OSI-India

In the "Janata Vasahat" slum of Pune, as in many parts of India, girls and young women from the lowest levels of society have little or no educational or vocational opportunities.  Financial straits force children out of school and into labour at an early age, and for girls the lack of prospects means that they are married prematurely, often without choice, becoming virtual slaves to their circumstances, if not to their new family.  Even in the best cases, their poverty and lack of education yet provides no prospects, and assures the cycle of neglect will continue.
Since 1993, a local resident of Pune, Minal Dani, has worked tirelessly to change the plight of girls and young women in the Pune slums.  With minimal funding or support, Minal has been inexhaustible in her efforts to engage volunteers and resources to provide counseling, education & tutoring, vocational training, legal assistance, and general advocacy for girls in the Pune slums, to improve their prospects and alter their destinies.
In this video interview, Minal Dani describes the barriers that girls in the slums face.
OSI sponsorship has taken Minal's concept a quantum-leap forward by providing a consistent and substantial means of support for individual girls in the community.  With a focus on education, OSI-Pune works directly with the child and her family to keep
the girl in school and to extend her education as far as her capabilities will take her, all the way through to a vocation of the girl's own choosing and establishment of her own future.  OSI-Pune attempts to address every barrier, from providing financial support to free a child from labour so that she can focus on education, to providing parental assistance for single-parent children, to group and individual tutoring and counseling to foster the child's education.  OSI also teaches general life skills like nutrition and hygiene.  In addition to the educational focus, OSI sponsorship also provides for the child's other needs, material and emotional, -hygiene, clothing, medical, etc., and strives to foster these girls' self-esteem and general happiness level.

Photos

Below are a few photos of our present Pune children and our daily activities with them
Commentary - OSI's President/Founder shares some thoughts on the achievement of our remarkable Pune girls, as well as unforeseen benefits lately being observed in their neighbourhood...

Janata Vasahat

Janata Vasahat is an impoverished slum community located on the slopes of Parvati, -a prominent hill in Pune crowned with an ancient temple.  It is an extensive, sprawling community of shanties, inhabited mostly by migrants from drought-prone rural areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka states.
The "original" or "legal" homes in the slum are very simple masonry, tin-roofed constructions of one or two rooms, registered with the Pune Municipality, and provided with a water tap, electricity, and a "ration card" (which provides food grains at a concession rate).  However, a large number of the homes in Janata Vasahat are "illegal" shanties, simple constructions of tin or other materials, prone to conflicts with the municipality, and without the infrastructure benefits of the "legal" homes.  This is the result of a growing number of migrants to the community, destitute of the means for legal housing.  The community has public toilets, though these are highly inadequate in number.
Most men in the community work in simple skilled jobs or as labourers, while women work mostly as domestic servants.  Employment/income is unstable and minimal, with family incomes typically ranging between US $20 - US $120 /month.
Most young children study in the local Marathi language at the government elementary school 2-3km from Janata Vasahat.  A few of our Muslim children who have migrated from other regions study in Urdu language schools.  Beyond elementary school, schools for the higher grades are quite distant, and this too is a need/expense that OSI sponsorship provides for.  Janata Vasahat has it's own charity-run hospital as well as private physicians.  Conversely, desperation of many residents means that there are also some anti-social elements in Janata Vasahat, -gang fighting, gambling, production/selling of black-market liquor, domestic violence, early marriage, child labour, etc.

Photos

Below are a few photos of our Janata Vasahat neighbourhood and homes

Events

Below are special events and excursions that OSI has provided for our Pune children.
Morachi Chincholi
OSI-India (Pune)
22 January 2017
Another rural excursion with lots of fun activities...
Orchard Resort
OSI-India (Pune)
14 April 2016
Fun day trip to an amusement and water park...
Bhimashankar & Shivneri Fort
OSI-India (Pune)
31 January 2016
Another scenic and educational pre-exam day trip...
Lonavala
OSI-India (Pune)
25 April 2015
Scenic, fun, and educational day trip...
Konkan Kanya
OSI-India (Pune)
18 January 2015
A day on the farm...
Mahabaleshwar
OSI-India (Pune)
27 January 2013
Fun and educational excursion to scenic Mahabaleshwar region...
Chincholi Morachi
OSI-India (Pune)
14 October 2012
Educational and pastoral excursion to rural Chincholi Morachi...
Sankranti
OSI-India (Pune)
15 January 2012
Our children enjoyed a day-trip to Saras Baug park to celebrate Sankranti...
Theater and Katraj Snake Park
OSI-India (Pune)
3 & 24 December 2011
Year-end excursions to the theater and zoo...
Mumbai
OSI-India (Pune)
23 April 2011
Excursion to Mumbai...
Saras Baug Park
OSI-India (Pune)
27 February 2011
Recreation and picnic in one of Pune's most beautiful parks...
Niwara Elder's Home
OSI-India (Pune)
30 January 2011
Social Awareness visit to Niwara Elder's Home, followed by a traditional Maharashtrian lunch...
Sinhagad
OSI-India (Pune)
13 November 2010
A fun hike to an important historical site...
Pune Educational Excursion
OSI-India (Pune)
24 April 2010
Educational day-trip to site of Gandhi's imprisonment and burial, and other historical sites in Pune...
Sanskruti Culture Park
OSI-India (Pune)
21 February 2010
Fun and educational day-trip to Sanskruti Culture Park...
Pune Christmas
OSI-India (Pune)
25 December 2009
Cinema, restaurant, and a walk in the park...

Personnel

Program Site Sponsor

Lynette Lamb
A journalist, residing in Minnesota, USA, Lynette and colleague Dina Fesler actually discovered the Pune site for us.  In her dedication to serving these children Lynette serves as OSI-Pune site sponsor.  Besides providing for the administration of OSI-Pune, Lynette's personal involvement and familiarity with the site is a wonderful asset!

OSI Program Liaison

Minal Dani and ASHA
Minal is voluntary Founder and Director of "ASHA", an effort to address violence and injustice against women in Pune, India.  Minal and her staff also serve as liaison for OSI sponsors and their children, as part of her effort to provide better prospects for these girls.  Minal is a remarkably selfless, compassionate individual!

Geography

Pune (pronounced poo-nay) is located about 160 km southeast of Mumbai (Bombay), in Maharashtra state.  With a population of over 5 million, Pune is the 8th most populous city in India.  Pune's nine universities and many more academic institutes provide an education that feeds the city's growing industrial and IT sectors.  Pune is important culturally as well, as the recognized center of Murathi, the primary language in the region.  Many temples and structures outline Pune's important historical role, from ancient times to British Raj to the struggle for Indian independence.  At an elevation of 560 meters, Pune has a mild climate.

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Orphan Sponsorship International is a US-registered 501(c)(3) charity