I managed to shoot with my DSLR where the children sing and thank the Lord for providing them food and shelter.

Not a single grain of rice is wasted by any of the children as they seem to know the value of it. Absolutely NO wastage. Isn't it something we ought to learn and implement in our day-to-day lives as well.

If you don't know Telugu, then the below notice board has details of the donors who sponsored their food and clothes for that particular day.

The girls here are multi talented as they participate in various cultural programs organised within the Ashram campus. I have got a special invitation for their Annual Day celebrations sometime in April, this year. :-)

I don't think I can ever forget the way the youngest lot, who are no more than 3 years old ate their food that was served with no qualms or complaints. I have seen children of their age cry their hearts out. But, these kiddos made me realise how valuable life is, especially how much of a difference parents bring in a child's life.

Each year, this bulletin board is updated which has details about which class each of the girls are studying.

When we were there in the Ashram, another group of people came with sweets and fruits to be distributed among the kids.

The girls here are also taught fine arts such as music, painting, dance and handicrafts etc. They are also provided with sufficient knowledge about good food and health which they in turn use to educate and empower women in nearby slum areas, which I thought is quite commendable.

This necklace was made by one of the kids which I bought for a nominal price. 
There is one person because of which all this happened. That is my Mother. She got to know about this ashram through one of her colleagues who volunteers here couple of days a week. My mom was looking for a place where she can donate all of my old clothes and that is when she found out about this Ashram. :-)

Ashram Details:

Vaidehi Seva Samithi
Beside Sri Saraswati Sisu Mandir High School
Krishna Nagar, Saidabad, Hyderabad - 500 059
Ph No: 040-24075544
Mobile: 9032152105
Email: vaidehisevasamithi@gmail.com

[Update] If you wish to send your contributions directly, please draw a cheque or a demand draft in favour of - M/s Vaidehi Seva Samithi and send to the above mentioned address.

All donations are exempted from I.T Under 80-G and accorded permission under FCRA.

A Call for Raffle Prizes - Fund Drive for Vaidehi Ashram of Destitute Girls starting from January 26th 2012.

To help out the children at the Ashram, I am planning a Fund Drive from January 26th 2012. Something on the lines of what Indira organized years ago.

This is a call for raffle prize sponsors only. ...A blog post with full details about the Fund drive will follow in couple of days.

A "raffle prize" can be anything interesting which will encourage people to donate & bid for it.

Here is how it works - A handful of sponsors will contribute raffle prizes. Once the Fund Drive begins on January 26th, others who would like to donate money (details about the various payment options will be published soon in a separate post) will bid for any of the prizes that interest them the most.
1 raffle ticket = 10$ or 500Rs.

For Example - If a donor donates 20$ or 1000Rs, then he/she gets 2 raffle tickets which can be used to bid on any of the raffle prizes listed. At the very end, a randow drawing (by the Ashram kids themselves) will be conducted to decide who gets each of the prize(s). If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to drop me an email info(dot)siri(at)gmail(dot)com.

All the proceeds collected during the Fund Drive will go to the Ashram in the form of provisions and any other necessaries they might have. I assure you with all my heart and soul that every penny will go to the care and feeding of those dear girls at Vaidehi Ashram.

Click here for the post  which has information about all the raffle prizes and their contributors. A Huge Thank You to all of them for their generous support. I will be updating the list as and when I get more prizes. If you wish to sponsor any, please feel free to drop me an email at - info(dot)siri(at)gmail(dot)com.

[Updated on February 14th 2012] - Many have inquired about costs involved in sponsoring education, food etc for the Ashram girls. I visited them again and gathered the below information about various projects currently happening. Please send them an email at vaidehisevasamithi@gmail.com or call at +914024075544 or             +91 9032152105       to discuss regarding the project you wish to sponsor. If you need any other help from my side in terms of coordination, please let me know. I will be more than happy to do it.

1. Adopt a girl for one year (Includes clothing, food, education and other necessities)    [20,000/- Rupees]

2. Vidyanidhi (Education costs a girl for one year)                                                            [5,000/- Rupees]

3. Mangala Nidhi (One time deposit to cover a day's food expenses commemorating any auspicious occasion every year)                                                                                                               [20,000/- Rupees]

4. Smrithi Nidhi (One time deposit to cover a day's food expenses in remembrance of your beloved every year)                                                                                                                             [20,000/- Rupees]

5. Kishori Vikas Yojana Nidhi (Expenditure to run one Centre of Development Project for Adolescent Girls for one month)                                                                                                           [1000/- Rupees]

6. Vaidehi Mahila Vikasa Samithi (One month expenditure to train Unemployed Youth & Women. Also includes cost for food and shelter)                                                                                [10,000/- Rupees]

7. To sponsor a meal for all the Ashram girls:                                                                [2,000/- Rupees]

Click here to read all the posts written on Vaidehi Ashram.

until next time,


  1. Siri - this is such a heartwarming post. We all take so many things for granted and don't realize the value of what we have in life. To see such young kids go through this is heart wrenching.

    Appreciate you taking steps to help out. I will definitely contribute for the raffle.

    1. Thanks Anu for your support. These kids taught me a lot. For starters, I just eat what I can now, rather than what I wish to - in turn avoiding food wastage. Also, I appreciate the value of my parents even more now.

    2. This post was very touching and makes me realise how blessed we are all and we don't value it much. It's a very noble thing that you are doing here. God bless your kind heart!

    3. Thanks Mittu. I totally agree. I no longer take things granted and value the presence of my parents even more. They have given me more than I asked or wished for.

  2. Such a touching post siri.

    I will love to sponsor with a cooking book i will mail you tomorrow when i choose the book.

    1. Thanks for your raffle prize Finla. I have added it to the spreadsheet. hugs.

  3. God bless you, Siri and thanks to your parents for instilling such high values in your heart :) If the ashram is open to receiving donations directly to their bank account, I would like to send in my two pence...Do let me know.. thanks

    1. Thanks Kalyani for your kind words. I am not sure if they have a bank account, will find out in my next visit (this coming weekend). For now, I have updated the post with a cheque or DD which can be sent to the Ashram address.

  4. This is so very heart-warming. I have the same resolution as you for 2012 - I want to contribute my time and effort, not just a financial donation. God bless you and your family!

  5. A heart warming post Siri.............our kids grow up in the lap of luxury.......am waiting for them to come home at noon and show them ur post and the video...thanks for sharing, God bless u and ur family! As u said it is our parents who make us better individulas. Am sharing this on my fb page for many to see the other side of life !

    1. Thank you Vidhya for sharing the post with your family and your readers as well. Most of the times we are so wound up in our own world that we loose sight of the people in need, who are all around us. I hope and wish to bring some change in lives of these little girls. :-)

  6. Thanks a lot for this post and the address of the ashram.I had tears in my eyes when i saw the 3year old eating by themselves,god bless these kids.

  7. My eyes are welled up reading this post, and especially seeing those littlest girls smiling to the picture. I really hope their lives are blessed with happiness. I salute all those people who are making the lives of these girls so much better.

    Thanks for sharing the address, your post has inspired me to go and volunteer in a place like this in Bangalore. Please post of any such institutions in Bangalore too. These kids need our time along with the money we give.

    Thanks again.

    1. Ash, Since I have been to the Ashram personally and my mom works closely with them, I took the liberty of promoting them and thinking about the fund drive as well. I will do the same if I find something worthwhile and close to my heart in Bangalore as well. Thanks.

  8. Lovely Post Siri. I always do the same thing for my grandpa's bday, but I donate the amount directly to Shankar Netralaya. But now I have some mission to do when I visit India. Thanks for all the information.

    1. How sweet of you to do the same for your grandpa's birthday as well. :-). Thanks for dropping by.

  9. Hi Siri! I've been to the Vaidehi ashram, I guess it was in 2006 and spent a whole day there. It was a fabulous experience and I made some really sweet friends. This is such a wonderful idea, the fund drive! Kudos to you and may you continue to do such good deeds always :)

  10. I am so speechless, My Heart is very heavy after going through all the pics! you have done such an awesome job. I would be priviledged to be a part of it!

  11. Siri, this is a wonderful way to start off your new year and be an inspiration to your fellow bloggers :) I will send a check to the address you've given in the post - Would love to physically be present to do something - Hopefully that will happen one day soon too :) I would be happy to advertise this drive on my blog and get more contributions, hopefully - let me know if you'd like me to - cheers, Priya


'Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it' ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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